my KDExperiments

Programming, KDE and more

Review of my Acer Travelmate 5720 and Linux September 15, 2007

Model: Acer TravelMate 5720

Rating: Very good. Really, even if i chosed it trying to maximize linux support is was not expecting such a success.

Hardware:

  • CPU: Intel Core Duo T7100, OK.
  • RAM: 1Gb, OK.
  • Hard drive: WDC WD1600BEVS-22RST0 (160Gb), OK but i’m getting “spurious completion during NCQ” kernel errors (NCQ is Native Command Queuing and should give better performance for concurrent accesses to the disk), so i had to blacklist my hard drive in the kernel in drivers/ata/libata.c, because the hard disk is probably not following the specification. This should not be a big problem anyway, and even before blacklisting it for NCQ i did not have any data loss in any way.
  • Mouse/Keyboard/LCD: OK.
  • Video Card: Intel 965G, OK (and opensource drivers!) but i’m still getting too many crashes while using 3D applications and OpenGL-2.0/FBO is not supported (yet). I recommend you to use latest drivers at http://intellinuxgraphics.org/ and remember to compile mesa with -fno-strict-aliasing (Very important!). That said, the performance is acceptable (Beryl runs perfectly), but not at the level of a good ATI/Nvidia.
  • Sound Card: Intel HDA+Realtek ALC268, OK, just compile the development version of ALSA (http://www.alsa-project.org/) and it will rock.
  • DVD Writer: HL-DT-ST GSA-T20N, OK, i had to add the PCI id of the IDE contoller to drivers/ata/ata_piix.c (and this made my first Linux installation somewhat difficult), but this addition is now mainstream.
  • Ethernet: Tigon3, OK (including boot from network and WOL).
  • Webcam: Suyin UVC compatible (very good quality), OK, you have to install the uvcvideo driver (http://linux-uvc.berlios.de/).
  • Bluetooth: Broadcom USB Dongle, OK.
  • Wireless: Intel 3945ABG, OK (and opensource drivers!) but it does not support master mode, WOWL and most important, the led is not working :). However these features are being worked out and the iwlwifi driver is quickly improving and it is being merged mainstream, see also http://intellinuxwireless.org/.
  • PCMCIA: Texas Instruments PCIxx12, shoud be OK but not tested.
  • Smart/MultimediaCard reader: Texas Instruments PCIxx12, shoud be OK but not tested. This device registers two PCI entries (only one of them can be active), one is using the SDHCI standard (the linux driver is called sdhci) and supports SD cards, and the other one a proprietary interface, but it supports SD/MMC/MS/xD type cards. An opensource driver for this interface is being developed but at the moment it supports all formats except xD, and the only card i could test it with is xD. See also TI FlashMedia xx12/xx21 driver Wiki, tifmxx project page and tifm21-devel list.
  • ACPI extras: OK, install the driver at http://code.google.com/p/aceracpi/.
  • Internal Modem: Conexant HDA/HSF: NOT OK, i was able to make it work with the “demo” of the driver being sold by Linuxant assh*les at 14.4kps, but their proprietary driver forces you to use and old version of the ALSA sound drivers that will crash your system. Don’t give Linuxant 20$ for supporting of an out-of-date technology with a driver that does not work (and even worse crashes your machine), just buy an external modem if you need it. I fear that Acer just included this piece of sh*t only to piss me off, better if they did not include any modem at all.


Linux On Laptops

 

49 Responses to “Review of my Acer Travelmate 5720 and Linux”

  1. Daniel Says:

    Thank you for the article.
    It will be very useful for the setup of my new laptop.

  2. Maurizio Says:

    You are welcome!

  3. Benson Tsai Says:

    Dear Pal

    This is Benson Tsai.
    Glad to have read your article.

    I got a lattop 5720 the same to you, and have tried installing RHEL4/RHEL5/CentOS5, while got fail.

    RHEL4 ==> Can not detect hard driver.
    RHEL5/CentOS5 ==> Can not find DISPLAY (ATI Radeon X2500)

    Would you be pleased help me ?

  4. Maurizio Says:

    Mh, you should try to install a distro with a quite recent kernel. As i wrote above FC7 could not recognize the DVD reader (so after loading the initrd image i had to do a network install), but i had no problem at all with the HD. A more recent kernel will have no problem with the DVD either.

    For the video card i don’t understand you problem, are you sure that your laptop is a TravelMate 5720? I have no ATI Radeon, the display is an Intel 965G. It should work out-of-the-box (at least with 2D, my suggestions above are for 3D), you have just to specify “intel” as driver in /etc/X11/xorg.conf.

    Regards.

  5. Benson Tsai Says:

    Thank you very much.

    I buy a TravelMate 5720 from Taiwan Acer directly, and it really with a Radeon X2500 video card.

