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Re: [linux-users] PC sold with Linux

  • To: Iain Roberts <iain@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: Re: [linux-users] PC sold with Linux
  • From: Roy Schestowitz <r@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 16 Nov 2005 12:19:10 +0000
  • Cc: linux-users@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Delivery-date: Wed, 16 Nov 2005 12:19:12 +0000
  • Envelope-to: s@schestowitz.com
  • In-reply-to: <437B1272.2030409@cairnlin.co.uk>
  • References: <4372ECC1.6090805@zen.co.uk> <437B1272.2030409@cairnlin.co.uk>
  • User-agent: Internet Messaging Program (IMP) H3 (4.0.3)
_____/ On Wed 16 Nov 2005 11:05:22 GMT, [Iain Roberts] wrote : \_____

I've just bought one and I can report that it seems fine.  For £150
including VAT you get :

2.26GHz Celeron processor
256 MB RAM
40GB hard drive
All the usual stuff including 6 USB ports (two on the front), a
keyboard , speakers and optical mouse (but no monitor).

Dabs  previously shipped that same unit with a standard ballmouse and nice
speakers that got 'fed' via the USB ports. Their keyboard looks nicer this
time around, but the placement of some keys is peculiar.

Shipping was £7 and it arrived on the appointed day (4 working days,
I think).  Mine didn't come pre-installed, but it shipped with CDs
for SuSE 9.3.  Unfortunately, only 3 CDs were shipped where it
expected 5, but this didn't cause any real problems.

Wait until you need to compile or even just install something essential...
scanner  software, GCC, TrueType fonts or some arbitrary software from the
Net.  Trust me, get CD's 4 and 5 before it becomes a burden. Every week  I
discover yet another reason why I need these.

The computer's not the quietest ever - pretty noisy, in fact.

I must use earplugs when I go to bed because of that thing...

Apart from that it seems fine so far.  I had some problems
configuring X but I think that's my monitor rather than the graphics
card, which is standard Intel one.

No,  the  video card is problematic. I tried different monitors too. I  am
not  alone  in this, trust me. Others have tried a larger variety of  dis-
tros.  I  could once get Ubuntu to detect the monitor  marvellously  well.
However,  it worked with the previous eSys unit, which got returned due to
a promature hard-drive crash.

Unfortunately, eBuyer is currently showing this as not available -
out of stock.  Hopefully there'll have more in soon : you can't go
far wrong with a low end PC for £150.

I  agree.  If I had use for that (e.g. hosting), I'd get more. So far,  so
good. I often use that machine as an argument for the benefits of OSS.


For what it's worth, I am attaching below a set of assorted notes
primarily from
Alanc (UseNet):

ac wrote:
I have just noticed that Dabs are selling a mandrake 9.2 box for 140 uk
pounds ext vat (no monitor). Very basic spec, but useful if it gets a
bit of publicity. It is th efrst time I hav eseen thenm sell a linux pc
- is it a first for them?
quicklinx 3QV3WS

As fate had it, I have been faced with an immediate need for a new PC - so - I bought one of these(!) Quick and easy and a lot simpler in my timescale than replacing a mainboard and CPU etc.

Dabs.co.uk online order - 9.30 am Thursday - delivered 8am following day

Summary - am very pleased with it, seems to work well, still testing
etc. See details of my observations below.

Note 1) that although Mandrake 9.2 is preinstalled, it did not boot
into this. Kernel panic with unfound things - (see later) The HD is
jumpered as a pri slave (via cable select) and the jumper needed to be
moved, to get HD boot for my local hardware (normal home) use.
Note 2) the on board video capability seems to be only 640x480, at least
that is what is auto configured in Kubuntu Live (60hz refresh), Suse 9.1
Live (132 hz refresh), and the installed Mandrake. Ok for terminal or
occasional use, but I find it hard work, needs a separate card I guess.

Details of my delivery -
   Delivered: System box with CD (not dvd) rom drive, boxed keyboard
'multimedia' ps2 , boxed wheel mouse ps2, mains cable, Speakers (mains
powered, on/off, vol, led, phone skt), Mandrake Linux 9.2 (2CDs, with
mandrake club product key), Intel Celeron D installation instruction
sheet and warranty information, eSys PC 'startup' sheet (english , and I
think spanish (?)). Information sheet - very brief specification with a
few diagrams about removing panels and drives (better than nothing). A
'warranty Information' Sheet for eSys ePC - with phone numbers (both
0207 Nos, office hours) for in-warranty hardware faults. Warranty is one
year return to base. Advised to retain original packaging. note the
suggested seal (removal will void warranty etc) was not fitted it seems.

The box has a network boot capability - maybe why the HD was set as pri
Intel celeron 2.26 GHz, 256 MB ram, AMI bios (12.10.2004), boot menu
includes - del = setup, F8=boot menu, F12=network boot, Esc=skip memory

USB: sockets (2) on front panel, on rear (4)
Audio: on mainboard (tested ok for speakers): front panel - mic,
speakers, rear panel (3 sockets, look standard.
Speakers - look ok if small, but sound is about as poor as I have heard.
I might upgrade to dabs value at 6 UKpunds.......

