Yep, so I bought a new laptop recently, my IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad T40p was slowly getting really unbearably sloooow (Celeron 1.5 GHz, 2 GB RAM max). After comparing some models I set out to buy a certain laptop in a local store, which they didn't have in stock, so I spontaneously got another model, the HP Pavilion dv7-3127eg (HP product number VY554EA).
Why this one? Well, the killer feature for me was that it has two SATA disks, hence allows me to run a RAID-1 in my laptop. This allows me to sleep better at night, knowing that the next dying disk will not necessarily lead to data loss (yes, I do still perform regular backups, of course).
Other pros: Much faster than the old notebook, this one is an AMD Turion II Dual-Core Mobile M520 at 2.3 GHz per core, it has 4 GB RAM (8 GB max), and uses an AMD RS780 / SB700 chipset which is supported by the Free-Software / Open-Source BIOS / firmware project coreboot, so this might make the laptop a good coreboot-target on the long run. I'll probably start working on that when I'm willing to open / dissect it or when the warranty expires, whichever happens first.
Anyway, I set up a page at randomprojects.org which contains lots more details about using Linux on this laptop:
Most of the hardware is supported out of the box, though I haven't yet tested everything. There may be issues with suspend-to-disk / suspend-to-RAM, sometimes it seems to hang (may be just a simple config change is needed in /etc/hibernate/disk.cfg).
Cons: Pretty big and heavy (but that's OK, I use it mostly as "semi-mobile desktop replacement"), glossy screen, loud fans (probably due to the two disks).
For reference, here's an lspci of the box:
$ lspci -tvnn -[0000:00]-+-00.0 Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] RS780 Host Bridge Alternate [1022:9601] +-02.0---+-00.0 ATI Technologies Inc M96 [Mobility Radeon HD 4650] [1002:9480] | \-00.1 ATI Technologies Inc RV710/730 [1002:aa38] +-04.0-[02-07]-- +-05.0-----00.0 Atheros Communications Inc. AR9285 Wireless Network Adapter (PCI-Express) [168c:002b] +-06.0-----00.0 Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8111/8168B PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet controller [10ec:8168] +-0a.0-[0a]-- +-11.0 ATI Technologies Inc SB700/SB800 SATA Controller [AHCI mode] [1002:4391] +-12.0 ATI Technologies Inc SB700/SB800 USB OHCI0 Controller [1002:4397] +-12.1 ATI Technologies Inc SB700 USB OHCI1 Controller [1002:4398] +-12.2 ATI Technologies Inc SB700/SB800 USB EHCI Controller [1002:4396] +-13.0 ATI Technologies Inc SB700/SB800 USB OHCI0 Controller [1002:4397] +-13.1 ATI Technologies Inc SB700 USB OHCI1 Controller [1002:4398] +-13.2 ATI Technologies Inc SB700/SB800 USB EHCI Controller [1002:4396] +-14.0 ATI Technologies Inc SBx00 SMBus Controller [1002:4385] +-14.2 ATI Technologies Inc SBx00 Azalia (Intel HDA) [1002:4383] +-14.3 ATI Technologies Inc SB700/SB800 LPC host controller [1002:439d] +-14.4-[0b]-- +-18.0 Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] K10 [Opteron, Athlon64, Sempron] HyperTransport Configuration [1022:1200] +-18.1 Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] K10 [Opteron, Athlon64, Sempron] Address Map [1022:1201] +-18.2 Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] K10 [Opteron, Athlon64, Sempron] DRAM Controller [1022:1202] +-18.3 Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] K10 [Opteron, Athlon64, Sempron] Miscellaneous Control [1022:1203] \-18.4 Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] K10 [Opteron, Athlon64, Sempron] Link Control [1022:1204]
Full lspci -vvvxxxxnnn, lsusb -vvv, and a much more detailed list of tested hardware components is available in the wiki.
