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W530/K2000M + Linux + external monitor still a problem?

W530/W540/W541/W550 Series
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atagunov
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W530/K2000M + Linux + external monitor still a problem?

#1 Post by atagunov » Mon Apr 05, 2021 4:04 pm

Hi,

I just purchased a W530 because I wanted 32Gb under Linux; I'll be waiting for delivery a few more days
However it has come to my attention that there were lots of problems with Linux drivers for that K2000M

Of course you can switch video card in BIOS to "Integrated"
But then apparently you loose ability to use an external monitor

Does anybody know if a solution has been found?
Has a suitable nVidia driver been discovered?

I heard that one trouble with drivers was that W530 would run hot under Linux..
Is anybody successfully running W530 under Linux with an external monitor and virtualization enabled in BIOS?

P.S. it seems there is a chance latest nVidia drivers will work, but I think running on nVidia would still yield a more power-hungry and hotter machine than it could be; I certainly don't want to mess with 8-year old dead Bumblebee; so
- nVidia drivers may work but may also fail
- they mean hotter and more noisy machine
- when on the go I'd have to go to BIOS every time to toggle to "Integrated" (well that's not often, this machine is normally parked at my desk)
- those drivers are opaque blobs

It seems there is a lot of motivation for downgrading to T530. Even if it means going from 32Gb to 16Gb RAM :(
X220, 2 *T520

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Re: W530/K2000M + Linux + external monitor still a problem?

#2 Post by m11k » Wed Apr 07, 2021 4:30 pm

I've been using a W530 with a K2000M as my daily driver for work for the past month or two. The ability to have 32GB of RAM was the primary reason for this switch. I use it on a dock (4338-35U I think). I'm running Debian Testing (Bullseye) with the Debian NVIDIA drivers from the non-free repo (which are currently at 460.56). Don't believe the warning that this driver is incompatible with this card. It 100% works. No special setup needed. I think the warning comes from the fact that NVidia doesn't include the K2000M in the list of compatible cards, but they do include the K2000, which I assume is practically identical probably except for a PCI ID. I did test nouveau a year or so ago when I first bought the laptop, but I don't remember what specific issues I had. I'm using MATE as my desktop environment.

I use the laptop primarily on the dock with the lid closed. I have the BIOS set to "discrete" mode. I have two external monitors connected via the dock, one on DVI and one on displayport. Both are 1920x1200. These work pretty well. I did at one point test three displays (the laptop's built in display along with the two external displays) and IIRC this worked perfectly. I have even been able to undock, open the lid, and continue using the laptop (although IIRC it suspended after undocking). It stays docked 99.9% of the time though. I do have issues with the external monitors not being able to go into power-save, but I think this is a screensaver issue and not a hardware issue. I can suspend them manually via 'xset dpms force off', or by setting the timer with 'xset dpms 0 0 600' (to suspend after 10 minutes of inactivity). As a workaround, I have MATE configured to suspend the entire laptop after an hour of inactivity. That does work, and the displays go into power save mode when the laptop suspends.

I did have an issue with the laptop suspending on its own every time the system would boot up, and again when I would log out. I traced this to a systemd setting. Apparently the thinkpad docks aren't considered "docks" in the proper sense, so the systemd rule to suspend the system whenever the display is closed kicks in. Normally that rule is disabled when a system is docked, but as I said thinkpad docks aren't considered docks (they're considered "port extenders"). The workaround is to add "HandleLidSwitch=ignore" to /etc/systemd/logind.conf. Details here: https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=1358306.

Back when I was using it as a laptop without any external displays, I would set the BIOS to "optimus" mode. This also worked great. Nothing special was needed. The most recent nvidia drivers basically "just work" in optimus mode. I could keep nvidia card powered down most of the time, and when I wanted to launch a game with 3d acceleration, I would do it via a 'nv-run.sh' wrapper script. I posted about that recently here on this forum: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=132136#p855675. I'm sure at some point I tried using the external displays with the graphics on optimus mode, but I don't recall what issues I had. I think Xorg didn't start up correctly in that mode. Since I use it primarily on a dock now, I'm okay with keeping the BIOS set to "discrete" mode, and to be honest on those rare occasions when I have undocked it the additional power draw of the NVidia card wasn't that noticeable.

