Laptop - Dell Latitude CPi D300XT (and maybe other CPi laptops...) - Tips and suggestions

Dell Latitude CPi D300XT (and probably other CPi laptops...) - Tips and suggestions

Documentation by dotpointer - 23:47 2008-09-13

This is a file with notes on using a 2.8kg Dell laptop with 300Mhz Pentium II CPU, 13,3" LCD, 256 SODIMM MB RAM and around 60-80 GB IDE disk. The system can take 2 batteries, or one battery and one 24x CD-rom-drive. If you want to use this laptop, then this documentation may be helpful.

Hardware - Maximize RAM and disk space

The 300 MHz CPU is slow and so is the 4200rpm harddrive with some few GB.
Memory is very small too in the beginning, about 64 MB.

If you want to use this system I recommend you to upgrade the RAM to it's maximum (256 MB) and to put in a 5400rpm disk.
Putting in a new disk improves the system and can in many - but absolutely not all - situations help the low CPU.
Another benefit is the sound - it gets more quiet. 

Maximum allowed disk size is about 60 GB, but running a 80 GB disk works fine. BIOS reports a disk with around 8000 MB but OS:es (Windows 98, Slackware) seems to see the correct values.

BIOS - Stay at A03 - Do not upgrade

Do not upgrade BIOS if you are using a too large harddrive (i.e. 80 GB). This makes BIOS menu freeze. Staying at A03 is fine. If you really want the latest BIOS I can tell you it works. Only the BIOS menu seems disturbed by the disk - removing the disk unfreezes the menu and battery status seems fine.

If you want to upgrade or downgrade BIOS you go to and fetch the desired BIOS. You will probably need to have a floppy drive (!) to use the files though. The files are packed in extractable floppy archive files. Typical icon for those files is a tilted blue floppy disk. You can try to rename the files to .zip instead of .exe to open them with WinZip or other ZIP-extractor.

I did not have any floppy drive for the CPi, so I ran the file on another computer with floppy, copied the extracted files to the CPi C:-root and then booted Windows 98 and held down F8. Then via the menu choose the raw DOS-mode and ran the files I put in C:-root - worked fine.

OS - Windows 98

The system is designed for this OS, so install it.'

OS - Slackware - with a little effort

Running setup makes the system freeze. By removing and connecting the in-bay-CD-rom(!) you unfreeze it. So whenever it tries to halt - plug out the CD-rom. Welcome to Dell...

The sound is Crystal sound, CS4236. It is actually a 4237+ or something, but using the 4236 module is good.
The sound is a bit bitchy and you need to fiddle with /etc/modprobe.d/isapnp to get it working.

Graphics is a NeoMagic and should not be a problem. Remember that you can't get higher than 1024x768 and 16-bit colour.

You need PIIX4, I2C support and other things.

This is a personal note. Last updated: 2015-06-11 23:58:49.


Don't forget to pay my friend a visit too. Joakim