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81% (17)
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HP Pavilion dv6-6b51nr Quad Core i7

Update 5-15-2012

It's been 2-1/2 months now and all is working just as well. Upgraded to Ubuntu 12.04 using KDE 4.8.2, not a single issue and all hardware works as with 11.10.


This laptop is very compatible with Ubuntu 11.10. Nearly everything works :) – though a few minor tweaks are required. The only device I've found to not work is the fingerprint reader. This HP DV6 model is rather new (January 2012) so I thought I would post my findings so others could benefit. CAVEAT: I've only been using the laptop for 4 days and will update this wiki as time permits.

I purchased this laptop as a desktop replacement, but desired portability as an option. It cost $1025 shipped direct from HP–yes it's a little pricey, but the hardware specs are top of the line. The screen is awesome, sound is pretty good, and and it has every feature I needed plus quite a few extras. I could easy get by with just the Intel graphics, and the ATI 6770M is more than sufficient for any graphics I use. The built-in track pad works very good and supports right side scrolling. For my primary use, the laptop is connected to an HD-TV and operated via USB mouse/keyboard–though it's nice to know the laptop keyboard/webcam/track-pad inputs work well.

This page is just for discussing using Linux on the HP Pavilion dv6-6b51nr. For a general discussion about this laptop you can visit the (note template path retained for future use) HP Pavilion dv6t Quad page on LapWik.

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For full specifications see the (NOTE: template link retained for future use) HP Pavilion dv6t Quad specifications page.

LaptopHP Pavilion dv6-6b51nr, US Product # A1T70UA#ABA
Processor2.20 GHz 2nd generation Intel Core i7-2670QM Processor with Turbo Boost Technology up to 3.10 GHz, 6MB On-Die L2 Cache
Memory Max16GB
Video GraphicsIntel® HD Graphics 3000 and Radeon HD 6770M switchable graphics with 2048MB GDDR5
Video Memoryup to 6373MB total graphics memory
Hard Drive1TB 5400RPM hard drive with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection
Multimedia DriveBlu-ray player and SuperMulti DVD burner
Display15.6-inch diagonal Full HD Anti-glare LED-backlit Display (1920 x 1080)
Network Card10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN (RJ-45 connector)
Wireless Connectivity802.11b/g/n WLAN, Bluetooth with WiDi
SoundBeats Audio, 2 Headphone-out, 1 Microphone-in
KeyboardFull-size island-style keyboard with numeric keypad
Pointing DeviceTouchpad with multitouch gesture support and on/off button. Illuminated LED touchpad border
Digital MediaCard Reader for Secure Digital and Multimedia cards
USB2 SuperSpeed USB 3.0, 2 Universal Serial Bus (USB) 2.0
Video1 HDMI, 1 VGA (15-pin)
WebcamHP TrueVision HD Webcam with integrated digital microphone
BiometricsHP SimplePass with integrated fingerprint reader
Dimensions14.88“ (L) x 9.71” (W) x 1.23“ (min H) -1.39” (max H)
Weight5.78 lbs
Power120W AC adapter, 6-cell 55WHr lithium-ion battery

Linux Compatibility

Processor8 threads recognized by Ubuntu
ScreenFull resolution autodetected and worksFor both laptop screen and HDMI
HDDRepartitioned, dual boot, works
Optical DriveWorks out of the boxTested with audio CD, and video DVD. Did not test writing CD/DVD. Reads bluray discs OK, but Ubuntu does not have an easy way to watch bluray movies.
GraphicsWorksRequires install of ATI Catalyst 12.1
HDMIWorksRequires install of ATI Catalyst 12.1, sound works too but requires setting preferences
VGANot testedWill test soon
SoundWorksRequires extra install for additional speakers to work, mic/headphone inputs work, laptop mic works
EthernetWorks out of the box
WirelessWorks out of the box
BluetoothWorks out of the boxPaired with Galaxy Nexus, did not try file transfer yet
ModemNot installed
USBKeyboard, mouse; 2.0 thumb drives, web cams all workDon't have 3.0 device to test (lsusb shows USB 3.0 hub), but ports work for 2.0 devices
Card ReaderWorks out of the box
Fingerprint ReaderDoes not workRequires install of fingerprint GUI and driver (working on this)
WebcamWorks out of the boxCheese webcam app segfaults, tested with Skype using both laptop webcam and USB webcam

Function Keys

F1Context sensitive helpWorks
F2-F3Screen brightnessWorks
F4Display screen switcherDoes not work, prints P
F5?Does not appear mapped to anything
F6-F7-F8Player backwards, pause/play, forwardWorks
F9-F10Sound volumeWorks
F11Sound muteWorks
F12WiFi on/offWorks
fn+spacebarTurn on/off track pad lightWorks

Note: Only F1 requires fn key pressed, others work directly without pressing fn. A BIOS setting will reverse the function keys requiring fn to be pressed.