Overall I'm pretty happy with this setup and have been using it for work and videoconferencing (MS Teams) with a USB webcam. Aside from the fan kicking in fairly regularly, it's been working well. Let me know if there's anything specific I can answer!

The biggest downside of this laptop in general is the power draw. It's a pain in the neck because it requires a special 170W power adapter and refuses to be powered from anything less than that. You can charge it while powered off with a smaller adapter, but it switches to battery mode if you turn it on while plugged in. I can only get 1-2 hours of battery life w/ a 9-cell in good shape, as opposed to my T430 which can get 4-6 hours on that same battery. The trade off of course is double the number of CPU cores and double the RAM compared to the T430, which is pretty nice. I got a little scared sometimes because when the CPU really gets going, the temps shoot up to around 93-95C, and the fan is screaming. It at least seems stable even when running that hot, and when idle temps are back around 50C.
Daily Driver: W530
Regular Rotation: T601F (Intel), T601F (NVidia), Corebooted X230 & T430, X1C 5th gen
Spares: T450, T460s
For fun: 600X w/ 850MHz CPU, 390E

atagunov
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Re: W530/K2000M + Linux + external monitor still a problem?

#3 Post by atagunov » Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:06 am

Thanks a lot m11k for all details, this helps. Interesting details on sporadic going to sleep because the dock is considered a port replicator.

My current plan btw is

- keep graphics in "Integrated" mode all the time
- build a silent eGPU out of a low-power well-supported AMD card and attach it via ExpressCard each time I dock

I expect to bust the ExpressCard slot eventually by connecting/disconnecting, but c'est la vie, the machine needs to live for me not me for her :-D
m11k wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 4:30 pm
Back when I was using it as a laptop without any external displays, I would set the BIOS to "optimus" mode. This also worked great. Nothing special was needed. The most recent nvidia drivers basically "just work" in optimus mode. I could keep nvidia card powered down most of the time, and when I wanted to launch a game with 3d acceleration, I would do it via a 'nv-run.sh' wrapper script.
Interesting! I am wondering how much power use would differ between using "optimus" - like you do - and "integrated" mode though. Suppose you never run anything via 'nv-run.sh'? Wouldn't you save power by going to "Integrated" instead?
m11k wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 4:30 pm
The biggest downside of this laptop in general is the power draw. It's a pain in the neck because it requires a special 170W power adapter and refuses to be powered from anything less than that
Right, I was considering doing what @wrybread had done in viewtopic.php?t=131940
I'm probably going to put a 1.5k resistor inside the laptop, should be easy to attach to the power socket wires
At the same time I can completely disconnect the central pin - just cut that wire off the socket

Then whichever charger I connect the EC will think it's a 170Wt
The idea here is that since my nVidia graphics is going to be always disabled overall power draw might be within 90Wt charger capabilities..
I will just need to be careful never to plug a 60Wt one by accident

I might end up also purchasing a 135Wt square head charger and attaching a round head plug to it
I think this 135Wt should be a bit lighter/smaller than round-head 170Wt one and yet more capable than the 90Wt one
m11k wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 4:30 pm
I can only get 1-2 hours of battery life w/ a 9-cell in good shape, as opposed to my T430 which can get 4-6 hours on that same battery. The trade off of course is double the number of CPU cores and double the RAM compared to the T430, which is pretty nice. I got a little scared sometimes because when the CPU really gets going, the temps shoot up to around 93-95C, and the fan is screaming
This is very-very sad... :( Why is it so bad?.. Does T430 not have a 35Wt CPU? Which CPU have you got in your W530 btw? I've got one with i7-3720qm sitting here waiting for me to work on it.. This is a 45Wt part. Are these 10Wt making so much difference?

I think my T520 did deliver over 2 hours with i5-2520M when on a 9-cell battery. Maybe not 4 and definitely not 6. I think my battery is reported to be at 80-85% of its design capacity.
There is also this i7-3632qm 35Wt.. I hope (and somewhat continue to hope) that possibly by constraining the power of CPU via /etc/tlp.conf I'd able to make i7-3720qm operate within i7-3632qm "envelope"...
I was also hoping that under normal conditions - nothing too heavy running with W530 would be a cool and silent machine..
That's a big part of my motivation in adding the eGPU - I don't want to hear the fan at all to be honest
I'm not hearing it much with T520 and I wanted to keep it that way :)
I also hoped to get a machine capable of 4 hours on batt with graphics in "Integrated"

I was considering ways to rip off that nVidia chip btw but concluded it's impossible at normal human's ability

P.S. Have you applied '1vyrain' ? I'm going to run both T530 and W530 and because of vague plans to Hackintosh the T530 I'm looking at '1vyrain'. I also have that Pomona clip ordered for another project.. Ah yes I'll need classic keyboards on both T530 and W530 too.

