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Inspiron 530 Linux Experience

So recently I purchaed a Dell Inspiron 530 with Core 2 Quad CPU.  According to Dell this computer can only take up to 4GB of memory but it always has the intel G33 chipset and according to intel it should be able to do up to 8GB of memory.

From looking at the motherboard it looks like its a OEMed Foxconn G33M motherboard but of course Dell put their own bios and did not solder in 2 of the sata connectors.  If you go into the BIOS you can see 6 SATA connectors but on the physical board itself it only has 4... thanks dell!

So just to test I've put in 2x2GB and 2x1GB of memory and the bios saw all 6GB of memory.  From the OS it was still only seeing 3.25GB memory but when I ran dmidecode it finds all 6GB. 

Linux batz 2.6.18-53.1.13.el5 #1 SMP Tue Feb 12 13:02:30 EST 2008 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

        Manufacturer: Dell Inc.
        Product Name: Inspiron 530

Memory Device
        Size: 2048 MB
        Type: DDR2
        Type Detail: Synchronous
        Speed: 800 MHz (1.2 ns)
Memory Device
        Size: 1024 MB
        Type: DDR2
        Type Detail: Synchronous
        Speed: 800 MHz (1.2 ns)
Memory Device
        Size: 2048 MB
        Type: DDR2
        Type Detail: Synchronous
        Speed: 800 MHz (1.2 ns)
Memory Device
        Size: 1024 MB
        Type: DDR2
        Type Detail: Synchronous
        Speed: 800 MHz (1.2 ns)
Range Size: 6 GB

[root@batz ~]# free -m
             total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:          3260        798       2461          0         52        556
-/+ buffers/cache:        189       3071
Swap:         6143          0       6143

Now for the fun part.

 Installing Linux!

I want to run either ESX server with 2 vm's or linux then vmware server on it.  I personally do not like ubuntu much and did not want to be stuck running ubuntu or vista only so I wanted to install ESX or Centos or Fedora on it.  Here are the results

ESX did not install due to the NIC driver.  There is a NIC driver from intel you can get to compile and install but you would have to install the OS first.  So a work around will be to install a cheapo and widely used PCI NIC just to install the ESX and compile the new driver onto the kernel.

CentOS/Fedora All of these are redhat based and while installing I found that it was having problems with the ata_piix and would not install.  Probally caused by the SATA chipset.  I've added the option of "irqpoll" to the boot lines during install and also in the grub configs once the OS was installed to bypass this problem.  Also Centos's NIC driver worked fine with the onboard nic

So all in all CentOS/Fedora/ESX all work fine with Inspiron 530 with just some minor work arounds... only if the memory limitiation can be fixed........

jlim0930

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