Dell Vostro 3700 certified? Must be a joke.

Asked by Michal Szymanski on 2011-05-03

1. The ethernet card Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8111/8168B does not work.
2. The wireless card works only after installing proprietary drivers.
3. Installing NVidia drivers (the "Intel Video only" note on your pages mentions only 10.10 version explicitely) makes the laptop unusable - the screen goes black soon after booting starts, even in "recovery mode", the only option being reinstalling the system.

You call THAT a "certified system"? Well, my dictionary gives a completely different definition of "certified".

Forgive me being sarcastic but I have lost several hours trying to get a working system on this laptop. 10.04.2 LTS, 10.10, both i386 and amd64, all behave the same. To get wired connection, one has to download sources for r8168 module from Realtek, compile it and blacklist the r8169 module which just does not work with this card.

As for the NVidia card, it seems to be a hopeless issue. This is the first time in my ca. 15 years of installing and using Linux, that a NVidia card is not working. So Dell must have tried it hard! And they dare to send this junk for certification? Shame.

with best regards, Michal Szymanski

Question information

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Ubuntu-Certification Edit question
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Last query:
2011-05-03
Last reply:
2011-05-03

Despite your protestations, this system isn't certified with an NVidia card. You can see on the page for the system which components the system used for certification contains.

http://www.ubuntu.com/certification/hardware/201001-4961:201004-5579

What is worrying to see though is that you say the Ethernet doesn't work, though the certified system uses the exact same component. I'll have to check that out.
FAQ #1536: “Where can I get the list of components for a particular model?”.

It would be worth knowing which NVidia card you have, so we can see if any other systems, which are certified, use it.

Michal Szymanski (msz-astrouw) said : #3

Well, I must disagree with you regarding NVidia card. The page you mention (which I saw before) shows very clearly

Certification notes
10.10
Graphics cards
This system is only certified with an Intel graphics card.

On the right side it gives:

Ubuntu certified (logo)
Ubuntu releases:
10.10 (with notes)
10.04 LTS

So, the user (like me) may well presume that the limitation does NOT apply to 10.04 system

As for the NVidia card, 'lspci' on my system shows:
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation Device 0a29 (rev a2)

Michal Szymanski (msz-astrouw) said : #4

More info from 'lshal':

nVidia card:

udi = '/org/freedesktop/Hal/devices/pci_10de_a29'
  info.parent = '/org/freedesktop/Hal/devices/pci_8086_45' (string)
  info.product = 'Unknown (0x0a29)' (string)
  info.subsystem = 'pci' (string)
  info.udi = '/org/freedesktop/Hal/devices/pci_10de_a29' (string)
  info.vendor = 'nVidia Corporation' (string)
  linux.hotplug_type = 2 (0x2) (int)
  linux.subsystem = 'pci' (string)
  linux.sysfs_path = '/sys/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:01.0/0000:01:00.0' (string)
  pci.device_class = 3 (0x3) (int)
  pci.device_protocol = 0 (0x0) (int)
  pci.device_subclass = 0 (0x0) (int)
  pci.linux.sysfs_path = '/sys/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:01.0/0000:01:00.0' (string)
  pci.product_id = 2601 (0xa29) (int)
  pci.subsys_product_id = 1103 (0x44f) (int)
  pci.subsys_vendor = 'Dell' (string)
  pci.subsys_vendor_id = 4136 (0x1028) (int)
  pci.vendor = 'nVidia Corporation' (string)
  pci.vendor_id = 4318 (0x10de) (int)

Realtek Ethernet card:

udi = '/org/freedesktop/Hal/devices/pci_10ec_8168'
  info.linux.driver = 'r8168' (string)
  info.parent = '/org/freedesktop/Hal/devices/pci_8086_3b46' (string)
  info.product = 'RTL8111/8168B PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet controller' (string)
  info.subsystem = 'pci' (string)
  info.udi = '/org/freedesktop/Hal/devices/pci_10ec_8168' (string)
  info.vendor = 'Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd.' (string)
  linux.hotplug_type = 2 (0x2) (int)
  linux.subsystem = 'pci' (string)
  linux.sysfs_path = '/sys/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1c.2/0000:13:00.0' (string)
  pci.device_class = 2 (0x2) (int)
  pci.device_protocol = 0 (0x0) (int)
  pci.device_subclass = 0 (0x0) (int)
  pci.linux.sysfs_path = '/sys/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1c.2/0000:13:00.0' (string)
  pci.product = 'RTL8111/8168B PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet controller' (string)
  pci.product_id = 33128 (0x8168) (int)
  pci.subsys_product_id = 1090 (0x442) (int)
  pci.subsys_vendor = 'Dell' (string)
  pci.subsys_vendor_id = 4136 (0x1028) (int)
  pci.vendor = 'Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd.' (string)
  pci.vendor_id = 4332 (0x10ec) (int)