In all cases my LAN (adsl modem router, vigor) was automaticaly found
and its dhcp used sucessfully for an internet and lan connection.
Mouse - the wheel auto configured and works for scroll in konquerer,
acts as centre button for kde menus.
HD: Maxtor  6E040L0 (40GB), CD: Sony CD-rom CDU5215, BBS-0 Realtek RPL
(is ? bootstrap selection menu, for net boot?)

Mainboard: eSys logo, PCI 3 unused slots, graphics special slot (type
not known yet), IDE 0, IDE 1
Memory - one slot is used, second slot unused. Memory type (?) SDRAM
256MB  DDR 333
(looks like 184 pin, with the divider approx halfway along the connector)

HD positions: Existing HD fitted, 3 spare positions below this and one
spare position above this.
Floppy fitted.
CD drive fitted, one spare position below this.

PSU: Model ISO - 400PP, 230V, 4A, 47-63hz, [....] Max Output 300W Total
Power socket - single input socket, on/off switch.

HD jumpers:
After moving the HD jumper to master: view from cable end (on -my-
delivered HD) -
            IDE cable                  HD           Power
[ ................................1.] ['  :  :  :  : ]  {  0 0 0 0}
                                          1 2 3 4
jumper at 1=master, no jumpers=slave, 2= cable select(as delivered)

It has been running for about 4 hours so far. So far so good.

btw it looks very similar to:
but that does not mean it is identical though.......


I am incorrect I think about the 640x480.
I have found that the display card and monitor resolutions and
resolutions are somehow not being adjusted as I had expected. My
conclusion is that the on board video card capability is probably quite
good, but I have not properly understood how to adjust the display
settings and monitor. This may be that I do not know enough about
mandrake 9.2.

My conclusions so far are that the bios facility is somehow lacking and
there is a really strange problem with the on board ethernet lan
facility. Initially the ethernet and LAN worked ok, Mandrake as
installed ran, but the graphics were 640x480. I installed suse - lan
still ok, and internet connectiviety for updaes ok also. However, after
finding how to set bios for on chip vga, I found that the lan was no
longer reachable. I did a lot of work with investigations to try to cure
this. See following comments.

After installing an os I am familiar with (Suse 9.3) and looking again
at the bios setup facilities available in this board I found that to use
the on-board video I needed to set 'Primary Graphics Adapter' to 'on
chip VGA', and on chip VGA mode to 8MB which was the largest offered.
Both sensible, but there was no bios information with the PC. The (dabs
uk) advertising stated
'ASROCK Intel 845GV chipset with built-in 64 MB Intel Extreme graphics'
but the mainboard is screen marked with the  Esys logo and labelled
'manufactured by ECS'. the eSys site was not very revealing of
information of use (to me). The bios chip is labelled nearby as 'eSys
eP4i45GV(5.0A)'. I found  no sign of the video 64MB (Max) suggested in

'ASROCK' etc searches  had much more information, but when push came to
shove, I am not sure enough of which mainboard I have if I needed to -
for example - upgrade the bios....... given that an upgrade failure
might easily make a large paperweight. However, the asrock info was
generally useful.

Success (partial):
During a lot of increasingly systematic experiments (time consuming) I
discovered that if a PCI network interface card (nic) was in place in a
PCI slot, (it happens to get recognised in suse, but has not been not
been configured!), then LAN access immediately returns!!

Yes the 'Feature - Ethernet Device' is set to Enabled, (and disabled
does disable it). And yes I have reset the bios by battery removal and
discharge and starting again with bios defaults on two occasions, both
times leading to the same results - no onboard LAN without an 'unused'
nic in a pci slot!

An 'ifconfig' result comparison of the working situation and an
immediately following non working one (nic removed) indicated only a
difference in base address. This seemed a good clue for a while, until
further research and tests provided exactly the same successful ifconfig
(including base address) but without an (unused) nic PCI in position,
still no LAN function.

My conclusions are  - so far - that the eSys (ECS board) bios facility
is somehow lacking, or maybe there is an actual hardware fault. I find
the latter difficult to believe because I guess either chip faults or
board faults would be less available to experimental repeats. This feels
to me like a rushed design which turned out with flakes, revealed under
conditions I have used. Maybe I am wrong.

Some things remain unexplained. At one time I set the onboard ethernet
facility to disabled, and to my surprise, it was not them indicated as
'disabled' but was removed from the bios setup menu list, not listed.

Some related internet comments suggest that other manufacturers using
this type of chipset provide bios configure facility with more options
than (I have seen) some users had. I have not tried more ambitios bios
tools. My bios experience is a bit basic and I do have a life to lead.......

..... Comments would be appreciated

You can always re-install with Mandriva LE 2005 . Mandrake 9.2 is ancient.


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