P.P.S. I put that W530 mobo "for sale" in another thread - but will probably keep it punting on eGPU to keep the noise down
X220, 2 *T520

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Re: W530/K2000M + Linux + external monitor still a problem?

#4 Post by m11k » Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:14 pm

atagunov wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:06 am
build a silent eGPU out of a low-power well-supported AMD card and attach it via ExpressCard each time I dock
What advantage would this have over just enabling discrete graphics whenever you need to attach an external monitor? It sounds like it would be more expensive and more effort.
atagunov wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:06 am
I am wondering how much power use would differ between using "optimus" - like you do - and "integrated" mode though. Suppose you never run anything via 'nv-run.sh'? Wouldn't you save power by going to "Integrated" instead?
I never explicitly tested this, but I think in theory the power usage in "optimus" mode is supposed to be roughly the same as in "integrated" mode if you're not running anything on the GPU directly. It should in theory enter a deep sleep mode and consume negligible power. Please report back findings if you do test this.
atagunov wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:06 am
I'm probably going to put a 1.5k resistor inside the laptop, should be easy to attach to the power socket wires
I didn't feel comfortable with a hack like this, and I rarely need to carry around the power adapter with me, since it stays plugged into a single spot most of the time, with brief trips around the house while unplugged. I've also mitigated this a little by managing to find a 27++ slice battery in good shape. This isn't compatible with the W530 out of the box, but after the EC mod to disable battery validation, it works very well.
atagunov wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:06 am
Does T430 not have a 35Wt CPU? Which CPU have you got in your W530 btw? I've got one with i7-3720qm sitting here waiting for me to work on it.. This is a 45Wt part. Are these 10Wt making so much difference?
I don't know why the battery life is so much shorter. I'm sure the bigger screen is at least a small factor. My W530 has an i7-3840QM, which is a 45W part. It's been a while since I measured exact battery life on the 9-cell. I might be underestimating things a little.
atagunov wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:06 am
P.S. Have you applied '1vyrain' ? I'm going to run both T530 and W530 and because of vague plans to Hackintosh the T530 I'm looking at '1vyrain'. I also have that Pomona clip ordered for another project.. Ah yes I'll need classic keyboards on both T530 and W530 too.
I did do the 1vyrain bios hack. I have no plans to hackintosh anything, but I wanted the ability to switch out the wifi card for a non-lenovo card. I did put a classic keyboard on the W530, so I first did the EC mod to apply the keyboard overrides and disable battery validation, and then installed 1vyrain. It was a bit of a pain getting the BIOS and EC versions right for the EC mod and 1vyrain, since 1vyrain requires an older BIOS. I kept some notes about the whole process on the W530. I'll paste them here in case they are useful for you:

Code: Select all

W530 EC mod and 1vyrain process
===============================

System came with the newest bios.  Tried to downgrade BIOS/EC to 2.75.  This didn't downgrade the EC.  
Then tried to downgrade to 2.74.  This worked.

Used thinkpad-ec to install EC mod for keyboard and battery whitelist.  
This installed as normal using the 2.74 BIOS image.
https://github.com/hamishcoleman/thinkpad-ec

