Dell Vostro 3500

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This page deals with setting up Arch Linux on the Dell Vostro 3500 laptop.

Installation notes

Since kernel version 3.0 the 'bcmsmac' module fully supports this laptop's wireless card. However you will need to blacklist 'bcma' module at boot up in order to make it work at installation time. Add this to the grub line at install media boot:


Then install following the normal procedure


This laptop has several CPU configurations and that will depend on the purchase. The one we are documenting has a Core i5-460M CPU.

$ uname -p
Intel(R) Core(TM) i5 CPU M 460 @ 2.53GHz

This CPU is capable of frequency scaling.

Fan Control

Warning: This laptop's BIOS manages the fans with 3 different speeds, the i8k module only manages the first two, use it only on well cooled environments or when the laptop is properly docked. Be careful about fan control. Incorrect setting of fan speeds can lead to irreparable CPU break

This laptop can use the i8k kernel module to control fan, but will need some adjustments and tweaks.

First of all, this laptop only has one fan and by default it is controlled by the BIOS. This setting is not bad but the only thing BIOS does is to turn on the fan at maximum speed, that can be unnecessary and annoying in loudness.

Install the i8kutilsAUR package from the official repositories and i8kmonitorAUR[broken link: archived in aur-mirror] from the AUR.

You need to load the i8k module

# modprobe i8k

To make this permanent. Add it to the MODULES array in rc.conf.

This will enable the utilities to control the fan through 'i8kfan' program. You can check the current state of the fan by running:

$ i8kfan
-1 1

The first number is the first fan (unused because this laptop only has one fan). The second show the fan speed in two preset speeds: '1' and '2'. Also the i8kutils package provides a daemon to control the fans automatically based on CPU temperature.

Warning: Again, fan control can be dangerous if done wrong.

First, monitor the temperature along the way. If something goes wrong and core temperature starts rising run:

$ i8kfan 2 2

That will turn the fan to the maximum, then wait for the laptop to cool off. To monitor the temperature install lm_sensors then open a terminal and run

$ watch sensors

This will report the temperature every 2 seconds.

Tip: you can have a better reading by using the coretemp kernel module

Check the i8kmon and i8kctl manpages on how to configure the fan configuration. here are some sane values for /etc/i8kutils/i8kmon.conf

# Temperature thresholds: {fan_speeds low_ac high_ac low_batt high_batt}
set config(0)	{{- 0}  -1  40  -1  45}
set config(1)	{{- 1}  30  55  35  60}
set config(2)	{{- 2}  45  80  50  80}
set config(3)	{{- 2}  70 128  70 128}



See Broadcom wireless


Note: Configuration may vary depending on the purchase, your laptop may not have a dedicated graphics card at all

This laptop comes with Optimus switchable graphics configuration. This is a muxless hybrid-graphics configuration without any BIOS setting to turn it off. That said, the main Xorg server will be running on the integrated card. To be able to use it, you will need bumblebee or ironhide workarounds.

Nvidia card

Works well under bumblebee with 3D acceleration on both NVIDIA and nouveau drivers.