HP Pavilion dm1-4310e: Swapping Windows 8 for Linux

Well, this has been very a understanding experience, to state the minimum. It has been unprintable, to state the many. I have been viewing for the upcoming generation inside the HP Pavilion dm1 line for several time today, because my active dm1-3105ez has become 1 of my favorite laptops — despite its detested Synaptic ‘ClickPad’ pointing device.

I had a dm1-4010 for a brief time (lengthy enough to find it didn’t have a ClickPad, plus it worked quite well with Linux), nevertheless then I passed it along to a friend. The different difference between those 2 was which the 3105 had an AMD E-350 CPU, whilst the 4010 had an E-450, thus I have been viewing to find what the upcoming generation might have.

Last week I came over a dm1-4310, that has an AMD E2-1800 (Dual Core) CPU, Radeon HD7340 visual controller, 11.6in. 1366×768 show plus NO ClickPad. Hooray, that’s what I’ve been waiting for!

c02923087HP Pavilion dm1-4310ez

The just issue was it comes with Windows 8 preloaded, however I figured I’m going to need to bite the bullet plus have a go at Windows 8 sooner or later, thus why not. The advantageous information was which I checked the requirements carefully, plus there was clearly no mention of “UEFI” or “Secure Boot” or “Made for Windows 8″, thus at minimum I shouldn’t need to fight with which yet.

c02923137HP Pavilion dm1-4310ez

There were other good points inside the hardware configuration — for illustration, it has at smallest 1 USB 3.0 port, that is anything else I have been viewing plus waiting for; this model has 4GB of memory along with a 320GB SATA disk; wired Gigabit plus wireless b/g/n networking — oh, plus an HDMI port, that is furthermore significant to me.  The cost was rather fair, list cost 499 Swiss francs (regarding UK£335), however, I have absolutely watched it adverised at among the main electronic stores here for 399 francs, plus that has been with a 720GB drive!

When I initially opened the package, I was struck by how synonymous it really is to my dm1-3105, with a limited immense improvements.  First, rather of the ClickPad there is a usual TouchPad with discrete buttons (2 separate buttons, not 1 about a rocker).  The surface of the touchpad is integrated with all the palm rest, with a different consistency, that appears a bit odd at initially, however it took about 1 minute to forget about which plus really employ it. The wired network RJ45 connector is not hidden beneath a pain-in-the-rear plastic cover, that is a relief. Otherwise, the finish of the case is a type of matte plastic instead of shiny metal/plastic, however, I do not have idea yet when which makes a substantial difference inside toughness.

Then came the initially bad information. I flipped it about. Windows 8. Ugh. It’s less bad because I expected it to be, it’s worse. I don’t like to waste a great deal of time about it here, thus I might just state which because far because I am worried it’s unusable, period.  It lasted about 36 hours about this unique program before I just wiped the drive plus began over from scratch.

Then came the upcoming bad information. This program does indeed have UEFI Secure Boot. Grrr. I don’t recognize when it might have prepared a difference inside my buy choice when I had recognized this, yet it could have, plus in almost any case I might like to have been forewarned. Microsoft may think they may tighten the noose about user’s necks by imposing this mis-feature, however, I reject to play along.

As it was, I went into BIOS setup (about HP this signifies hit F10 throughout boot), found the Boot way settings, plus changed Legacy Boot to Enabled.  That got it to the point where I may go to a boot selection menu (hit F9 throughout boot), plus then choose a USB thumb drive with a Linux Live distribution to boot. I subsequently learned which there remains several limitation which I don’t very recognize yet inside the booting. I am capable to install almost any distribution I wish, yet at when it just shoes effectively from Fedora (either 17 or 18 Alpha/Beta). I’ll return plus figure the rest of which out later, however for when I wish To receive this thing functioning, thus booting the new Fedora 18 Beta launch is fine with me, plus I may boot whatever alternative Linux distributions I need within the F18 Grub2 bootloader.

So, I was finally capable to boot the brand spanking unique Fedora 18 Beta launch, from a Live USB stick. I was amazed to locate which the Windows 8 configuration had set up the drive with a gpt (GUID Partition Table), nevertheless I’m very happy to escape within the classic MBR partition table plus Primary/Extended partitions, thus I left it like that. The Fedora installation was easy, plus without entering too much detail I might state which I love the changes they have created to anaconda.  Installation took lower than 10 minutes from booting the USB follow rebooting the installed program.

