HP Compaq nx6325

Short user review
Changing the harddrive
Installation of SUSE Linux 10.1

Short user review of the HP nx6325
with Turion X2 ML-60, 1 GB of RAM, and SXGA+ display with WVA

CPU speed: Very good
According to reviews, CPU power corresponds to a Core Duo CPU with around 1.7-1.8 GHz.

Hard disk speed: Average
I exchanged the 80 GB harddisk with a recent 120 GB drive from Fujitsu. Sisoft Sandra 2005 rates my new drive with an overall performance score of 35, while the original one gets only 30. In practice, the notebook feels more responsive with the new hard disk and closer to a desktop system. Before, it was just... hm... average. ;-)

Graphics speed: Average
According to reviews, the built-in ATI graphics adapter is very good for such an integrated graphics solution. Of course, for normal office work and DVD viewing, it is much more than adequate. For recent 3D games, it will be too slow, I guess. It gets an "average" just because there are much more powerful external graphics chips available at the top of the scale. But if you don't want to play recent 3D games, you won't miss anything.

TFT display: Average
Brightness varies slightly between screen regions; moreover, overall brightness is not that great, especially when running on batteries. The vertical viewing angle is not that good, while the horizontal viewing angle is adequate. That said, I had no difficulties working with the notebook in a train close to the window during daytime (on a cloudy day). But you have to be aware that there are better notebook displays on the market for image or DVD viewing, not to speak of image editing.

Keyboard and Touchpad: Very good
Large and responsive touchpad, stabile and precise keyboard, nice key layout (for my taste)

Connectivity: Very good
Card reader, IEEE 1394, 3xUSB, S-Video, Lan, WLan, Bluetooth...
Some people may miss IrDA or DVI.

Build quality: Very good
Stabile chassis, nice material, thoughtful design

Security: Very good
Active harddrive protection, fingerprint reader, TPM module

User servicability: Good
It is easy to exchange the harddrive or to insert memory in the second slot (which was empty on my notebook). You just have to remove some covers on the bottom of the notebook. (BTW: The harddisk is a SATA drive.) To exchange the first memory module, one has to remove the keyboard. This is more difficult, but also described in the documentation downloadable from the HP web site.

Mobility: Good
First, the notebook is very silent, even when the CPU fan kicks in. The standard battery lasts for nearly 3 hours if one justs types or does other light work for the notebook (on maximum screen brightness). Decreasing the screen brightness seems to help to extend battery life to a little bit more than 3 hours. (These figures are for Windows; Linux seems to eat the batteries faster, even with working ACPI.)

Price/performance ratio: Very good

Overall impression:
For a very attractive price, one gets a package well suited for serious work (and for an occasional DVD or game). It has all the basic features of a business notebook (build quality, thoughtful design, security features) and is equipped with a fast CPU. Without the Linux problems I state below, I would clearly say that I would buy it again. Thus, for pure Windows usage, it gets a "highly recommended" from me (as a primary workhorse, and only occasional multimedia machine), when you need Linux, read on...

Hints for changing the harddrive

Just follow the instructions in this document provided by HP.

BEFORE you remove the built-in harddrive, be sure to create the recovery DVDs because you need them to install the pre-configured Windows XP on the new harddrive!

Installation of SUSE Linux 10.1


The first step is to repartition the harddrive. For this task, I used the GParted Live CD.

For my configuration on the 120 GB Fujitsu drive, I first removed the recovery partition (not recommended by HP). Afterwards, I got one single primary partition of 120 GB with Windows installed. In the next step, I used GParted to resize this partition to just 25 GB. In the following, I created an extended partition with the Windows XP disk management snap-in, covering the remaining 95 GB. As data drive for Windows, I created a logical NTFS drive of around 50 GB within this partition. The linux partitioning of the remaining free space was done with the SUSE installation tool.

As a result, I got the partitioning I wanted, but Windows seemed to be a little confused. The explorer showed three additional unformatted drives X, Y, and Z. In contrast, all other tools I used (Windows disk management snap-in, Linux) report the correct partioning. Thus, I don't think that the partition table is broken. As a workaround solution, I removed the drives X, Y, and Z from the explorer, following the instructions here (in German).

