Posts Tagged Intel

Ubuntu and the Intel Centrino Wireless N 1000 wireless card

The Intel Centrino Wireless N card is on the Dell N4010 and some other laptops. In this case it was the N4010 that a buddy of mine had which gave him the trouble. It’s a compatible card, but needs some nudging to get it to work.

The N4010 also has a software kill button in the form of the F2 key. Bear that in mind when using this machine.

Start by installing rfkill:

sudo apt-get install rfkill

Now check the status of the card:

sudo rfkill list

You should get output similar to the following:

0: dell-wifi: Wireless LAN
Soft blocked: yes
Hard blocked: no
1: phy0: Wireless LAN
Soft blocked: yes
Hard blocked: yes

Take a look at dell-wifi‘s Hard blocked status. If it’s yes, your card is disabled via the F2-keys kill function. Hit the F2 key and do…

sudo rfkill list

…again. Your output should now resemble the above.

Now unblock by doing the following:

sudo rfkill unblock all
sudo rfkill list

Your output should now look like the following:

0: dell-wifi: Wireless LAN
Soft blocked: no
Hard blocked: no
1: phy0: Wireless LAN
Soft blocked: no
Hard blocked: no

Your card should now work normally. Now check the connection manager for wireless networks. Reboot and verify you still have connectivity.

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Ubuntu not booting with nVidia video on i3-i5-i7 Intel CPUs

Systems with i3/i5/i7 chipsets and nVidia video may experience Ubuntu not booting, and instead getting a blank screen with a flashing cursor or corrupt video display.

This seems to be an issue with some combination of kernel, video card, and nouveau driver, and appears to stem from the fact that the system technically has two sets of video hardware: that on the Intel CPU and the nVidia GPU.. While the Ubuntu developers work to get this corrected, there is a workaround to get you going.

When your system starts to boot up, hold the shift key to get to the GRUB menu, then press ‘e’ to edit the command line. Go to the kernel line (the line that starts with linux and has quiet splash in it) and press the ‘end’ key to scroll to the end of the line. Add nouveau.modeset=0 to the end of the line, then press F10 to boot.

After booting up, you can install the nVidia proprietary drivers and reboot and graphics will work great for you.

You can also permanently disable the nouveau module by running the following:

echo options nouveau modeset=0 | sudo tee -a /etc/modprobe.d/nouveau-kms.conf
sudo update-initramfs -u

You may experience a low-resolution splash or login screen. See my post nVidia proprietary drivers and low-resolution Plymouth splash screen for a solution to this.

See also: Troubleshooting Nouveau Drivers

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Toshiba L515-S4960 and Windows XP

Windows XP is not officially supported by Toshiba, and they offer very limited software downloads. This guide will attempt to give you the best installation instructions and driver download locations that apply to this model. Also, you may find the detailed spec sheet handy when looking for drivers.


Before installing Windows XP, go into the BIOS and change the SATA Operation mode to “Compatibility.” Read why here.


Insert your Windows XP disc. Immediately after powering on the system, tap F12 repeatedly to enter the boot device selection menu. Manually pick “boot from cd/dvd drive” and follow the on-screen directions.

Post-Installation (Drivers)

The following attempts to list the device IDs and driver download locations for Windows XP drivers. You may want to check your device IDs to verify same hardware.

Required Windows Components

The following Windows components are required for some drivers to successfully install:

Ethernet (10ec:8136) – Realtek PCIe FE Family Controller

WinXP, Win2K, Win2003 Auto Installation Program (SID:1453654) [link]

Wireless (Unknown Device ID) – Realtek RTL8187SE

Windows driver auto installation program [link] may or may not work.

This is the device that’s installed according to the spec sheet. However, several of these have the below Atheros chipset device.

Wireless (168c:001c) – Atheros Communications AR5BXB63 (AR5006X) /
WLL3141 (Toshiba PA3613U-1MPC) 802.11bg Wireless Adapter

Driver is here [link], but you will have to use the inf installation method, as there is no exe. Point to the netathwx.inf file in the download.

Video Controller (8086:2A43) and (8086:2A42) – Intel Graphics 4500M

Intel Graphics 4500M [link]

PCI data aquisition + signal processing controller (8086:2932) – 82801I (ICH9 Family) Thermal Subsystem

Seems to be satisfied by installing this driver [link] – Feedback is appreciated.

Sound (8086:293E) – Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) HD Audio Controller

Intel® HD Audio Controller – Realtek [link] (partially working – reportedly needs SMbus driver to work)

SM Bus controller (8086:2930) – 82801I (ICH9 Family) SMBus Controller

Satisfied by [linkNote: It seems after running this driver (even though it uninstalled the above Intel HD Audio driver) then running the Intel Driver Update Utility (below) appears to completely satisfy audio drivers.

Modem (11C1:1040) – Modem device on High Definition Audio Bus / Agere Systems HDA Modem

Toshiba Software Modem Driver for Windows XP [link] – But reportedly doesn’t satisfy this device. The Lenovo driver at [link] may work instead.

Audio device on High Definition Audio Bus (10EC:0268) – Realtek Audio

Windows 2000, Windows XP/2003(32/64 bits) Driver only (Executable file) [link]

Intel Driver Update Utility

Available at [link] – May detect some drivers but not all.

It appears that this Toshiba has hardware similar to the Dell Vostro V13 [link] and the Dell Studio 1555 [link]. You may be able to find some drivers to fill the missing pieces by checking the links above. Please let me know what works for you so that I can update information.

If you own or use this model Toshiba laptop and have different hardware, or have a link to a driver not listed above, or even an alternate driver download location, please feel free to leave a comment below. I will be updating this article as I find applicable drivers. If anything here has helped you, please let me know by leaving a kudos!

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How to get Vendor and Device IDs in Windows to find missing drivers

If you’re missing a driver in Windows, it can be extremely frustrating if the manufacturer doesn’t have one listed on their website. That leaves you to go find it yourself on the Internet.

The key to getting working drivers revolves not around matching them to the manufacturer, but matching them to the device IDs. Believe it or not, Dell drivers will run the same device on a Toshiba, on an HP, etc as long as the device IDs on the hardware match that on the driver. You can even go directly to the chipset manufacturer’s (Realtek, Atheros, Intel, etc) website to get drivers from them.

So how do you find the device IDs?

Go to Device manager, then find a device with a yellow exclamation mark (missing driver) and double-click it.

Go to the details tab. The drop-down should read “Device Instance ID”

Below it, read the ID and take the following bold bits from it:


In this case, the Vendor ID is 10EC and the Device ID is 8136. A common representation of this is the Vendor ID and the Device ID seperated by a colon or hyphen, such as 10EC:8136 or 10EC-8136. Running these through your favorite search engine should turn up drivers fairly quickly. If nothing else, it will help you find the full name of the device and help you find it on the chipset manufacturer’s website.

Another thing to note is the subsystem. That’s the part after the SUBSYS parameter. Windows shows it as 8 hex characters (in this case ff661179 but you can also find it represented as ff66:1179. This may be important in driver matching as well.

Be wary though — some sketchy download sites will trick you into giving away personal information (email address, cell phone number, etc) or ask that you install software (toolbar, driver installer) in order to download drivers from them. Avoid these scams!

Please feel free to comment!

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Ubuntu and Wireless-N speed issues

I recently picked up an Intel Ultimate-N 6300 from Amazon for my laptop. I’m at the point where, when I’m moving big files to/from my NAS over the wireless connection, I really need the speed of Wireless N.

Unfortunately, Ubuntu didn’t seem to share my enthusiasm for speed — for some strange reason the card remained “locked” at the 54Mbps speed, even though it saw the 5ghz-band SSID.

Fortunately my fix was just a Google away. An article on had this to say, along with the fix:

The problem seems to be that the iwlagn-driver doesnt work right for every supported chip in N-Mode. So the N-Mode is deactivated by default.

To re-enable the N-mode on your card, run these commands as root:

rmmod iwlagn
modprobe iwlagn 11n_disable=0

If your card works in N-mode, you can make it permanent:

edit /etc/modprobe.d/intel-5300-iwlagn-disable11n.conf


options iwlagn 11n_disable=1


options iwlagn 11n_disable=0

You could also simply delete the file. However, editing is reversible in case the card starts misbehaving.

After doing this, my card is up to 270Mbps and all is good.

Did this work for you? Have a different method? Please feel free to share in the comments below!


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How hot is too hot? Don’t overheat your computer.

When your computer’s processor, chipset, or hard drive overheats, you can wind up with big problems. From system slowdowns to application crashes, video corruption, data loss, to permanent damage to your computer hardware. It’s important to keep your computer running cool.

Your computer has sensors in various places to monitor the internal temperature and regulate the fan speeds. These sensors are typically in places such as your CPU, graphics card, hard drive, and maybe one in open air (typically in desktops). Unlike your car, there’s no easy indicator of what the temperature is until things start to go wrong, and those fans can only do so much. Dust can clog heatsinks and air passages, which can slow down the flow of air and drive the chip temps up. If a fan fails completely, it will stop the airflow and the temperature will climb rapidly. For those reasons it helps to have a program to actually tell you what these temperature sensor readings are. If things are getting a little too hot, you might want to know so you can check things out.

For Windows, two good utilities are Speedfan (free) and Everest . For Ubuntu, two good programs can be found in Synaptic: sensors-applet and hddtemp.

Those programs will read the temp sensors and tell you the values. Unfortunately, these numbers won’t mean very much if you don’t know what the limits of your hardware are. For example, while typing this article on my laptop, my CPU temp is 35C (95F). While that might sound hot to some, the thermal design limit of my CPU is actually 105C (source: Intel). I know my processor is well within the design limits.

That said, here’s a list of a few common chipsets and their operating limits:

Various Intel Core 2 Duo (Desktops):

Models E6700 (2.66 GHz), E6600 (2.40 GHz), E6420 (2.13 GHz) and E6320 (1.86 GHz): 60.1 C (140 F).
Models E6400 (2.13 GHz), E6300 (1.86 GHz), E4400 (2 GHz) and E4300 (1.8 GHz): 61.4 C (143 F).
Models E6850 (3 GHz), E6750 (2.66 GHz), E6550 (2.33 GHz) and E6540 (2.33 GHz): 72 C (162 F).
Models E4500 (2.20 GHz) and E4400 (2 GHz): 73.3 C (164 F).
Source: Core 2 Duo Temperature Limit |

Various laptops by manufacturer and chipset:

Dell Latitude D620 (using T7600 CPU): 100C
Dell Latitude D630 (using T7700 CPU): 100C
Toshiba Satellite A215-S7422
(using AMD Turion 64 X2): AMD Doesn’t say — See guidelines below

(I may add to this list as time goes on)

I’ve been seeing a lot of conversation about the nVidia Quaddro mobile chipset and it’s failure temp. While I haven’t been able to find anything official, I have been able to keep my chip under 80C and haven’t experienced a problem to date. See also: Disclaimer.

If you want to find the correct spec for a specific Intel product, you can use Intel’s ARK lookup.For AMD, try the AMD Product Specification lookup. For hard drives, check the manufacturers spec page for your specific drive.

However bear in mind when using these spec sheets that the given specs are for the components themselves under controlled conditions. Chipsets are likely to become unstable before reaching these temps, and heat run-off may damage nearby components on circuit boards. Additionally, occasional manufacturing defects can cause chip failures before these temperatures are reached. I would always suggest to try to stay at least 15-20C below the rated temperature.

If you can’t find specific temps for your chipset, good guidelines would be to try to stay below the following temps:

55C for desktop CPUs, 85C for laptop CPUs.
75C for desktop GPUs, 75C for laptop GPUs.
55C for desktop HDDs, 45C for laptop HDDs.

These are merely a reference point. While some chipsets may tolerate higher temps better than others, cooler is always better. See also: Disclaimer.

FAQ: Why are the rated chipset temps so much higher for laptops?

Laptops are by their very nature smaller and lighter than their desktop counterparts. In order to accommodate this, you will find laptops have smaller fans, heatsinks, and internal airways. Additionally, instead of fan-heatsink-chip assemblies, laptops often feature fan-heatpipe-chip assemblies, which locates the fan further from the chip. Mobile chipsets are thus designed to have higher operating temperatures because heat cannot always be dissipated quickly and occasionally the airways may become blocked. In addition, the higher operating temperatures allow the fans to cycle off to conserve battery power.