1vyrain:
Downgraded bios to 2.58 according to 
https://github.com/gch1p/thinkpad-bios-software-flashing-guide#ivy-bridge-series-x230-t430-etc:
1. Downloaded 2.58 BIOS image from Lenovo web site (g5uj21us.iso)
2. geteltorito -o ./bios.img g5uj21us.iso
3. sudo mount -t vfat ./bios.img /mnt -o loop,offset=16384
4. modify the last line of /mnt/AUTOEXEC.BAT
   Change from 'command.com'
   to 'dosflash.exe /sd /file G5ET98WW\$01D5200.FL1'
5. sudo umount /mnt
6. sudo dd if=bios.img of=/dev/sdb bs=1M
7. sync
8. Reboot into BIOS, set startup mode to Both/Legacy First (this is what it was set to).
9. Save changes and reboot.  Boot from USB flash and let BIOS flashing proceed.
10. After flashing complete, change startup mode in BIOS to Both/UEFI first (needed for 1vyrain bootloader).
11. Download the 1vyrain iso image from https://1vyra.in (also see https://github.com/n4ru/1vyrain/)
12. Verify md5sum of downloaded iso image
13. Write image to flash drive: dd if=1vyrain.iso of=/dev/sdb bs=1M
14. sync
15. Reboot (make sure UEFI mode is enabled).
16. Boot to USB drive and follow on screen instructions
Daily Driver: W530
Regular Rotation: T601F (Intel), T601F (NVidia), Corebooted X230 & T430, X1C 5th gen
Spares: T450, T460s
For fun: 600X w/ 850MHz CPU, 390E

atagunov
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Re: W530/K2000M + Linux + external monitor still a problem?

#5 Post by atagunov » Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:24 pm

atagunov wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:06 am
build a silent eGPU out of a low-power well-supported AMD card and attach it via ExpressCard each time I dock
m11k wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:14 pm
What advantage would this have over just enabling discrete graphics whenever you need to attach an external monitor?
I actually perceive two advantages:

- lesser important one: I won't have the hassle of entering BIOS and tweaking the setting - the only hassle I'll have will be removing ExpressCard slot plug, putting it into a drawer and plugging in the ExpressCard with eGPU cable; reverse action on undocking

- more important one: when docked W530 will not be generating any heat off nVidia chip, the fan will work less intensively - which will hopefully improve its longevity - and crucially less noise for me; that point is the main motivator; well and the CPU will have more headroom; hopefully it will be less likely to go into extreme temperatures; having a cooler and quieter machine just feels right and beyond any rational argument I just want it that way :)
m11k wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:14 pm
It sounds like it would be more expensive and more effort.
Well I decided to go the ghetto route: raiser, 12V 2A psu, cable, 18Wt RADEON HD 6450 1GB SILENT, random el-cheapo ExpressCard to butcher, some elbow grease to rework the ExpressCard.

Hmm.. it has come up to £30 already. And in the final state I wouldn't mind enclosing it into Akasa Tesla T which is another £50 or so.. And it will be some work. But hopefully it's going to be fun :)
m11k wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:14 pm
in theory the power usage in "optimus" mode is supposed to be roughly the same as in "integrated" mode if you're not running anything on the GPU directly. It should in theory enter a deep sleep mode and consume negligible power. Please report back findings if you do test this.
In theory yes. That's what is happening on Windows according to my friend who is running a W530. However I just don't fully trust the rather complex Linux software to do it right. This theory might explain short battery times that you have reported.. I am not sure I will be testing it though, there is a different route I've decided to pursue.
atagunov wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:06 am
I'm probably going to put a 1.5k resistor inside the laptop, should be easy to attach to the power socket wires
m11k wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:14 pm
I didn't feel comfortable with a hack like this, and I rarely need to carry around the power adapter with me, since it stays plugged into a single spot most of the time, with brief trips around the house while unplugged.
Truth be told that's what I'm going to do as well, it's going to be mostly a desktop replacement. On the other hand I had read online that Lenovo did make a 135Wt power supply unit for W510 and that the resistor value to signal this is 0 - e.g. the pin is directly connected to whichever that other contact is. So my hack would be not to put a 1.5k resistor and make W530 think it's got a 175Wt PSU but to put a direct connection. W530 will then think it's got a 135Wt PSU. According to @wrybread this is good and W530 doesn't throttle. On the other hand 135Wt is less far out of 90Wt charger's operating envelope. Finally it's possible to acquire a true 135Wt slim tip PSU and then there will be no cheating at all - just a smaller power brick.
m11k wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:14 pm
I've also mitigated this a little by managing to find a 27++ slice battery in good shape. This isn't compatible with the W530 out of the box, but after the EC mod to disable battery validation, it works very well.
:thumbs-UP:
m11k wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:14 pm
I did do the 1vyrain bios hack ... I wanted the ability to switch out the wifi card for a non-lenovo card
Would it be Intel 7620 AC by any chance? Somehow I've been eyeing it as offering both Linux and Hackintosh compatibility
m11k wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:14 pm
I kept some notes about the whole process on the W530. I'll paste them here in case they are useful for you:
Thanks muchly, I appreciate the notes a lot. I'm slightly tempted to wield a Pomona clip instead. But I will probably opt for 1vyrain after all. This neutering of ME.. I wonder if there are downsides.. Like would it reduce the ability of Thinkpad to go into deeper sleeping states?..

