HP Compaq nc4400

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I wanted a small and fast laptop that's capable of running Linux. My choice is a HP Compaq nc4400 since the Lenovo Thinkpad X-serie is too expensive. This HP and the Lenovo Thinkpad have a lot in common, for example they both sport a pointing stick and both lack an optical (cd/dvd) drive. My goal was to leave the pre-installed WinXP on the laptop and install Arch from an usb stick since I don't own an USB cd/dvd drive.

System Specifications

HP Compaq nc4400 - Centrino Duo

  • Intel Core 2 Duo T5600, 2x1.83GHz (Speedstep, 667MHz FSB, 2MB L3) (VT support can be enabled in the BIOS)
  • Mobile Intel 945GM Express Chipset (ICH7 Family)
  • 2x512MB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM
  • 80GB 2.5" 5400rpm Fujitsu-Siemens SATA HDD
  • 12" 1024x768 TFT
  • Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 945GM
  • Intel HDA audio
  • 56K Fax/Modem
  • Broadcom NetXtreme Gigabit Ethernet (BCM5753M)
  • 3xUSB2.0, one giving a full ampere of power
  • Intel 3945ABG
  • Bluetooth (Broadcom)
  • TI SD/MMC Memory Card reader
  • Fingerprint reader (AuthenTec)
  • Infineon TPM and Smartcard reader
  • IRdA
  • VGA and Svideo for an external monitor/television
  • 52W - 4698mAh battery (4-5h)
  • Synaptics Touchpad and a pointing stick!
  • One cardbus slot
  • 65W adapter
  • Ambient Light Sensor

lshwd output:

  • 00:00.0 Class 0600: Intel Corp.|Mobile Memory Controller Hub (intel-agp)
  • 00:02.0 Class 0300: Intel Corp.|Mobile Integrated Graphics Controller (i810)
  • 00:02.1 Class 0380: Intel Corp.|Mobile Integrated Graphics Controller (vesa)
  • 00:1b.0 Class 0403: Intel Corp.|I/O Controller Hub High Definition Audio (snd-hda-intel)
  • 00:1c.0 Class 0604: Intel Corp.|I/O Controller Hub PCI Express Port 1 (unknown)
  • 00:1c.1 Class 0604: Intel Corp.|I/O Controller Hub PCI Express Port 2 (unknown)
  • 00:1d.0 Class 0c03: Intel Corp.|I/O Controller Hub UHCI USB #1 (unknown)
  • 00:1d.1 Class 0c03: Intel Corp.|I/O Controller Hub UHCI USB #2 (unknown)
  • 00:1d.2 Class 0c03: Intel Corp.|I/O Controller Hub UHCI USB #3 (unknown)
  • 00:1d.3 Class 0c03: Intel Corp.|I/O Controller Hub UHCI USB #4 (unknown)
  • 00:1d.7 Class 0c03: Intel Corp.|I/O Controller Hub EHCI USB (unknown)
  • 00:1e.0 Class 0604: Intel Corp.|82801 Hub Interface to PCI Bridge (hw_random)
  • 00:1f.0 Class 0601: Intel Corp.|Mobile I/O Controller Hub LPC (i8xx_tco)
  • 00:1f.1 Class 0101: Intel Corp.|I/O Controller Hub PATA (piix)
  • 00:1f.2 Class 0106: Intel Corp.|Mobile I/O Controller Hub SATA cc=AHCI (ahci)
  • 02:06.0 Class 0607: Texas Instruments|PCIxx12 CardBus Controller (yenta_socket)
  • 02:06.2 Class 0180: Texas Instruments|5-in-1 Multimedia Card Reader (SD/MMC/MS/MS PRO/xD) (unknown)
  • 02:06.3 Class 0805: Texas Instruments|5-in-1 Multimedia Card Reader (SD/MMC/MS/MS PRO/xD) (unknown)
  • 02:06.4 Class 0780: Texas Instruments|5-in-1 Multimedia Card Reader (SD/MMC/MS/MS PRO/xD) (unknown)
  • 08:00.0 Class 0200: Broadcom Corp.|NetXtreme BCM5753M Gigabit Ethernet PCI Express (tg3)
  • 10:00.0 Class 0280: Intel Corporation|PRO/Wireless 3945ABG (ipw3945)
  • ---:--- Mouse: Generic PS/2 Wheel Mouse [/dev/psaux] (msintellips/2)

What works/What doesn't

Pretty much everything needed works when you tweak. This wiki is an excellent source of infomation. :) On windows the network controller (nextreme) can be "safely removed" to save power. I think you can do the same in linux with "rmmod tg3".

For the right console display size I set vga=792 (1024x768x16M@60Hz) as a kernel boot parameter.

There's hardware mute and volume up/down buttons. They work but odly every time I reboot it's always back to mute. More like a feature than a bug.

The fn+brighter/dimmer display buttons and the Ambient Light Sensor work software independent.

In my understanding, the TPM doesn't show anywhere even tho there's a kernel module for the infineon TPM. I haven't tried to make it work and probably won't even try. I believe the Irda and modem work as expected, haven't tested.

I haven't tried to use an external monitor/TV, I expect making those work is just matter of confing.

The ICH7 family sports a hpet multimedia timer that saves power. Kernel boot parameter hpet=force just in case.

Bluetooth works (kdebluetooth, but probably also gnome-bluetooth).

Cpu frequency scaling works. (cpufrequtils with the p4_clockmod module).

Xorg configuration

The i810 driver works for graphics (and the intel driver, but I (Tkjacobsen) find it buggy with composite (not anymore))

pacman -S xf86-video-intel

Use Touchpad_Synaptics to tune the touthpad.

Wifi

The iwlwifi drivers works (also with (k)networkmanager).

pacman -S iwlwifi-3945-ucode
modprobe iwl3945

And put iwl3945 in your MODULES array.

SD/MMC memory card reader

This works with the tifm driver.

modprobe tifm_core
modprobe tifm_7xx1
modprobe tifm_sd

Or you can put them in the MODULES array in /etc/rc.conf

HDD failing sensors

See the Smart howto. This line in /etc/smartd.conf does the job for me (Tkjacobsen):

/dev/sda -a -d sat -m root@localhost

ToDo

  • The fingerprint reader is via USB, haven't looked into that yet either.

External links

Gentoo Wiki