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PC: Overview of the Linux related features of the Compaq Evo N620c

Table of contents

1. Preface

This is a quick survey about Linux related hardware features of the Compaq Evo N620c. I don't try to explain the usual installation details (for instance, which partitions I have made, what they are good for and so on and so on...). Requests for additional information may be directed by eMail to the author.

The laptop doesn't come bundled with ugly stuff like the infamous hidden "BIOS" partition, which was real common on Compaq desktop machines. A nice goodie is the facility to boot the notebook over a LAN (not needed here yet, but a nice to have feature).

The machine comes with ACPI. Standby- or suspend-mode is established by software (stock Linux acpi utilities) or pressing the appropriate hardware button. The laptop, however, won't wake up again. I think, the radeon framebuffer driver bites the wakeup (see: Documentation/power/video.txt). The only ACPI functions used here are LID and Poweroff, which work reasonable well.

On the other hand it runs with a single battery pack up to 5 hours.

2. Installation

My Compaq Evo N620c runs these days on Gentoo Linux 2006.1, because this Linux flavor avoids auto-configuration and some other here not wanted mumbo jumbo.

The system performs also well with FreeBSD 5.1, 5.2 and 5.3, 6.0, 6.1 and 7.0, but that's another story.

The system runs a plain-vanilla Torvalds kernel 2.6.23.

3. General Hardware Data

This notebook is as solid as it's black magnesium case -- no fancy stuff, only boring, functional hardware.

3.1 CPU

The system comes with an Intel Centrino processor.

Output from "cat /proc/cpuinfo":

   processor       : 0
   vendor_id       : GenuineIntel
   cpu family      : 6
   model           : 9
   model name      : Intel(R) Pentium(R) M processor 1400MHz
   stepping        : 5
   cpu MHz         : 600.000
   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 est tm2
   bogomips        : 1199.78
   clflush size    : 64

The processor works without additional daemons nicely with the CPU-frequency governors of Linux >2.6.16, as is shown by the value of cpu MHz above, which runs on 600 MHz.

Most times I use the ondemand or the conservative governor.

3.2 RAM

I bought the machine with 256 MB SDRAM (PC 100) in one slot. As the notebook has two slots, I bought another stick of 256 MB, so there's 512 MB of physical RAM available.

The laptop is quite happy with stock PC-100 SDRAM, no need to buy OEM sticks.

3.3 Hard disk

Samsung MP0603H

Output from "lshw --class disk":

   *-disk
        description: ATA Disk
        product: SAMSUNG MP0603H
        physical id: 0
        bus info: ide@0.0
        logical name: /dev/hda
        version: YR200-04
        serial: S03ZJ10XB49965
        size: 55GB
        capacity: 55GB
        capabilities: ata dma lba iordy smart security pm apm partitioned partitioned:dos
        configuration: apm=off mode=udma5 smart=on

Output from "fdisk -l /dev/hda":

   Disk /dev/hda: 60.0 GB, 60060155904 bytes
   255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 7301 cylinders
   Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

      Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
   /dev/hda1   *           1         249     2000061   83  Linux
   /dev/hda2             250         374     1004062+  82  Linux swap / Solaris
   /dev/hda3             375        4108    29993355    5  Extended
   /dev/hda4            4109        7301    25647772+  83  Linux
   /dev/hda5             375        1619    10000431   83  Linux
   /dev/hda6            1620        2864    10000431   83  Linux
   /dev/hda7            2865        3486     4996183+  83  Linux
   /dev/hda8            3487        4108     4996183+  83  Linux

3.4 DVD-ROM

Output from "lshw --class disk":

   *-cdrom
        description: DVD reader
        product: Toshiba DVD-ROM SD-C2612
        vendor: Toshiba
        physical id: 0
        bus info: ide@1.0
        logical name: /dev/hdc
        version: 1A25
        serial: 734E419143
        capabilities: packet atapi cdrom removable nonmagnetic dma lba iordy audio dvd
        configuration: status=nodisc

3.5 Floppy drive

I'm a lucky owner of a floppy drive for this machine. The floppy drive is designed as a plug in for the multi-bay, but my multi-bay is used for housing my CD-ROM. But there is a parallel port cable as accessories for the drive available, and this combo is even hot pluggable.