BTW you wouldn't know what tool to use to shave off those tabs off W530 175Wt PSU plug would you?.. Neither me nor @wrybread know this.. and it would be helpful to allow more freedom of mixing and matching Thinkpads vs chargers. I would think that like all other good Thinkpadders you surely have a nice herd of them stashed around the house!
X220, 2 *T520

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Re: W530/K2000M + Linux + external monitor still a problem?

#6 Post by RealBlackStuff » Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:23 am

The barrel-protrusions can be removed, see https://www.thinkpads.com/forum/viewtop ... 41#p839941
Thinkwiki says: You could dremel or pry the plastic tabs off using a flathead screwdriver, however.
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Re: W530/K2000M + Linux + external monitor still a problem?

#7 Post by m11k » Sun Apr 11, 2021 8:54 am

atagunov wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:24 pm
Would it be Intel 7620 AC by any chance? Somehow I've been eyeing it as offering both Linux and Hackintosh compatibility
No, I go with ath9k-compatible cards in pretty all of my laptops that support them. This is the one wifi driver that fully works on Linux without any firmware blobs (FSF RYF endorsed). I.e. I don't need to add the non-free repo to Debian, and the installer works with the wifi out of the box. I started buying them for the laptops that I corebooted for the freedom aspect, and I've put them in pretty much everything because I'm very happy with the compatibility. They are 802.11b/g/n only though. There are no 802.11ac cards that work on Linux at the moment without needing a firmware blob.
atagunov wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:24 pm
Thanks muchly, I appreciate the notes a lot. I'm slightly tempted to wield a Pomona clip instead. But I will probably opt for 1vyrain after all. This neutering of ME.. I wonder if there are downsides.. Like would it reduce the ability of Thinkpad to go into deeper sleeping states?..
1vyrain does give you a BIOS option for disabling the ME. I'm not sure how this works under the hood, so I don't know if it can really be trusted. I did completely strip the ME on my X230 and T430 when I corebooted them. I don't think disabling the ME itself would be responsible for any reduction in power efficiency. I didn't want to coreboot the W530 because of the proprietary nvidia card. I'm not sure how well that plays with coreboot, and coreboot explicitly states that they don't support optimus.
atagunov wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:24 pm
BTW you wouldn't know what tool to use to shave off those tabs off W530 175Wt PSU plug would you?.. Neither me nor @wrybread know this.. and it would be helpful to allow more freedom of mixing and matching Thinkpads vs chargers. I would think that like all other good Thinkpadders you surely have a nice herd of them stashed around the house!
I did come across this post: viewtopic.php?f=48&t=113022&p=730218#p730218, which is actually linked to from thinkwiki, which implies you can use a torx security bit to shave away the tabs. I haven't tried it myself though. I've left the tabs in place on my charger.
Daily Driver: W530
Regular Rotation: T601F (Intel), T601F (NVidia), Corebooted X230 & T430, X1C 5th gen
Spares: T450, T460s
For fun: 600X w/ 850MHz CPU, 390E

atagunov
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Re: W530/K2000M + Linux + external monitor still a problem?

#8 Post by atagunov » Mon Apr 12, 2021 7:28 am

m11k wrote:
Sun Apr 11, 2021 8:54 am
1vyrain does give you a BIOS option for disabling the ME. I'm not sure how this works under the hood, so I don't know if it can really be trusted. I did completely strip the ME on my X230 and T430 when I corebooted them
Is it probably setting that "high assurance" bit? My understanding is "1vyrain" was able to "disable" while with hardware BIOS flashing you can both "disable" (set flag) and "neuter" (remove large chunks of code). I guess "disabling" alone is better than not doing anything at all :)
X220, 2 *T520

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