I'll be getting my Alienware m17x R3 in about a month and I'm eager to get linux up and running on it. Has anyone done this yet? If so, which distributions have you tried? Did you get it working with the binary video drivers or the open source drivers? Can you post the output of 'lspci -v' or 'lshw'?
well I have Gentoo on the Alienware M17x R3 (2670, 16g, nvidia 560 gtx, ocz agility 3) up and running with some remaining issues;
- broadcom 4727 driver, I will handle this
- Internal speakers doesn't work, but all 4 external interface are up and works in order with alsa drivers - I need to do deeper hardware inspection regarding this.
The optimized kernel has about 2 mg size, the startup time from start button push to running KDE 4.5.7 session is about 14-15 seconds. After the system will be fully optimized and all hardware will work in required order, I will summarize my experiences here:
Awesome! i just put fedora 16 on because im sick of windows, its definatly holding back the hardware on this baby! the alsa mixer was alittle messed up but i found a patch to get it working, I ordered my m17 with a 6990 AMD graphics card, and its absolutly crazy how much faster it is with X.
- Anyways Congrats on getting everything working
so finally I got also the wifi driver up and running. I explored my hw in bad way at first time, I was mistaken with understanding the chipid and pciid information, which is not always the same. Finally the site http://linuxwireless.org/en/users/Drivers/b43 helped me with this, there is nice table with all the identification information numbers and signs, based on this I selected finally the right driver.
The only remaining thing is internal integrated repro. Even all the input/ouptut work, also the HDMI interfaces. What about you? Did you get repro to working state?
I also prepare the site at gentoo where I will examine all my hardware set-up with detailed kernel settings, etc. I still wait until repro also works, so having the hw in complete status. The site will be completed at http://en.gentoo-wiki.com/wiki/Alienware_M17x_R3_-_Nvidia
Switching the VGA is really easy in OS. But still, I want to have this option on bios side. I also plan to upgrade my alienware with extreme intel in future, or even want to tune the system. So, regarding unlocking the Insyde BIOS I made a request at:
I also found one version of unlock mod at:
But still I didn't try the complete one yet, I want to learn something about the Insyde Bios to know exactly what I want unlock in which way.
Such a question needs my answer ...wrecking something with linux....It's always mainly about graphics card when talking about gaming machine at all. I of course understand that other components (cpu, board, memory) need to be performable. I bought this machine for price which was better than performance equivalent for hp or lenovo workstations models. I love alienware keyboard and screen. I mainly use this piece of hardware for running development environment tools and servers. The target platform is linux and java. I like fast boot (currently about 13 seconds from start button to fully started kde) and not systems which creates large and larger trash area in time which makes it slow and slower, that is why I prefer linux.
On the other hand of course when thinking about alienware just like about gaming machine, you are right, windoze rules this place. But also here exists big progress with gaming under wine or virtualization even it will be outperformed with dual-boot in case of linux users.
I've been able to get Ubuntu 11.10 working quite well, I made a post on notebookreview.com and will cut and paste it all here for those who are wondering what to do to get things up and running right.
I am sure any distro will work fine, but I chose to work with ubuntu because it's easy to install and works best out of the box. When I have a bit more time to tinker around with gentoo, I would like to get that running due to the optimizations. Of course it's been about 8 years since I've ran gentoo so there's likely a lot to learn as it's way more hands on than the majority of distros out there.
I have the ATI build with a 6990M GPU, two drives, dual booting Win7 and Ubuntu, one OS per drive just in case things get fubar'd.
I've got Ubuntu 11.10 running quite well with my M17x R3 now.
A few notes.
You have to make a modification to your alsa config file to get the speakers working, otherwise the sound will only work from the headphone jack.
Ubuntu Forums - View Single Post - [ubuntu] NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560M on Ubunty 11.10 (Alienware M17xR...
I also had to disable the IGP in the modded A08 BIOS in order to actually get the ATI discreet graphics driver to load/function.
modded A08 bios
I opt'd to install the latest 12.3 catalyst driver instead of the ubuntu provided proprietary driver, it wasn't hard following the instructions to the letter, it just took some time to install all of the dependent packages.
Ubuntu Oneiric Installation Guide - cchtml.com
Also, the LCD backlight is too dim and requires a modification to the GRUB boot loader to get it to its normal brightness.
Most of the function keys work, obviously Alien FX doesn't, but the useful ones do work.
Unfortunately, I tried to install 12.04 and had some problems using the same modification for the speakers that work with 11.10. I assume the newer kernel driver for the sound has changed, but surely it will be figured out soon enough seeing that 12.04 is still in beta and not as widely used as 11.10.
So, yes, linux will work with the power hardware, it just takes some changes.
Disclaimer, if you do opt to do this: Be forwarned about flashing your BIOS, there is always a potential to brick your laptop! You do this at your own risk~