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Linux on the COMPAQ Armada 1592DT Laptop


This is a survey about Linux related hardware features of the COMPAQ Armada 1592DT. I don't try to explain the usual installation details (for instance, which partitions I have made). If you like to know more about Linux and laptops take a look at my Linux-Mobile-Guide.


Though I am quite satisfied by the quality of the laptop, I am not satisfied by the specifications offered by COMPAQ. They are not very useful for Linux users, therefore I give the specifications below, which I collected from different sources. Note: The COMPAQ Armada 15xx series are Out-Of-Production, they are followed by the 17xx series.

I suppose these data are also valid in appropriate form for the other members of the COMPAQ Armada 15xx PC family.


On my COMPAQ Armada 1592DT I have installed the Deutsche Linux-Distribution DLD-5.2 with update to kernel 2.1.132. I just copied an existing installation from my HP OmniBook 800 via null modem cable. Therefore I can't say much about the usual installation method from floppies and CD, but I suppose every current Linux distribution should work without any problems. See "CD Drive" section for more info.

I use Linux and Window$95 together, using the boot manager LILO without any problems.


General Hardware Data

586MMX CPU/233MHz/32MB/3.2GB, COMPAQ Armada 1592DT (TFT) 465.31 BogoMIPS (2.1.131)


hda: IBM-DKLA-23240, ATA DISK drive
hda: IBM-DKLA-23240, 3102MB w/460kB Cache, CHS=787/128/63

The COMPAQ Armada 1592 DT comes with a preformatted partition table:

/dev/hda1 Windows95 drive c:
/dev/hda2 Windows95 drive d:
/dev/hda3 Maintenance Partition, BIOS Setup
/dev/hda ?? Suspend to Disk ??

I don't remember quite sure, how the harddisk was partitioned exactly, but I guess there was a partition which wasn't seen by fdisk, but by Partition Magic. After four weeks of usage I sometimes encounter a high, buzzing noise, which seems to come from the hard disk. I shutdown the machine then. Since this effect is not reproducible yet, I can't say more.

It seems easy to change and upgrade the harddisk (how much GB are possible?). You need a T-9 torx srew driver. Just remove three screws at the backside (one behind the battery, one in the middle of the backside, one behind the floppy drive), which are marked ->KYBD. Then turn the case, open the lid and remove the keyboard (This is described also in the user manual, in the "Upgrade Memory" chapter). At the right side you may see the cage for the harddisk. Remove only the two screws of the grey plastic cover at the right side. Then pull the maintainance ribbon at the right side very carefully to the right, until the case is removed from the plug at the left side. Don't move the cage up until it is free from the plug. Now remove the cage around the disk to get access to the jumpers and the 2.5" slot (5 screws at the front cover and 2 screws at the left and ride side).

See IBM Harddisk for further info about the DKLA-23240 model. Though I didn't try, it should be possible to use the disk with a 2.5" adapter as a first or second disk in another computer, there are jumpers on the disk to change from "device 0" to "device 1" or. Also there is a "cable select" option.

I checked hdparm not quite systematically. But I use hdparm -c 1 -m 16 -S 4 /dev/hda and the harddisk seems to work faster (I didn't check how much battery time is saved by -S 4). You may use bonnie to verify my suggestion.


As mentioned above, the COMPAQ BIOS version 2.00 K1 program resides at a separate partition. As some other Armada sites suggest, I use LILO to boot to the BIOS partition.

It seem easy to change the BIOS battery. You may access it the same way as the memory or the hard disk, see the hard disk section for further info.

Y2K Hype aka Millenium Bug Hype

I checked the BIOS with the following dates and it seems to work alright:

        *)    *)  *)  *) **)
BIOS DD 01 28 29 28 29 29 !! 29
BIOS MM 01 02 02 02 02 02 02
BIOS YYYY 2000 2000 2000 2004 2004 2003 2040
date   Sat Mon Tue Sat Sun Sat Thu
              1 Mar 2003 !! 1 Jan 1970

*) Not setable in the BIOS, so I choosed 02/28/YYYY and waited for the change to the next day.