FedoraFedora 18 Beta – Gnome 3.6

Fedora looks to have handled the hardware without problem; the 2 factors I was worried about were the Radeon HD7340 graphical controller (it happens to be utilizing the FOSS Radeon show driver) as well as the Ralink 3290 WiFi adapter (it is actually utilizing the rt2800pci driver with rt3290.bin firmware). Everything else appears ok — sound, touchpad, keyboard, USB ports, HDMI, SD card slot etc. I haven’t come over anything which isn’t functioning yet.

Once I had Fedora installed plus configured, I decided to test a limited additional of my favorite Linux distributions. First up was openSuSE, that I have been utilizing over some of the others lately mainly as a result of digiKam). I have been striving the 12.3 pre-releases, thus I had a Live USB stick handly. That booted without issue (plus amazingly fast), and installed conveniently. Since I had absolutely decided to allow Fedora handle bootloading, I told openSuSE to not install a bootloader (this really is completed from the choices inside the final verification screen).

openSuSEopenSuSE 12.3 Milestone 1 (Build 227) – KDE four.9

When the installation completed I booted the installed program, plus because with Fedora 18, everything appears to function. By the means, the latest daily builds of openSuSE 12.3 picked up a great deal of unique art, plus it looks certainly good. By this time I was thinking this was absolutely superb, considering normally whenever I surrender to an impulse plus purchase a new just-released program, I need to struggle with motorists or configuration a bit (or occasionally a lot). So far it had been smooth sailing, plus I am truly liking the method this hot program is functioning.

Next up was Linux Mint 14, my alternative favored distribution. The Live USB stick booted, as well as the installation procedure went smoothly. Obviously, none of these distributions was having any trouble at all with all the gpt partition table. Installation completed usually, plus I booted the installed program.

MintLinux Mint 14 (Nadia) – Cinnamon 1.6

 I finally ran into the initial issue. Linux Mint doesn’t have the required motorists and/or firmware for the Ralink 3290 WiFi adapter. This really is virtually absolutely a query of the kernel adaptation, because both Fedora 18 plus openSuSE 12.3 are running 3.6.3 kernels, plus Linux Mint 14 has 3.5.0 (because does Ubuntu 12.10). A fast internet look brings up a great deal of conversation regarding how to receive the Ralink 3290 using Linux Mint (plus Ubuntu), thus in the event you are determined to utilize either of those distributions, there are instructions accessible to receive the wireless network going. For my reasons, I am happy with Fedora and/or openSuSE, thus I am not going to be concerned regarding which now. I’m sure the required help is added, or they can merely update to the required kernel variation, before lengthy.

Last in the initial round of Linux installations was Ubuntu 12.10. I personally wouldn’t employ this distribution, because I detest the Unity desktop, however I receive asked regarding it a lot, plus when this laptop turns out to be because advantageous because it appears inside these initially limited days, I am probably to wish To receive another 1 (or 2, or more) to set up plus pass along to neighbors, plus because case Ubuntu is frequently necessary. As with all the past distributions, the Live USB stick booted as well as the installer ran without issue.

UbuntuUbuntu 12.10 (Quantal Quetzal) – Unity

Since Linux Mint 14 is produced from Ubuntu 12.10, it was no surprise which the Ralink 3290 WiFi adapter didn’t function about this distribution either. As I mentioned above, there is a great amount of conversation inside the Ubuntu help region plus forums regarding this, plus secrets for you to receive the correct driver plus firmware installed. Other than which, everything looks to function, merely because it did with all the different distributions.

One last thing before I wrap this up. How regarding certain easy speed comparisons? Here is the amount of time it takes from choosing the boot image for you to get the login prompt, plus from entering the login info for you to get a usable desktop:

Fedora: 0:35 boot / 0:15 login

openSuSE:  1:15 (boot direct to desktop, autologin)

Linux Mint: 0:20 boot / 0:15 login (Wow!)

Ubuntu:  0:25 boot / 0:10 login

In summary, I am especially satisfied with this fresh laptop. Once I got the nasty Windows rubbish off of it, plus enabled Legacy Boot inside the BIOS thus which I might boot the Linux Live media, it truly functions perfectly. It looks noticeably quicker than its precedessors (possibly largely right down to the AMD E2 CPU), plus not merely is the blasted ClickPad gone, I have the sensation which the keyboard is more comfortable than the past ones were. If this keeps up I am likely to take the SSD drive from the Acer AO522 I have been utilizing for a while, plus place it into this program.

jw

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