The system is bootable in both variations.

3.6 Graphic chip

The system comes with an ATI Radeon 7500 Mobility with 32 MB RAM.

Output from "lshw --class video":

   *-display
        description: VGA compatible controller
        product: Radeon Mobility M7 LW [Radeon Mobility 7500]
        vendor: ATI Technologies Inc
        physical id: 0
        bus info: pci@0000:01:00.0
        version: 00
        width: 32 bits
        clock: 66MHz
        capabilities: agp agp-2.0 pm vga bus_master cap_list
        configuration: driver=radeonfb latency=66 mingnt=8

This chip displays a resolution from "1024x768" with the X-server "ati" from Xorg-x11 7.1. Some hints form my xorg.conf:

   Section "Monitor"
         Identifier   "Generic Monitor"
         VendorName   "Samsung"
         ModelName    "LT141X7-122"
         Gamma        0.90 0.90 0.90
         Option       "dpms"
   EndSection

   Section "Device"
         Identifier  "Generic Videocard"
         VendorName  "ATI"
         BoardName   "Radeon Mobility M7 7500"
         Driver      "radeon"
         BusID       "PCI:1:0:0"
         VideoRam    32768
         Option      "AGPMode" "4"
         Option      "AGPFastWrite" "true"
         Option      "DDCMode" "true"
         Option      "EnablePageFlip" "true"
   EndSection

This chip handles DRM/DRI and X video extensions out of the box.

The chip performs well with the kernel's radeonfb driver on console and displays a resolution from "1024x768" - or 128 columns and 48 lines - with 16 bit color on text consoles. It's no problem to switch from the framebuffer console to the Radeon X server and back. To enable the framebuffer mode for console, you need some options in your kernel configuration:

   CONFIG_FB=y
   CONFIG_FB_DDC=y
   CONFIG_FB_CFB_FILLRECT=y
   CONFIG_FB_CFB_COPYAREA=y
   CONFIG_FB_CFB_IMAGEBLIT=y
   CONFIG_FB_MODE_HELPERS=y
   CONFIG_FB_RADEON=y
   CONFIG_FB_RADEON_I2C=y

To make it all come true, the kernel needs to be booted with the append switch "video=radeonfb:1024x768@60".

3.7 PCMCIA

Card bus bridge: O2 Micro, Inc. OZ6933/711E1 CardBus/SmartCardBus Controller (rev 01)

You need the modules pcmcia_core and yenta_socket. I have sometimes a Cisco Aironet 350 WLAN card inserted, which works fine on this card bus.

3.8 Sound

Intel Corporation 82801DB/DBL/DBM (ICH4/ICH4-L/ICH4-M) AC'97 Audio Controller (rev 03)

The sound comes quite clear, but with all common disadvantages of sound on laptops (very weak basses and so on ...).

The module snd_intel8x0 needs the following lines in /etc/modprobe.conf:

   alias char-major-116 snd
   alias char-major-14 soundcore

   alias snd-card-0 snd-intel8x0
   alias sound-slot-0 snd-card-0

   alias sound-service-0-0 snd-mixer-oss
   alias sound-service-0-1 snd-seq-oss
   alias sound-service-0-3 snd-pcm-oss
   alias sound-service-0-8 snd-seq-oss
   alias sound-service-0-12 snd-pcm-oss

   alias /dev/mixer snd-mixer-oss
   alias /dev/dsp snd-pcm-oss
   alias /dev/midi snd-seq-oss

   options snd cards_limit=1

3.9 Trackpoint

The notebook's got a trackpoint like the IBM Thinkpads. It has two "mouse" buttons. The whole stuff is recognized as a PS/2 mouse and works in X and on console with gpm started like this:

   # /usr/sbin/gpm -m /dev/input/mice -t ps2 -Rraw

The X mouse listens to /dev/gpmdata. Here are some lines from my xorg.conf:

   Section "InputDevice"
         Identifier  "Trackpoint"
         Driver      "mouse"
         Option      "Protocol" "PS/2"
         Option      "Device" "/dev/gpmdata"
         Option      "Buttons" "2"
         Option      "Emulate3Buttons" "true"
   EndSection

3.10 Touchpad

The touchpad listens on the same PS/2 port as the trackpoint, so it doesn't need additional configuration. The touchpad has also another two "mouse" buttons.