I recently got a new (well, refurbished) laptop as a replacement for my old Toshiba A80-117 laptop which has more or less died. It's an IBM/Lenovo T40p laptop (model 2373-CG6), with an Intel Pentim M at 1.5 GHz. I chose this laptop for multiple reasons:
Downsides and missing hardware features (nothing too important, though):
Pretty much all of the hardware works flawlessly out of the box with a recent distro/kernel, see below for details.
Not needed, I simply popped out the 40 GB drive from the T40p and inserted my 160 GB (PATA) drive from my old laptop and that was it. Pretty much everything worked out of the box (see below), even though this is a totally different manufacturer, model, chipset, graphics card, wireless card, and so on. The only exception being (of course) my small Windows partition on that disk, which is now unusable as the drive is on different hardware and Microsoft doesn't like me to do that. Free Software: 1, Microsoft: 0.
Works out of the box using the snd_intel8x0 driver. The hardware is onboard audio in the southbridge (82801DB / ICH4) and uses the Analog Devices AD1981B codec.
Works out of the box using the bluetooth and hci_usb driver. The laptop's Bluetooth device is USB-attached internally and shows up in lsusb as:
$ lsusb Bus 003 Device 004: ID 1668:0441 Actiontec Electronics, Inc. [hex] IBM Integrated Bluetooth II
The device is not enabled per default though (which is a good thing), you can enable it like this:
$ echo enable > /proc/acpi/ibm/bluetooth
Disabling is equally simple:
$ echo disable > /proc/acpi/ibm/bluetooth
After that, you can use hcitool / hciconfig etc. as usual, and/or enable more related stuff with /etc/init.d/bluetooth restart.
Untested, I don't need it.
Untested so far.
Works out of the box.
$ sensors acpitz-virtual-0 Adapter: Virtual device temp1: +51.0°C (crit = +93.0°C) thinkpad-isa-0000 Adapter: ISA adapter fan1: 3698 RPM temp1: +51.0°C temp2: +42.0°C temp3: +32.0°C temp4: +49.0°C temp5: +33.0°C ERROR: Can't get value of subfeature temp6_input: Can't read temp6: +0.0°C temp7: +28.0°C ERROR: Can't get value of subfeature temp8_input: Can't read temp8: +0.0°C
$ dmesg | grep -i hpet pci 0000:00:1f.0: Force enabled HPET at 0xfed00000 hpet clockevent registered HPET: 3 timers in total, 0 timers will be used for per-cpu timer hpet0: at MMIO 0xfed00000, IRQs 2, 8, 0 hpet0: 3 comparators, 64-bit 14.318180 MHz counter
You can check with powertop that the number of wakeups-from-idle is drastically reduced (from 70 to less than 10) when adding hpet=force to the kernel command line.
Works out of the box using the e1000 driver.
$ modprobe e1000 Intel(R) PRO/1000 Network Driver - version 7.3.20-k2-NAPI Copyright (c) 1999-2006 Intel Corporation. ACPI: PCI Interrupt 0000:02:01.0[A] -> Link [LNKA] -> GSI 11 (level, low) -> IRQ 11 e1000: 0000:02:01.0: e1000_probe: (PCI:33MHz:32-bit) 00:11:22:33:44:55 e1000: eth0: e1000_probe: Intel(R) PRO/1000 Network Connection
Works out of the box, both in X as well as in the console using gpm.
Works out of the box, both in X as well as in the console using gpm.
Both work out of the box (on 2.6.26 or 2.6.29 kernels), or at least it used to; I think I'm seeing some hangs upon resume nowadays (Capslock LED is blinking, schreen is blank. I'll investigate.). I'm using the hibernate Debian package. You can explicitly force the usage of either method in /etc/hibernate/hibernate.conf by uncommenting the respective lines.
# TryMethod suspend2.conf TryMethod disk.conf # TryMethod ram.conf
Works out of the box using the ath5k driver. I tested WEP as well as WPA.
Works out of the box using the acpi_cpufreq driver.