David Murphy (schwuk) said : #5

On Tue, May 3, 2011 at 5:25 PM, Michal Szymanski <
<email address hidden>> wrote:

> Well, I must disagree with you regarding NVidia card. The page you
> mention (which I saw before) shows very clearly
>
> Certification notes
> 10.10
> Graphics cards
> This system is only certified with an Intel graphics card.
>

It seems you missed the "Hardware overview" section which clearly states
"The hardware was tested with these processors and key components" and only
lists an Intel video component. Perhaps that is an oversight in our page
design.

...and if you scrolled down a little bit:

Hardware overview

The hardware was tested with these processors and key components:
Processor Intel(R) Core(TM) i3 CPU M 330 @ 2.13GHz
Processor Intel(R) Core(TM) i5 CPU M 520 @ 2.40GHz
Network Broadcom Corporation BCM4312 802.11b/g LP-PHY
Network Broadcom Corporation BCM43224 802.11a/b/g/n
Network Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8111/8168B PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet controller
Video Intel Corporation Core Processor Integrated Graphics Controller

No mention of NVidia. The lspci output you gave seems to not mention the specific model of graphics card. Try lspci -v

I am going to agree with you though that it would be better if it had the same note about the graphics card next to 10.04 LTS

David Murphy (schwuk) said : #7

On Tue, May 3, 2011 at 5:25 PM, Michal Szymanski <
<email address hidden>> wrote:

> As for the NVidia card, 'lspci' on my system shows:
> 01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation Device 0a29 (rev a2)

A quick search (backed up by Google) tells me that your graphics card is
most likely a "GT216 [GeForce GT 330M] from nVidia Corporation".
Unfortunately we have not certified any systems containing that particular
nVidia card, and so cannot state whether it will work with Ubuntu.

Seems a little bit of overlap between my comment and your second one. The lshal info should be enough.

Victor Tuson Palau (vtuson) said : #9

1. The ethernet card Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8111/8168B does not work.
- could we check with the system that we have that is the same Ethernet card?
2. The wireless card works only after installing proprietary drivers.
- This is ok for certification but a note stating the need for proprietary drivers should be added.

Gentlemen,

I must agree that there was no mention of nVidia card as "working". Still, I would advocate following:

The "note" should be given for both 10.10 and 10.04 (as Brendan has agreed).

I guess that in the process of certification, an attempt was done to install/use nVidia drivers. Unless it was only me being so unlucky to get an unsable system after that, it should be clearly stated as a warning: do not try to install nVidia drivers (which, BTW, appear in the standard Ubuntu "System->Hardware Drivers" as "Recommended"!). There is quite a difference between "this system was tested with Intel video" and "trying to use nVidia video will brick your laptop".

I am quite reluctant to the idea that a system in which such vital components as video card and ethernet card do not work "straight from live-boot/install" can be regarded as "certified". That way practically every laptop on the market could be claimed "certified" as 'some' of its hardware components do work. When I search for a "certified" laptop, I expect that 'all' of its hardware would work.

Daniel Manrique (roadmr) said : #11

The system certified has the same network card Michal has. We have two of those in the lab and they both work fine as far as the network card goes. I don't know why Michal's card fails.

@Michal: if the nVidia drivers are installed, it's possible that the laptop will try to use them even when you specify recovery mode, as the video drivers, I believe, are loaded pretty early at boot time. If you have a chance, you could try installing them and, if the screen is black as you describe, try this:

- As the system is booting (*right* after the BIOS POST), press the left SHIFT key, keep it pressed until you see the GRUB menu.
- Select the first entry (should be something like Ubuntu 10.10 with Linux 2.6.35) and press 'e' (not Enter).
- Scroll down to the line that starts with "linux /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.35...."
- At the very end of that line (right after vt.handoff=7) add xforcevesa nomodeset
- Press Ctrl-x to boot

Hopefully you should boot either into a low-graphics mode, or a text console, from which the nVidia driver can be removed and the system restored to a working state.

