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Dell Dimension 8400 (Belinos)


Belinos is a desktop machine with 1GB of memory, a 160GB hard disk, a 250GB hard disk, and a DVD$\pm$RW Dual Layer burner. The machine came with MS/Windows XP installed so the machine was set up for dual boot (now part of the Debian GNU/Linux install options).

A default install using the Sarge Release Candidate 3 Debian GNU/Linux Installer, booting from a DVD+RW was performed (18 April 2005). The DVD image was obtained using jigdo-file (see Section 3.7.2).

Issues include:

  • Kernel 2.6.11 was required because of its AHCI support for access to the hard drive (so dual boot could be simplified);
  • Non-free kernel modules required for support of the Tigon 3 NIC card (tg3)--irmware license fixed in Linux 2.6.12 by ;
  • Vesa video used until the install of the non-free fglrx driver, then replaced with the Xorg server with support for the Radeon RV370 (but without 3D support).
  • Soundcard is working but when used direct through ALSA the sound is choppy--okay for totem but for mplayer need to tell it to use ``oss'' instead of ``alsa'' by setting the ``ao'' option in /etc/mplayer/mplayer.conf--fixes it for some movies, but others have the reverse problem with mplayer and need ``alsa'' rather than ``oss'' ...weird;
  • The original, analog only, 19" Dell flat screen monitor (E193FP) had a problem--there was no position where the whole screen was crisp, top to bottom. Generally, letters were fuzzy and washed out at the top of the screen, but fine at the bottom. Also, colours were faded at the top, but clear at the bottom. Seemed like a problem with limitations to off angle views. A replacement screen soon arrived and was okay! Dell requested my paying for the return of the faulty screen, but an email fixed this up and they covered the costs.
  • The original PHILIPS DVD+/-RW DVD8631 drive failed after 5 months. Dell quickly replaced it with a NEC DVD+/-RW ND-3530A.


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