**) beyond 32 Bit border

Source: Linux-Magazin 11/98 p. 72

Memory (RAM)

I checked memory and cache with CTCM16N.EXE ftp://ftp.ix.de/pub/ct/pcconfig/ctcm16n.zip , which gives this output (style slightly changed):

 PROCESSOR AND CACHE INFO     c't 5/98/ Andreas Stiller V1.6n 

Processor Timing   :Pentium,Pentium-MMX
Processor CPUID    :GenuineIntel Typ=00 Fam=05 Mod=08 Rev=01 Feat=008001BF
Processor Name     :Pentium-MMX (TCP 1,8/2,5V) myA0-Step
Actual clock rate  :233.922 MHz
Primary Cach (L1)  : 16 KByte,4way associative
Secundary Cach (L2):512 KByte,direct mapped
Code Cache (L1)    : 16 KByte,4way associative
Main memory        :32 MByte,no Memory holes found
Cacheable Area L1  :32 MByte, no noncacheable Areas found
Cacheable Area L2  :32 MByte, no noncacheable Areas found
Write Strategy  L1 :Write Back,no Write Allocation,linear Fill,Pseudo-LRU
Write Strategy  L2 :Write Back,no L2 Flush (wbinvd)
Dirty Tag L2       :ok 

 Data Flow an Bus Performance(Main memory: 00120000h) : 

best   rate for 16K MOVSD Cache/Page Hit :  17.5 s => 935.3 MByte/s
medium rate for 16K MOVSD (Miss + Hit)   : 405.8 s =>  40.4 MByte/s
medium rate for 16K MOVSD (L2 clean)     : 484.4 s =>  33.8 MByte/s
medium rate for 16K MOVSD (L2 dirty)     : 675.1 s =>  24.3 MByte/s
worst  rate for 16K MOVSD (misses)       : 666.5 s =>  24.6 MByte/s
via FPU         16K       (misses)       : 487.5 s =>  33.6 MByte/s 

averaged at 512 KB L2-Cache /DOS (640K)  : 367.4 s =>  44.6 MByte/s
averaged at 512 KB L2-Cache /Win (4M  )  : 432.1 s =>  37.9 MByte/s 

It is very easy to upgrade the memory (up to how much MB?). The access to the memory slot is quite simple. The process is explained in the manual very clearly.  Use a TORX-9 screwdriver to open the hardware case.

Note: To enable the full use of the memory I had to use this entry in lilo.conf:


The recommendations from other COMPAQ Armada Linux sites, such as 32M or 3276k didn't work.


The PCI-PCMCIA controller TI1130 is compatible with i82365sl, it is detected by probe. The modules and cardmgr from the PCMCIA-CS package for 2.0.35 are loaded fine. cardctl detects the sockets and the inserted cards.



In text mode I can't get the display to use the full screen size, though I tried all available video modes.

Solution 1

A solution by Daniel Franklin Armada 1500c, which I couldn't try yet:

"To improve this I recompiled the kernel with the vesa_fb framebuffer console driver. This only works in 256 colour mode, but at 800x600 it uses the whole screen and gives a 100x37 text console." You need the following kernel parameters.

# Konsolentreiber
# CONFIG_FB_PM2 is not set
# CONFIG_FB_MATROX is not set
# CONFIG_FB_ATY is not set
# CONFIG_FB_VIRTUAL is not set
# CONFIG_FONT_SUN8x16 is not set
# CONFIG_FONT_SUN12x22 is not set
# CONFIG_FONT_6x11 is not set
# CONFIG_FONT_PEARL_8x8 is not set
# CONFIG_FONT_ACORN_8x8 is not set
Solution 2

I got this recommendation for text mode from Dean Varney <dean.varney_at_opsm.com.au> and Ben Gerdemann:

"I don't think you can change the text display size using different video modes. I guess Compaq decided that no one would want their display any smaller than the maximum available - look on that as an undocumented feature.


You can get a full-screen display in text mode by hitting <Fn>+<T> (function and 'T'). Well, you can on my 1598DT.  The only problem is that the text doesn't get resized "nicely" and you end up with very rough characters.  Personally I find the smaller screen easier to read, but at least you've got the choice."

Solution 3

Frdric Bouyer <brfx_at_mail.dotcom.fr> wrote; ".. I found a solution using SVGATextMode : just install it with the following /etc/TextConfig file...

Once you are sure it runs, you can remove SyncDisks. If your screen looks or sounds bad, just switch off the PC - fast !

Take care of your screen (at your own risk : we can't be sure that all the 1592DT are all built the same inside) and enjoy ;-)

SVGATextMode 100x42 TextConfig file:

#                                                           #
#   Configuration file for the "SVGATextMode" program       #
#                                                           #

Chipset "VGA"
Clocks  25.175 28.322 31.500 45.000

Option "SyncDisks"

ResetProg "/usr/sbin/STM_reset"

Option "LoadFont"
FontProg "/usr/bin/setfont"
FontPath "/usr/share/consolefonts"
FontSelect "lat1u-16"   8x16 9x16 8x15 9x15
FontSelect "lat1u-14"   8x14 9x14 8x13 9x13
FontSelect "lat1u-12"   8x12 9x12 8x11 9x11
FontSelect "lat1u-10"   8x10 9x11 8x9  9x9
FontSelect "lat1u-08"   8x8  9x8  8x7  9x7
FontSelect "Cyr_a8x32"  8x32 9x32 8x31 9x31

#Cursor 0-31     # block cursor
#Cursor 28-31     # underline cursor: the default.

