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Gateway M325X Review and Setup tips

Gateway M325X Review and Setup Tips
By Scotty Fitzgerald
Copyright (c) 2005 Scotty Fitzgerald

Summary: The Gateway M325X is an excellent Pentium M4 computer which works
with Debian Sarge Linux, except for the sound card.  Tips are given to help
the reader set up Debian Sarge Linux on this computer.

I've recently purchased a Gateway M325X Laptop computer to use with Debian
Sarge Linux.  I wanted to relate my experience and give a few tips to
others who may want to get this Laptop computer and use Debian on it.

Essentially, you can have a terrific Pentium M4 Laptop and run Sarge on it,
and have everything work except the sound card.  I purchased this Gateway
over a Linux pre-loaded computer and I figure I managed to save about $1k
dollars in this way.  It would have been much easier to buy a pre-loaded
one, but I would have missed that money, as well as controlling which
packages were actually running on the computer.

The computer ships with the following:

Intel 915 GM chipset motherboard
LCD screen 60Hz 800x600 or 1024x768 modes
Broadcom b57 wired lan
Intel IPW2200 Wireless Lan
.5 gb ram
Softmodem, of which the sound card is a sub-component
40gb hard drive
One PCMCIA slot (type two)
firewire and USB ports

Setup Notes.

1) You need to use the the 2.6 kernel, not the 2.4.  You will have troubles
with the xserver, and dynamic CPU speed throttling if you don't.

2) When prompted for Ethernet card type, choose tg3.  This will enable wired
ethernet on interface eth0.

3) Use "expert mode" installation from your disk set.  After installing Grub
but before rebooting, invoke a shell.  You won't be able to boot unless you
stop hotplug from attempting to load Intel sound card drivers.  Get to the
file /etc/hotplug/blacklist and add the following lines.


4) While your in this shell, get to the file /etc/modules and add the
following lines


(Install Package powernowd and you will have dynamic CPU speed.)

5) Xserver-xfree86 does not yet support the Intel 915 chipset, you need to
set it up for VESA support with the modes listed above.  The next release
of stable will, with it's use of the x.org window system.  If you must have
I915 drivers you could experiment with introducing the x.org window system
into this system.

6) Intel 2200 B/G.  Load the ipw2200-source package, the kernel-headers-2.6
package, the build-essential, the wireless-tools and module-assistant
packages.  From Root type in "module-assistant" and choose each item in the
presented menu in order.  When you get to the "select interesting package"
screen choose Intel 2200 B/G support.
Module-assistant will then compile and install the drivers for you.  It will
also direct you to fetch the correct firmware from a sourceforge website. 
Get the firmware, untar it and drop it into the indicated directory and you
can use the IPW2200BG on interface eth1.

7) Software modem.  Go to Linuxant.com and fetch the cnxtinstall.run
installer.  Get online via ethernet and run this from root with a 

sh cnxtinstall.run

and it will set up the drivers for the soft modem.  My tests indicate that
this modem actually performs like a 14400 modem so if you are exclusively a
modem user, you may want to get a PCMCIA modem.  [I set up ipmasq and dhcpd
on my desktop computer, and I use my hardware modem through my desktop
computer with a crossover cable.]  I tried everything to get the sound card
to work with the riptide drivers, but I could not get them to work (even
under a seperate 2.4 kernel installation.)

Enjoy your Debian Laptop!

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