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Dell_Inspiron_910

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Hardware

9 inch display @ 1024x600
Intel(R) Atom(TM) CPU N270   @ 1.60GHz
Intel Corporation Mobile 945GM/GMS, 943/940GML Express Integrated Graphics Controller
512MB or 1GB RAM
4, 8 or 16GB PATA SSD
Realtek RTL8101E PCI Express Ethernet controller
Broadcom BCM2046 Bluetooth
Broadcom BCM 4310 Wireless
Intel High Definition Audio and built-in microphone
USB 2.0
SONiX Technology Inc. 3.0MP integrated webcam

Hardware Status Overview

Device Working Driver Troubleshooting
Processor Intel Atom Image:Tick.png See Below
Drives and Storage SSD Hard Drive Image:Tick.png ATA_PIIX


SD and MMC card readers Image:Tick.png sdhci
USB USB Image:Tick.png uhci, ehci
Graphics Intel Image:Tick.png i850, intel
Input Devices Keyboard Image:Tick.png keyboard
Touchpad Image:Tick.png synaptics
Functions Keys unknown
Networking Ethernet Image:Tick.png r8169,r8101

See Below

BCM4310 Image:Tick.png ndiswrapper See Below
Bluetooth Image:Tick.png hci_usb
Sound Sound Image:Tick.png snd_intel_hda

See Below

Other Webcam Image:Tick.png uvcvideo See Below
Hardware Sensors Image:Tick.png i8k See Below
Suspend to RAM unknown
Suspend to Disk Image:Tick.png Software Suspend 2

Configuration

Intel Atom

The Atom is an ultra-low power CPU aimed at ultra-mobile PCs and as a result it has a significantly different design than other recent Intel CPUs. Most significantly the Atom executes all instructions in-order: there is no instruction rescheduling like in most recent processors. As discussed in the forums here, several CFLAGS configurations have been suggested.

Recent Architechture

CHOST="i686-pc-linux-gnu"
CFLAGS="-march=prescott -O2 -pipe -fomit-frame-pointer"
CXXFLAGS="${CFLAGS}"

In-order Architecture

CHOST="i586-pc-linux-gnu"
CFLAGS="-march=i586 -msse -msse2 -msse3 -Os -pipe -fomit-frame-pointer"
CXXFLAGS="${CFLAGS}"

While the Atom does indeed support all instructions of recent architectures and newer -march settings should work fine, I believe that compiling for an in-order CPU will give significant benefits.

To test the two competing CFLAGS, here is the output of nbench:

i586 (in-order)

TEST                : Iterations/sec.  : Old Index   : New Index
                    :                  : Pentium 90* : AMD K6/233*
--------------------:------------------:-------------:------------
NUMERIC SORT        :          568.56  :      14.58  :       4.79
STRING SORT         :          56.795  :      25.38  :       3.93
BITFIELD            :      1.8812e+08  :      32.27  :       6.74
FP EMULATION        :           91.76  :      44.03  :      10.16
FOURIER             :            7987  :       9.08  :       5.10
ASSIGNMENT          :          12.575  :      47.85  :      12.41
IDEA                :          1894.7  :      28.98  :       8.60
HUFFMAN             :          969.53  :      26.89  :       8.59

Prescott

TEST                : Iterations/sec.  : Old Index   : New Index
                    :                  : Pentium 90* : AMD K6/233*
--------------------:------------------:-------------:------------
NUMERIC SORT        :          577.28  :      14.80  :       4.86
STRING SORT         :           58.53  :      26.15  :       4.05
BITFIELD            :      2.0484e+08  :      35.14  :       7.34
FP EMULATION        :          66.494  :      31.91  :       7.36
FOURIER             :          8063.3  :       9.17  :       5.15
ASSIGNMENT          :          10.887  :      41.43  :      10.74
IDEA                :          1864.3  :      28.51  :       8.47
HUFFMAN             :          986.97  :      27.37  :       8.74

The differences are minor, with the exception of the assignment and floating point emulation benchmarks, which are noticeably faster on the i586 compiled version. On the other hand, sorting performed slightly better on the Prescott-compiled nbench.

Wireless

Unfortunately the BCM4310 controller is currently unsupported by the in-kernel b43 drivers, so NDISwrapper must be used.

The required drivers can be downloaded from Dell here, or in a pruned format from here. Normal NDISWrapper instructions can be used to install.

Here is a set of commands that should configure ndsiwrapper correctly for the BCM 4310:

wget http://myspamb8.googlepages.com/R174291-pruned.zip
unzip R174291-pruned.zip
ndisrwapper -i bcmwl5.inf
ndiswrapper -m
modprobe ndiswrapper
echo "ndiswrapper" >> /etc/modules.autoload.d/kernel-2.6

Remember if you're running >=ndiswrapper-1.13, and you use wpa_supplicant, use -Dwext instead of -Dndiswrapper

Hardware Sensors

Unfortunately, there do not appear to be any sensors for temperature, voltage, or fan speed. However, following the I8k directions will allow you to see the output of the i8k sensors. This data is meaningless however, since there are no fans and the Atom does not have temperature sensors. The ACPI thermal zone is still available though, at:

/proc/acpi/thermal_zone/TZ01/temperature

Sound

The sound chipset is a Realtek ALC268 and supported by the ALSA hda_intel driver, the module auto-detect for model doesn't work. Even though there is a "dell" model of the ALC268, that isn't what's in the laptop. To get the mixer working correctly, adding the following to your /etc/modules.d/alsa file:

options snd-hda-intel model=dell

and then run update-modules

In OpenRC, adding the following to your /etc/conf.d/modules file:

module_snd_hda_intel_args="model=dell"

Wired Network

The r8169 driver did not work for me, but the r8101 driver is available here from Realtek's website. After downloading the latest linux driver, extract it and in the main directory of the extracted module source, run:

make clean modules install
depmod -a
echo r8101 >> /etc/modules.autoload.d/kernel-2.6


Webcam

Use >=kernel-2.6.27 or emerge linux-uvc. Xawtv doesn't like the camera, but it works fine in Skype. To test the camera, emerge luvcview.

See also

Intel's Atom page

Intel Atom at Wikipedia

Anandtech's Intel Atom Overview

An Ubuntu help page on BCM43xx configuration

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Last modified: Fri, 10 Oct 2008 20:12:00 +0000 Hits: 476