Linux on a Maxdata Performance NB WX 440T

(Updated 02/10/2004)



This computer is a good ratio between price and performance.

It is made of MITAC components

It is composed of:

Device

Type

Works with

Processor

Intel pIII 650

Normal kernel

RAM

64 MB (up to 256 MB)

Normal kernel

Screen

14.1'' 1024x768, active matrix

Xfree86 3.3 or 4.x

Graphic card

ATI 3D Rage LT Pro 4c42 8 MB-TV out

Xfree86 3.3 or 4.x. or X.org Chipset mach64-

The TV-out works with experimental patches available here : http://www.retinalburn.net/linux/tvout.html. Only works in clone mode, and not the PC screen and the TV screen at the same time.

3D accelerated : works automatically with Mandrake 7.2 and upper, but not very fast (Xfree 3.3 - UTAH-GLX).

Experimental versions of DRI work with Xfree 4.x

Mouse

Synaptics Glide point + 2 buttons

Emulates PS2- irq12. Sometimes, the mouse gets crazy (needs kernel >= 2.6.8)

You can get all the functions of a 3 buttons + 2 wheels mouse with synaptics driver. Does not support 2 and 3 fingers hitting.

CDROM

Integrated Teac CD 224E (x24)

Normal IDE Atapi Ide1 - hdc irq15

Floppy

Integrated

Normal kernel - irq6

HD

Toshiba 6 GB (maxi = 30 GB)

Normal IDE Ide 0 - hda irq14

Modem

Winmodem Lucent V90

Lucent Driver irq5 ttyS1 See Below

Sound Card

Crystal-Mic in-Headphones out

Alsa module cs46xx irq5

USB

1 port Intel 82371 ab/eb

Works with kernel 2.4 and upper - irq 9 (UHCI module). Tried it with a scanner, a webcam, usb-storage and Aiptek tablet.

Parallel port

1 EPP port

Normal kernel irq7. No problem for Printers and Iomega zip.

PCMCIA

2 ports

Works fine with i82365 irq 10

Infra Red

1 port

Untested- irq3

Serial port

1 port

Normal kernel ttyS0 irq4

External screen

1 port

Works with/without integrated screen

(clone mode only)

External ps2 port

1 keyboard/mouse port

Works with a 3 button mouse, but impossible to make the glide-point work later. Necessary to reboot.

The keyboard must be plugged in before switching power on, but you can still use the embedded keyboard.

ACPI

Unsupported (black list)



Making the modem work is now easy

You must get the driver at http://www.linmodems.org

The installation is very easy. You need to have the kernel source installed, activate ppp support, and then type  ./build_module  in the ltmodem archive (don't unzip the inner archive). Then  modprobe ltmodem . It works with 2.4 and 2.6 kernels. It also works fine with french Minitel (V23 mode) and fax programs. The device name is /dev/ttyLT0.

The modem works automatically in Demolinux 3.x.

Energy saving functions must be changed (in the BIOS). You must disable suspend mode and ask for the screen to get turned off when closing the screen.

You can use the Suspend mode only from a text console (except for Demolinux, which accepts Fn-F12 in graphical mode). If you want to use it from X without crashing the sytem, you must put in /etc/sysconfig/apmd :

CHANGEVT="7"

If you want your PCMCIA network still works after suspend mode, just write

NET_RESTART="no" in the same file.

If not, you must restart pcmcia (/etc/rc.d/init.d/pcmcia restart)

The mouse

The touchpad used to get crazy sometimes, but it seems to be fixed in 2.6.8 kernel.

Hard disk and cdrom optimizations

hdparm -X66 -c1 -d1 -m16 -k1 /dev/hda

will accelerate your hard disk

hdparm -d1 /dev/hdc

will accelerate your cdrom

The frame buffer

It is not a good idea to use a frame buffer kernel. The text mode will work fine, but X will blink and will be very slow. In this case, X will work fine only if you use X frame buffer driver, which is slower than Mach 64 Driver.

You have perhaps seen the problem when installing the system if your distribution (Mandrake for instance) uses frame buffer during the installation. If you ask for testing your graphical configuration, it will blink. Just accept. It will work fine when starting again.

Framebuffer does not make any trouble any more with recent Xfree/X.org.

The boot

I had many trouble when trying to make LILO work on this laptop. I just managed to boot using GRUB.

Conclusions

This computer can be used with Linux. All device are supported. The autonomy is short (about 1 hour), better with Lithium battery (nearly 2 hours). The sound card and the screen have been automagically configured by Linux Mandrake.