Installation Notes

Here's a brief description of how Ubuntu was installed:

1) Create recovery disks using HP Recovery Mananger - two dual layer DVD’s required.
2) In win 7, Control Panel → System and Security → System → System Protection, turn off System Recovery. When you turn off System Recovery, the system restore points are deleted. Once deleted, win 7 Disk Management utility will be allow shrinking the volume to it's minimum size.
3) In win 7 Control Panel → System and Security → Administrative Tools → Create and format hard disk partitions. Select the C: volume and shrink to mininum size (or what ever size you desire for use in windows).
4) In Win 7 HP Recovery Manager, delete the recovery partition.
5) Reboot Win 7
6) Install EasyBCD in Win 7 to manage partitions and boot loader.
7) Install Ubuntu on free space, used this as a guide for installing Ubuntu from usb:
8) For the sub woofers to work, just add this line to the end of the /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf file:
options snd-hda-intel model=ref (sudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf), and restart your computer
9) In Win 7, EasyBCD, select Grub2 as a bootloader.
10) Added some kernel options in the grub defaults as instructed here: Note I did not enable vgaswitcharoo and entirely use the ATI Catalyst driver.
11) Installed ATI Catalyst 12.1 via these instructions
12) For opengl apps to refresh, it was necessary to set the KDE Desktop Effects (via system settings) to OpenGL.

Other notes

- Ubuntu Unity will not work with the Intel graphics selected. The desktop comes up but only has a few options for browsing the file system. Could not even open a terminal window. I switched to KDE desktop and everything works great (and it seems I like KDE better anyway).
- The ATI Radeon 6770M dramatically increases openGL performance, with the intel chip, I get around 60 FPS in glxgears, with the 6770M the result is around 1000 FPS.
- Switching between Intel/ATI graphics via the ATI catalyst works, but does require restarting the X server (which logs you out, so just logout/login)
- Using HDMI output on TV required setting TV to accept PC input (otherwise borders were cropped)


Incredible mid to high-end laptop with nearly full Ubuntu 11.10 compatibility. I suspect other Linux distributions will have similar compatibility. The hardware exceeds my expectations and needs. The Ubuntu/KDE OS provides a solid, modern looking desktop. If you are looking for a Linux laptop, you should consider this one. Caveat: I've only been using the laptop for 4 days and will update this wiki as time permits.


Scott, 2019/06/22 01:11

Just updated this same laptop with Kubuntu 18.04. The machine works great and has been a solid workhorse for 7 years!

Kartik Arora, 2012/11/17 19:59

First of all, THANKS.
Its so perfectly written.

I too have dv6 i5 with radeon (HD) 6490M. I wanted to install any linux OS.
I did try Ubuntu 12.04 but felt that the laptop performance declined + had problems with graphic card compatibility. The battery life i got with ubuntu was less than 90 min or so but with win7 i get more than 3 hours. Though i don't mind as my laptop is usually plugged in.
Hope you could help.

thanks again
Kartik :D

Scott, 2012/11/22 20:38

Did you install the ATI catalyst application and drivers for the video card? To get the best battery life it's necessary to use the integrated Video card not the ATI card. Under catalyst select the integrated card, it actually works pretty good so long as you are not gaming or doing openGL stuff.

rohan koranga , 2012/07/27 06:07

hey how do you install ati drivers please tell me every step to it as i cant switch to intel and ati plus its not detecting gpu by default heat is high fan speed is max…tell me every thing you did to make your laptop working properly …thanx in advance please tell me step by step..what you did i am using 12.04 on same laptop as yours ,,,

Alex B., 2012/07/02 17:07

How to configure additional speakers?

Robin, 2012/03/15 13:40

That helps a great deal, thanks a lot.
I'll let you know how I get on.

Scott, 2012/03/15 11:17


That model looks very close to this one, the most notable difference is the ATI 7470M video card. I would suspect it will work just good as mine. The setup I have uses the ATI catalyst driver which has worked perfectly so far (though I know others have had difficulty in the past). Double check and make sure that driver supports your card.

As for the battery, I have done some limited testing and currently it uses about 18-21 watts on the intel card, and about 28-33 watts on the ATI card. Mostly I use the computer plugged in as a desktop replacement, and have not tried to see how long it could go. I do have a number of the power saving tweaks loaded in the grub defaults for the kernel: In the link, he gets it down to 13 watts and mine a little higher. I would bet you could get win 7 comparable battery life if you applied power saving tweaks. Note I do NOT have the VGA switcharoo installed as he mentioned, so it seems I'm not able to fully power down the ATI card (I'm relying entirely on the Catalyst driver). Having said that I mostly use the intel graphics as it is sufficient for most needs.

Hope that helps.


Robin Lovelace, 2012/03/13 16:46

I'm thinking of buying a similar model for use with Ubuntu 12.04:

Would this work fine also? Main questions are graphics card compatibility and battery life. How long's the battery lasting on your machine? Cheers, Robin

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hp_pavilion_dv6-6b51nr.txt · Last modified: 2019/06/22 01:07 by
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