HorizSync 30-48.5
VertRefresh 40-75

# FB: when you are sure it works, exchange the #'s
#DefaultMode "100x42"
DefaultMode "80x25"

"80x25"          28.3    640  680  776  800  400  412  414  449  font 9x16

"100x75"          45     800  856  879 1040  600  637  643  666  font 8x8
"100x66"          45     800  856  879 1040  600  637  643  666  font 8x9
"100x42"          45     800  856  879 1040  600  637  643  666  font 8x14

Graphics Mode

In graphics mode the whole screen is used. The Chips&Technologies CT68554 PCI graphics chip is not detected by SuperProbe.

XFree86 3.3.1

The XF86_VGA16 server works fine with a resolution of 800x600. The XF86_SVGA server I couldn't get to work fine yet. I tried the config files from Bjoern Metzdorf [archived link], which caused the machine to hang and from Steve <steve_at_cygnet.co.uk>, which worked partly in 800x600 mode (I had to change to this mode manually by <CTL><ALT><+>). Though FVWM95 works KDE doesn't start.

Mike Harrison <MYKULH_at_yahoo.co.uk>"..if I selected the LCD panel I could only get VGA settings after much playing about it worked quite well is I selected the Compaq V70 monitor don't know why but if I picked this monitor I could get 800x600 and 256 colours. Not sure if this is good for the screen but it seems to work and give a good display."

External Display

You may choose three different display modes by toggling <FN><F4>

  • Display only at the external (CRT) monitor
  • Display at the external (CRT) and the internal (LCD) monitor
  • Display only at the internal (LCD) monitor

I couldn't check neither of the modes together with an external monitor yet.

From Steve <steve_at_cygnet.co.uk>:

1) The video chip used in this Armada is the new C&T 68554, it is supported by the SVGA driver that comes with versions of XFree from 3.3.1 upwards - however, the initial support in 3.3.1 is not reliable, you really want a later version. The memory is wrongly detected so you should specify 2048K. Below is my configuration file.

# See 'man XF86Config' for info on the format of this file 

Section "Files"
   RgbPath    "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/rgb"
   FontPath   "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/misc:unscaled"
   FontPath   "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi:unscaled"
   FontPath   "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/100dpi:unscaled"
   FontPath   "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/Type1"
   FontPath   "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/Speedo"
   FontPath   "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/misc"
   FontPath   "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi"
   FontPath   "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/100dpi"

Section "ServerFlags"

Section "Keyboard"
   Protocol        "Standard"
   XkbRules        "xfree86"
   XkbModel        "pc101"
   XkbLayout       "gb"

Section "Pointer"
   Protocol        "PS/2"
   Device          "/dev/mouse"
   Emulate3Timeout 50
   Resolution      100
   Buttons         3

Section "Monitor"
   Identifier      "Primary Monitor"
   VendorName      "Unknown"
   ModelName       "Unknown"
   HorizSync       31-95
   VertRefresh     50-130

# 1024x768
Modeline "1024x768"  65  1024 1032 1176 1344 768 771 777 806 -hsync -vsync 

# 1152x864 @ 60 Hz, 53.5 kHz hsync
Modeline "1152x864" 89.9 1152 1216 1472 1680 864 868 876 892 -HSync -VSync

# 800x600 
Modeline  "800x600" 50.00 800  856  976 1040 600 637 643 666 +hsync +vsync

# 1024x768 @ 70 Hz,  56.5 kHz hsync
Modeline "1024x768"  75  1024 1048 1184 1328 768 771 777 806 -hsync -vsync 

# 1024x768 @ 76 Hz,  62.5 kHz hsync
Modeline "1024x768"  85  1024 1032 1152 1360 768 784 787 823

# 1152x864 @ 70 Hz,  62.4 kHz hsync
Modeline "1152x864"  92  1152 1208 1368 1474 864 865 875 895 

# 1024x768 @ 85 Hz, 70.24 kHz hsync
Modeline "1024x768" 98.9 1024 1056 1216 1408 768 782 788 822 -HSync -VSync

# 1152x864 @ 78 Hz,  70.8 kHz hsync
Modeline "1152x864" 110  1152 1240 1324 1552 864 864 876 908 


Section "Device"
   Identifier      "Primary Card"
   VendorName      "Unknown"
   BoardName       "Chips & Technologies CT68554"
   VideoRam        2048
Chipset "ct68554"
DacSpeed 90.000
 MemBase 0x40000000
# Device section for C & T cards.
 Option "suspend_hack"
 Option "mmio" 