$ cpufreq-info analyzing CPU 0: driver: acpi-cpufreq CPUs which need to switch frequency at the same time: 0 hardware limits: 600 MHz - 1.50 GHz available frequency steps: 1.50 GHz, 1.40 GHz, 1.20 GHz, 1000 MHz, 800 MHz, 600 MHz available cpufreq governors: userspace, powersave, ondemand, conservative, performance current policy: frequency should be within 800 MHz and 1.50 GHz. The governor "powersave" may decide which speed to use within this range. current CPU frequency is 800 MHz (asserted by call to hardware). cpufreq stats: 1.50 GHz:69.76%, 1.40 GHz:0.11%, 1.20 GHz:0.13%, 1000 MHz:0.16%, 800 MHz:29.83%, 600 MHz:0.00% (4010)
Use cpufreq-set -g performance if you need full CPU power, cpufreq-set -g powersave otherwise.
Works fine out of the box, tested with beep.
Works out of the box. You can play DVDs or CD-ROMs, and burn CDs (but not DVDs):
$ wodim foo.iso [...] Device type : Removable CD-ROM Version : 0 Response Format: 2 Capabilities : Vendor_info : 'MATSHITA' Identification : 'UJDA745 DVD/CDRW' Revision : '1.02' Device seems to be: Generic mmc2 DVD-ROM. Using generic SCSI-3/mmc CD-R/CD-RW driver (mmc_cdr). Driver flags : MMC-3 SWABAUDIO BURNFREE Supported modes: TAO PACKET SAO SAO/R96P SAO/R96R RAW/R96R
Ejecting a CD-ROM/DVD using the eject command line tool also works fine.
Works out of the box using the radeon driver.
$ xrandr Screen 0: minimum 320 x 200, current 1400 x 1050, maximum 1400 x 2048 VGA-0 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) DVI-0 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) LVDS connected 1400x1050+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 0mm x 0mm 1400x1050 50.0*+ 1280x800 60.0 1280x768 60.0 1024x768 60.0 800x600 60.3 640x480 59.9 S-video disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
DRI works out of the box with the (mainline, open-source) driver:
$ glxinfo | grep direct direct rendering: Yes
If you attach an external monitor or projector, you can enable it using xrandr as usual:
$ xrandr --output VGA-0 --auto
You can also use a dual-head setup by adding this to your "Screen" section in /etc/X11/xorg.conf:
SubSection "Display" # Virtual 2048 2048 Virtual 1400 2048 EndSubSection
After restarting the X server, you can play with xrandr and move the external screen (VGA-0) "below" the laptop's LCD screen (LVDS) for a simple dual-head setup. The GUI tools arandr or grandr are probably a bit simpler to use than plain command line xrandr.
The maximum size for the "Virtual" line is 2048x2048 if you want to keep DRI enabled (you can use higher values if you don't care about DRI).
Untested so far.
Yes, this model still has an actual parallel port, which is nice as I can use it for random JTAG stuff (e.g. OpenOCD) with several cheapo parallel port JTAG adapters I own.
This laptop has a type II/III PCMCIA slot which works out of the box using the pcmcia and yenta_socket drivers. You can probe/handle PCMCIA cards using the pccardctl tool:
$ pccardctl status Socket 0: no card Socket 1: no card
Works fine, of course. Luckily it's USB 2.0 (not USB 1.1) so I can successfully do high-speed stuff, e.g. watching DVB-T using kaffeine. The only small problem is that there are only two USB ports, more would have been better.
Works fine, of course, it's just a normal PATA drive. You can check if DMA gets properly enabled with hdparm /dev/hda | grep dma.
Works out of the box (Fn + PgUp). This is a tiny, but useful light embedded in the screen, which is helpful if you're working in dark rooms or in trains during the night etc.
What works out of the box: brightness control buttons, audio volume control + mute buttons, thinklight button.
TODO: Access IBM, F3, F4, F5, F7, F12, left/right special keys, Fn+Space.
All of them seem to work fine, including the Bluetooth on/off and Wireless on/off LEDs, as well as the suspend LED.
