On Wed, May 30, 2001 at 03:21:40PM +0100, Brendan Halpin wrote:
> What about the modem/NIC combinations sometimes offered -- are they
> any good/Linux compatible?
I bought an Inspiron recently and it came with an Intel / Lucent miniPCI
module. The Intel NIC is supported by the stock kernel BUT there are known
problems with that driver, what I found happening on the notebook was that
sometimes the NIC wouldn't initialise. Sometimes an init 1/init 3 sequence
would do the trick, but sometimes I needed to cycle the power. I changed to
the driver supplied by Intel (supplied as source, but only in a form that
compiles into a module - you can't put it into a monolithic kernel) and I've
had no problems since. This driver has solved a couple of other problems
that I know about with Interl NICs in various boxes.
The Lucent modem is of course a soft modem but there is a driver available
for it, which works OK. I had one situation when the modem couldn't sync
with the other side and the notebook became completely unresponsive while
this was happening, presumably because the driver was gobbling all the CPU,
and as I've probably only used half a dozen times, this is not a great
record. OTOH I've set up Hylafax on it as a class 1 faxmodem and this worked
fine, which is not bad because a class 1 faxmodem needs close to real time
response to work - class 1 faxmodems are like Winmodems in that they need a
lot of host CPU support.
So, I'd have no hesitation with the NIC, and as you're getting the modem
anyway with an Insipiron, why not spring for the extra £25 and get the
integrated NIC, as long as you remember to use the Intel driver. If you find
the modem doesn't suit your needs, you can always add a Cardbus modem later.
If you do buy the Dell - get it with the base memory and add third party
later - it's MUCH cheaper, and Dell notebooks use standard SO-DIMM memory.
You asked earlier about Linux with ME - I had a bitch of a time doing it, as
FIPS kept saying that the last sector was in use. I was defragging like a
good thing to no avail unitl I used Norton's SpeedDisk which sorted it out.
Others have had no problems, and someone a while ago couldn't do it, even
with SpeedDisk - did you ever sort that, whoever you were ?
And one final hint - spring for the three year warranty. Notebooks are
extremely expensive to repair, and if you pony up now, you can just look at
the whole thing as the cost of your notebook for the next three years, at
which stage your children won't take it from you as a present because it'll
be too slow for the then current games :-)
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