Monday, December 26, 2005

Trysts with nxTECH

My HP nx6125 has a AMD Turion CPU, which has the speedstep technology ( an Intel terminology). Its a wonderful innovation, particularly meant for mobile systems. When the CPU has less load or when the system temperature is above threshold the CPU frequency is scaled down, as low as half of the maximum sometimes. This results in lower power consumption, hence less heat and so the fans keep off. In fact using the system in this mode gives 1 extra hour of battery life.

Not surprisingly the Fedora Core 4 which i have put on it supported this using the PowerNow K8 module ( for those who dont know, PowerNow is the AMD name for speedstep, and K8 is the latest architecture seen in Athlons, Turions & Semprons). For Windows which had no knowledge that it running on a very evolved processor the frequency remained at 1.6Ghz and the battery power kept showing to just 3 hours. I had to download the AMD Turion driver for Windows XP and also use the SpeedSwitchXP utility to achieve the same effect. SpeedSwitchXP gives the control of the frequency scaling operations in the hands of the user, and you can run the machine cool-n-quiet(again an AMD term) by running the CPU at lower frequencies most of the time.

And that is very beneficial, cause you dont need high speeds when surfing or working on a word processor. Also the machine feels no way slow or sluggish even with low speeds. With the AMD driver and the speed switch utility now the battery shows full 4 hours.

Then i ran into another issue which still remains to be solved. Most onboard modems available these days are so called WinModems. The term means that most of the functionality of the modem is implemented in software, and the hardware is just basic to talk to the phone line. This reduces the cost substantially. The problem is most of the companies that make such hardware have drivers only for Windows, and its pretty difficult to implement a counterpart open source when hardly anything is known.

The winmodem bundled with the nx6125 is Conexant V90 Fax modem, with no driver for Linux. The one that is there has 14.4kbps limitation, or you to have to buy it. It doesnt come free with the hardware cause its made by some other company called Linuxant, they have a tie-up with Conexant. So now i am left with no internet on Linux.

Its high time hardware companies start making drivers for Linux, some biggies do have drivers for half a dozen OSs, but the small ones need to understand this too.

Category [ _Tech_ ] [ _Linux_ ]

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