For those interested in the details of the AMD A10-4600M CPU, the following link is included:
Twenty five years ago I was putting desktops together with the then brand new AMD 386-SX chip, and came to understand very early on that AMD was a company very different from the more rigid and aloof Intel, and consistently moved out of Intel's looming shadow with innovative new ideas, and more bang for the buck than Intel has ever offered. Thus I was drawn to this laptop over any of the Intel models.
A bit of introduction is in order, seeing as this is my first post. I am (was) a Gen1 Rev 0 14 year old computer nerd with coke bottle glasses when I wrote my first line of straight octal machine code in April of 1964 for a Control Data PDP-8, which was mostly vacuum tubes. 22 years later, I was working at 3M in product development, but was the unofficial desktop guru, knew all the Peter Norton hacks, and was building desktops from parts to make 386-sx computers (with the AMD 386-sx CPU) for a third the cost of an original IBM PS/2 model 50, which was $5000. I remember seeing Windows 1.0 running on an IBM XT with a green Hercules monitor, and it was ugly beyond belief and had no added value over DOS 6.3 that I could see. Took me a long time to understand what kind of vision Bill Gates had with the Windows system. Learned C after 25 years of programming with GoTo statements, and it made my head hurt for months, but I did it. Lost my front seat on the technology curve when the internet showed up, and was just an aging user who is now a retired 63 year old. I was recently pushed into buying a new laptop by an old 2004 HP Pavilion that was more aged and feeble than me, and with supply running out at Best Buy, jumped on an m6-1105dx for $599 with the hopes that I could get it to run Windows 7. And thus my journey began...
Section 1: Getting a copy of Windows 7 and loading it on the system.
I rather quickly learned that there was NO support on the HP website for Windows 7 with this machine, and this produced a lot of anxiety and web surfing. Finally went and bought an OEM branded copy of Windows 7 Home Premium (64 bit) that was for Dell laptops for $70, and was assured that it would work. Got the disk fro Discountmountainsoftware.com, and I only mention them because I got the most outstanding service from them through all the trouble I was about to have. I either talked to Jessica or Constantine, and they were the most patient TS people I have ever encountered. Probably racked up about three hours of phone time, and they never told me to go away.
Halfway through this I had a full system crash after I got Windows 7 sort of running, and thought I was going to have to back to Windows 8. The HP TS people were fairly nice, I think they worked in China but spoke good English, and it was really telling when the tech I was working with confessed that she didn't like Windows 8 either, and ran Windows 7 x64 on her own system.
I'm sure there is a whole group of threads on the curious economics that Windows 8 has spawned, with OEM Windows 7 copies going for $70, full Microsoft copies going for $140, and then the vultures at Best Buy wanting $130 MORE to install YOUR copy of Windows 7 on your computer. A year ago, you got Windows 7 for FREE on anything, and now it can cost half of a $599 laptop to get it installed to replace the vile Windows 8??
So to get down to the nitty gritty, these are the steps to get Windows 7 actually installed: Power up the system, and keep tapping the F10 key until the BIOS setup appears. Go to System Configuration, and then down to Boot Options. There is an item labeled Secure Boot, and this needs to be Disabled. Next to that, there is an item labeled Legacy Support, and this needs to be Enabled. Once you have done this, the Legacy Boot Order will become active. You then need to change the order of the Notebook Hard Drive with Internal DVD Drive so the DVD drive is first, and then hit F10 to save changes and exit. You can change these two back to their original order once you get Windows 7 up and running.
You can then put the Windows 7 disk in the CD/DVD drive and start the computer, and wait for things to happen, which may be a good 10 minutes or more. A screen will come up asking whether you want Express or Custom Install, and you select Custom. Shortly thereafter, you will wind up with a partition list, and getting this wrong will derail you from going farther, so watch out! The top item is a partition you can't delete anyway, and you should leave it alone. The 2nd item down is Drive C (about 700 GB or so), and you want to leave this alone. The 3rd item is a small partition, and you want to Delete this one. The same is true for the 4th partition, and you want to Delete this one too. The 5th one is Drive D (5 GB) and this is the restore copy of Windows 8. You can delete it if you REALLY never want to go back to Windows 8, but it's only 5 gigs on a 3/4 TB drive, so I chose to leave it. You continue on from there, and after everything has loaded, the blessed Windows 7 symbol should show up on the next boot. My first screen after that does indeed announce that my HP Envy is a Dell, and there is supposedly something in the 3rd sub-basement down to change this, but why bother?
You should now have a fairly kick-ass high end graphics/gamer laptop running in Windows 7 64 bit mode with a lot of drivers missing, and that's covered in Section 2. In the meantime, go up on the web and get two Crucial 8 GB DDR3 memory chips from a 3rd party vendor to max out the memory on the system at 16 gigs. The stock install of 6 GB is a funky 4 GB and 2 GB chipset that isn't symmetric, and who wants something like that??
Part 2: Finding and Installing the right Windows 7 drivers
The first thing you need to do is get your wireless chip back running, and the driver you want is the Qualcomm Atheros AR9485 802 11b/g/n WiFi adapter for Windows 7, and you'll obviously have to download this off another system and then install it on the laptop. To take care of your Ethernet port connection, get the Windows 7 driver for the RealTek PCIe GBE Family Controller and install it. As you go through this process, you can look at the Device Manager and see the number of items with the hated yellow exclamation point disappearing from the list.
