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The wiki is being retired!

Documentation is now handled by the same processes we use for code: Add something to the Documentation/ directory in the coreboot repo, and it will be rendered to Contributions welcome!

Recent Progress of coreboot on Laptops

The VIA vx700 and vx800 chipsets have recently become popular in many netbook designs. Most of these netbooks are being produced by Quanta for several different OEM's.

VIA has recently released open documentation for the vx700 and vx800 chipsets at the VIA Download Portal and open documentation for the latest Unichrome graphics controllers. VIA has also released binary unichrome drivers with 2D and 3D accel support for Ubuntu 8.04 and 8.10 as well as source for 2D at VIA Linux Portal.

VIA is currently developing coreboot support for the vx800 chipset. openChrome support including 2D and 3D accel is also in the works for many new chipsets including the vx700 and vx800.

The remaining issue with supporting these and other similar netbooks may be open firmware support for the Embedded Controller (EC). The most common EC's in these netbooks are the KB3910 or KB3886 from ENE Technology. The ENE EC's are 8051 based and are used to support keyboard scan, lid open/closed, battery charging, power management, etc.

coreboot may work with the "stock" 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)?

The ENE KB3700 may be very similar to the other ENE EC's.

More discussion and info on the ENE EC's:

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:

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

Laptop Survey (Old)

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

Make Type Model CPU Chipset Video Super I/O Micro Flash Chip Flash Size Flash Socketed Flash Type Still Made Major Obstacle Owner
Panasonic Toughbook CF-25 CF-25LJM8EAM P166MMX 430TX MagicGraph 128ZV NM2093 Renesas 3886 SST 29EE020 256 kB no no Miernik
Toshiba Libretto 50M PA1243CM P133 custom FPGA C&T 65550 no Miernik
Sony Vaio Picturebook PCG-C1XD P2 400 443ZX MagicMedia 256AV NM2200 M29W004BT 512 kB no no Miernik (broken)
Sony Vaio Picturebook PCG-C1X P266MMX 430TX MagicMedia 256AV NM???? no Miernik (stolen)
Gericom Webboy 340S2 PIII SiS630 SiS630 PC87393VJG PC87570 Winbond 29C020 256 kB yes PLCC Norbert Schmidt
Highscreen XD 14-C1700 Intel Celeron 1.7 GHz SiS650 SiS65x/M650/740 PC87391(?) ? EON EN29F040(A) 512 kB yes PLCC no No SIS650 docs Uwe Hermann
HP Omnibook XE3(L) PIII, 750 MHz Intel 82371MB PIIX4M ? SMSC FDC37N869 ? ? ? no PLCC ? ? Uwe Hermann
Fujitsu-Siemens Lifebook S-4572 PIII, 750 MHz Intel 82440MX ATI Rage Mobility P/M [1002:4c52] SMSC FDC37N769 ? Fujitsu MBM29F400T1 ? no SPI(?), TSOP(?) no No socketed PLCC, unknown EC Uwe Hermann

1 According to the vendor BIOS update tool.

Further Links:

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: