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Linux on a Sony VAIO PCG-GRV516G

Linux on a Sony VAIO PCG-GRV516G

The system:

Processor: Intel P4 - 2.4GHz
Memory: 256Mb(min), expanded to 512Mb(max)
Hard Drive 30Gb.
BIOS: Unknown, Supports ACPI, do not enable APM
Mouse: touchpad (PS/2), works
DVD/CD-RW: CD data Read/Write ok. Rewrite untested. DVD ok. Audio CD does not produce sound! Can copy CD digitally to CD
Sound: Patchy, better with kernel 2.4.21, See below.
Even better with 2.4.22
USB: all 3 hubs work. Tested with mouse and floppy disk drive
Firewire: Not tested. 2.4.21: Driver doesn't load happily.
2.4.22: Driver loads.
Network: 10/100Base-T, tested on 10Mbs ok, untested at 100Mbs
Parellel Port: Tested with Zip drive (imm driver) and printer
Modem: Driver not found:- may not exist, not tested.
PCMCIA: Cardbus, tested with memory card and modem/network card
Graphics: Radeon 7500C Mobility, 32Mb. Need kernel 2.4.21 for working radeon driver, vesa works fine
Screen: 16 inch, 1280x1024 TFT

Surprises

Linux

I installed Slackware v9.0. Had to re-compile the kernel (2.4.20) to get some things to work. Also tried the redhat (v9) and ended up with similar problems. As Slackware is easier to hack (perhaps I just know it better) I stuck with that. The later kernel 2.4.21 does a better job with the sound and the graphics and should be regarded as the minimum kernel with which to run. The recent Kernel 2.4.22 does a better job with the sound and perhaps the firewire.

The hard disk came with 2 x 15Gb partitions with Windows XP home pre-installed on the first partition. I used the Windows install CD to set the partition sizes to 7Gb, 23Gb. As the system disk is heavily taylored by Sony this was the only reasonable option that also allowed me to continue using Windows XP. I partitioned down the larger (second) partition using linux/fdisk as follows:
/dev/hda57Gbfat32(D:\) (User) partition,
/dev/hda64Gbext2root partition,
/dev/hda71Gbswapswap partition.
/dev/hda810Gbext2/home partition,

Kernel loading parameters:
Both slackware and redhat will run out of the box. Having got the basic system going the following parameters helped to get everything working fully:

Kernel compile parameters:
The standard plus:

Sound

The recent kernel (2.4.22) has played without fault so far.

Kernel (2.4.20) sound modules complained that only 48kHz playback was possible. Playing sounds would only happen in bursts. With the later kernel (2.4.21) this was sometimes improved. The chip is i810 + AC97 Audio. Complains about YHM3 being unknown.

I tried to install ALSA, but found it was troublesome and I struggled to make it play, even though all the modules loaded and the stuff in /dev was done. This might be user stupidity!

I have never managed to play a audio CD in the cd drive. The drive and play counter bar go, but no sound happens. I've not put much time into this yet, so I don't know the origins of the problem. Otherwise the DVD/CD-RW works just fine. The write (once) works fine, the re-write is untested. DVDs play with good picture and sound, but need kernel 2.4.21.

Modem

It claims to be a CXT34. I haven't found any drivers for this yet. On the windows side I can send AT commands to it (and get sensible replys), but I don't know if this is a software patch to make the modem seem intelligent. It is identified as:
Vendor 8086 (ICH), Device 2486 (ICH3), Subvendor 104D (Sony), Subdevice 813C (HSF), Revision 2

Graphics

Will happly work with VESA out of the box. It is a i845 chip. Kernel 2.4.21 must be installed to get agpgart and radeon modules to load. After the upgrade it played DVDs.

Does any of this help?:

I run modprobe on the following modules:
ospm_* : all the power management modules not apm. (NB. the names change in kernel 2.4.22)
agpgart: graphics.
eepro100: network.
The remainder (and perhaps those above) load automatically.

In the following list of modules I've removed non-hardware specific modules:
uhci, usbcore
i810_rng, i810_audio, ac97_codec, soundcore
ide-scsi, scsi_mod
eepro100
mii
agpgart
ospm_thermal, ospm_ec, ospm_button, ospm_ac_adapter, ospm_system, ospm_processor, ospm_busmgr*

*ospm_battery doesn't load if running on ac power, and ospm_ac_adapter doesn't load if on battery power. I don't know if they exchange automatically when the ac power is turned off. The list is different with the later 2.4.22 kernel, where the support is much better.


Derek Cousins
16th September 2003



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