Next, there is the task of downloading all the updates to Win 7 HP SP1, and there are a little over a 100 waiting for you at the Microsoft Update website. You should check the list, and you will probably find a Synaptics Pointer Device Update, and you do NOT want to download this!! It will freeze just your touchpad because it's totally Windows 7 incompatible, and make you think you have had a full system freeze when in fact everything is fine EXCEPT the touchpad. (This is where I gave up the first time around, called HP, and went running back to Windows 8 for a day or so. ) If you have a USB mouse, plug it in to the USB 1.0 port (right side, back port) and you can back up the driver to what was there before, which is a MS PS/2 compatible mouse, (date 6/21/2006, v6.1.7600.16385) which seems to work just fine. Don't know about the fancy two finger vertical and horizontal expansions, but tapping works just fine anywhere on the touch pad, and if you want that other stuff then you probably like Windows 8 and aren't reading this to begin with. Keep this Synaptics driver in mind in case it ever downloads and freezes your touchpad. So let all the updates process, and then if you want to get ahead of the curve, go out and find the driver for supporting Version 4.0 of the .NET Framework, because you need that to load your AMD drivers and make them run right.
To take care of a rather simple driver that took a lot of time to find, you can get the Realtek RtsBaStor_6.2.8400.27028 driver for your SD card slot, and this is the ONLY driver out of 7 of them which will work!
As far as Windows updates, I also ran a 2012 Hotfix for Windows 7 x64 (Windows6.1-KB947821-v25-x64) which didn't appear to help a lot, but it's in there, and seeing as I have the whole laptop up and running, it may be an essential item but I didn't see an immediate effect.
Now for the good stuff! You go to the AMD drivers website and select Notebook, Radeon HD series, Radeon HD 7xxxM series, and Windows 7 64 bit. You will be directed to download a driver selector program, and the following program will wind up in your downloads: catalyst_mobility_64-bit_util.exe (Rev 13.1) When you run that, the programs should select the following file for you and download it: 13-1_vista_win7_win8_32-64_sb Running this should install the appropriate Readon drivers, and a bunch more good stuff too! The umbrella program that you wind up with besides the drivers is the AMD VISION Engine Control Center, and it lets you set clock rates for battery and wall power, and a lot of other things. You WILL want to pin this to your taskbar for one-click opening. You should go to the Device Driver to make sure Display Adapter is set to the Radeon HD 7660G driver, and you should be good to go. If you encounter any of those 4.0 .NET Framework error messages, then you will have to resolve that issue and try the AMD install again. You'll know you've got it when the whole AMD VISION engine screen pops up. There are apparently more things you can get from AMD for some of the high rate gaming programs, but I'm a little old for that stuff.
Now, if you surf the web looking for Windows 7 USB 3.0 drivers, you get a very mixed bag with no hard answers, and this laptop has THREE USB 3.0 ports. After some futile searching and downloading and fiddling, I was getting disgusted with ever finding the right drivers, and then I found what you have to do: NOTHING!! Turns out the AMD Catalyst software comes WITH the 3.0 drivers for this laptop, so they get locked into place automatically. And damn!!,are these ports fast!! Transferring gigs of data from on of the laptop ports to a 16 gig USB 2.0 stick is blisteringly fast, so AMD must have really optimized the code for this.
There are only two features that I had to leave behind with Windows 7, and one was the built in webcam, and does anybody really want to see what half a century of time does to a 14 year old nerd? I think not The other was the fingerprint scanning device, and if I worked for the NSA this might be very necessary. As someone who has done a lot of heavy work in their life and is missing half of the first three fingers of their left hand and has a permanent scar on the right index fingertip from sharpening a chainsaw blade, this device seems like a recipe to lose the only key to the castle.
That's about it for getting this shiny new turbocharged graphics toy running on a system this ISN'T optimized for the iPhone , and I suspect that this information may apply to other brands of computers using the AMD Trinity chipset. You generally build the motherboard around the CPU rather than the other way around, so the AMD chip is the system dog and the ancillary accessories are the system tail. In addition, it's particularly telling that while HP offers NO drivers with this laptop for Windows 7, the AMD drivers will support everything from Vista to Windows 8. Hmmmmmmm....
And finally, what does the oldest nerd on the block want with a graphics system like this, anyway? I've been into photography since 1974, and went digital in 2005, and recently upgraded to Corel PaintShoppro X4, which has an HDR (High Dynamic Range) module. Basically, you take three 12 megapixel images at different exposure levels, stack them on top of each other, and transform a 2-D flat pixel surface into a 3-D color topographic map. You can then flex this 3-D solid in a variety of ways, but if you're running 16 different presets to pick the best one, it can bring a normal graphics system to its knees. Thus my choice of a quad core CPU with the GPU attached. Two pictures are worth 2,000 words, and the first is a blahhh sunset shot that was too little too late, and by itself was a waste of time. The second is the HDR composite of the exact same shot. It's a whole new world out there, people...
Edited by Seismic Sam - 2/23/13 at 8:24pm