Toshiba released on the 25th of November the BIOS version B1.70-WIN-EC1.40 for the Satellite R630 and Portege R700.
I did not find any information about the improvements it included, but I hope they did something regarding ACPI.
I already installed it but I had no time yet to check if Linux (Arch Linux and openSUSE) is running smoother now. It’s really a pity that Toshiba is not supporting Linux officially on that devices, especially because for some devices (not so nice ones) they do.

New BIOS version out for Toshiba Satellite R630/ Portege R700
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11 thoughts on “New BIOS version out for Toshiba Satellite R630/ Portege R700

  • 2011-01-21 January 2011 at 02:30
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    Hi,
    I very much appreciated your review on the R630, as I ordered this laptop today. I have read very mixed reviews on this laptop (cnet, trustedreviews and engadget seems to like it, while some others don’t like it at all). The cons seems to be heat, the noisy and always running fan, and the keyboard.

    Did you notice any difference after updating BIOS? As far as I know, I will stick to W7 🙂

    Reply
    • 2011-01-22 January 2011 at 11:36
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      Hi Nina,
      as I understood from Toshiba the Satellite R630 and Porteges R700/705 shall share some special cooling system (something new). I also read different reviews and got into the same dilemma then you. Heat is definitevly there and my system is always using the fan. This does not really disturb me, but in case I will I am pretty sure that this is in most cases a question of setting of power management. The BIOS updates so far did not really change anything regarding heat what I could have recognized. When running Linux on the R630 the situation is the following: When the systems idles the sensors are showing a temperature of around 42 celsius and the fan is blowing. When the workload is getting heavy the system can have a temeratura ober 70 celsius and the fan is very loud and I assume fast.
      But basically to summerize for me it works quite well and except this the device offers I got mix of features and performance to me. So I really like it. Maybe I will adapt the power management in the furture. Btw. I just exchanged the hard disk against a SSD. I can really recommend this. Within the next days I will post a short tutorial/review about it.

      Kind Regards
      Nicolas

      Reply
  • 2011-01-13 January 2011 at 03:27
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    Hello there,

    Starting a new reply as the indentation is making the lines way short.

    3. ACPI – power management and screen brightness settings
    It’s been a long long time since I’ve messed with the kernel tree, but after a bit of poking around it seems to me that there is nothing to be gained by messing about with custom kernel compilations etc. Most of the vanilla ACPI stuff seems to be working these days. I installed:

    pacman -S acpitool

    and got easy CLI access to screen brightness through 8 levels and battery info (state/charging/discharging/etc.). I haven’t looked at the CPU-freq scaling much yet so I’m not sure how well the various ‘govenors’ work on the R705.

    Next stop Sound.

    ttfn,

    Avi

    Reply
    • 2011-01-15 January 2011 at 09:37
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      On we report…

      Sound was trivially simple as it turns out that the whole ALSA module mess is installed by Arch at installation. Only thing needed to hear stuff was to add my username to the ‘audio’ group and get the CLI mixer binary:

      gpasswd -a avi audio
      pacman -S alsamixer

      The R705 speakers are pretty underwhelming, bordering on pathetic. But hey it is what it is.

      Finally, I installed X11:

      pacman -S xorg
      pacman -S xf86-input-synaptic
      pacman -S xf86-video-intel

      and now I’m hunting around for a Desktop.

      The only piece of hardware left to test is the webcam, but it’s picked up by the USB video driver so I recon it wont be too hard to get working.

      Hope this all helps somebody.

      A.

      Reply
      • 2011-01-15 January 2011 at 11:27
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        Hi Avi, thanks for the report.

        Within the next days I will have a little bit of spare time which I want to invest into running Linux on my R630.
        On of my first steps after the basic installation of arch was done, was to install X11. There I recognized the quite high temperature of my R63 (never below 45 celcius). First I though this is related to bad ACPI support, but since last week my system freezes under X11 when the system temperature is getting high because of workload. Running pacman -Syu in in a console under KDE is freezing my system and the fan is blowing like hell!
        Would be interesting to know if you will experience a similar behavior. Did you check if the cpufreq is working on your installation? I do have the governor “ondemand” running, but CPu is running 99,9% at 2,533 at 1-2% system utilization. Very strange….

        Reply
  • 2010-12-18 December 2010 at 18:48
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    Hi, just to let you know that latest bios update 1.8 seems to have solved problem of freezes on cold start in Ubuntu Maverick.

    Reply
  • 2010-12-17 December 2010 at 21:14
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    Hello there 🙂

    Just a heads up that Toshiba released a new BIOS 1.80 two days ago.

    I just bought the machine yesterday and I’ll be fighting with it over the next few days to see how much I can get to work in arch linux. I’ll keep you posted.

    ttfn,

    Avi

    Reply
    • 2010-12-17 December 2010 at 22:17
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      Hi Avi,

      thanks a lot for the update. I just started the download of the new BIOS.

      Would be great if you drop me a message in case you can figure out how to get it running well under Arch Linux.
      I got stuck a little bit with my investigation because lack of time.

      Kind Regards
      Nicolas

      Reply
      • 2010-12-31 December 2010 at 22:38
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        Hey Nicholas –

        Sorry for disappearing a little – but I’m on a roadtrip in California and very far from ‘home’ which is in Amsterdam 🙂

        Anyhow – I haven’t actually gotten around to installing Arch on my R705 yet, because I just needed it ‘working’. On the other hand the default toshiba install of win7 is annoying me in so many ways that I’m not sure I can actually call it ‘working’ 🙂

        Depending on how I want to spend my New Years day I might get arouns to messing with Arch while I’m on the road, otherwise it’ll be sometime in the next few weeks.

        ttfn,

        Avi

        Reply
        • 2011-01-13 January 2011 at 01:10
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          Hello again 🙂

          Well, have started the process of installing Arch on this machine.

          0. Preamble.
          My R705 has intel 6250 ABG wifi which at this moment isn’t in the default Arch packaging for kernel 2.36.x. Also I have a ‘thing’ where I like to get as much working from the CLI before I ‘hide’ it all under a GUI.

          1. Basic install.
          I installed Arch from CD to two partitions: one 16Gb swap and the rest in one ext4 partition. This is a bare install with GCC, OpenSSH and nothing else. No X11, no Desktop du Jour, no AMP.

          2. Getting WiFi to work.
          I downloaded the 6250 firmware from http://intellinuxwireless.org/ to a USB-key before nixing the win7 install. After the base install I mounted my USB-key and untarred the Intel microcode into /lib/firmware.

          Unfortunately, the stock Arch kernel from 2010.5 doesn’t load the latest Intel microcode, so I had to hook the R705 to CAT5 and run:

          pacman -Suy

          for a full system upgrade. With the latest Arch kernel the Intel firmware loaded correctly, and the following steps get WiFi working from the CLI:

          ifconfig wlan0 up
          iwconfig wlan0 essid YOUR_ESSID key YOUR_KEY
          dhcpcd wlan0

          I found that I have to run iwconfig twice to get it to sign-on to my ESSID. Dunno why, but i recon it’s probably a timing/latency thing. Will have to check later.

          I’ll post more when I’ve explored the issues with the next step: Toshiba utils and ACPI.

          ttfn,

          Avi

          Reply
          • 2011-01-13 January 2011 at 03:37
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            I know this all needs to be done as root, but I like to first prove to myself that stuff is working and then go worry about users and permissions and stuff like that.

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