    I can not shue if my trouble come from chip set or video card. (RHEL4 can not find harddisk, it seems caused from chip set; RHEL5 and CentOS5 can not adapt display, it seems caused from video card)

    However, I’ll try again according to your suggestion.

    Many thanks.

  6. NicoLarve Says:

    Hi,

    I’ve got the same DVD drive problem under a 2.6.22 kernel.
    I’d like to get more details about the mods you did in drivers/ata/ata_piix.c.
    Do you know to what kernel module refers this file (ata_piix.c) ? (want to check if the module is loaded)
    If not, I will rebuild the kernel from the original config and add support for the IDE controller.
    But, how can I get the correct module name that supports my ide controller (“MCP51 IDE”, according to lshw) ?
    I’m not sure to find the correct one by myself !!!

    Thank you for help !

  7. Maurizio Says:

    the line that must be added is
    { 0x8086, 0x2850, PCI_ANY_ID, PCI_ANY_ID, 0, 0, ich_pata_100 },
    around line 213 of the file drivers/ata/ata_pixx.c, and the module is called ata_piix.
    But now probably the best thing that you can do is installing a recent kernel, because this line was added in mainstream kernels too now.
    Regards!

  8. Sava Says:

    Hi

    I have a ACER 5720G it came with Ati X2500. I have tried
    ubuntu 7.10 but can not get the graphics to work in anything
    better than VESA. I tried radeonhd but it does not work.

    regards

  9. Karol Says:

    Hey, guys,
    I am browsing the web looking for some info on the heatsink – cooler sound that comes from 5720 notebooks. Is it loud or not? I have Acer TM 4150, older type, with a lot of high level noise that comes from the cooler permanently. Is it better on the 5720 version now? Could I buy it with satisfaction?
    Please, send me the advice on my e-mail kpetrik@truni.sk ASAP as I am to buy the new laptop very quickly 😦

    Thanks a lot,
    regards

  10. Alexander Says:

    I can’t install Ubuntu 7.04 Error:
    /bin/sh: can’t access tty; jobcontrol turned off
    (initframfs)

    what it mean !? Please help me I try Ubuntu first time ! I have TravelMate 5720G ! Please on my email master@wmeysk.ru

  11. Maurizio Says:

    You are probably having my same problem, ie the kernel is unable to access the CD/DVD.
    Try with a more recent distro.

  12. OGI Says:

    Hello I’m new in linux and I can’t install graphic drivers for my laptop:
    TravelMate 5720G,
    VGA: ATI RADEON X2500
    OS: Ubuntu
    I’ve downloaded this file from AMD/ATI official website:
    ati-driver-installer-7-11-x86.x86_64.run
    but I don’t know how to install it – an error message appears every time when I open the file, it says:
    ” Could not open the file /home/ogi/Desktop/ati-dr…aller-7-11-x86.x86_64.run. ”
    Please give me a link where I can find a driver for my VGA card, and explain to me how to install it because I can’t handle with linux installations – they are so different from windows setups.
    Thank you in advance!

  13. Maurizio Says:

    Sorry, i can’t help you…
    My TM5720 does not have an ATI video card, but an Intel.

  14. man Says:

    I have TM5720 but debian and mandriva can’t even boot on it although they boot on other pc
    And I want to know is this laptop 64bit or not

  15. Maurizio Says:

    Well, mine is 64bit, so your laptop will almost surely be too.
    Ah, remember to use a very recent distribution, or it will not install because the DVD reader cannot work on old kernels.

  16. man Says:

    I used the last one already,but I dont know if my bios need to be updated or that won’t help

  17. Bill G Says:

    I have written another guide for the Travelmate 5720. This one is based on the ATI graphics chip. The page can be found at:
    http://www.linlap.com/wiki/Acer+TravelMate+5720

  18. Kristof Says:

    Hi,
    I also bought a Travelmate 5720, but having problems with networking…the intel pro wireless card finds the network, but cannot make a connection with it (password, dhcp, …). The internal nic is loaded via tg3, but it also refuses to obtain an ip-address or other settings. I checked the /var/log/messages file, but nothing that can tell me what’s happening. I’ve tried this with ubunty hardy heron and with opensuse 11.0
    Do you have any idea? Wich distro do you use?
    Best regards,

  19. Kristof Says:

    Sorry,
    forgot to mention that wireless and network are working with my older laptop, which is a HP with other hardware, and also with opensuse 11.0.
    So access point, router, etc. are fine….

  20. Kristof Says:

    Sorry about previous two posts, seems to be a hardware problem. I’ve installed winxp, and also no wireless and no network…portable goes back to the store.

  21. Maurizio Says:

    No problem, i’m happy to know that you found how to solve your problem!