3.11 Keyboard

The keyboard comes quite unspectacular as a generic model with 104 keys. Most of the Fn keys work out of the box.

3.12 Infrared port - IrDA(TM)

There are no units with infrared ports all around here, so I haven't tested it yet. On the other hand there are no error messages on loading the modules or attaching the device to the IrDA services in the syslog, so that everything seems to work.

3.13 USB

USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801DB/DBL/DBM (ICH4/ICH4-L/ICH4-M) USB UHCI Controller (rev 03)

As long as the machine got no floppy drive, I used an USB memory stick as my only writable removable storage medium. The USB controller needs the kernel modules usbcore, uhci, ehci, kernel's storage subsystem usb-storage and SCSI hard disk support and supports USB 2.0.

The output of /proc/bus/usb/devices:

   T:  Bus=04 Lev=00 Prnt=00 Port=00 Cnt=00 Dev#=  1 Spd=12  MxCh= 2
   B:  Alloc=  0/900 us ( 0%), #Int=  0, #Iso=  0
   D:  Ver= 1.10 Cls=09(hub  ) Sub=00 Prot=00 MxPS=64 #Cfgs=  1
   P:  Vendor=0000 ProdID=0000 Rev= 2.06
   S:  Manufacturer=Linux 2.6.20 uhci_hcd
   S:  Product=UHCI Host Controller
   S:  SerialNumber=0000:00:1d.2
   C:* #Ifs= 1 Cfg#= 1 Atr=e0 MxPwr=  0mA
   I:  If#= 0 Alt= 0 #EPs= 1 Cls=09(hub  ) Sub=00 Prot=00 Driver=hub
   E:  Ad=81(I) Atr=03(Int.) MxPS=   2 Ivl=255ms

   T:  Bus=03 Lev=00 Prnt=00 Port=00 Cnt=00 Dev#=  1 Spd=12  MxCh= 2
   B:  Alloc=  0/900 us ( 0%), #Int=  0, #Iso=  0
   D:  Ver= 1.10 Cls=09(hub  ) Sub=00 Prot=00 MxPS=64 #Cfgs=  1
   P:  Vendor=0000 ProdID=0000 Rev= 2.06
   S:  Manufacturer=Linux 2.6.20 uhci_hcd
   S:  Product=UHCI Host Controller
   S:  SerialNumber=0000:00:1d.1
   C:* #Ifs= 1 Cfg#= 1 Atr=e0 MxPwr=  0mA
   I:  If#= 0 Alt= 0 #EPs= 1 Cls=09(hub  ) Sub=00 Prot=00 Driver=hub
   E:  Ad=81(I) Atr=03(Int.) MxPS=   2 Ivl=255ms

   T:  Bus=02 Lev=00 Prnt=00 Port=00 Cnt=00 Dev#=  1 Spd=12  MxCh= 2
   B:  Alloc=  0/900 us ( 0%), #Int=  0, #Iso=  0
   D:  Ver= 1.10 Cls=09(hub  ) Sub=00 Prot=00 MxPS=64 #Cfgs=  1
   P:  Vendor=0000 ProdID=0000 Rev= 2.06
   S:  Manufacturer=Linux 2.6.20 uhci_hcd
   S:  Product=UHCI Host Controller
   S:  SerialNumber=0000:00:1d.0
   C:* #Ifs= 1 Cfg#= 1 Atr=e0 MxPwr=  0mA
   I:  If#= 0 Alt= 0 #EPs= 1 Cls=09(hub  ) Sub=00 Prot=00 Driver=hub
   E:  Ad=81(I) Atr=03(Int.) MxPS=   2 Ivl=255ms

