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Dell Inspiron 640m

Introduction

This is a guide to running Linux with the Dell Inspiron 640m laptop. The Inspiron 640m is a middle range laptop with good Linux support.

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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Specifications

NameDell Inspiron 640m
ProcessorIntel Core Duo T2300E - 1.66 Ghz
Screen14.1“
RAM1024MB
HDD60-100GB
Optical DriveDVD+/-RW
GraphicsIntel Graphics Media Accelerator 950
Network10/100 Ethernet, Intel 3945ABG 802.11b/g Wireless
Other4 x USB2.0, 1 x Firewire

Linux Compatibility

DeviceCompatibilityComments
ProcessorYes
ScreenYes
Optical DriveYes
GraphicsYes
SoundYesUse snd-hda-intel module
EthernetYes
WirelessYesUse ipw3945 module
56K ModemNot Tested
USBYes
FirewireYes
ExpressCard SlotYes

Notes

As default the native screen resolution of the Inspiron 640m is 1280×800, however due to the way the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950 functions this resolution would not be usable right away. To get it working you will need to install the 915resolution program and type in:
915resolution 3c 1280 800 (replace “1280 800” with “1440 900” if you have a glossy screen)
This will then allow you to use the native 1280×800 resolution. However this setting will be forgotten after each boot so you will need a way to automatically run this command at every boot. Fortunately many Linux distributions come with the 915resolution program and include a simple way of achieving this.

Summary

The Dell Inspiron 640m laptop works quite well under Linux after using the 915resolution program. Like all Intel Core based laptops, it is recommended you use a Linux distribution with kernel version 2.6.16 or greater.


Discussion

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Jacob Mathew, 2010/11/23 00:34

I am new to Linux. I have this Inspiron 640m notebook purchased in 2007 (first installed with Windows Vista).
Yesterday, I reformatted the hard drive and installed Linux (Ubuntu 10.10).
Everything worked fine, so far.
Have only one doubt, though.
My Wi-Fi light (on laptop) blinks.
Wi-Fi still works fine though!!
Not sure whether it is working as designed, or whether it is an indication of a serious problem!!
I'm willing to live with this issue as long as Wi-Fi works fine. But curious to know why the above phenomena.
Thanks.

Cris, 2008/05/07 15:21

I'm thinking of ditching Windows Vista for Linux, but I need a good distrobution. Here are my specs:

DELL 640m
Intel Core2Duo T5300 @ 1.76Ghz
2048 533mhz DDR
80GB HDD
DVD-R+/-RW
14.1 1440×900 (Glossy)
GMA950
HDA (Sigmatel)
Express Card+Ricoh Card Reader
4xUSB 2.0 + 1394
Intel 4965 AGN
Bluetooth

Michael Goasdoue, 2008/01/14 23:48

Michael

I installed Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy) on my Dell 640m and everything worked (except the modem which I haven't tried yet) without any configuration on my part

Thinks I was worried about but worked “out of the box”

1440 x 900 screen res
wireless networking
media buttons on front panel
multi-card slot

The “eye candy”, wobbly windows etc is all there also.

Anonymous, 2007/05/30 19:24

in-depth linux notes on 640m

More in-depth notes can be read at: http://tstotts.net/linux/gentooinsp640m.html

Enter your comment. Wiki syntax is allowed:
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dell_inspiron_640m.txt · Last modified: 2010/10/11 14:02 (external edit)
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