Section "Screen"
   Driver          "SVGA"
   Device          "Primary Card"
   Monitor         "Primary Monitor"
   DefaultColorDepth 16
   SubSection "Display"
      Depth        8
      Modes        "1152x864" "1024x768" "800x600"
   SubSection "Display"
      Depth        15
      Modes        "800x600"
   SubSection "Display"
      Depth        16
      Modes        "1152x864" "1024x768" "800x600"
   SubSection "Display"
      Depth        24
      Modes        "800x600"

2) Note that I have introduced a neat trick above! For my nice 17" monitor I start X with no options and get the default 16-bit 1152x864 display - but when using the LCD screen I specify a 15-bit display (startx -- -bpp 15) and get the correct 800x600 resolution automatically. This saves having to have 2 XConfig files.


Window$95 reports an ESS 1878 PnP sound card. Which should be Soundblaster and SoundblasterPro16-Bit compatible. The 2.1.132 kernel detects:

Sound initialization started
<ESS ES1688 AudioDrive (rev 11) (3.1)> at 0x220 irq 5 dma 1,5
<ESS ES1688> at 0x330 irq 5 dma 0

Kernel Sound Driver

With the following kernel parameters I got a very lousy sound quality. But I didn't have time to check other parameters or sound drivers or parameters, e.g. DSP_BUFFSIZE=65536.

# Sound
# CONFIG_PAS is not set
# CONFIG_GUS is not set
# CONFIG_PSS is not set
# CONFIG_MPU401 is not set
# CONFIG_UART6850 is not set
# CONFIG_UART401 is not set
# CONFIG_MSS is not set
# CONFIG_SSCAPE is not set
# CONFIG_TRIX is not set
# CONFIG_MAD16 is not set
# CONFIG_MAUI is not set

Infrared Port - IrDA(TM)

The infrared port uses /dev/ttyS2irq 4, port 0x03e8. It works in SIR mode with the last version of the Linux/IR package for 2.0.x kernels. You may read more about Linux and Infrared in my Linux-Infrared-HOWTO .

Roberto Jung Drebes <drebes_at_inf.ufrgs.br> wrote: "I noticed in the Laptop-HOWTO that the output from BIOSDUMP.EXE in your Armada 1592 shows that you have a 'PNP0511' -- Generic IrDA SIR port, from where you conclude that it only works with SIR. My Armada 1700 has exactly the same output and I managed to discover that it actually has a FIR port, but it does not explicitely says that in the PnP BIOS enumeration. It is a SMC IrCC which is part of the SMC Ultra IO chip. I'm telling you that because perhaps your machine also has one. ... I cannot garantee that it is a SMC, but you can try it."

Touchpad and Mouse

The gpm works well together with XFree86.An external serial mouse works too.


hdb: ATAPI 16X CDROM drive, 128kB Cache
hdb: UJDA120, ATAPI CDROM drive

A report from Craig McAdam: "If you download the latest FLASH memory upgrade from Compaq and install it, you can boot from the CD-ROM. I used this when installing RedHat 5.2 from CD - the commercial CD is bootable."


The floppydrive works up to 1.920MB with superformat (fdutils 5.2). FDC 0 is a post-1991 82077.


The status of NUM, CAPS and SCRL may be displayed with setleds. But xkbvleds doesn't work fine. I didn't try an external keyboard yet.

Advanced Power Management (APM)

The BIOS supports APM version 1.2 .The kernel function Power-Off-On-Shutdown (CONFIG_APM_POWER_OFF) works with kernel 2.0.35 and with 2.1.132. You have to use halt -p for the 2.1.132 kernel to shutdown the machine. The other functions I couldn't test yet.


Battery (Lithium Ion) works 2 hours for each charge cycle, charge time 1 hour.

Real Time Clock (RTC)

RTC is detected by the kernel and shows up in /proc/rtc.