Also, I suggest you try Ubuntu 11.04, and would appreciate to hear about your experience with that, if you have the time.

Just in case, output from 'lspci -vv' for the ethernet card (it states, e.g., revision 03, which I could not identify in the 'lshal' info):

13:00.0 Ethernet controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8111/8168B PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet controller (rev 03)
 Subsystem: Dell Device 0442
 Control: I/O+ Mem+ BusMaster+ SpecCycle- MemWINV- VGASnoop- ParErr- Stepping- SERR- FastB2B- DisINTx+
 Status: Cap+ 66MHz- UDF- FastB2B- ParErr- DEVSEL=fast >TAbort- <TAbort- <MAbort- >SERR- <PERR- INTx-
 Latency: 0, Cache Line Size: 64 bytes
 Interrupt: pin A routed to IRQ 31
 Region 0: I/O ports at d000 [size=256]
 Region 2: Memory at d2c04000 (64-bit, prefetchable) [size=4K]
 Region 4: Memory at d2c00000 (64-bit, prefetchable) [size=16K]
 Expansion ROM at fb300000 [disabled] [size=128K]
 Capabilities: <access denied>
 Kernel driver in use: r8168
 Kernel modules: r8168

BTW, this is what 'dmesg' says on my 10.04/2.6.32-31-generic i386 system when r8169 module gets loaded (the one which is auto-selected at install time):

[10642.615083] r8169 Gigabit Ethernet driver 2.3LK-NAPI loaded
[10642.615116] r8169 0000:13:00.0: PCI INT A -> GSI 18 (level, low) -> IRQ 18
[10642.615186] r8169 0000:13:00.0: setting latency timer to 64
[10642.615276] r8169 0000:13:00.0: irq 31 for MSI/MSI-X
[10642.616653] eth0: RTL8168d/8111d at 0xf80da000, f0:4d:a2:d2:c4:ce, XID 083000c0 IRQ 31
[10642.622846] r8169: eth0: link down
[10642.623299] ADDRCONF(NETDEV_UP): eth0: link is not ready

"I guess that in the process of certification, an attempt was done to install/use nVidia drivers. "

No. We never tested a 3700 with an NVidia card (as far as I know) and as Dave pointed out we've never certified a system with the exact card you have.

Unfortunately this is a situation that some find themselves in. We're obviously trying to do the best we can to convey to users of the certification list that only certain configurations are certified, with things like the component list.

> Hopefully you should boot either into a low-graphics mode, or a text console, from which
> the nVidia driver can be removed and the system restored to a working state.

On Ubuntu, I always used Synaptic Package Manager (or Hardware Drivers GUI) to install NVidia drivers. How would I uninstall them from command line?

> Also, I suggest you try Ubuntu 11.04, and would appreciate to hear about your experience with that,
> if you have the time.

I made a try with "live CD". The difference was that the wireless card worked out-of-the-box. The wired ethernet did not work. I did not install it to the disk so I could not try the nVidia card (it requires reboot). I was somewhat repelled by the new desktop interface so I did not go any further. Do you suggest NVidia might work?

> No. We never tested a 3700 with an NVidia card

I do not understand. You test a system which is factory-equipped with two video cards and you do not try both? Why? Because you knew that it would not work?

NVidia drivers page shows GT330M (which indeed is the card model, as reported in MS Windows) as supported by the newest 270.41.06 driver. This, however, seems to be much newer than what Ubuntu offers as "nvidia-current" (195.36.24). I could give it a try but I do not know whether the nVidia's original package is an easy install/uninstall on Ubuntu. I used it many times on RedHat/Fedora systems but never on Ubuntu. Maybe you could try it on your "lab" 3700?

Daniel Manrique (roadmr) said : #15

>On Ubuntu, I always used Synaptic Package Manager (or Hardware Drivers GUI) to install NVidia drivers. How would I uninstall >them from command line?

jockey-text is a terminal interface to the hardware drivers assistant.

jockey-text --list will show you a list of installed drivers (possibly containing, for instance, xorg:nvidia_current).

jockey-text -d xorg:nvidia_current should disable and uninstall the driver.

Once you've done that, I suggest you install the "version 173" drivers which, although a bit older, might work. If not, you can use the same procedure to remove them and go back to the default driver.

