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Dell M6500


ygohome

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Hello,

 

Decided to try out my Dell M6500 Covet (orange aluminum shell with glass over the display).  Pulled it out of the original shipping box from my storage.  I remember we ordered it December of 2009 and received it Feb of 2010.  Feel free to use this thread for anything related to M6500.  As far as I know, this is the only thread here on the M6500.

 

This post is mainly about me trying to get latest Linux distros installed on my old m6500 laptop.

 

It has the original hardware from Dell exactly as we ordered it:

 

Intel i7 x920 (1st gen i7)

1920x1200 

GPU FX3800 (NVIDIA)

1x Samsung PM80 256GB SATA II SSD

1x Samsung PB22 256GB SATA II SSD

 

at some point we had upgrade it's RAM using 2x4GB sticks and 2x8GB sticks for 24GB total.  We also replaced it's battery at some point too (it's also in Orange to match).  The CMOS battery is questionable because when it first booted it didn't remember the date. 

 

It had an early Windows 10 installed long time ago (2016?) but now it wouldn't boot.  BSOD saying Inaccessable Boot Device.

I think it was trying to use the default RAID option, but was probably setup to use AHCI.  If CMOS battery died then maybe the computer forgot which to use, RAID or AHCI.  Regardless, I set the correct date and time in BIOS and set it also to AHCI.  It still wouldn't boot, and instead tried to go into Window's "Diagnosing"  and then  "Preparing Automatic Repair".  I didn't want to wait for that (and it seldom works if it gets to that point), so I decided to start all over and to use Linux instead:

 

Installed Oracle Linux 8.7 onto the original SSDs using a Linux logical volume group setting it up having Linux raid 0 for that Logical volume.

 

I then tried to upgrade it to Oracle Linux 8.9 and it looked like it was working, but until you reboot after the upgrade it is still using the Linux 8.7 kernal.  When I tried to reboot into the newer OL8.9 it began to load, but then the screen froze and CAPSLOCK and SCROLLOCK LEDs would flash on and off and then it would shutdown.  I checked the RAM to be sure it is seated, but same error.  I told Linux grub kernal selector to go back to 8.7 and it worked fine again.  So then I tried Oracle 8.7 with the Oracle "Unbreakable Kernal" and it booted fine, but the wifi adapter could not be discovered.  Weird.

 

I think the OL8.7 still has the drivers for GPU FX3800 and wifi adapter, but maybe the UEK7 and OL8.9 do not.  It's probably too old of a GPU.  I also tried latest Oracle Linux 9.3 but it wouldn't even boot into the installer, for probably the same reason.

 

I may try Fedora or even Ubuntu.  But if FX3800 is too old and it's driver has been removed from Linux then I'll just have to run older distro versions.

 

Currently I have it back on OL8.7 *used "grubber" to set that as the default kernal.  I really like having Linux on it though with Gnome desktop and some opensource office tools and email client.  It's a great setup.  Just wish I could have newer Linux kernals that support my old, almost 15 yrs old laptop

 

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Installing Fedora 39 Workstation on the M6500 now, and so far so good.  It's strange that OL8.9 and OL9.3 and Oracle Unbreakable Kernal UEK7 had issues on my M6500, but the latest Fedora 39 is installing okay.  I thought the newer Linux kernals didn't have the wifi adapter or GPU driver for my fx3800, but maybe that wasn't the issue at all because right now I get a display showing during the Fedora 39 installation.

 

We'll see how it goes after it is fully installed, and after a dnf update, and reboot, etc.

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We'll I'm on latest Fedora 39 on the M6500

 

Linux kernal is 6.5.6-300.fc39.x86_64

 

In the short time I've been using it and rebooting it a few times, it's working great!  I'll update with more as I get more experience with it.  I've not used Fedora before so this is cool.  I'm unsure what the deal was with Oracle Linux 8.9.  OL is more of an enterprise linux server setup and, to maintain stability with Oracle DBs and Apps etc, it is slow to receive updates.  I'm wondering if Oracle Linux just isn't as rich as Fedora is when it comes to drivers and such and OL is perhaps best kept to servers.

 

Thanks.

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Oracle Linux is basically a RHEL/CentOS derivative, right?  Solid, but probably not the best choice for a laptop, since the intended use is servers/workstations and I doubt that they pay a lot of attention to driver support for many different types of laptops.

 

With regards to the FX3800, I do not think that is supported in the latest NVIDIA drivers.  I think you'd need 390.xx drivers for that one?  You could either use Nouveau (probably fine for "office" workloads) or find a repo with old NVIDIA drivers.  Ubuntu's driver team has a PPA with legacy NVIDIA drivers available in it (with current security updates, if available).  Not sure if there is something similar for Fedora.

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  • 99.6Wh battery
  • 1080p webcam
  • Fingerprint reader

Also — iPhone 12 Pro 512GB, Apple Watch Series 8

 

Dell Precision 7560 (work)

  • Intel Xeon W-11955M ("Tiger Lake")
    • 8×2.6 GHz base, 5.0 GHz turbo, hyperthreading ("Willow Cove")
  • 64GB DDR4-3200 ECC
  • NVIDIA RTX A2000 4GB
  • Storage:
    • 512GB system drive (Micron 2300)
    • 4TB additional storage (Sabrent Rocket Q4)
  • Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2021
  • 15.6" 3940×2160 IPS display
  • Intel Wi-Fi AX210 (Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth 5.3)
  • 95Wh battery
  • 720p IR webcam
  • Fingerprint reader

 

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  • Dell Precision 7530, 7510, M4800, M6700
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  • Dell Inspiron 1720, 5150
  • Dell Latitude CPi
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I've since run dnf update in this Fedora 39 installation, and the linux kernal is now sitting at 6.6.3-200.fc39.x86_64 and it also updated alot of other packages.

 

I think I'm in luck and Fedora has the open source driver for the FX3800M built in.  There is an open source driver under the parent name of "Nouveau", and they have drivers with codes that begins with "NV" followed by the Nvidia chipset number.  They have a driver for even the older Nvidia GPUs, including my Nvidia Quadro FX3800 Mobile GPU.   https://nouveau.freedesktop.org/CodeNames.html

 

G92 is the graphics chipset used for the Nvidia FX3800.  When I ran dmesg|grep -i nvidia  that reports back that it is using nouveau for the Nvidia G92 chipset.  Also, when I click on About in the Gnome desktop Setup menu and then I click on System Details that shows, among other things, that the Graphics = NV92

 

NV92 (G92)

GeForce 8800 (GT, GS, GTS 512, M GTS, M GTX)
GeForce 9600 GSO, 9800 (GT, GTX, GTX+, GX2, M GT, M GTX)
GeForce GTS 150(M), GTS 160M, GTS 240, GTS 250, GTX (260M, 280M, 285M), GT (330, 340)
Quadro FX (2800M, 3600M, 3700, 3700M, 3800M, 4700 X2), VX 200

 

I don't know how up to date this open source driver is, if it compares well against Nvidia's own 390.xx drivers, but this Nouveau open source driver for the FX3800 is working to my satisfaction.   I guess the Oracle Linux 8.9+ does not have that driver.  I kindof wish I had run "dmesg" while I still had Oracle Linux 8.7 (OL8.7 was working with the M6500, OL8.9 is the one that wouldn't boot) to see what driver it was using.

 

I may still try Ubuntu on the laptop later, to compare and decide which distro I like best.  

 

I also need to see which open source office apps are best for things like email clients, etc.  

 

Thanks!

 

*here is a cool feature matrix of the Nouveau drivers:

https://nouveau.freedesktop.org/FeatureMatrix.html

the FX3800M is in with the NV50 grouping of Tesla cards

 

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Yeah, Nouveau should work decently for office/desktop stuff, but if you're going to do actual 3D workloads....... it is known to have "poor" performance when compared to the actual official NVIDIA drivers.

Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch, 2023 (personal) • Dell Precision 7560 (work) • Full specs in spoiler block below
Info posts (Dell) — Dell Precision key postsDell driver RSS feeds • Dell Fan Management — override fan behavior
Info posts (Windows) — Turbo boost toggle • The problem with Windows 11 • About Windows 10 LTSC

Spoiler

Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch, 2023 (personal)

  • M2 Max
    • 4 efficiency cores
    • 8 performance cores
    • 38-core Apple GPU
  • 96GB LPDDR5-6400
  • 8TB SSD
  • macOS 14 "Sonoma"
  • 16.2" 3456×2234 120 Hz mini-LED VRR display
  • Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth 5.3
  • 99.6Wh battery
  • 1080p webcam
  • Fingerprint reader

Also — iPhone 12 Pro 512GB, Apple Watch Series 8

 

Dell Precision 7560 (work)

  • Intel Xeon W-11955M ("Tiger Lake")
    • 8×2.6 GHz base, 5.0 GHz turbo, hyperthreading ("Willow Cove")
  • 64GB DDR4-3200 ECC
  • NVIDIA RTX A2000 4GB
  • Storage:
    • 512GB system drive (Micron 2300)
    • 4TB additional storage (Sabrent Rocket Q4)
  • Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2021
  • 15.6" 3940×2160 IPS display
  • Intel Wi-Fi AX210 (Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth 5.3)
  • 95Wh battery
  • 720p IR webcam
  • Fingerprint reader

 

Previous

  • Dell Precision 7530, 7510, M4800, M6700
  • Dell Latitude E6520
  • Dell Inspiron 1720, 5150
  • Dell Latitude CPi
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Here is  output of an lspci report I ran while still in Fedora.  Not sure how to interpret all this info, but it's interesting.  This is ust another way to get info on which GPU driver is being used.

 

 

 

Spoiler

# lspci -vv|grep -A 60 "VGA controller"
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: NVIDIA Corporation G92GLM [Quadro FX 3800M] (rev a2) (prog-if 00 [VGA controller])
    DeviceName: NVIDIA NB10E-GLM3             
    Subsystem: Dell Device 02ef
    Control: I/O+ Mem+ BusMaster+ SpecCycle- MemWINV- VGASnoop- ParErr- Stepping- SERR- FastB2B- DisINTx+
    Status: Cap+ 66MHz- UDF- FastB2B- ParErr- DEVSEL=fast >TAbort- <TAbort- <MAbort- >SERR- <PERR- INTx-
    Latency: 0, Cache Line Size: 64 bytes
    Interrupt: pin A routed to IRQ 31
    Region 0: Memory at f5000000 (32-bit, non-prefetchable)
    Region 1: Memory at e0000000 (64-bit, prefetchable)
    Region 3: Memory at f2000000 (64-bit, non-prefetchable)
    Region 5: I/O ports at df00
    Expansion ROM at 000c0000 [disabled]
    Capabilities: [60] Power Management version 3
        Flags: PMEClk- DSI- D1- D2- AuxCurrent=0mA PME(D0-,D1-,D2-,D3hot-,D3cold-)
        Status: D0 NoSoftRst+ PME-Enable- DSel=0 DScale=0 PME-
    Capabilities: [68] MSI: Enable+ Count=1/1 Maskable- 64bit+
        Address: 00000000fee01004  Data: 0029
    Capabilities: [78] Express (v2) Endpoint, MSI 00
        DevCap:    MaxPayload 128 bytes, PhantFunc 0, Latency L0s <512ns, L1 <4us
            ExtTag+ AttnBtn- AttnInd- PwrInd- RBE+ FLReset- SlotPowerLimit 0W
        DevCtl:    CorrErr- NonFatalErr- FatalErr- UnsupReq-
            RlxdOrd+ ExtTag+ PhantFunc- AuxPwr- NoSnoop+
            MaxPayload 128 bytes, MaxReadReq 256 bytes
        DevSta:    CorrErr- NonFatalErr- FatalErr- UnsupReq- AuxPwr- TransPend-
        LnkCap:    Port #0, Speed 2.5GT/s, Width x16, ASPM L0s L1, Exit Latency L0s <512ns, L1 <1us
            ClockPM- Surprise- LLActRep- BwNot- ASPMOptComp-
        LnkCtl:    ASPM L1 Enabled; RCB 128 bytes, Disabled- CommClk+
            ExtSynch- ClockPM- AutWidDis- BWInt- AutBWInt-
        LnkSta:    Speed 2.5GT/s, Width x16
            TrErr- Train- SlotClk+ DLActive- BWMgmt- ABWMgmt-
        DevCap2: Completion Timeout: Not Supported, TimeoutDis+ NROPrPrP- LTR-
             10BitTagComp- 10BitTagReq- OBFF Not Supported, ExtFmt- EETLPPrefix-
             EmergencyPowerReduction Not Supported, EmergencyPowerReductionInit-
             FRS- TPHComp- ExtTPHComp-
             AtomicOpsCap: 32bit- 64bit- 128bitCAS-
        DevCtl2: Completion Timeout: 50us to 50ms, TimeoutDis- LTR- 10BitTagReq- OBFF Disabled,
             AtomicOpsCtl: ReqEn-
        LnkCtl2: Target Link Speed: 2.5GT/s, EnterCompliance- SpeedDis-
             Transmit Margin: Normal Operating Range, EnterModifiedCompliance- ComplianceSOS-
             Compliance Preset/De-emphasis: -6dB de-emphasis, 0dB preshoot
        LnkSta2: Current De-emphasis Level: -6dB, EqualizationComplete- EqualizationPhase1-
             EqualizationPhase2- EqualizationPhase3- LinkEqualizationRequest-
             Retimer- 2Retimers- CrosslinkRes: unsupported
    Capabilities: [100 v1] Virtual Channel
        Caps:    LPEVC=0 RefClk=100ns PATEntryBits=1
        Arb:    Fixed- WRR32- WRR64- WRR128-
        Ctrl:    ArbSelect=Fixed
        Status:    InProgress-
        VC0:    Caps:    PATOffset=00 MaxTimeSlots=1 RejSnoopTrans-
            Arb:    Fixed- WRR32- WRR64- WRR128- TWRR128- WRR256-
            Ctrl:    Enable+ ID=0 ArbSelect=Fixed TC/VC=ff
            Status:    NegoPending- InProgress-
    Capabilities: [128 v1] Power Budgeting <?>
    Capabilities: [600 v1] Vendor Specific Information: ID=0001 Rev=1 Len=024 <?>
    Kernel driver in use: nouveau
    Kernel modules: nouveau