  22. Manivannan Says:

    Hi Maurzio,
    I wish to buy Acer 5720 in a month’s time, i m a movie editor & i will work with Avid Express Pro an editing software, this software doesnt support few types of sound card. In my home pc onboard sound card is Realtek which AVID didnt support & i Installed another Yamaha sound card. I want to know wat sound card is used in this laptop can it be changed if it doesnt support Avid or any other info u can provide abt it. my mail id is dxms.39@gmail.com. Kindly do reply

  23. Maurizio Says:

    The soundcard is an Intel integrated card with a Realtek chip, and it is supported out-of-the box by latest ALSA linux drivers. I don’t know if your program has special sound card requirements, but since it is supported by the kernel drivers it works on every program (unless there are special requirements that i don’t know). Since anyway laptops usually have poor integrated audio cards, in any case you may also consider using an external high-end USB audio card.
    Regards!

  24. Kristof Says:

    Hi Maurizio,
    here i am again, with a brand new Travelmate 5720. This time network and wireless work out of the box, so that is solved. I do have another question: before i erased XP, i tested some games on it (Company of Heroes, Dreamfall). To my surprise they did work quite good. No i’m trying to let them work on Ubuntu too, but after installation of Dreamfall with wine I only get a black screen….it has to do with my graphics driver. Can you please explain in brief what you did with the drivers for your card? (what do I have to download from intellinuxgraphics.org, how to compile, …)
    Thank you!!!!!!!!

  25. Maurizio Says:

    Checkout this page: http://intellinuxgraphics.org/download.html
    and look for the documentation in each package for how it should be compiled. Note that you will need the -dev/-devel packages of Xorg and the kernel headers.
    Good Luck!

  26. Kristof Says:

    Maurizio,
    Am I correct that modern distros like Hardy Heron and OpenSuse 11 already have the newest driver for this card?
    They detect the card and use the Intel driver, with direct rendering.
    However, I cannot play (even old) games with this driver, because the driver is not capable of hardware TnL ?
    I can play these games (Company of Heroes, CMR 5, Dreamfall) on Windows, so this means the driver for linux is not good enough yet??

  27. Maurizio Says:

    I think that if you ask if latest distros have the lastest \em{stable} drivers, then the ansers is yes. But probably bleeding-edge development drivers have more features (and also many more bugs).
    The intel i965 should have hardware TnL (and even pixel-vertex shaders), but wine is still unable to emulate prefectly directX, so you cannot expect windows games to work out of the box. For instance, do they work on a linux box with a recent nvidia card with nvidia proprietary drivers? if they don’t, then it is very probably a wine problem and not a problem with the drivers.
    Regards!

  28. jagvinder Says:

    Hi,
    I have Travelmate 5720 and have succesfully installed RHEL 5 on it now i m trying to install BLUETOOTH device on it can anyone please guide me that how can i install BLUETOOTH device on it. It wil detect the BLUETOOTH device but do not show other services like dial-up,filetransfer etc…………..

  29. Lukasz Says:

    Hi – have you finally succeeded with making the internal mic work? I have a TM5720 and up to 2.6.27.4 with alsa 1.0.17 it doesn’t record any sound. When I choose model=3stack, it does (poor quality) but other channels are messed up and jack sense doesn’t work.. I’ll be grateful for any info how to make the mic functional.

    Thanks – Łukasz

  30. zlx Says:

    Hey great article I was just wondering if you have had any issues with heat on your laptop, mine runs EXTREMELY hot under linux (ubuntu, fedora and openSUSE) upto 98degrees! so I have not been using it :/ I was wondering if you had any suggestions or if you had this issue

    Thanks Alex

  31. Maurizio Says:

    98 degrees! Sorry,i had no such problem, so i have no suggestion.
    It is probably a hardware problem, no such thing should ever happen with any software.
    Best regards!

  32. zlx Says:

    Thanks for the help anyway and quick reply 🙂

  33. nikos Says:

    Hello,
    I have just installed fedora 10, everythings going fine except my webcam.
    I know that the uvc driver that is needed, is already inbuilt with the kernel but it is not working 🙂
    Any help will be appriciated, I’m a linux newbie.Thnx 🙂

  34. Maurizio Says:

    Hello,
    write
    sudo lsmod|grep ^uvcvideo
    to check if the uvcvideo module is loaded, the output should something like
    uvcvideo 62344 0
    if it is loaded.
    Take also care that not every video program supports the new protocol V4L2, many obsolete programs will not work. Anyway, skype, ekiga do, and if you have a recent version of mplayer you can just try
    mplayer tv://

    Regards, Maurizio

  35. Kristof Says:

    Hi Maurizio,
    I’m just wondering what I have to do to make my functions keys working in KDE…some do work, but others (like volume and F5 to go to projector screen) don’t. They work perfectly in gnome. Which settings do you use in KDE?

  36. Maurizio Says:

    No, i was unable to make work function keys…

  37. deborah brown Says:

    i cannot get a connecting though my 5720 acers laptop

  38. loveTech Says:

    I just bought acer laptop. Love it. thank you for the information.

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