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Hewlett-Packard nw8440


Chris Merck (cmerck at


This is a guide to running Linux with the Hewlett-Packard nw8440 laptop. The nw8440 is one of the high end laptops available with an impressive array of high end components.

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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NameHewlett-Packard nw8440
ProcessorIntel Core 2 Duo T2600 2.16GHz
Screen15.4“ WUXGA+
Optical DriveDVD+-RW
GraphicsATI Mobility FireGL V5200
Network10/100/1000 Ethernet, Intel 3945 802.11g Wireless, Bluetooth
Other3 x USB2.0, 1 x Firewire, Fingerprint Reader

Linux Compatibility

Optical DriveYes
GraphicsYesproprietary module required for 3D
SoundYesUse the snd-hda-intel module
WirelessYesUse bcm43 firmware module
56K ModemNot Tested
FirewireNot Tested
Card ReaderYes
PCMCIANot Tested
Fingerprint ReaderYesHowever there is no known compatible fingerprint comparison software


The open source radeon module now supports the ATI Mobility FireGL V5200 found in the nw8440. Simply set your video driver to “radeon” in your /etc/X11/xorg.conf file. However, this module does not yet support 3D acceleration. If you want accelerated 3D (i.e. for compiz-fusion or 3D games) then install the proprietary ATI module. Many guides exist for proprietary video module installation.

Distribution Specific Notes


Gutsy install works only with alternate installer iso. Also, internet connection required to load newer video module during install (recent radeon or fglrx).


Fedora Core 9 install works out of the box. If resolution is too low on first boot run the command “xrandr -s max” to use the full 1920×1200 resolution.


Apart for the extra steps in installing the proprietary ATI module, there were no problems in getting the Hewlett-Packard nw8440 working when used with an up to date Linux distribution.


Mac, 2012/12/06 16:48

Ubuntu 12.04.1 works right out of the box. Unfortunately, the FireGL V5200 GPU isn't supported by ATI's Catalyst (fglrx) drivers anymore. The radeon driver works well enough, but tends to overheat the GPU. You should apply the fix described here:

Leno, 2010/02/10 20:21

Have an nw8440. Installed Ubuntu 9.10. Able to get wifi, bluetooth, networking, and video to work accordingly. Was not able to get any fan control working. Laptop heats up to 100C after 3 hours of use and it shuts itself down, had to wait 10 minute for laptop to cool before turning on.

hibernate works (save state to disk). suspend and resume work only one round. Meaning when laptop is fully booted, suspend, resume, it works, but after resume, suspend, and resume again, it does not. screen gets garbage, no device turn on, had to do a cold boot to get laptop back.

niquis, 2010/07/09 13:10

Same for me: only one round works with suspend or hibernation. Problem remains with 10.04, too. Have you issued a ticket for the Ubuntu guys?

Cappa, 2009/11/08 13:55

I bought a second hand nw8440.
With Debian Lenny it works fine. Also with Mandriva 2010.0 as well as with Ubuntu 8.04.3 (the choice is because the Ubu 8.04 is an LTS version).
Ati driver is not a big deal, 2 min to get it work.
Suspend/resume also works.
Games line Tors, Urbanterror, Openarena can be played :)
For home use it is a good choice.
(Previously I used an IBM t42p)

nichg, 2009/09/29 16:50

nw8440 running running various linux distros for nearly three years. OpenSUSE required enterprise version for 64-bit, but had high-res video and 3-D (compiz). Later, various Ubuntu, Fedora, Zenwalk and a lightweight fav, Puppy. Finally Fedora-11 made use of fingerprint reader ( kernel). 1920×1200 on all but Puppy4.2, but latest beta now supports it.
In short, ATI-FIreGL is not a show stopper and latest kernels do a fine job with fan, power scaling and graphics. (2009-09-29).

LariEU, 2009/09/01 07:00

worked fine in Fedora 10 , Now I have Fedora 11 and except the bluetooth and dial up modem everything else works just out the box (I have some issue with hibernation) , even the fingerprint sensor works fine from beginning.
Bluetooth seems to be OK but I wasn't able to connect anything on it, If I took an external USB bluetooth dongle without any setting I was able to do all I need - I suppose is a problem with this particular model (i searched a little bit and several issue came out)
I'll recommend the maximum of 4G memory (mine with 2G goes quite often on swap)

Loffe, 2009/01/15 20:02

Suse 10.1. Worked quite well. Used it along with the flglx driver. External video connector needed a restart of the X-server or a connection already at boot time to work. The sound buttons need special assignments to work. USB is very slow. Bluetooth works fine. No hibernation. No processor scaling; warm and fans on full speed. Battery indicator doesn't update. Conclusion: stable and okay for normal use.

Tried openSuse 11.1: ACPI still far from perfect. Hibernation work fine, but I can't shutdown the computer after some time! No processor sclaing, fans at full speed. Battery indicator, sound buttons works. Still problem with the external video port. Problems with analog connection to the CD-drive (no sound from that source).

WLAN and Ethernet works fine.

Loffe, 2009/01/30 13:37

kubuntu 8.10. Installed with kubuntu alternate CD. Sofar it works very well. Similar to Ubuntu 10.1 as reported by JWHR below, but better for you who prefer KDE ;)

leo, 2009/02/23 15:04

Hardy Heron works smoothly, I've been able to show presentations with OpenOffice Presentation on LCD display and full screen slideshow on external video (projector), very cool!
My one hasn't fingerprint reader so I can't try.
Smartcard reader is based on a Gemcore chipset that apparently has no available driver/module for Linux.
The notebook gets very hot, however this happens also with Windows.
In Linux I use to set the powerstate of the videocard to 1, lowest setting, which reduces the heating.
I don't use Suspend and Hybernate so I don't miss them.

JWHR, 2008/12/12 15:47

Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) installed and ran for me out of the box on an HP nw8440, 1920×1200 TFT display, 2MB RAM.

After about a dozen hours of use, I can report:

* Graphics, (on built in display), Wifi, bluetooth work as expected

* Suspend works, but messes up the application bar (fix by switching in and out of guest session)

* Hibernate does not work

* Hot-plugging external monitor does not appear to work

Overall, I'm very impressed.


Reece, 2007/10/30 18:49

nw8440 not recommended

The nw8440 is a poor choice for a linux laptop. My primary complaint is that the ATI video is *extremely* hard to get working, and once you do it's not sufficiently stable (SuSE 10.2). I've been unable to get 3D and composite working with Ubuntu Gutsy, despite activating the proprietary module with the restricted driver manager. I've been completely unable to get presentation video out of the laptop, presumably because I've not configured the driver correctly. I'm sure that all of these could be overcome, but given that all of this works out of the box on other laptops, why bother with the nw8440?

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hewlett-packard_nw8440.txt · Last modified: 2012/11/04 05:48 by
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