Installing Gentoo/AMD64 on Compaq Presario R4000

Last updated: 16 October 2006

Linux On Laptops


16 October 2006: I just noticed that it is no long necessary to pass no_timer_check to the kernel.

25 January 2006: I finally have Direct Rending working! See instructions below.

General hardware specifications of my Compaq R4000 system, and how to get things working:

Hardware Components
Status under Linux
AMD Athlon(TM) 64 4000+ (2.4GHz/1MB l2 Cache) Works Pass no_timer_check to kernel at boot time, or the clock runs at 2x. This is a problem only when processor is being used in 64-bit mode, which is what we're doing here.

This doesn't seem to be necessary any more.

15.4" WXGA BrightView Widescreen (1280x800) Display Works No special procedure required during installation
128MB ATI RADEON(R) XPRESS 200M w/Hypermemory(TM) Works

There are ebuilds in portage for using ATI's proprietary drivers that simplify installation and upgrades. I'm using ati-drivers 8.27.10-r1, the latest stable version in portage at time of writing. Some earlier versions almost work but most are very unstable for me.

Simply install the latest proprietary driver with:

emerge -av ati-drivers

Set things up to use direct rendering with:

eselect opengl set ati

Use the included tool fglrxconfig to generate an xorg.conf, then add a modeline to get 1280x800 screen resolution working:

Modeline    "1280x800"  83.46 1280 1344 1480 1680 800 801 804 828  -HSync -Vsync

Very Important: There is a bug with the R4000 that requires you to set your BIOS onboard graphics option to use "UMA + Sideport". Last I checked no one knew for certain where the bug lies (graphics card, BIOS, ATI's driver, linux kernel, etc.) But if you don't change that BIOS setting the machine freezes up when it enters graphics mode with ATI's driver.

References:Gentoo ATI Radeon FAQ

2.0GB DDR SDRAM (2x1024MB) Works No special procedure required during installation
80 GB 5400 RPM Hard Drive Works Enable CONFIG_BLK_DEV_ATIIXP when you compile the kernel to support the IXP chipset and have DMA working.
DVD+/-RW/R & CD-RW Combo w/Double Layer Support Works No special procedure required during installation.
Touchpad Works

No special procedure required during installation. It's possible that this mouse section in my xorg.conf helps. It's there for my optical travel mouse, but the touchpad works perfectly. I haven't ever run without this section, so I can't say if it's necessary or not:

Section "InputDevice"
    Identifier  "Mouse1"
    Driver "mouse"
    Option "Protocol"   "ImPS/2"
    Option "ZAxisMapping"   "4 5"
    Option "Device"     "/dev/psaux"
    Option "Emulate3Buttons"

6-in-1 Media Reader Unknown Haven't tried. But from what I've researched, it is unlikely this can be made to work in the near future.
1394 (Firewire) Port Works Just enable the relevant options when you compile your kernel.
PCMCIA Slot Unknown Haven't tried.
Integrated Network Card Works Enable CONFIG_8139TOO when you compile the kernel to support the RealTek RTL-8139 PCI Fast Ethernet Adapter.
Internal 56k Modem Unknown Having serious issues getting this working. Haven't tried with the most recent kernel. More research is warranted, as it seems a user-space program is necessary to fully enable this (apparently win-) modem.
54g(TM) Integ. Broadcom 802.11b/g WLAN & Bluetooth Works

1) Compile a kernel with wireless support enabled.

2) Install the latest ndiswrapper:

emerge -av ndiswrapper

3) Download the proprietary 64-bit Windows wireless driver from Broadcom

4) Install the wireless driver with ndiswrapper, (something like ndiswrapper -i netbc564.inf)
(Of course you need to unzip the driver you downloaded and have netbc564.inf in your current directory first.)
If that worked, you can do ndiswrapper -l (that's a lower-case 'L') and you should see something like:

Installed ndis drivers:
netbc564 driver present, hardware present

5) Load the driver with:

modprobe ndiswrapper

6) Set up your wireless network:

iwconfig wlan0 essid YOUR-NETWORK_ID
iwconfig wlan0 key restricted YOUR-NETWORK-ID
dhcpcd wlan0

12 Cell Lithium Ion Battery Works No special procedure required during installation
Integrated Sound Card Works

Enable ALSA and CONFIG_SND_ATIIXP=y when you compile the kernel to support the integrated IXP soundcard.

This laptop is operating under the linux kernel version 2.6.17-gentoo-r8

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