Article published by: Leah Rowe
Date of publication: 9 May 2023
Update: Nvidia GPU variants of Latitude E6400 are, as of 11 September 2023, fully supported in the
master branch of lbmk (Libreboot build system); however, the same
e6400_4mb target shall provide for both variants. In releases, the necessary VGA ROM is absent but can be added using the
inject command documented here - or you can just build lbmk from source, and it gets inserted automatically via download. The same ROM, if it contains the Nvidia VGA ROM, supports both variants; if the VGA ROM is missing, then only the Intel GPU variant is supported. The same ROM will work on both variants, provided for by Libreboot patching the devicetree in coreboot, on this mainboard.
Dell Latitude E6400 with Intel GMA 4500MHD graphics was added, and included in Libreboot release 20230423 or newer. Today, experimental support is now available for variants with GPU: Nvidia Quadro NVS 160M. The Dell Latitude 6400 XFR (rugged variant) was also tested today (Intel graphics) and confirmed working in Libreboot as of release 20230423.
The Nvidia variants are not supported in Libreboot 20230423 or 20230625. Support is available in an experimental branch of Libreboot. 6400 XFR testing+photo provided, courtesy Mark Cornick (
mcornick on Libreboot IRC).
This section also applies to E6400 XFS and ATG models. Testers are needed!.
Some models of Dell Latitude E6400 have Nvidia Quadro NVS 160M graphics device, instead of Intel GMA 4500MHD. The initial Libreboot port of Dell E6400 only supported models with Intel graphics, but experimental support for Nvidia graphics now exists, in a WIP branch of Libreboot.
Nicholas Chin, author of the original Dell E6400 port, has been helping me and I’ve been working on this experimental branch of Libreboot under his guidance:
These patches were already merged in Libreboot’s master branch, which the changes in the WIP branch rely upon:
bios_extractutilities in lbmk: https://browse.libreboot.org/lbmk.git/commit/?id=6d0ff0286451dc43d32428a44a68d07bc13c058a
Ongoing development discussion is available, on the Libreboot bug tracker. See:
For more information about the Nvidia GPU variants, please review the following pages (which have been updated, while publishing this news article):
Nouveau is the libre driver in Linux, for Nvidia graphics. Nvidia themselves do not provide binary drivers anymore, for these GPUs. It crashes in Linux, when you try to start Xorg (Wayland is untested).
If you’re booting an Nvidia variant in Linux, boot Linux with the
nomodeset kernel option at boot time. This means that graphics are rendered in software.
Development discussion, for Nvidia variants of E6400, is available here:
OpenBSD 7.3 was tested, on my Nvidia-model E6400, and Xorg works OK with the
OpenBSD is a complete free 4.4BSD Unix operating system focused on portability, security and code correctness. It’s quite useable for most day to day tasks.
You can find information in Libreboot about BSD operating systems on the main guide:
At the time of writing this post, FreeBSD and newer Linux have not yet been tested (I plan to test Arch Linux), but the older Linux/Mesa version in Debian 11.6 works just fine in the Dell BIOS, and I’ve confirmed that it uses the exact same Video BIOS Option ROM.
We also found out about this model; it’s another rugged design, assumed to be the same board as regular E6400, but testing is needed. If it’s anything to go by, this model shares the same service manual as the regular E6400. If you have this board, please get in touch!
ATG is basically just a thicker chassis. It seems to use the same/similar heatsink compared to E6400 XFR.
Were you expecting more?
Well, that’s all for now.
Stay tuned for further development.
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