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This is a guide to running Linux with the Dell Latitude D630 laptop. This laptop is similar to the Dell Latitude D830 in terms of its linux compatibility.
This guide is intended to provide you details on how well this laptop works with Linux and which modules you need to configure. For details on how to actually install and configure the required modules have a look at our guides section for distribution specific instructions.
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|Name||Dell Latitude D630|
|Processor||Intel Core 2 Duo T7100 2.0GHz|
|RAM||2GB (4GB Max on Some Models)|
|Sound||Sigmatel High Definition Audio|
|Graphics||NVIDIA Quadro NVS 135M / Intel GM965 Express Chipset / Intel PM965 Express Chipset|
|Network||10/100/1000 Ethernet, Intel 3945 802.11g Wireless or Broadcomm Based Wireless, Bluetooth|
|Other||4 x USB2.0, 1 x Firewire, Fingerprint Reader, O2 Micro SmartCard Reader|
Note: This is a sample configuration; as usual, other processor speeds, HDDs, optical drives, etc., are available as options. The choice of video adapter is relevant to linux compatibility (see below).
|Optical Drive||Partial||See notes below|
|Graphics||Yes||See notes below|
|Sound||Partial||See notes below|
|Wireless||Yes||Use ipw3945 or iwlwifi|
|56K Modem||Not Tested|
|Card Reader||Not Tested|
If you haven't purchased this laptop yet try and get it with the Intel 3945ABG wireless controller. The versions with the 4965AGN and the Dell 1390 are harder to get working. The laptop tested here has the 3945ABG which works fine. See the related resources section below for installation details for these cards (the Dell 1390 would probably require the ndiswrapper module).
Two different linux drivers are available from the Intel 3945ABG wireless controller, both created by Intel:
Depending on the kernel configuration of your Linux distribution, the DVD drive may not be detected. Because of this you may need to use an external USB optical drive or some similar method to install Linux. This is a problem with Fedora 7. Recent Debian install images recognize the DVD drive correctly.
The Nvidia Quadro NVS 135M video adapter does not function with the built-in nv module; you will need to use the proprietary nvidia driver. You can find installation details for the nvidia driver here. Support for the NVS 135M under linux has improved significantly with the 100.14.19 driver release; the earlier 100.14.11 release caused problems with suspend/resume, power management, and in some cases prevented proper shutdown.
The D630 is also available with an Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100 video adapter. According to Intel, this adapter is supported under linux.
An ALSA module compiled from a CVS snapshot is necessary to get sound working properly on the Dell Latitude D630 (as of September 2007). ALSA support for the Santa Rosa chipset (through the -+hda-intel+- driver) is limited but improving. The external microphone jack on the D630 may not function properly.
Through a BIOS option (disabled by default) the D630 supports the Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI), an open standard for SATA and PATA controllers. AHCI is well-supported under linux due to the availability of full documentation for driver developers.
While NCQ is supported under linux on the D630, problems with spurious command completion (like those reported on LKML for the Thinkpad T60 ) have been observed in at least one instance. This may be a drive-dependent or controller-dependent problem. If this occurs, disable NCQ by adding the command
echo 1 > /sys/block/sda/device/queue_depth
to a system startup script (e.g. /etc/rc.local).
NB: The NCQ problem has been fixed with this patch and was actually a coding bug
The Dell Latitude D630 has fairly average support for Linux. It does take quite a bit of work to get sound and graphics working properly. Some of these problems are common to newer laptops based on the Santa Rosa chipset; support for this chipset is likely to improve.