   T:  Bus=01 Lev=00 Prnt=00 Port=00 Cnt=00 Dev#=  1 Spd=480 MxCh= 6
   B:  Alloc=  0/800 us ( 0%), #Int=  0, #Iso=  0
   D:  Ver= 2.00 Cls=09(hub  ) Sub=00 Prot=01 MxPS=64 #Cfgs=  1
   P:  Vendor=0000 ProdID=0000 Rev= 2.06
   S:  Manufacturer=Linux 2.6.20 ehci_hcd
   S:  Product=EHCI Host Controller
   S:  SerialNumber=0000:00:1d.7
   C:* #Ifs= 1 Cfg#= 1 Atr=e0 MxPwr=  0mA
   I:  If#= 0 Alt= 0 #EPs= 1 Cls=09(hub  ) Sub=00 Prot=00 Driver=hub
   E:  Ad=81(I) Atr=03(Int.) MxPS=   4 Ivl=256ms

3.14 Ethernet chip

Ethernet controller: Broadcom Corporation NetXtreme BCM5705M Gigabit Ethernet (rev 01)

The on board chip uses the kernel module tg3 and works like a charm.

Modem

Modem: Intel Corporation 82801DB/DBL/DBM (ICH4/ICH4-L/ICH4-M) AC'97 Modem Controller (rev 03)

There's an on-Board modem, which uses the kernel module snd_intel8x0m. I haven't tested it yet, but everything seems to be recognized without errors in the logs.

4. Survey PCI Devices

Output from "lspci":

   00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation 82855PM Processor to I/O Controller (rev 03)
   00:01.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82855PM Processor to AGP Controller (rev 03)
   00:1d.0 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801DB/DBL/DBM (ICH4/ICH4-L/ICH4-M) USB UHCI Controller #1 (rev 03)
   00:1d.1 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801DB/DBL/DBM (ICH4/ICH4-L/ICH4-M) USB UHCI Controller #2 (rev 03)
   00:1d.2 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801DB/DBL/DBM (ICH4/ICH4-L/ICH4-M) USB UHCI Controller #3 (rev 03)
   00:1d.7 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801DB/DBM (ICH4/ICH4-M) USB2 EHCI Controller (rev 03)
   00:1e.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801 Mobile PCI Bridge (rev 83)
   00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation 82801DBM (ICH4-M) LPC Interface Bridge (rev 03)
   00:1f.1 IDE interface: Intel Corporation 82801DBM (ICH4-M) IDE Controller (rev 03)
   00:1f.3 SMBus: Intel Corporation 82801DB/DBL/DBM (ICH4/ICH4-L/ICH4-M) SMBus Controller (rev 03)
   00:1f.5 Multimedia audio controller: Intel Corporation 82801DB/DBL/DBM (ICH4/ICH4-L/ICH4-M) AC'97 Audio Controller (rev 03)
   00:1f.6 Modem: Intel Corporation 82801DB/DBL/DBM (ICH4/ICH4-L/ICH4-M) AC'97 Modem Controller (rev 03)
   01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: ATI Technologies Inc Radeon Mobility M7 LW [Radeon Mobility 7500]
   02:06.0 CardBus bridge: O2 Micro, Inc. OZ6933/711E1 CardBus/SmartCardBus Controller (rev 01)
   02:06.1 CardBus bridge: O2 Micro, Inc. OZ6933/711E1 CardBus/SmartCardBus Controller (rev 01)
   02:0e.0 Ethernet controller: Broadcom Corporation NetXtreme BCM5705M Gigabit Ethernet (rev 01)

5. Survey PnP Devices

There are no PnP devices on board. The kernel output:

   isapnp: Scanning for PnP cards...
   isapnp: No Plug & Play device found

6. Conclusion

All hardware works well with a recent Linux kernel and my favorite distribution. There are no show-stoppers all around.

7. Disclaimer

This document has nothing to do with Compaq, they don't even know it exists. There is no guarantee that the information on this page is accurate, please don't hold me responsible if your experience is different from the information here. If you have found any glaring typos or outdated info in this page, please send an eMail to the author.

8. Credits


The basic of this report was generated by lanoche v0.6, which is available at TuxMobile - Software.


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