HP Pavilion ze5600

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This document applies in particular to ArchLinux on an HP Pavilion ze5615CA laptop. It also applies to the entire ze5600 series on any modern Linux distribution that uses kernel 2.6.39 or later. Feel free to contact the author with problems or suggestions (lagagnon at gmail.com , English or Spanish).


The ze5600 has as standard an Intel Celeron 2800MHz CPU, 512MB RAM (of which 446MB are available due to video chip RAM sharing), 40GB IDE hard drive, wireless, modem, DVD ROM optical drive, 2 PCMCIA ports, touchpad, multimedia keys, 15" LCD screen, 3 USB ports, S-video and VGA out ports, parallel port, PS/2 port, IR sensor. Chip details from lspci:

00:00.0 Host bridge: ATI Technologies Inc RS200/RS200M AGP Bridge [IGP 340M] (rev 02)
00:01.0 PCI bridge: ATI Technologies Inc PCI Bridge [IGP 340M]
00:06.0 Multimedia audio controller: ALi Corporation M5451 PCI AC-Link Controller Audio Device (rev 02)
00:07.0 ISA bridge: ALi Corporation M1533/M1535/M1543 PCI to ISA Bridge [Aladdin IV/V/V+]
00:08.0 Modem: ALi Corporation M5457 AC'97 Modem Controller
00:09.0 Network controller: Broadcom Corporation BCM4306 802.11b/g Wireless LAN Controller (rev 02)
00:0a.0 CardBus bridge: O2 Micro, Inc. OZ601/6912/711E0 CardBus/SmartCardBus Controller
00:0b.0 USB Controller: VIA Technologies, Inc. VT82xxxxx UHCI USB 1.1 Controller (rev 50)
00:0b.1 USB Controller: VIA Technologies, Inc. VT82xxxxx UHCI USB 1.1 Controller (rev 50)
00:0b.2 USB Controller: VIA Technologies, Inc. USB 2.0 (rev 51)
00:10.0 IDE interface: ALi Corporation M5229 IDE (rev c4)
00:11.0 Bridge: ALi Corporation M7101 Power Management Controller [PMU]
00:12.0 Ethernet controller: National Semiconductor Corporation DP83815 (MacPhyter) Ethernet Controller
01:05.0 VGA compatible controller: ATI Technologies Inc Radeon IGP 330M/340M/350M

What Works Without Configuration?

Ethernet, video, audio, microphone, touchpad, USB ports, optical drive, external video port (if booted with video device attached), CPU frequency scaling, screen brightness keys.

What Requires Configuration?


What Does Not Work?

Three of the upper multimedia keys (2nd, 4th and 5th from left), fn+f12, wireless off switch at front right of laptop and audio mute switch at right front side of laptop. The IR port also probably does not work as it is not detected by "lspci" nor by "lshw".

Not Tested

PCMCIA, Modem, IR Port, S-Video port, parallel port.


Wireless: The older Broadcom wireless chip in this laptop requires the b43legacy module to function properly. Also, you must specifically follow the instructions on how to install the firmware - this is explained here: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Broadcom_wireless#b43.2Fb43legacy . The wireless off hardware switch at right front of laptop does not work but you can do almost the equivalent with: sudo iwconfig wlan0 txpower off

Video: The older ATI IGP 330M video chip in this laptop requires the xf86-video-ati radeon open-source driver. Apparently the latest "catalyst" drivers from ATI do not work with this chip, but have not been tested. The radeon driver, however, works well, but runs a bit hot (see below).

Kernel boot parameters: It might make some difference to your power consumption if you add the following kernel parameters to the "kernel" line of your boot manager configuration file (for those using grub this is /boot/grub/menu.lst):

acpi_enforce_resources=lax pcie_aspm=force

Suspend/Hibernate: The "pm-suspend" and "pm-hibernate" scripts from the pm-utils package work well but you need to bind keyboard shortcuts (see Extra Keyboard Keys ) to access these scripts because fn+f12 has no scancode.

Function Keys: Only two of the upper keyboard silver multimedia keys have scancodes. For information on how to bind keycodes please read Extra Keyboard Keys.

