How do you rate this laptop with Linux?
Excellent
 
33% (7)
Good
 
10% (2)
Fair
 
14% (3)
Poor
 
29% (6)
Unusable
 
14% (3)

Toshiba Satellite U500

Introduction

This is a compatibility guide to running Linux with the Toshiba Satellite U500 laptop.

This page is just for discussing using Linux on the Toshiba Satellite U500. For a general discussion about this laptop you can visit the Toshiba Satellite U500 page on LapWik.

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Specifications

For full specifications see the Toshiba Satellite U500 specifications page.

NameToshiba Satellite U500
ProcessorIntel Core2 Duo Processor T6600: 2.2 GHz, 800MHz FSB, 2 MB On-Die L2 cache
Screen13.3“ WXGA (1280×800)
GraphicsNVIDIA GeForce G210M
RAMUp to 4GB
HDD500GB - 5400rpm
Optical DriveDVD Super Multi
Network10/100/1000
Integrated 802.11 b/g/n

Linux Compatibility

DeviceCompatibilityComments
Processorworks
Screenworks
HDDworks
Optical Driveworks
Graphicsnvidia drivers cause problems
Soundworks
Ethernetworks
Wireless difficult to set up, works with 2.6.32 kernel only
BluetoothNot Tested
ModemNot Tested
USBworks
Card ReaderNot Tested
ExpressCard SlotNot Tested
Webcamworks but very dark

Notes

Be aware that the U500 has several variations with completely different specs. Specs stated above are for the -ST5305 which I have. The ST5302 has different processor, hd, graphics and wifi which may perform differently.

I have tried Mepis 8.5 beta 3 32&64 bit, openSuSE 11.2 64 bit and Sidux 2009-4 64bit. None work completely. The show stopper is no cooling fan which quickly results in over heating. None of the solutions googled seem to work.
Mepis betas boot with vesa driver only and subsequently loading nvidia driver causes erratic rendering problems.

Summary

Unit has good specifications but definitely not a Linux system with distros currently available.
I have spent best part of 2 weeks trying to get satisfactory installation with one of above distros and don't have one yet.


Discussion

tux, 2014/02/12 20:25

Installed Xubuntu 13.10, everything minus touchpad enable-disable and a few other fn functions (brightness works fine) work out of the box, flawless victory.

jkf, 2014/03/15 22:59

Was installation of the system necessary? Reading this post made me try the live CD and I was unable to set brightness as allways before. I doubt that installation can change it.
The fan issue is repaired in many distributions today but display brightness isn't solved in any of them.

Dmitri, 2012/05/14 22:45

I could solve the overheating problem with Toshiba Satellite U500-11J under Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. There are 6 binary registers located at

/sys/devices/virtual/thermal/cooling_device0/cur_state

/sus/devices/virtual/thermal/cooling_device5/cur_state

– they are responsible for the cooling fan,
but I have not yet figured out how.

For me, writing 1 and then 0 to cooling_device0 solved the problem.
Namely, one needs to execute the two lines (as a root):

echo -n “1” > /sys/devices/virtual/thermal/cooling_device0/cur_state
echo -n “0” > /sys/devices/virtual/thermal/cooling_device0/cur_state

I wrote a simple script that does it and call it in /etc/rc.local
(so that it is executed at the boot). With this solution, the processor
temperature is stabilized at 60-65 C.

Alin, 2012/04/26 07:25

Hello,

tested on Satellite U500-17E

Ubuntu 11.04 - overheating
Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Beta - overheating and video driver unstable
Zorin OS 5.2 Core - overheating

booting from live-fs all distributions are randomly overheating
booting from hard-drive(installation) - all distributions are overheating

adding acpi.power_nocheck=1 generates only randomly solution to overheating
when working, proc is operating at 60'C else I got 97-99'C

Anybody other solutions? :)

Dmitri, 2012/05/14 22:55

See my post above. May be helpful.

Manolo, 2010/05/25 13:14

Hello,

I have a Satellite U500-1DV. With Linux Mint 9 it works very well. Except from:

* Multimedia keys. They have the nasty stuck bug -see https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux/+bug/271706. There are some partial workarounds -see http://ktemkin.com/en/?p=25, but none is totally satisfactory.

* There may or may not be an issue with battery life. I still have to see whether the life (just about 2 hours) is significantly longer with Windows.

* None of the fancy-pantsy stuff works, of course -no Eco Utility, no HDD protection that I am aware… But that is all minor.

stoned rabbit, 2010/05/17 21:20

Hello,
I have Satellite U500-17F(g210m) with debian squeeze amd64 and with little tinkering everything works fine.

Nvidia - With drivers 195.36.24 works good.
Wifi - kernel 2.6.32 and module ath9k works good.
Bluetooth - with omnibook ectype=14 works good.
Backlight - with nvidia_bl-0.16.8 (MacTel) works enough
WebCam - with uvcvideo works good
OverHeating problem - add acpi.power_nocheck=1 to kernels parameters

olorinj, 2010/03/07 17:29

Same problem with Wifi, How can it be configured?
Any help plz?

olorinj, 2010/03/07 17:28

Same problem with Wifi, How can it be configured?
Any help plz?

EMERIC , 2009/12/28 03:07

i have instaled kunbuntu on this laptop evryting works fine except i could not configure wirelles anybody knows haw to set it up

zenon, 2010/03/12 20:29

Hello,

I've tried Satellite Pro U500-181 with Mandriva 2010 64 bits. Same problems.

-Nvidia driver unstable.
-Impossible to quit without a random freeze.
-No wifi detection.
-Over heating of the fan.
-Hot keys disabled. ( Ctrl alt bkspace …)

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toshiba_satellite_u500.txt · Last modified: 2010/10/13 15:21 (external edit)
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