Running Archlinux on the Lenovo Thinkpad T430

Posted on 07/01/2012 at 12:39am

In sum, Archlinux is working beautifully. What follows is a rough run down of my notes while installing, configuring, tuning and using Archlinux on the Lenovo Thinkpad T430.

Specs

  • i7 3520M (Dual core, Four threads, 4M cache, 2.9GHz)
  • 14” 1600x900 display
  • Intel HD Graphics 4000, no discrete graphics card
  • 4GB memory
  • 128GB Crucial m4 2.5” (7mm) SSD (laptop came with a 320GB 7200rpm platter)
  • 9 cell 70++ battery
  • Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2200 (2x2 BGN)

Software that I typically use

No desktop environment. Openbox/pytyle3/pager-multihead. Gkrellm. Konsole. Google Chrome. Vim. Konversation. Wicd.

Battery life

On 66% brightness, about 8 hours seems to be the sweet spot for typical usage (web browsing and vim). 100% brightness seems to knock this down to the 5-6 hour range. I’ve only had the laptop for a couple of days, so these numbers are pretty rough and based somewhat on extrapolation.

I have all of the tweaks suggested by powertop enabled. This includes wifi, audio, SATA link and usb power management.

I also have the ondemand CPU frequency governor enable, which is the default nowadays anyway. Changing governors (tested powersave, performance and conservative) works perfectly.

Disable KMS when using the current Archlinux installer

The current default Archlinux installer uses an older kernel that doesn’t include the updated drivers for Intel’s HD 4000 graphics (and possibly wifi?), so KMS fails once it tries to load—which ends up borking the display. To get around this, add ‘nomodeset’ to the kernel boot parameters to disable KMS. You’ll have to do this again on initial boot if you install the kernel that comes with the installer. Once an updated kernel is installed, this boot parameter is no longer needed since the driver for the Intel HD 4000 graphics chipset is included. The available snapshot installers have an updated kernel, and therefore disabling KMS is unnecessary if you’re using them.

Most of the current T420 wiki page is relevant

And by that I mean, most things just work. Wifi, graphics (with xf86-video-intel), CPU frequency scaling, screen brightness, keyboard backlight, and excellent two finger scrolling (out-of-the-box with xf86-input-synaptics, no configuration necessary despite what the T420 wiki article says).

Thinkfan

I installed thinkfan and added the thinkpad_acpi kernel module to MODULES in /etc/rc.conf. I also added the thinkfan daemon to DAEMONS in /etc/rc.conf. To allow thinkfan to control the fan, enable fan_control by creating /etc/modprobe.d/thinkfan.conf with:

options thinkpad_acpi fan_control=1

And this is my thinkfan /etc/thinkfan.conf:

sensor /sys/devices/virtual/thermal/thermal_zone0/temp

(0, 0, 40)
(1, 38, 43)
(2, 41, 50)
(3, 44, 54)
(4, 51, 63)
(5, 55, 67)
(7, 61, 32767)

The settings are tweaked (a little less aggressive) from Thinkpad T420 thinkfan settings. I’ve tested it with the utilities in the cpuburn package and it seems to work well. For me, the fan stays off when idle and kicks into its lowest settings on typical usage (web browsing and vim, for me).

Recall that I do not have discrete graphics (i.e., nvidia) and have an SSD, which both have impact temperature.

acpid

This also worked out of the box with one small tweak. In /etc/acpi/handler.sh, I replaced

ac_adapter)
    case "$2" in
        AC|ACAD|ADP0)

with

ac_adapter)
    case "$2" in
        ACPI*|AC|ACAD|ADP0)

This was needed because ac_adapter ACPI0003:00 are the first two arguments used when the ac_adapter event is triggered.

pm-utils

Works beautifully. Literally no problems.

laptop-mode-tools

I don’t use it. acpid, pm-utils and powertop’s recommended tweaks are enough for me. (I use acpid to raise and lower the brightness when the AC adapter is [un]plugged, and make sure that on wakeup/boot, the brightness is set appropriately.)

Sleep button

For whatever reason I haven’t been able to discover, I cannot detect any power button presses (neither through acpi_listen or xev). However, the T430 has an extra unlabeled button to the right of the “turn microphone on/off” button that shows up in xev as XF86Launch1. Thus, I put this in my ~/.xbindkeys:

"sudo pm-suspend"
  XF86Launch1

And it’s now a sleep button, as long as you set ‘pm-suspend’ to require no password using visudo. For example:

%wheel ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: /usr/sbin/pm-suspend

Web cam

I installed guvcview and then ran it. It worked. (It looks like the uvcvideo kernel module is automatically loaded.)

Audio/speakers

Alsa just works. Speakers sound good enough to me. (I’m no audiophile though, and have never been too picky over audio quality. My ears aren’t very discerning.)

What I Haven’t tested

VGA. Mini display port. Mic. USB 3.0. mSATA. Memory card slot.

I don’t anticipate any problems with these things, though.