One last point worth mentioning is to make sure you’re using the latest OEM BIOS for your computer, especially for mobile machines. BIOSes often have a fan speed table in them which is what sets the fan speed based on the chipset temperature. You can typically find the BIOS update listed on the manufacturer’s website.

If you believe any of the information I have posted above is incorrect, or you would like to ask me to post data on a specific chipset, please leave a comment below. If you have any information to contribute, please do so in the comments. If you want to share this information, please do so as a link to this page for the sake of updates. Thank you.

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Ubuntu Karmic post-install Guide

Ubuntu Post-Installation Guide v9.10

Note: Unless otherwise specified, packages are installed/uninstalled using
System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager.
Repositories are updated in
(System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager > Settings > Repositories)
(System > Administration > Software Sources)

> Third Party Software (for Jaunty) or
> Other Software (karmic).

Java, Flash Player

By default, openjdk-6-jre is the Java VM used on Ubuntu. This is because OpenJRE is actively developed, while Sun’s Java VM is not. Also, by default, Flash is not installed. To install Sun’s Java VM (which can be successfully installed alongside OpenJRE) as well as Flash Player, install: ubuntu-restricted-extras

Medibuntu (DVD, MP3 and WMA support, etc)

Additional codec support (MP3, WMA, etc) is provided by the non-free-codec in the Medibuntu repository. (See for information) Running the following lines in a terminal will install the correct Medibuntu repository as well as the required keyring to authenticate packages:

sudo wget  -cs).list
--output-document=/etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list &&
sudo apt-get -q update &&
sudo apt-get --yes -q --allow-unauthenticated install medibuntu-keyring &&
sudo apt-get -q update


Following that, install the following packages:
libdvdcss2 (Allows to read encrypted DVDs)
non-free-codecs (Additional codecs)


On supported video chipsets and with the correct video drivers, Compiz can enable a variety of visual effects. If Compiz is supported on your system, it can be enabled via System > Preferences > Appearances > Visual Effects and settings the level to Normal or higher. If compiz is enabled, it is recommended to install compizconfig-settings-manager

Other Useful Programs

The following packages are useful, and installation is encouraged:

–sound and video:
(music management application which also supports a wide range of MP3 players)

While empathy is the new default IM client, pidgin is recommended for facebook users. Empathy, at the present time, does not have the same level of facebook
support that pidgin has). install:
pidgin and pidgin-facebookchat

–system tools:
gnome-format (a tool to easily format removable memory cards)

fglrx-amdcccle – Catalyst Control Center for ATI graphics cards
nvidia-settings – Tool for configuring the NVIDIA graphics driver
nautilus-wallpaper – Adds ‘Set as wallpaper’ to right-click menu
nautilus-image-converter – Adds ‘Rotate’ and ‘Scale’ image commands
to right-click menu


A free Virtual Machine system.

virtualbox-ose is available directly from Synaptic, but does not support USB device pass-through (allows the VM to communicate with USB devices). Sun’s VirtualBox 3.0 does support USB device pass-through easily.

See for instructions on how to add the VirtualBox repository to your system. After adding that repository, you can install the virtualbox-3.0 package.

Be sure to give yourself access to VirtualBox using System > Administration > Users and Groups
and give yourself User Privileges to ‘Use VirtualBox’

Intel microcode update

Systems with Intel CPUs should install the intel-microcode package. This provides an updated microcode to the processor at boot-time which can address processor errors and lock-ups.

Broadcom wireless issues

Systems with broadcom wireless cards which are detected but do not show any wireless networks should install the b43-fwcutter package. This provides an updated firmware for the card which fixes numerous issues. This would have to be installed using a wired network.

Dropbox on Ubuntu

Add the repository line for your Ubuntu distribution and install the nautilus-dropbox package (Reference:

Other Software

It is strongly recommended to use software that is distributed in the repositories. If you need to install a program from another source, the .DEB format is the best choice. This installs the program and adds a listing in Synaptic for easily unisntalling the program when you want to.

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