MS-1013 - Ubuntu

This document describes my currently installed system. Older versions of the document are available and should also be consulted. I will try to keep this one up to date but I will "forget" things. Please so the older ones for more complete information.

The MS-1013 is sold in a number of forms and often goes under the name Megabook S270. This hardware is also sold as a barebones system which is rather rare or laptops. It is the only laptop I found with an AMD64 CPU and a 12 inch screen.

As of January 2006 there are many online retailers that will allow you to customize your laptop. I purchased mine from AVADirect and have been happy with it so far. Besides picking all the components you can also pick the OS you want. In my case that was none! RedHat was an inexpensive option and, though I don't want to use it, in retrospect it probably would have helped having a working configuration on the machine to look at while trying to get some things working. In the end it wasn't necessary, it may have sped things up a little though.

The information provided here is a collection of things I learned/discovered while getting this laptop working. Although I try to provide all the relevant details I do not provide a step by step guide.

Document Status

Older Versions


I have recently upgraded to Ubuntu 8.04, "Hardy Heron", AMD64 variant on the machine. Roughly speaking everything works and the upgrade was straightforward. Roughly since the wireless configuration changed and required update/modifications by hand. Furthermore converting to pulse audio required some work and getting compiz running required modifying the start up wrapper.


In this system is the following hardware:

      MS-1013 Turion64 Ultraportable Series Laptop, 12.1" WXGA LCD, ATI Radeon Xpress 200M Graphics
      AMD, Turion 64 MT-34 1.8GHz, 1MB L2 cache, 25W
      DDR400, 1GB DDR 400MHz PC-3200 SDRAM SODIMM, Non-ECC
      FUJITSU, 80GB MHT2080AH, 5400-RPM, 8MB cache, 9.5mm, EIDE
      MICROSTAR, MP54GBT2 Combo Wireless-G + Bluetooth Adapter, IEEE 802.11b/g 11/54Mbps, MiniPCI (for MSI n/b only)

Other Details

For gory details you can view the lspci -v and /proc/cpuinfo output.


As noted above almost everything on the laptop just works in the default Ubuntu install. Everything that I have tried works after some tweaks. Here is a brief summary of the tweaks. More details are given below.


For the configuration described here I am using BIOS version 4.30 which was the latest as of 10 January 2006. I upgraded this from 4.10 which had been on the machine. You can find more information from MSI. Be aware that there are two versions of the BIOS, a 6.x series and a 4.x series. Please carefully read their information to determine whether you have the RS480 or RS482 chipset.

Note that to upgrade your bios you can boot from a USB flash drive. The MS-1013 will only show this boot option in the BIOS boot menu if the USB drive is plugged in at boot and if it has a bootable image on it. Under Linux I just used dd to write such an image to the drive. You can find images in lots of places including Bootdisk.Com. Make sure you copy the new bios and flash utility to the drive before you reboot.

CPU Speed Control

The CPU speed is controlled by powernowd. The default mode is to run at the lowest speed (lowest power consumption) when the machine is idle, to step it up as demand increases, and to step it back down as demand lessens. Some of this can be controlled by configuring powernowd, see its manpage for more details. This is installed and run by default.

Video Driver

There are two options for driving the video display. The first is to use the open source driver (installed by default). The second is to install the proprietary driver. You may also want to read about my DVD playing experiences when decided which driver to use. I have chosen to just use the fglrx driver. If you want more information on other drivers see my old Breezy page.

Proprietary fglrx Driver

ATI does release a binary only driver that works with this card. You can install different versions of this. If you want to install the fglrx driver you should read the Ubuntu Howto.

Ubuntu package

Typically one just has to install the prebuilt package that comes with Ubuntu: just apt-get install xorg-driver-fglrx. This also requires one to install linux-restricted-modules-kernver-generic. Here kernver is the kernel version you are using.


To get compiz working there is a good article from the Ubuntu forums. The first page of the forum contains all the information needed.


The sound card is supported by alsa using the snd_atiixp It worked without further configuration from me. Note that you also have to make sure that the External Amplifier is turned on. You can check this with alsamixer, for example. I believe it was for me but I don't remember.