-[0000:00]-+-00.0 Intel Corporation 82855PM Processor to I/O Controller [8086:3340] +-01.0-[0000:01]----00.0 ATI Technologies Inc Radeon RV250 [Mobility FireGL 9000] [1002:4c66] +-1d.0 Intel Corporation 82801DB/DBL/DBM (ICH4/ICH4-L/ICH4-M) USB UHCI Controller #1 [8086:24c2] +-1d.1 Intel Corporation 82801DB/DBL/DBM (ICH4/ICH4-L/ICH4-M) USB UHCI Controller #2 [8086:24c4] +-1d.2 Intel Corporation 82801DB/DBL/DBM (ICH4/ICH4-L/ICH4-M) USB UHCI Controller #3 [8086:24c7] +-1d.7 Intel Corporation 82801DB/DBM (ICH4/ICH4-M) USB2 EHCI Controller [8086:24cd] +-1e.0-[0000:02-08]--+-00.0 Texas Instruments PCI1520 PC card Cardbus Controller [104c:ac55] | +-00.1 Texas Instruments PCI1520 PC card Cardbus Controller [104c:ac55] | +-01.0 Intel Corporation 82540EP Gigabit Ethernet Controller (Mobile) [8086:101e] | \-02.0 Atheros Communications Inc. AR5212 802.11abg NIC [168c:1014] +-1f.0 Intel Corporation 82801DBM (ICH4-M) LPC Interface Bridge [8086:24cc] +-1f.1 Intel Corporation 82801DBM (ICH4-M) IDE Controller [8086:24ca] +-1f.3 Intel Corporation 82801DB/DBL/DBM (ICH4/ICH4-L/ICH4-M) SMBus Controller [8086:24c3] +-1f.5 Intel Corporation 82801DB/DBL/DBM (ICH4/ICH4-L/ICH4-M) AC'97 Audio Controller [8086:24c5] \-1f.6 Intel Corporation 82801DB/DBL/DBM (ICH4/ICH4-L/ICH4-M) AC'97 Modem Controller [8086:24c6]
processor : 0 vendor_id : GenuineIntel cpu family : 6 model : 9 model name : Intel(R) Pentium(R) M processor 1500MHz stepping : 5 cpu MHz : 1500.000 cache size : 1024 KB fdiv_bug : no hlt_bug : no f00f_bug : no coma_bug : no fpu : yes fpu_exception : yes cpuid level : 2 wp : yes flags : fpu vme de pse tsc msr mce cx8 sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat clflush dts acpi mmx fxsr sse sse2 tm pbe up bts est tm2 bogomips : 2997.72 clflush size : 64 power management:
All in all it's a really nice piece of hardware, and it works without much hassle with recent distros/kernels.
Just FYI, I've updated my Playing Starcraft on Linux using Wine article from a few days ago, adding some more info about:
Please read the updated article for details.
OK, so I've been hacking on and testing my shiny new One A110 mini-laptop during the last few days and I must say I'm very happy with it. I'll write up some more details later (check the wiki if you're impatient), but today I want to highlight a very nice feature of this laptop (compared to, for instance, the Eee PC): The VIA C7-M ULV CPU in the laptop has VIA Padlock support.
VIA Padlock is a hardware feature in recent VIA CPUs which provides hardware-accelerated AES and SHA-1/SHA-256 support, among other things. This can be used in Linux (with the proper drivers and patches) to improve performance of dm-crypt, OpenSSL (and all programs using it), scp, sha1sum, OpenVPN, etc. etc.
I have written a quite extensive VIA Padlock HOWTO and benchmarks in the A110 wiki (but all of this will work on other systems which have VIA Padlock, too). To summarize, here are the most important benchmarks:
Without VIA Padlock support:
$ hdparm -tT /dev/mapper/hdc2_crypt /dev/mapper/hdc2_crypt: Timing cached reads: 448 MB in 2.00 seconds = 223.47 MB/sec Timing buffered disk reads: 22 MB in 3.07 seconds = 7.17 MB/sec
With VIA Padlock support:
$ hdparm -tT /dev/mapper/hdc2_crypt /dev/mapper/hdc2_crypt: Timing cached reads: 502 MB in 2.00 seconds = 250.41 MB/sec Timing buffered disk reads: 90 MB in 3.07 seconds = 29.36 MB/sec
The native speed of the SSD in the laptop is 31.01 MB/sec, so there is almost no performance penalty when using VIA Padlock.