Conclusion

Archlinux works beautifully on this machine. I literally could not have imagined a smoother experience. I’ve installed Arch on several laptops, and this was by far the easiest. Having the wifi driver included in the kernel is an especially nice thing that I’m not used to. (Been a victim of broadcom for many years.) Also, the integrated graphics works beautifully, although I am not doing any compositing beyond xcompmgr transparency.

The laptop also has excellent ventilation and actually stays cool enough for it to be bearable to sit directly on my lap indefinitely. Even when the CPU is chugging.

This laptop also comes with the option of adding nvidia via Optimus. I recommend staying away from this unless you’re willing to deal with Bumblebee or absolutely need a dedicated graphics card. Early reviews seem to indicate that Intel’s HD 4000 Graphics is quite excellent for integrated graphics, particularly compared to the available nvidia option for this laptop (NVIDIA NVS 5400M).

There is also a 1366x768 screen option, and based on preliminary reviews, it isn’t that great. Go with the 1600x900 screen—it seems like the sweet spot.

Finally, this is my first Thinkpad. Incidentally, this is the first time that the T-series has had a “chiclet style” keyboard. Personally, I love it and have been partial to chiclet style keyboards in the past. The reviews already out there are not lying when they speak highly of its quality; it’s on the best-feeling keyboards I’ve ever typed on.

With that said, it seems like most of the complaints revolve around the layout. The one bugger that has got me so far is the location of the ‘fn’ and ‘control’ keys. It feels like they should be swapped. xev actually picks up ‘fn’ key releases but not key presses. I was unsuccessful in swapping the keys using xmodmap, but perhaps there is a BIOS option somewhere that will allow a swap. (EDIT: Indeed, there is a BIOS option that successfully swaps the ‘fn’ and control keys.) This is my only complaint with the keyboard layout. (But remember, I was never used to the old layout!)

In sum, this appears to be a great laptop to run Linux on.

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Posted on 07/24/2014 at 1:59pm

Completely agree with your closing comment that this is a great laptop for Linux. I'm a Gentoo guy myself, and also hog the CPU at full capacity for long periods of time due to my work/research. Doesn't even get hot! Ever! Amazing build quality.

qrosh

Posted on 06/25/2014 at 4:08pm

Hey,

instead of using pm-utils you could try out tlp, instead of pm-utils and powertop. https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/TLP http://linrunner.de/en/tlp/docs/tlp-linux-advanced-power-management.html

A happy x230i User

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you can exchange the position of 'fn' and ctrl,it is provided in the blos option.

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replabrobin

Posted on 10/03/2012 at 8:53pm

Tried a standard BIOS update with g1uj12uc.iso, but it fails with a reboot at the point where it should actually do something. On another point mentioned in the article I have working power button events. It seems that the power button needs to be pressed for an interval (say 0.5-1 second) before any event is generated. The button mentioned by Andrew is called the Black Button and is supposed to start up 'ThinkAdvantage' whatever that may be.

replabrobin

Posted on 10/03/2012 at 12:54pm

On my i3 T430i I get by with around 9.7Watts. I think my 9 cell will last around 8 hours. Did anyone reading here get the tp_smapi/thinkpad_ec/hdaps modules working? I've tried all the various fixes, but none seem to work. Another bios (for windows 8 compatibility) is out so I might give that a try (if I can bear the thought of disabling secure boot).

Andrew

Posted on 10/02/2012 at 8:02pm

The top items in Powertop are the backlight, fan (around 3000 rpm), audo codec, and network interfcace (eth0).

This sounds about right. It may be possible to make your fan a bit less aggressive using thinkfan, but unless you have it roaring at high speed all the time, it's unlikely that this will make much of a difference.

Is linux just worse in power management than Windows?

Yes. It's unlikely you'll be able to beat power management on Windows. The reason why is probably some combination of driver support and Linux's goal of "running on anything."

pgrond

Posted on 10/02/2012 at 8:00pm

Thanks for your reaction. I ordered the extra 3-cell Ultrabay battery. Hopefully I get that tomorrow.

I have all the powertop tweaks enabled. But in Windows I only use around 7W, so there should be room for improvement. The top items in Powertop are the backlight, fan (around 3000 rpm), audo codec, and network interfcace (eth0). Is linux just worse in power management than Windows?

Andrew

Posted on 10/01/2012 at 9:02pm

Powertop tells me I'm around 12W so that doesn't sound to bad.

This doesn't sound too bad to me either. Although it can typically drop to 10W or lower when idle. Have you enabled all of the power top tweaks?

I have a t430s but I get around 3h-3.5h with the brightness turned way down. Is the 6-cell battery so much worse than the 9-cell?

