Laptop

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Recent Progress of coreboot on Laptops

  • coreboot now supports the Roda RK886EX (Rocky III+) Laptop, based on Intel 82945GM/ICH7.
  • VIA has recently released open documentation for the VX700 and VX800 chipsets at the VIA Download Portal.


Embedded Controllers

The remaining issue with supporting netbooks may be open firmware support for the Embedded Controller (EC). These ECs used to support keyboard scan, lid open/closed, battery charging, power management, etc.

coreboot should work with the "stock" EC firmware. This may still be a challenge because "we don't know what we don't know". Behavior at runtime is fairly standardized, but we don't know what we need to do for initialization - do we need to set up registers, put in tables, kick things, or will it all Just Work (TM)?

ENE KB3310/KB3910/KB3920

The most common EC's in these netbooks are the KB3310, KB3910 and KB3920 from ENE Technology. The ENE EC's are 8051 based.

The Quanta IL1 reference design seems to use ENE3310 controller. The q1d25i.rom was examined. The EC code is on 0xFFF00000 on One Mini A110. Its 64KB big HOLE0.ROM.

More discussion and info on the ENE EC's:

Laptop Survey

This page attempts to list laptops to find out which one might be easiest to port coreboot to.

Vendor Model CPU Chipset (NB/SB) Super I/O EC Flash Chip Flash Size Flash S. Flash T. Owner
ASUS S96F/Z96F Intel Core™2 Duo T7400 Intel i945/ICH7 ITE IT8510E in Super I/O  ?  ?  ?  ? macavity
Dell Latitude CPi A366XT PII, 360 MHz Intel 440BX SMSC FDC37N958FR in Super I/O AM29F040B 512KB yes PLCC UH
Dell Latitude C610 PIII, 1.2 GHz Intel i830 SMSC LPC47N252 in Super I/O SST49LF004A 512KB no PLCC CybFr
Fujitsu-S. Lifebook S-4572 PIII, 750 MHz Intel 82440MX SMSC FDC37N769  ? Fujitsu MBM29F400T1  ? no TSOP(?) UH
Fujitsu-S. Lifebook S7110 Intel Core™2 Duo T7200 Intel i945/ICH7 SMSC LPC47N217 Fujitsu MB90378 Spansion S25FL008A2 1024 kB no SO8 / SPI twice11
Gericom Webboy 340S2 PIII SiS630 PC87393VJG PC87570 Winbond 29C020 256 kB yes PLCC NS
Highscreen XD 14-C1700 Intel Celeron 1.7 GHz SiS650 NSC PC87391(?)  ? EON EN29F040(A) 512 kB yes PLCC UH
HP Omnibook XE3(L) PIII, 750 MHz Intel 82371MB/PIIX4M SMSC FDC37N869 NSC PC87570 SST 28SF040A 512 kB no PLCC UH
IBM Thinkpad T30 Intel P4 Mobile, 1.8 GHz Intel i845/ICH3-M NSC PC87392 H8S 64F3169ATE10 ST M50FW080N5 1024 kB no TSOP40 / FWH edgecase
One A110 VIA C7-M ULV 1.0 GHz VIA VX800 none ENE KB3310  ?  ? no  ? UH
Panasonic Toughbook CF-25 P166MMX FW82439TX (430TX)/FW82371AB NSC PC87336VJG Renesas 3886 SST 29EE020 256 kB no  ? Miernik
Roda Rocky III+ RK886EX Intel® Core 2 Duo Mobile T5500 Intel 945 / ICH7 SMSC® LPC47N227 Renesas M38859  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?
Roda Rocky II+ RT686 Intel Pentium III Intel 430BX / FW82371EB SMSC® FDC37N769 Renesas M38867M8A SST SST29LE020 256KB yes PLCC/parallel UH
Sony Vaio Picturebook PCG-C1XD P2 400 443ZX  ?  ? M29W004BT 512 kB no Miernik
Sony Vaio Picturebook PCG-C1X P266MMX 430TX  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?  ? Miernik
Toshiba Libretto 50M PA1243CM P133 custom FPGA  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?  ? Miernik
Toshiba Satellite A80-117 Intel Celeron Intel 915GM/ICH6 SMSC LPC47N217 ENE KB910  ? 1024 kB no TSOP (?) UH

1 According to the vendor BIOS update tool. 2 Nice thing: EC/Flash is not shared, so you can erase the whole flash during system operation (this was tested).

Further Links:

Mailinglist Discussion

A few earlier coreboot discussions on laptops are linked here, you might get useful information out of them:


Who really makes your laptop?

There are several various brands of laptops, but there are only a few actual laptop makers.

Name brand companies like Hewlet Packard, Compaq, IBM, Dell, Gateway, Sony, Micron, Toshiba and others; including Alienware and Voodoo do not make their own laptops. The exceptions are Asus and Apple, and even Apple doesn't make all of their laptops.

Original Design Manufacturers (ODM) make the laptops for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM). They in turn, add their preloaded hard drives and sell them to consumers. This is why a laptop is a bit more complicated to support with coreboot. The OEM's may not even have all the specifications for the laptop since the ODM has done all the design and assembly.

Some Laptop ODMs are:

  • Quanta makes laptops for Sony, Dell, and IBM
  • Inventec and Arima make the Compaq line
  • Compal also makes IBM and Dell lines, as well as Hewlett Packard
  • Clevo makes the popular Alienware and Voodoo gaming laptops

Further Links:

Random Product Links

VIA has a list of many netbooks at VIA Partner Mobility Devices.

VIA also has information on other mobile platforms at VIA Mobility Platform.

The Quanta IL1 vx800 based reference design covers similar models/clones such as:

Other vx800 based netbooks:

There are still a few netbook designs currently on the market that use the VIA vx700 chipset.

There are also several AMD 690/600 laptops still available that may be candidates as well:

Intel Atom with i945 chipset netbooks: