HP Compaq nx5000

With the nx5000, HP gets closer than anyone has yet to a general-purpose business PC running Linux.

We covered HP's new Linux laptop at LinuxWorld in August 2004, and they loaned us one for a full review that fall. The nx5000 is a mid-size business notebook PC with a base weight of 5.75 pounds and a base price of $1,199. Display choices are XGA (1024×768) or SXGA+ (1400×1050), for an additional $75. Our review unit had the 1400×1050 screen and a combo DVD/CD-RW drive and weighed in at 2.85kg, or 6.28lb. The processor was a 1.4GHz Intel Pentium M. The nx5000 comes with 256MB to 2GB of memory, and ours had 512MB. A subset of SuSE 9.1 Professional is preinstalled and two CDs are included.

Physical layout is thoughtful, with a good-size keyboard. As on many laptops, the Ctrl keys are undersized and squeezed into the corner of the bottom row with a bunch of other modifiers. For regular use, you'll want to swap Caps Lock and Ctrl. The Escape key is undersized but in a convenient place above the tilde, and the backslash/pipe key is big and where it belongs, above Enter.

Overall size is larger than lightness-crazed road-warrior types will be comfortable with, but if you're transporting it only for commuting or occasional trips, the extra size and weight could be a good trade-off for you.

HP claims a full working day of battery life with both batteries installed, but laptop battery life is a notorious “your mileage may vary” measurement. Under light use with wireless on, including some text editing, Web surfing, listening to Internet radio and uploading the photo for this article, the nx5000 with one battery lasted more than 4.5 hours. HP installs Thomas Renninger's powersave dæmon, which is a nice touch.

Hardware Support

The Atheros a/b/g card was not configured out of the box, but a quick point-and-click session to set it to DHCP brought it up on an 802.11b network. The installed Atheros driver is proprietary. There's one other proprietary module installed, the slamr module for Winmodem support.

Laptop audio is usually tinny and awful, but the nx5000's speakers, branded with a JBL Pro logo, are consumer audio quality and plenty good enough for Internet radio, playing games or watching a DVD. If you use the nx5000 as your home entertainment system too, the weight starts to look not so bad. Speaking of watching DVDs, the included DVD-playing software is InterVideo's LinDVD, which is DVD CCA-licensed. Playback was smooth, even with tasks running in the background. For day-to-day use, it might be more practical to swap out the DVD drive for the extra battery, use an independently developed DVD player that lets you play movies from the hard drive and simply connect an external drive when needed.

The volume controls for the speakers and headphones work separately, and the KDE volume control is configured to control speaker volume only. We had to go to the YaST volume settings control panel to turn up the headphones. This is a little confusing to start with, but the right thing for those times when you want to listen in private and not annoy everyone else in the library or café when you forget to plug in the headphones and an instant message comes in. A little user-interface help is needed here.


Everything onboard works, but how well is the system configured to work with the external USB devices that are your eyes and ears on the road?

We plugged in a brand-new Canon PowerShot S410 camera and fired up the preinstalled Digikam to pull the photos off with no configuration needed.

Plugging in a Sony DCR-HC20 MiniDV camcorder meant a little command-line work. The IEEE 1394 modules were installed, and following the instructions in Marcel's column in the December 2004 issue, we modprobed them in. Kino was not installed, but we brought in a copy from a SuSE 9.1 Professional DVD and captured some video.

It's understandable that a nonlinear video editing tool is missing from a default laptop install, but also strangely missing was OpenSSH, which people at Linux Journal use constantly. We pulled that in from the SuSE DVD as well. If you invest in this laptop, you also might want to pick up a copy of the full distribution so that you can get your favorite tools just as easily.



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l cant fine of my laptop drivers*hp compaq nx5000

sandra darkson's picture

please help me to fine these drivers for my laptop
2.sound drivers
thank very much...hope to hear from u very soon..

I can help you!!!

Anonymous's picture

I can help you... i can send you a CD with all those drivers I have the same computer, I can make a back up and send it to you, I just need your adrees to ship it to you.


drivers hp compaq nx5000

haboub01's picture

I need the driver of the network nx5000 for my laptop , please lead me to it.

Would SuSE 9.2 Pro work?

Paul's picture


Would SuSE 9.2 Pro installed over the top of the 9.1 install work?
Do you know if HP will start using 9.2 in the future?


nx5000 - my experience

jlarry's picture

First, My unit is almost identical to th review unit, except its 1.6GHz and has bluetooth.

I bought this because a review said everything worked. Well, not out of the box, but indeed everything does work. IrDA (SIR only), bluetooth, modem, wifi, ethernet, serial, parallel, USB, Firewire, S-video out.

There's no internal Microphone, but the modem is a complete voice/fax/data modem, and most of the source code (maybe all?) is available from the vendor. Similarly, the Atheros Wifi driver is mostly source-code available (there is one piece the US FCC will not allow to be released as source code). Again, the vendor will steer you to it. Also, the modem driver daemon works quite well with the standard intel8x0m module, so the proprietary modules aen't really necessary. Note that HP has provided the module source code where available, ready to rebuild, in usr/src/kernel-modules.

LinDVD seems to have trouble with 1400X1050, but the open-source player works OK. However, the lock-ups really happen. I think it is a video memory allocation problerm, but don't have any real evidence.

Fedora Core 3 works OK, except for xorg - which is a guaranteed lock-up. The older XFree86 SuSE supplies has the problem very rarely.

All in all, I'm very happy with the computer, but I've spent a LOT of time trying to find the elusive lock-up.

RE:nx5000 - my experience

Anonymous's picture


Can you send me any kind of directives concerning S-Video out and irda configuration. I have Debian Testing installed on my laptop.


Hot swap??

Bustoff's picture


When you say swap the CD/DVD for the battery, is that a hot swap with some KDE/Gnome software knowing what is going on? Or worse yet, do you need to power down the machine to swap? Also, when using two batteries does the battery monitor show them both or does it simply add up both battery times and treat them as one battery?


about how to buy a battery for my hp compaq nx 5000

mystov's picture

Please i am from morocco i have a portable hp compaq nx 5000 i want to buy a new battery by internet but i don t know how . please help me

RE: The Compaq FTP server: A link worth remembering

compaq battery's picture

If you need a new laptop battery, I suggest you could puechase one from http://www.batteryfast.com , which would shipping to yu fast and the quality is satisfy satisfied.:)