>I made a try with "live CD". The difference was that the wireless card worked out-of-the-box. The wired ethernet did not work. >I did not install it to the disk so I could not try the nVidia card (it requires reboot). I was somewhat repelled by the new desktop >interface so I did not go any further. Do you suggest NVidia might work?

Hardware support is always improving, so your chances are better with a newer version. If you prefer not to use the Unity interface, you can go back to the classic desktop by selecting "log out" from the top-right button and choosing "classic" when re-logging in. Whatever you choose will be the default on subsequent logins.

Where do you get the idea the system we tested had two video cards? I do happen to know there is a 3700 config with Intel and Nvidia graphics, but the one we tested has just Intel graphics. Does your system have both?

Sorry, I did not realize that the dual card is an option. And the certification note about "Intel Video" seemed just confirming that all of 3700s have two cards.

Surely mine does have them both. Otherwise, with NVidia card only, which does not work, how could I possibly install and use the Ubuntu on this laptop and thus be able to complain :) ???

It seems to be more complicated than I thought. I gave another try with 11.04 i386 Live CD and ... the Realtek ethernet card worked. So, today at the office I booted again 11.04 amd64 Live CD - worked (though I am 99.99% sure that it did not work on Friday). Shutdown, booted 10.04.2 i386 Live CD - worked! Rebooted - did not work, the card was blocked (no LEDs shining), the boot failed totally (black screen). Shutdown, disconnected the cable, booted installed 10.04 i386 system from HDD, worked (with r8168 module).

As for the video, under 11.04 'lsmod' shows, among others:
   video 18951 2 nouveau,i915
as if both cards were used. Still, XServer seems to use Intel driver (mentions "i915" but no "nouveau" in Xorg.0.log). Also, 'lspci' recognizes the nVidia card:
  01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation GT216 [GeForce GT 330M] (rev a2)
  [...]
  Kernel driver in use: nouveau
I am not sure how it is possible to use both cards at the same time.

The video subsystem (with dual Intel/nVidia) cards makes problems. Neither in 10.04 nor in 11.04 I was able to switch to text mode. Ctrl-Alt-Fx (x=2..5) leaves the X11 screen intact in 11.04, or with some strange color features in 10.04, just the mouse pointer disappears. No text screen. Fortunately, Ctrl-Alt-F7 restores normal X11 screen and mouse. Also, in 11.04, when booting Live CD, screen goes black for quite a long time (when other versions show violet screen, Ubuntu and "moving" white/red dots). The screen reappears just before the window with Try Ubuntu/Install Ubuntu is shown. Then, when shutting down the system, the screen also gets black. The CD tray is ejected but the screen remains black (where 10.04 shows "Press ENTER"). It accepts Enter key and shuts the laptop off but w/o anything visible on the screen.

To summarize, at least on my Vostro 3700, the Realtek ethernet card is (at least) not stable with r8169 driver. It works fine with r8168. The dual-video card system is also far from perfect support (problems with nVidia card, no text mode available).

More feedback on 11.04.

I decided to install the 11.04 (i386) on the laptop. The result was pretty strange. After successful install and reboot:

1. The wireless did not work. Activating Broadcom STA driver failed, leaving in /var/log/jockey.log
DEBUG: BroadcomWLHandler enabled(): kmod enabled, bcm43xx: blacklisted, b43: blacklisted, b43legacy: blacklisted
Google search found a hint to remove bcmwl-kernel-source package from Synaptic but this also failed. After some struggling I was finally able to "reinstall" the package, then removed blacklist file generated by the 'bcmwl' in /etc/modprobe.d and it started to work.

2. Video also works differently than in LiveCD mode - on first login, it showed a warning that I do not have hardware to use Unity and falled back to classic desktop (it was using Unity in LiveCD Try Ubuntu mode). There is "nvidia" driver loaded (although I have not installed it using "Additional Drivers") but it is apparently not used. I am sort of afraid of activating it as I do not want to get my laptop bricked again. Also, as the driver is already installed, I am not sure how to activate it properly. In the previous attempts I just used "Additional Drivers" and it was both installed and activated at the same time.
On the other hand, text mode is working now, also the boot/shutdown procedure goes "normally", w/o showing black screen.

I did check the "install proprietary drivers" when installing Ubuntu, although it was only MP3 decoder mentioned there. But maybe this was the reason why "nvidia" was installed. Why it did not successfulyy activated the Broadcom STA driver. I do not know.

Can you help with this problem?

Provide an answer of your own, or ask Michal Szymanski for more information if necessary.

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