Right down to the metal

I have finally settled on some hardware that I will be using for this experiment:

Dell Studio XPS 16

  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 at 2.40GHz with 3MB cache and 1066Mhz FSB
  • RAM: 4GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1067MHz
  • LCD Panel: Widescreen 15.6 inch WLED LCD (1600×900)
  • Web Cam: 2.0MP
  • Video Card: ATi Mobility RADEON HD 4670 with 1GB of memory
  • Hard Drive: 320GB 7200 RPM SATA
  • Optical Drive: Slot loaded 8X DVD+/- RW
  • Sound Card: TBD (High Definition Audio 2.0)
  • Wireless Networking Card: Intel 5300 WLAN Wireless-N (3×3) Mini Card
  • Bluetooth: Dell Wireless 370 Bluetooth Module (2.1+EDR)

I have yet to research if there are any Linux compatibility issues with these hardware pieces but that’s all just part of the game 😛

1 Comment

  1. Processor: You can probably push it to 3 Ghz and be OK if your BIOS allows it, by bumping up the Front Side Bus, Dell BIOS probably doesn’t allow that though. I have a Core 2 Duo E6320 that ran at 1.86 Ghz, I got it to 2.33 Ghz and it’s still running in the green with regards to heat generation, though you will also need to disable speedstep or the OS will automatically undo your overclocking. (Or in Linux you can just leave the Speedstep driver out of the kernel or blacklist it if you built it as a module)

    RAM, overkill for Linux, Vista needs about that much to run well.

    Web cam: Should work as long as your kernel supports the new UVC-class driver (2.6.27 and later), it may work with older kernels, or at least with the GSPCA package as an add-on, but not as well and not as guaranteed. In other words, Debian might have a bad go with it.

    Hard drive, a little on the small side if you let Windows run amok with the Shadow Storage/System Restore service, ample amount for Linux.

    Optical drive, Linux distros typically include good burning software but may need codecs to make audio CDs out of your MP3 files or whatever. Images other than ISO will have to be converted to ISO with nrg2iso, uif2iso, daa2iso, etc. Mounting images on Linux can be done by mounting them to a folder in your user directory with the mount -o -loop command, requires special software on Windows like Daemon Tools that also has to cloak itself with a rootkit to evade DRM parasite drivers like Sony SecuROM and Macrovision Safedisc.

    Video card: Should support 3d acceleration in newer distros with the RadeonHD driver included with X, avoid FGLRX (the ATI driver) unless you have problems with the open source one.

    Sound card: Should be supported with the standard hda driver.

    Wireless networking: Intel chipsets should just work, so should Ralink and Atheros Wireless N class chipsets, others may require binary firmware to be cut from the Windows driver, or the actual Windows driver itself loaded in NDISwrapper. Be glad you spared yourself from that.

    Bluetooth: Never used it. Should work.

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