 

 

 


 

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Using Veeam Linux Agent to backup my M6500 that is running on Fedora39:

 

I've been using Veeam Backup and Replication software since 2018 to manage my backups of VMware ESXi guest VMs and also to backup my physical servers and workstations running Windows and Linux.  The actual backup repository are on two small mini towers running Linux, connected to my ESXi and other physical servers by 10Gb switches and network adapters.  The laptops are backed up via wifi.  These are incremental backups, so a daily backup doesn't take too long.  A full system backup of a laptop could take awhile via wifi (especially if lots of used disk space is on the laptop), but we only do those full backups occaisionally, or when first adding a computer to be backed up.  The incrementals are fast.

 

In order to use Veeam to backup this M6500 laptop that is now running Fedora39 kernal 6.6.4, I had to first upgrade my Veeam Backup Servers to latest V12.1 (which just released on Dec 5 2023).  About a month ago I had just upgraded them from v11 to v12, and so it's funny I had to upgrade Veeam once more so soon.  But it's working great.  The only trick was that I had to manually install the Veeam Linux Agent into Fedora manually.  Normally the Veeam Servers will connect to the managed computer and install that stuff itself, but there is an asterix footnote in the System Requirements for Fedora saying that for Fedora39 we have to install that Veeam Agent ourselves:

- first, needed the dnf (yum) veeam repo entry by downloading https://www.veeam.com/linux-backup-download.html, which is an .rpm we install and that expands into the /etc/yum.repos.d/veeam.repo  when we issue:  rpm -ivh <filename.rpm>

- dnf update

- dnf install veeam

- then reboot because that "dnf update" likely updated a bunch of other system packages and a reboot is needed.

- then back in the Veeam console on the Veeam Server, issue a rescan of the laptop.  Had to do that twice because first time it installs veeam certificates.  2nd time finalizes the other veeam software such as Veeam Transport, etc.

 

Heres the link to the Veeam v12 release notes.  https://www.veeam.com/veeam_backup_12_1_whats_new_wn.pdf

Under "Agents" is where it describes howw Fedora39 is now supported under Veeam v12.1

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Also, here the results of hw-probe on my M6500 running Fedora.  At the bottom of this report link there are more links (look under LOGS label) that show more detailed report info about the laptop:

 

https://linux-hardware.org/?probe=5b287ea21f

 

I'm not sure why it says 2013 as build date.  But I think I recall submitting a ticket with Dell support and they sent me a newer system.  I can't remember what that ticket was about, but now I'm curious to remember and I'll look it up and report back here.

 

*  Dell Support History doesn't go back that far in their online website.  Perhaps if I called them they could tell me the support history.  But if I had to guess, it probably had to do with the 1st gen SSDs or getting Windows XP-Mode to work inside of Windows 7 or a booting issue with old OS, or something weird like that.

 

I'll tell you, this has been an awesome laptop.  Still works perfect today, and for my type of work... database and application support, mostly via ssh to other servers... this is a beautiful machine.  16:10 1920x1200  is nice!

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