Dell Latitude E6500

It's a great laptop which is installed with Vista or XP. Of course I tried to install a 64bits Lenny just to see. Here are some information about it :

lspci :

00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation Mobile 4 Series Chipset Memory Controller Hub (rev 07)
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Mobile 4 Series Chipset Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 07)
00:02.1 Display controller: Intel Corporation Mobile 4 Series Chipset Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 07)
00:19.0 Ethernet controller: Intel Corporation 82567LM Gigabit Network Connection (rev 03)
00:1a.0 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #4 (rev 03)
00:1a.1 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #5 (rev 03)
00:1a.2 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #6 (rev 03)
00:1a.7 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB2 EHCI Controller #2 (rev 03)
00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) HD Audio Controller (rev 03)
00:1c.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) PCI Express Port 1 (rev 03)
00:1c.1 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) PCI Express Port 2 (rev 03)
00:1d.7 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB2 EHCI Controller #1 (rev 03)
00:1e.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801 Mobile PCI Bridge (rev 93)
00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation ICH9M-E LPC Interface Controller (rev 03)
00:1f.2 RAID bus controller: Intel Corporation Mobile 82801 SATA RAID Controller (rev 03)
00:1f.3 SMBus: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) SMBus Controller (rev 03)
03:01.0 CardBus bridge: Ricoh Co Ltd RL5c476 II (rev ba)
03:01.1 FireWire (IEEE 1394): Ricoh Co Ltd R5C832 IEEE 1394 Controller (rev 04)
03:01.2 SD Host controller: Ricoh Co Ltd R5C822 SD/SDIO/MMC/MS/MSPro Host Adapter (rev 21)
03:01.3 System peripheral: Ricoh Co Ltd R5C843 MMC Host Controller (rev ff)
0c:00.0 Network controller: Intel Corporation Wireless WiFi Link 5100

cpuinfo (only the first core) :

processor    : 0
vendor_id    : GenuineIntel
cpu family    : 6
model        : 23
model name    : Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU     P8400  @ 2.26GHz
stepping    : 6
cpu MHz        : 800.000
cache size    : 3072 KB
physical id    : 0
siblings    : 2
core id        : 0
cpu cores    : 2
apicid        : 0
initial apicid    : 0
fpu        : yes
fpu_exception    : yes
cpuid level    : 10
wp        : yes
flags        : fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat pse36 clflush dts acpi mmx fxsr sse sse2 ss ht tm pbe syscall nx lm constant_tsc arch_perfmon pebs bts rep_good pni dtes64 monitor ds_cpl vmx smx est tm2 ssse3 cx16 xtpr pdcm sse4_1 lahf_lm tpr_shadow vnmi flexpriority
bogomips    : 4521.40
clflush size    : 64
cache_alignment    : 64
address sizes    : 36 bits physical, 48 bits virtual
power management:

5/18/2009 First try : Lenny

What's good

There is quite a lot of things running out of the box :

  • cpufreq (with the ondemand governor)
  • gigabit network
  • USB

So you've guessed, there a lot of major thing missing.

Xorg

This laptop has a GM45 Express Chipset (also know as GMA 4500MHD). With Xorg autodetection the 1920x1200 screen was not correctly detected and checking the log, I was using the VESA driver. I had to modify my xorg.conf to have it working :

Section "Device"
    Identifier    "Configured Video Device"
    Driver          "intel"
EndSection

I'm currently not happy about my 2D performance (iceweasel/firefox is still a lot slower comparing to Windows), I'm still testing.

Wifi

Two problems here :

  • the firmware is not free (so not included in debian)
  • the driver is only available in recent kernel

So follow this howto and you should be all right (beware of installing the correct kernel : amd64 in my case). I recommend using wicd to configure your wifi.

Audio

This laptop uses the snd-hda-intel driver and when you try any sound you hear the same tone repeated 5 or 6 times .... not great I followed this post and got it working.

Conclusion

I'm sorry (and sad) to say that Debian is not ready for some average joe and any uptodate computer because you need :

  • to be willing to search to have everything working.
  • to be willing to wait a long time to have very good driver : the latest intel driver (available in the latest ubuntu) come with the UXA acceleration method which brings a lot of performance.
  • to accept that running a debian means getting your hands dirty each time you have a firmware to install.

Anyway I'm pretty amazed by this laptop, it runs really good.

June 2009 Second try : Lenny and a little bit of Sid

I tried using the xorg driver of sid and the 2D performance was perfect (sufficient for my needs).

January 2010 Third try : Squeeze

What's good

Well there is not too much to say as everything seems to work as expected out of the box (wifi, webcam, ...). The only thing I'm still waiting for is hardware decoding of H264 it should happen during the first semester of 2011.

Conclusion

When you're patient enough, everything is all right.





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