Gentoo Linux – Toshiba Satellite X200/X205 (part 6)

I have been happily using my notebook without problems since I posted my last update. I was enjoying using it so much I decided to take advantage of the low RAM prices and upgrade from 2GB to 4GB. Running a 64bit version of Gentoo I was just expecting to plug the stuff in, it be detected and that be the end of it. To my horror the bios reported 4GB but Gentoo was only seeing 3GB. The majority of posts of people struggling with 4GB of RAM were those running a 32bit system. I applied 2 bios updates to my system (currently running bios version 2.10) in the hope that would fixed the problem, alas no.

Through a little experimentation I discovered that if I booted the Gentoo 2007.0 livecd on my system it would see the 4GB correctly, but the livecd used kernel 2.6.19. I had a play about with the 2.6.22 and 2.6.23 kernels but they would only detect 3GB. However, during this experimentation between kernels I broke the links between some of the modules compiled against the kernel (i.e. nvidia drivers, alsa drivers and wifi drivers). Before I rebuilt them I checked how much memory was being used and was surprised to find 4GB detected. A little more experimentation pointed to the wifi drivers causing the problem. I wanted to keep using the wifi so I decided to wait a week or so; reading the forums to look for clues on how to overcome the problem.

In the past few days kernel 2.6.24 was marked as stable and now includes the wifi driver. Building the driver into the kernel solved the memory problem and I can now see 4GB. Now for the next problem.

In my last post I detailed how to get the sound working correctly, with the 2.6.24 kernel that approach needs to be fixed. When I tired to rebuild the alsa driver against the 2.6.24 kernel it failed. The reason for using the separate driver in the first place was due to the 2.6.23 kernel driver not correctly supporting the chipset. The 2.6.24 kernel now includes the updated driver version. Follow this guide for building alsa into the kernel http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/alsa-guide.xml. Remember to build it as modules in the kernel, if you build directly into the kernel you cannot pass in the model=toshiba option* and the sound will not fully work.

* See part5 for more details on this bit.

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