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english techie

Windows 7 and Ubuntu on HP Firebird 802

2009-12-24 21.02.25

Overall, setting up a Windows 7 and Ubuntu Linux dual boot on the HP Firebird with VoodooDNA 802 was a breeze.

Some observations about this desktop:

  • So QUIET! It ranges from 10 dB (extremely quiet) to 30 dB (quiet room – my EeePc 901’s fan are this quiet), and you can sleep with it on. The internal HDD does not make any noise.
  • Surprisingly, the bundled mouse and keyboard’s USB receiver seems to work natively with the computer, regardless of whether it’s the command prompt, Linux, or whatever. Nice.
  • When I saw the 2.5 dual HDD were 5400 RPM I thought of getting an Intel 25M 80G SSD but so far it runs pretty well and SSDs may see drastic price drops over the next few years so I’m postponing that a year or two.


Windows 7

  1. Once the computer arrives, visit the HP Windows 7 Upgrade order page and fill out the form. I purchased the Firebird from NewEgg and a single HTML file generated from the gmail email sufficed as proof of purchase. They’ll send you the Home Premium version and it will take about 2 weeks. (I ordered on December 8th and received the DVD on December 22rd)
  2. Ignore the HPUA DVD and boot from the Windows 7 DVD. Go with the custom install, and wipe the HDD. Read carefully, because “Disk 0” is actually the D drive! Wipe “Disk 1”, which has the Windows Vista installation.
  3. After it’s all set up, de-activate automated updates and install the HPUA DVD. I’m not sure what it does, but just let it do its thing.
  4. Uninstall the entire Nvidia Drivers et all package from the Control Panel, restart, and instead install the GeForce/ION Driver Release 195.62 (improved performance) and then the NVIDIA System Tools with ESA Support 6.05 (lets you control case LED lights). This tip is from MrAlTalib
  5. Run system update, and theusual drill.
  6. Programs I care about that I confirmed to work fine and well: Adobe CS4, Office 2007, Supreme Commander & FA (in dual monitor, which doesn’t happen in Vista!), Mass Effect (run the 1.2 patch). Before installing any games, run the system update to full because some older DirectX/MS C++ redist seem to cause problems.

Ubuntu Linux

  1. The Firebird 802 doesn’t have WLAN – only LAN, so I purchased the D-Link DWA-140 after browsing through the list of cards that work on Ubuntu right out of the box. It’s a good USB receiver, and comes with a 3 feet long cable + dock to take over only 1 USB slot. Works out of the box with Ubuntu with my home’s WPA connection. Having a reliable network connection saves you a lot of frustration when setting up Linux – especially if you don’t have a LAN port handy nearby.
  2. Get the 9.04 amd64 desktop. The 9.10 doesn’t boot to the graphic login mode after installation, and instead fails into command line. I didn’t investigate further.
  3. I prefer the Wubi install, as it can be removed more cleanly when it gets stuck somewhere.
  4. After installation, turn off the automated updates. Some of the updates seem to mess up the video drivers.
  5. From this point on I relied mostly on ubuntuguide.org
  6. I installed the latest nVidia drivers, but some instructions were mixed up, and some needed to be tweaked for Firebird’s Dual SLI GeForce 9800S MXM. (Reference: Install the latest nVidia driver, nVidia Linux x64 driver installation)
  7. I downloaded the nVidia Linux x64 AMD/EM64T 190.53 (2009.12.16) driver (latest driver for the GeForce 9M series) and did the following:

system -> administration -> software sources -> check “sources” under ubuntu software, and third party software. let it update the packages list.
sudo apt-get install build-essential
close all programs
CTRL+ALT+F1
enter log in information
sudo bash
enter password again
sudo /etc/init.d/gdm stop
sh /home/yonghokim/Desktop/NVIDIA..tab (replace yonghokim with your username, and hit tab after writing NVIDIA and the rest will auto-fill)
Just said yes to everything, including the 32bit OpenGL compatibility libraries. It spews an error about libGL.so.1 (“WARNING: Unable to perform the runtime configuratoin check for library ‘libGL.so.1’ (‘/usr/lib32/libGL.so.190.53’); assuming successful installation [OK]”) but I ignored it.
once done, reboot
sudo apt-get install compiz compizconfig-settings-manager compiz-fusion-plugins-main compiz-fusion-plugins-extra emerald librsvg2-common
Log out and then log in
Settings -> nVidia Display(sp?) -> activated second monitor using “TwinView” (both TwinView and Separate Screen+Xinerama work. I read somewhere that TwinView doesn’t take advantage of dual SLI systems.. will have to test further.)

8. At this point we have a dual monitor, compiz-enabled Ubuntu working. Someone posted that the sound didn’t work (described as a HDMI discernibility issue here), but on the 9.04 worked right out of the box. On volume settings, I saw the possibility to use ALSA on Digital, Analog, or HDMI so I think if it doesn’t work setting it on ALSA Analog should make it work.

After this, I installed ubuntustudio-desktop, the ubuntu-restricted-extras (restricted video codecs package, etc), ran the system update, and restarted. Then, xorg’s video driver failed. Oops? Will try to do those last three steps one by one and see which is causing the problem. (My guess is the system updates)

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