CPU Temperature: The Lm sensors package utility "sensors-detect" does not find any sensor chips. Instead, read the file:


in order to get the CPU temperature. Using ArchLinux with kernel 2.6.39 I find that this laptop runs quite hot. It starts at about 32degC and then continues to climb to 47deg C, with the fan on past 47degC, even at idle, with less than 2% CPU activity. Energy saving tools as per Laptop have been used, but to little avail. The laptop consumes about 25 watts at idle with the screen on at about mid brightness. It is possible that some of the heat may be generated by the video chip as the "radeon" module apparently can run the video chip hotter than necessary. The author had no success getting energy saving features of this video chip activated as per https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Ati#With_KMS_enabled because those particular systems files are not present, which suggest that this older ATI chip does not have these features. The author would be interested to learn if other owners have success in dropping the power usage and temperature level of this laptop.


The ze5600 is now older hardware. Out of the box it has only 446MB RAM available. It is suggested that if you wish to use either the Gnome or KDE desktop environments that you install a further 512MB RAM memory chip, otherwise you will be using your swap partition and you can therefore expect sluggishness. The author uses the Fluxbox window manager so 446MB of RAM is plenty and the ArchLinux system boots from cold button press to a ready desktop in just 35 seconds, including a SLiM graphical login page. It shuts down in about 7 seconds and resumes from suspend in about 2 seconds. Immediately after desktop ready and with one urxvt terminal open it has used just 47MB, excluding buffers and cache! The Opera browser launches from cold within 9 seconds. Some modern laptops running Windows 7 perform much worse than this. Have fun with it, it is still an incredibly usable laptop with the right operating system and a lightweight window manager installed.

Also, many owners have commented how annoying all those bright blue multimedia key LED lights are, being as they are located immediately beneath the screen. Place black electrical tape over them and then with a razor knife cut around the tape to form the tape to the grill edges and reading the screen will be much easier on the eyes.

Any of the upper multimedia keys can be used as an on/off switch and a resume from suspend/hibernate key. This is useful because the default on/off button for this laptop is poorly designed and often fails or requires significant pressure to work properly.

On the laptop base there are 4 L-shaped rubber feet. These often go astray on older poorly-treated laptops. They are essential for keeping the laptop cool as they allow free air flow into the fans which suck from the bottom. You can replace them with an appropriate length of black mouse cord and contact cement if necessary.

As these are now old laptops it is likely the battery can no longer be charged to default capacity. Reasonable quality Li-Ion batteries for this laptop can be purchased from China, including shipping, for about $USD34 (eBay).

The age of these laptops is approaching 9 years. The CPU heat sink compound had deteriorated on the author's laptop. Renewing the heat sink compound (thermal grease) reduced CPU temperature quite significantly and also reduced the amount of time and the speed at which the fans run. If you wish to do this to your laptop you need the service manual, a link to which can be found here: http://archlinux.me/kcirick/category/systems/ze5600/ .

BIOS Flashing Concerns

It is possible that a BIOS upgrade may fix some of the missing key scancodes and missing hardware control function as listed above. But probably not ;-). Nonetheless if you wish to upgrade your BIOS this is how to do it in Linux. The BIOS upgrade download at the HP support website ( http://tinyurl.com/629wd38 ) is a Windows only executable file and is designed to create a bootable floppy disk. This is about as useless as tits on a bull because this laptop has no floppy drive! To get it to flash under Linux you need to:

  1. Run the Windows BIOS upgrade file as an executable using any computer running MS Windows
  2. Rather than inserting a floppy when requested to do so use Windows Explorer to navigate to the directory where the extracted image file (rom.img) was stored.
  3. Copy the rom.img file to a USB thumb drive and then copy that file from the thumb drive into your Linux system
  4. Using "unetbootin" ( http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net ) create a bootable FreeDOS USB thumb drive with that image file
  5. Set the BIOS to boot first from a USB device
  6. Boot your laptop from the USB thumb drive
  7. The BIOS flashing software (Phoenix Phlash) should start automatically

This procedure should be foolproof yet did not work for the author. The Phlash software started up but hangs at reading the .bin file. It is possible that "Phlash" balks at reading data from USB. Someone needs to test this with an external floppy drive device and see if a BIOS flash upgrade really does work on this laptop.