Overview PCI Devices

c't PCI-Optimierer Version 3.03.00 
(c) Georg Schnurer, Redaktion c't, 1993..1998 

Bus Nr. 00h
00( 0) 0 Vendor=OPTi FireStar Plus             No  PCI-INT
       Device=82C701 Pentium Host Bridge,          Rev=32h
01( 1) 0 Vendor=OPTi                           No  PCI-INT
       Device=82C700 PCI EIDE Controller,          Rev=31h
10(16) 0 Vendor=Compaq                         No  PCI-INT
       Device=USB Open Host Controller
11(17) 0 Vendor=Texas Instruments              INT A=IRQ 15
       Device=PCI1131 PC card CardBus controller,  Rev=01h
11(17) 1 Vendor=Texas Instruments              INT B=IRQ 11
       Device=PCI1131 PC card CardBus controller,  Rev=01h
12(18) 0 Vendor=Chips & Technologies           No  PCI-INT
       Device=F68554 HiQVision LCD/CRT GUI Controller
14(  ) 0 Vendor=OPTi                           No  PCI-INT
       Device=82C568 PCI Enhanced IDE Adapter, Rev=30h
  (20) 0 Vendor=OPTi
       Device=82C825 Firebridge IDE Interface


1) dmesg

OPTI621X: IDE controller on PCI bus 00 dev a0
OPTI621X: not 100% native mode: will probe irqs later
    ide0: BM-DMA at 0x1000-0x1007, BIOS settings: hda:pio, hdb:pio

2) Bus Nr. (##) from cat /proc pci


  • C'T PCI-Optimierer Version 3.03.00 (c) Georg Schnurer, Redaktion CT, 1993 ... 1998
  • PCI.EXE Intel Corporation Version 2.2
  • cat /proc/pci
  • Window$95 INF-Dateien

Docking Station

I don't use a docking station.They seem really expansive and I can't see any usefulness. I would like to buy a PC instead and connect it via network to the laptop. Or use an external display, which works well as described above, and an external keyboard and mouse.

From: Martin J. Evans [archived link] "The main problem with docking stations is getting the operating system to detect you are docked. Fortunately, if you configureyour kernel with the /proc file system (does anyone not do this?) you can examine the devices available and thus detect a docked state. With this in mind a few simple scripts is all you need to get your machine configured correctly in a docked state.

You may want to build support for you docking station hardware as modules instead of putting it directly into the kernel. This will save space in your kernel but your choice probably largely depends on how often you are docked. "


The USB is detected by the kernel. But I couldn't do any further checks yet.

Parallel Port

parport0: PC-style at 0x378 [SPP,PS2]
lp0: using parport0 (polling).


pnpdump reports no PnP device. Couldn't check PnP support of kernel 2.1.132 yet.


You probably wonder, why I include this topic here. But shortly after using the laptop I recognised that the rear side of the machine (where the ports are arranged) was slightly damaged. Though I have taken much care when transporting the laptop, this was caused by putting the bag on the floor. It seems that the laptop has so much weight, that it bounces inside the bag on its own rear side. So I decided to put a soft pad into the bag before loading the laptop.

The COMPAQ Armada 15xx PC Family

Model CPU RAM(MB) HD(GB) Linux
Armada 1510        
Armada 1510DM        
Armada 1520        
Armada 1520D        
Armada 1520DM        
Armada 1530D      
Armada 1530DM        
Armada 1535DM        
Armada 1540DM       Stephen Merrony [archived link] **)
Armada 1550T        
Armada 1550DMT        
Armada 1560 166MMX256-KB-L2 16(80) 2.1  
Armada 1560D 166MMX256-KB-L2 16(80) 3.2.  
Armada 1570 200MMX256-KB-L2 16(80) 2.1  
Armada 1570D 200MMX256-KB-L2 16(80) 3.2  
Armada 1590DT 166MMX256-KB-L2 16(80) 2.1  
Armada 1592DT 233MMX512-KB-L2 32(96) 3.2 Bjoern Metzdorf [archived link] **)
Armada 1598DT 266MMX512-KB-L2 32(96) 4.0 Peter Nikitser <peter.nikitser_at_prth.pgs.com>

Other Resources


  • Craig McAdam <r13644_at_email.sps.mot.com>
  • Dean Varney <dean.varney_at_opsm.com.au>
  • Ben Gerdemann <ben.gerdemann_at_usa.net>
  • Martin Hauck <Martin.Hauck_at_partner.bmw.de>
  • Frdric Bouyer <brfx_at_mail.dotcom.fr>
  • Mike Harrison <MYKULH_at_yahoo.co.uk>
  • Roberto Jung Drebes <drebes_at_inf.ufrgs.br>
  • Daniel Franklin <d.franklin_at_ieee.org>

TuxMobil - Mobile Linux

Please feel free to mail me if you have recommendations or criticism. I'm very receptive to additions, suggestions and changes from the readers of this document. Please note: If you don't object I will include your name and e-mail address in the credits section above.

Werner Heuser <wehe_at_tuxmobil.org>

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