Well, I’ve managed to resolve pretty well all the issues. The only issue left is caused by Linux’s ACPI sub-system not being able to properly suspend without crashing the machine.
On my old laptop I got around this by using APM rather than ACPI for power management. Unfortunately, the NDIS windows driver running under ndiswrapper won’t run unless ACPI is fully in control.
I’ve upgraded the system to the latest Linus kernel, 2.6.6, and made sure all the optimisations for the Athlon 64, including the PowerNow! power control options. Now the CPU fan runs quietly when it runs at all and the battery lasts a very much longer time.
I’m typing this on my new laptop. It’s running Linux, the WiFi interface is working using a combination of ndiswrapper and the windows device driver and everything’s hunky dory.
Well, not quite. Citylink didn’t deliver the machine until midday yesterday even though I paid for before 10:30am delivery and the extended warranty pack wasn’t included. I’ll contact the vendor to sort these things out as the before 10:30am delivery cost an extra £10 and the extra warranty has to be registered within a fortnight. I’m sure this will all be sorted out.
As for the laptop itself, it turns out to be not that much heavier than my old one and is only a bit bigger. The fan runs quite a lot under Linux ‘cos the ACPI isn’t as advanced as under Windows, where the CPU fan just sort of ticks over. Remember, this is an AMD Athlon64 3200+ so it’s not a slow processor.
One thing I think Acer have made a mistake with is selling the machine in the UK without the Bluetooth chip and leaving the bluetooth button on the machine. I have the top of the range machine yet they’ve left out the bluetooth chip, which would probably cost about £10 to install. Now, £10 is an insignificant amount relative to the cost of the machine, so it’s a case of spoilling the ship for a ha’p’th of tar.
Otherwise, it’s a pretty impressive package and I’m very pleased with it.