Pulse Audio

Pulse Audio is a new sound system that ships with hardy. It provides some advantages to prior sound systems. In the upgrade not everything required gets installed. For more details see the Wiki entry on this topic to get it fully working.


The miniPCI card includes a Ralink RT2500 WLAN device. This is supported without changes by an opensource driver. In Gutsy the name of the device is now wlan0 (in the past it was known as ra0). The default driver did not work! I had to build the correct module by hand. I presume this will have to be done in the future whenever the kernel is upgraded (unless the kernel package fixes this in the future).

Unfortunately this isn't quite enough. The module doesn't compile. The reason for this is is the SET_MODULE_OWNER is no longer defined in the kernel. Thus it should be commented out from rtmp_main.c. This is a known problem. The code for the new Ralink driver should be fixed in the 2.6.25 kernel, unfortunately there are no plans to backport this fix. For now we can hope the compilation bug in the rt2500 module gets fixed soon.


I have verified that the miniPCI card installed is the MP54GBT2 (aka MS6533B). This contains bluetooth. The vendor claims it was tested under windows and worked (I have no way of confirming this). I have not been able to get it to work under Linux. The expectation is that it should be controlled by the hci-usb module (that is, the bluetooth is implemented as a usb device). However I see no new usb device when I load this module. I have found a report with working bluetooth. I'm not sure if this is the same device as I have. I expect it should work and I just got screwed by my vendor.

ACPI/Extra Buttons

No tweaks were made to acpi. The email and web buttons work by default (using your gnome preferences for your email client and web browser). The "wireless" button toggles the wireless LED (on the bottom, furthest to the right) but doesn't do anything else. It does not generate an acpi keycode so it is not handled by the acpi system. I don't know how to check the state of the LED. Using setkeycodes you can cause it to generate a keycode that can be assigned to a task (through a gnome keybinding, for example) though I haven't done this. The last button for bluetooth does nothing. I thought it was suppose to change the color of the wireless LED to indicate that bluetooth was active. This concerns me a little as there were some mini PCI cards that were originally shipped with the MS-1013 that were suppose to include bluetooth support but they didn't work with the motherboard. Again it isn't controlled by acpi but a key binding can be assigned to it.

Touch Pad

Works with no changes. This includes scrolling. It is controlled by the xorg-driver-synaptics package, I think, which was installed by default for me.

Suspend and Hibernate

Both suspend (to RAM) and hibernate (to disk) work using the built in software suspend.

For Gutsy see information about the video driver to get suspend and hibernate working with the fglrx driver.

By default suspend (to RAM) isn't turned on. Edit /etc/default/acpi-support and uncomment the ACPI_SLEEP=true line. After this when you login to gnome the logout options will include both Suspend and Hibernate.


Works with no changes. This includes highspeed USB2.0 devices.


Works. I found for my external hard drive I had to turn it on first, then plug in the firewire otherwise it wasn't reliably detected/automounted.


Hmm, so, there does appear to be a modem in the machine. This means I haven't looked at it. I haven't even considered looking at it. I expect it requires some proprietary driver. I have no reason to test it and expect I won't.

Other Configuration Notes

There are many other things I have done in configuring this laptop/Ubuntu. Not everything is ideal but I'm continually surprised by how many things work and how well.

32 Bit Environment

In general 32 bit programs "just work". It is best to search the Ubuntu Forums for specific programs you want. Installing flashplugin-nonfree gives you flash. You can install acroread etc.

DVD Playing

Playing DVDs works great on this laptop, however, some configuration is needed. This includes both the dvd device and the video driver choice. For the player I use totem. I would expect any of the many other choices (gxine, mplayer, ogle, vlc, etc.) to work fine too. It is necessary to install the libdvdcss2 package, and follow its instructions, to play encrypted dvds that you have legally obtained and legally want to view (yes, it is a shame that one must still go through this step).

Craig J Copi |
TuxMobil - Linux on Laptops, Notebooks, PDAs and Mobile Phones
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