Thursday, August 4, 2016

Linux Ubuntu 16.04 on Gigabyte Aero 14

I got myself a Gigabyte Aero 14 laptop. It's a nice little unit with a massive battery.
 
In Australia the unit only comes in black, with the nvidia 965M and 8GB RAM.
The SSD is a Transcend TS256GMTS800, at time of this writing the model was already no longer manufactured. Performance are sub-par (380MB/s read / 280MB/s write) being a SATA drive only, surely they could have fitted a NVMe one.
Luckily it has room for another one, and I fitted a Samsung 950 Pro, which surprisingly is performing as well as what it advertises (2.6GB/s read, 1.6GB/s write)

The keyboard has a nice touch, but suffers from a very painful design fault: some keys often do not register, despite being fully depressed. This is particularly noticeable with the space, shift and Del key if pressed on the side. The Del key being the worse. you have to press it hard, and right in the centre.

Installation


Now, how to install Ubuntu 16.04 on it.

Disable nvidia adapter in BIOS otherwise no live CD will boot (I tried every linux distributions to date until I found out that the problem was the nvidia graphic adapter).

Install as usual.

From time to time, the trackpad (an Elan) will no longer work upon rebooting. This happens if you ever performed a hard reset (with the power button). To fix that, boot into Windows 10 and reboot again under Linux. Very painful but I'm yet to find a nicer solution to it (not that I get the same issue with Windows 10 anniversary edition when coming out of hibernation)


Blacklist nouveau, machine will not boot otherwise if you enable the nvidia graphic adapter.
$ cat /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-nouveau.conf
blacklist nouveau
blacklist lbm-nouveau

Install nvidia drivers from graphic-drivers PPA:
https://launchpad.net/~graphics-drivers/+archive/ubuntu/ppa
Get 367.35 or later, will just hang shortly after booting. I've tried all nvidia proprietary drivers, and all suffered the same problem.

If you plan on installing Linux 4.7.0 that just came out: then also get the various Intel firmwares from https://01.org/linuxgraphics/intel-linux-graphics-firmwares
That is as of today:
bxtdmcver107.tar.bz2
skldmcver126.tar_1.bz2
kbldmcver101.tar.bz2
sklgucver61.tar.bz2

decompress them and run the install.sh script.

Note that once you install the nVidia drivers 367.35, I couldn't notice a difference between the stock 4.4.0, 4.6.4 and 4.7.0.

Battery Life

Battery life at first sucked big time, could hardly get more than 2-2.5 hours
Found on Reddit a thread about how to improve the battery life.

$ cat /etc/modprobe.d/i915.conf
options i915 enable_rc6=7 enable_fbc=1 lvds_downclock=1
$ update-initramfs -k all -u

setting enable_fbc tripled my battery life (over 6hours now easily). Deeper rc6 mode do not appear to be supported, and lvds_downclock isn't recognised, so you don't need that one.

 Suspend, reboot all work and so will hibernation (provided you have a swap partition bigger than your RAM size). However, when it resumes from hibernation, the trackpad no longer works and you have to reboot into Windows to get it working again.

Audio, input headset.


Plugging a combo headset/microphone into the 3.5 jack, I found that the external microphone didn't work.

To fix this I did the following:
% sudo apt install alsa-tools-gui
% hdajackretask

There click on "Show unconnected pin"
Search for Pin ID 0x19, check override and select "Microphone", click on apply now.
For the change to remain permanent, click on "Install Boot Override" and reboot.

Now in the sound settings, the input VU-metre will show the level of the external microphone. When holding the button on my headset (which normally would mute my iPhone), it will show the input level of the internal microphone (next to the webcam)


That's all for now.

6 comments:

  1. any updates with the battery life?

    also your cat commands don't work?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Will this work with the GTX 1060 version? Cheers and thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've tried this on the newer gtx1060 laptop and it seems like a slight improvement but not seeing over 4 hours of battery life (only using intel graphics), any suggestions?

    ReplyDelete
  4. there is how to get trackpad work:
    1.edit /etc/default/grub
    2.under GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT
    3.add "i8042.kbdreset=1"
    4.save & quit
    5.sudo update-grub
    restart and enjoy

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi,

    Thank you for the tips - the battery life suggestion worked super-well for me!

    I’ve recently purchased an Aero 15 laptop, and – after much trial and error – successfully installed Ubuntu on it.

    In my opinion, the best way to deal with the integrated/dedicated graphics issue (which can be a real pain to deal with) is to simply *disable* the dedicated Nvidia card in the UEFI (BIOS) *before* installing Ubuntu, and reactivating it *after* the installation is complete. (Just to be sure, I did the same thing with the Secure Boot function – disable it *before* installing, reactivating it *after* the installation is complete – from the UEFI/Bios.)

    Ubuntu will automatically ignore the NVidia card every time it boots after the installation, regardless of its state. It’s an easy and efficient way of saving a lot of battery power (easily above 8 hrs for me), and it poses absolutely no difficulty – the installation runs very smoothly and the OS works like a charm. Of course I’m no longer able to use the NVIdia dedicated card on Ubuntu – but I have Windows installed on the other partition for all that, right?

    Cheers,

    G.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Update: Apologies -- I was too excited about this possible fix for the NVIDIA/Intel conflict, so that I didn't test it enough before posting. It has stopped working this morning. However, I managed to get the same results by installing bumblebee (and bumblebee *only*, without any additional packages: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Bumblebee) and setting up bbswitch (https://github.com/Bumblebee-Project/bbswitch). I've also turned off the nouveau drivers in the GRUB (https://askubuntu.com/questions/757177/disable-nvidia-optimus-graphics-card). The results are the same. :)

      G.

      Delete