Standard installation

The installation of SUSE 10.1 was straightforward without problems. Grub was installed properly for a dual-boot configuration with Windows on my machine. But please consider the following remark:

ATTENTION: ACPI management is broken on the nx6325 with a standard linux installation. Using ACPI, you will most likely overheat your CPU because the CPU fan won't turn on properly. After the initial installation, you should start your notebook with the kernel option acpi=off until you applied a solution to the problem. This will turn the CPU fan on regardless of load. On the downside, you won't be able to access the battery state, and worse, your dual-core CPU will only use one of its cores, but it won't overheat... During the installation (started with ACPI support), I enabled in the bios "Fan always on with AC adapter plugged in", and of course, I plugged the AC adapter in :-)

ACPI problems and solution

The ACPI problem is threefold:

(1) The psmouse module is compiled directly into the SUSE kernel. This causes rebooting into a "bad state". If Linux is directly started after a reboot or shutdown from Linux, ACPI freaks completely out including the read-out of the battery status.
Sources: [1] (thread about other HP notebooks, but the "bad state" reboot mentioned in the thread is the same for the nx6325)

(2) The DSDT table of the bios seems to be broken regarding the methods of turning the CPU fan on.
Sources: [2] (in German; do not use the DSDTs mentioned in this thread, they are for the nx6125, but the problem and its solution are similar for the nx6325)

(3) ACPI events are not processed properly in the kernel.
Sources: [2] (in German); [3] (problem and patches for the nx6125, but seems to be still the same for the nx6325)

My solution to problems 1 and 3:
My solution to problem 2 (after the previous steps):
Now, ACPI should work after the next reboot. You can test, if you are able to turn the CPU fans manually on and off:
On: echo 0 > /proc/acpi/fan/C350/state
Off: echo 3 > /proc/acpi/fan/C350/state
If this works, the correction of the DSDT has worked properly. Moreover, to check ACPI event managment, look from time to time at the fan state: cat /proc/acpi/fan/C*/*
Without CPU load, at normal room temperature, the last fan setting should switch from on to off automatically after a few minutes (and vice versa). With CPU load, the second fan setting (from bottom) and maybe even the third fan setting should switch on. And all this should work still after many hours of uninterrupted notebook usage under linux (without reboot).

ATTENTION: This solution applies to linux usage without suspend to ram or to disk. I don't know what happens to the fans after a suspend/resume cycle, and I don't have the time at the moment to investigate further on this topic. Any information is welcome.

RANT: It remains one question: Why has the nx6325 received a SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED) certificate with this very serious flaw ???

Minor hardware installation problems


You have to add the following options to the sound module: model=hp position_fix=1

This can be done with yast2.

Thanks to Chris Wache for this very valuable hint (source: [5]).


The open source radeon X driver works fine with the internal display, but without DRI. You can change the screen brightness with the provided key combinations. I haven't managed to get the external video output working with this driver. I would really appreciate any useful hints.

The proprietary ATI driver can be downloaded from the ATI yast repository: "http://www2.ati.com/suse". The kernel module for DRI does not work with kernel 2.16.18-rc4.4 at the moment (08/27/06), thus also no DRI here when you want working ACPI (But: Maybe there is a similar way to get ACPI working with kernel 2.16.13 shipping originally with SUSE 10.1; with this kernel, DRI may work). Advantages of the proprietary ATI driver: External screen works, thus a must for presentations. Disadvantages: OpenGL applications crash after a few seconds (even without DRI), screen brightness cannot be changed at all. Useful hints are very welcome here too.

Special keys (WLan, volume, etc.): Don't work.


My first tests of both suspend to ram and to disk ended up in a crash (even without ACPI patch), thus there seems to be some more work required... Hints are very welcome.

Untested hardware

- WLan
- Bluetooth
- Modem
- Card reader
- Fingerprint reader
- Firewire
- TV-Out

Valuable hints can be found here: [5]

Last update: 08/27/2006