Saturday, April 10, 2010

So Many Cores, So Little Time

My new work laptop is a ThinkPad W510... a Core i7 Q 720 at 1.6GHz. It has four hyperthreaded cores which /proc/cpuinfo allows me to monitor as eight... meaning my system monitor looks awesome.

Now I'm at the bleeding edge (I guess) of hardware, as now everything requires the latest drivers. I had to manually acquire the firmware for my wireless NIC from Intel directly, then build the Linux wireless drivers from source and install them. Luckily the process was surprisingly easy... it was just that I had to track down and download kernel sources, the GCC build chain, firmware and the wireless driver package without Internet access on the laptop. Still, once that was done the Linux wireless source configure/build/install was quick and easy.

I also had to go directly to NVIDIA's beta driver portal and get the very latest binary drivers for the GPU as well... the console itself was being corrupted by display errors. Again, not hard to fix, just another step.

In the age of everything "just working" on Linux distros I was glad to see that the ancient art of configure/make/make install is still being practiced... in fact it works better than ever.

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