This article is based on my personal findings with the e627. A lot of people bought this model during a “Black Friday” sale at Wal-Mart. This model does not contain a webcam and some of the other specifics may vary. This is for the e627-5583, the ones bought on Black Friday are the e627-5279, and I'm not sure what other differences there are.
This page is just for discussing using Linux on the Acer eMachines E627. For a general discussion about this laptop you can visit the Acer eMachines E627 page on LapWik.
For full specifications see the Acer eMachines E627 specifications page.
|Name||Acer eMachines E627|
|Processor||AMD Athlon™ 64 single-core processor TF-20 (512 KB L2 cache, 1.60 GHz, DDR2 667 MHz, 15 W), supporting AMD HyperTransport™ 3.0 technology|
|Screen||15.6“ (1366×768) Widescreen|
|RAM||Up to 4GB|
|HDD||160GB to 500GB|
|Graphics||ATI Radeon™ HD 3200|
802.11b/g Wi-Fi CERTIFIED
|Processor||Generic AMD processor||Works as expected|
|Screen||1366×768 24 bit||No issues|
|Optical Drive||Works||No issues|
|Graphics||Works||Support in xorg's “radeon” or “radeonhd” driver|
|Sound||Works||Alsa's autodetection says it's an intel card|
|Ethernet||Works||Uses the atl1e module.|
|Wireless||Works||Broadcom proprietary driver, b43 (latest kernels)|
|USB||Works||Typical USB support|
|Card Reader||Not Tested|
|Webcam||Works||“webcam-uvc”, if your version of the e627 includes a cam|
Support for these laptops is still new in a lot of drivers in the kernel itself. A lot of things have been added to the kernel very recently to improve support, including new DRM code in the kernel to improve performance of the ATI card significantly.
The b43 driver in kernel 2.6.32 began supporting the B4312 wireless chip (14e4:4315) that the e627 uses. However, this is very basic support, it is not very fast and it's very buggy. I built the new 2.6.33 RC kernel, and it's much better in this version, it's actually useable.
Earlier distros or kernels can use the proprietary drivers from Broadcom. Your distro may have a package for this, so check with them first.
You can not run the broadcom driver and b43 together, so if you enable one, disable the other! b43 is the better driver, but you need the very latest kernel for it to work. If you cannot make b43 work, unfortunately, you're stuck with the Broadcom driver.
Note that many distros that will be released may not use the latest kernel, but may be using the new version of compat-wireless (which will make the b43 driver functional). Support will vary amongst different distros as the new code propagates, you'll need to investigate this on your own.
b43 uses the mac80211 stack, which allows for full functionality of the wifi chip, including injection and hidden access points.
Unconfirmed issues with ACPI that did not surface when only running Windows cause glitches that also affect Windows. For example, if your computer doesn't shut down from linux gracefully, hardware detection on reboot will cause it to shut off and restart, multiple times, on both windows and linux. Disabling ACPI doesn't solve this at kernel level, I believe there may be some sort of hardware glitch, either with my unit or every unit, if nobody else seems to have this problem, feel free to remove this.
Similar issues may also exist with the network card. While I ran an auto detection script, it detected the wrong module for my ethernet, which would cause the ethernet to shut down until power was removed from the adapter and battery. The script may be to blame, but if you're running into network issues, make sure the atl1e module is the one you're using.
It is possible to make the e627 work with Linux. Many distros may have perfect support for it, others might be unstable still. However, support is coming along at a great pace at the application and kernel level, so make sure you're running the latest stuff and you'll be good.