OpenSSL speed benchmark, first line without Padlock, second line with Padlock enabled:
$ openssl speed -evp aes-256-cbc [-engine padlock] type 16 bytes 64 bytes 256 bytes 1024 bytes 8192 bytes aes-256-cbc 9187.18k 10572.28k 11054.32k 11179.36k 11218.02k aes-256-cbc 47955.92k 150619.73k 325730.73k 458320.11k 520520.79k
Without VIA Padlock support:
$ scp -c aes256-cbc bigfile.dat localhost:/dev/null bigfile.dat 100% 159MB 5.9MB/s 00:27
With VIA Padlock support:
$ scp -c aes256-cbc bigfile.dat localhost:/dev/null bigfile.dat 100% 159MB 14.5MB/s 00:11
A real speed benchmark is pending (not measurable easily on 100MBit LAN, will try on a slower link), but as OpenVPN uses OpenSSL it should have roughly the same speedup iff you tell OpenVPN to use AES (it uses Blowfish per default).
Also, there's a measurable difference in CPU load while tranferring large files over OpenVPN: 8% CPU load with VIA Padlock (vs. 20% CPU load without VIA Padlock).
phe_sum is a small C program which can be used as drop-in replacement for sha1sum (which doesn't support VIA Padlock yet). Quick benchmark:
sha1sum, without VIA Padlock:
$ time sha1sum bigfile.dat real 0m6.511s user 0m5.864s sys 0m0.412s
phe_sum (with VIA Padlock support):
$ time ./phe_sum bigfile.dat real 0m1.149s user 0m0.704s sys 0m0.424s
All in all VIA Padlock gives you a pretty impressive speedup for many crypto-using applications on Linux, which is especially useful on the A110 mini-laptop (think OpenVPN or scp for mobile usage, and dm-crypt for an encrypted SSD, of course).
OK, so I've spent my last money on the One Mini A110 subnotebook recently. Yep, yet another ASUS Eee PC clone, but this one has the great benefit of costing only 199.- Euros and has similar specs as the Eee PC 2G Surf (700), I think.
This is really a great little machine as far as I can tell. It's a VIA C7-M ULV 1GHz with 512MB DDR2 RAM and a 2 GB Solid-State-Disk (SSD), 7" screen at supposedly 800x480, VGA out, card reader slot for SD/MMC/MS, 2x USB, wireless, modem, audio. No webcam, no bluetooth.
Yesterday I created a wiki at a110wiki.de (for the A110, but also the A120 from the same vendor, which has a 4 GB SSD), where A110 users can collect information, HOWTOs, photos, etc. There's already quite some content there, especially some early tutorials and photos on the inner workings of the A110.
Today I've installed a stock Debian unstable distro on the SSD with 2.6.25 kernel, and I'm currently checking which parts of the hardware work out of the box, and which need further fixing. There's a a bunch of source code tarballs and patches on the vendor website, but most of it seems to be meant for 2.6.22, we'll see if and/or how much work it'll take to merge all this upstream (if it's not already done)...
My Debian Installation HOWTO is also available from the wiki, of course; I'll add more info and photos during the day.
Now for all interested parties: The vendor of the A110 has (again) announced a special weekend offer (valid until Sunday, June 1, 2008, i.e. tomorrow) where they'll sell the A110 for 199,- Euros again, the regular price will be 229,- Euros after that. So if you're thinking about buying one, now is probably the right time.
Check the wiki for issues which are important to you, some quirks remain at this point (but will probably mostly be figured out sooner or later), e.g. the wifi seems to have issues (the vendor said they'll send a driver update to all affected customers), the RAM is builtin and can't be upgraded, and some other, more or less important issues, depending on what you expect from the laptop.
For real-time communication there's also the #a110 IRC channel on Freenode.