If a 9 cell is 50% better than a 6 cell, then extrapolating (roughly) from 3.5 hours would bring me to 5.25 hours. I'm at around 6-8 hours with 66% brightness, so it definitely seems like the 9 cell might be worth it and should at least get you above 5 hours.

pgrond

Posted on 10/01/2012 at 8:43pm

I'm really impressed with your battery life. I have a t430s but I get around 3h-3.5h with the brightness turned way down. Is the 6-cell battery so much worse than the 9-cell? And would it help to get another 3 cell battery for the thinkbay? Can you guess how much extra time I would get from that upgrade? I have installed tlp. Also tried laptop-tools. Powertop tells me I'm around 12W so that doesn't sound to bad.

replabrobin

Posted on 09/26/2012 at 11:07am

I succeeded in upgrading the BIOS using a disk image created from the BIOS upgrade CD. I dd'ed that to a usb stick to make a bootable upgrade stick. That stick could be mounted in Win XP2 and I was able to copy my LOGO.GIF to the FLASH sub dir. When I booted from the stick on the T430i I could upgrade both the bios and the boot image.

replabrobin

Posted on 09/25/2012 at 11:18am

I think the problem with my efforts to mount the upgrade CD disk relate to an entry I see in the garbage

??r?.&;? :\dblspa.CE.

ie it's been doublespace compressed. I will investigate further.

replabrobin

Posted on 09/25/2012 at 11:08am

I started on my Arch install and things look pretty good. I have one nit in that the initial boot screen is too bright. I cannot find any way to change it in the bios. I used MBR full format of the disk. I have tried to upgrade the bios using the CD from lenovo support. The latest is http://download.lenovo.com/ibmdl/pub/pc/pccbbs/mobiles/g1uj10uc.iso. I tried to use the method of http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/How_to_change_the_BIOS_bootsplash_screen to add a new boot image, but my extracted disk partition doesn't look right; lots of garbage in the mounted drive ls. I could see some files though and my reconstructed CD worked up to a point and my new image was seen, but the upgrade fails so I must have broken something.

Don Karon

Posted on 09/22/2012 at 2:54am

An update on my T430s suspend/resume issue:

After about a week with kernel 3.5.0 my T430s has never failed to suspend or resue. The kernel upgrade appears to have solved the problem. For the record, I am running Ubuntu 12.04 LTS with all updates.

An unexpected benefit: the computer seems to operate a bit quicker than with kernel 3.4. I have no benchmarks to prove this but the rhythm of events, particularly suspend and resume, is noticeably snappier.

I believe the problems came from issues related to the new chipset in the T430s. The bugs appear to be squashed.

Andrew

Posted on 09/21/2012 at 10:33pm

Glad I could help! :-)

I assume you're a fairly experienced Arch user

I've been using Arch for somewhere around four years now.

did you use GPT / UEFI or stick to MBR

I stuck with good ol' MBR. For no particular reason other than I don't really have a good reason to switch.

and which boot loader did you use?

I'm still on GRUB 1.

The latest Arch media seems to be grub2

Yup. If I reinstalled today, I'd probably just go with GRUB 2. The differences between GRUB 1 and 2 really just don't matter much to me.

and the wiki is suggesting GPT etc etc.

Right. It lists the advantages here. I'll probably try it out on my next Arch install. I like not having to mess around with extended/logical partitions, and GPT is apparently necessary if I want to add a 3TB hard drive.

Also have you started using systemd on your t430?

Not yet… I'm hoping I can fight it off until I have a break in December/January. (I actually have a few custom daemons working in the current BSD style system. One of which powers this blog! Oh that's right, I use Archlinux in production. :P)

replabrobin

Posted on 09/21/2012 at 10:11pm

Thanks for the nice writeup, it convinced me to get yet another computer. I picked this one because the thinkpads have a good rep and it looked a bit old fashioned. All the laptops these days seem to be moving the pad leftwards because of the numeric pad which I don't like.

I assume you're a fairly experienced Arch user, did you use GPT / UEFI or stick to MBR and which boot loader did you use? The latest Arch media seems to be grub2 and the wiki is suggesting GPT etc etc. Also have you started using systemd on your t430?

Don Karon

Posted on 09/16/2012 at 6:50pm

I upgraded to kernel 3.5.0 yesterday and, so far, the issue has not reappeared. It is way too soon to be confident, though. I'll let you know how it goes.

Andrew

Posted on 09/15/2012 at 6:23pm

My T430s is running Ubuntu 12.04 with kernel 3.4 with only one problem: every few days it refuses to go into suspend and the only way I've found to repair this is to reboot, an unsatisfying option.

I have not experienced those problems, but it looks like others have.

Don Karon

Posted on 09/15/2012 at 6:20pm

My T430s is running Ubuntu 12.04 with kernel 3.4 with only one problem: every few days it refuses to go into suspend and the only way I've found to repair this is to reboot, an unsatisfying option. Everything else seems to be working just fine. I've made no progress on this. Have you encountered it? Any suggestions?

ajfh

Posted on 09/04/2012 at 5:12pm

That's wonderful, thanks a lot! I am really relieved.

I have been reading wiki pages and forum threads for hours to understand. I think I'll wait some time before switching to UEFI/GPT if it does make such a difference.

Andrew

Posted on 09/04/2012 at 3:28pm

I will receive my T430 soon, but I am nervous about the UEFI. Is it enabled by default?

No. UEFI will give you no troubles on the T430.

ajfh

Posted on 09/04/2012 at 9:44am

Thank you for such a complete feedback.

I will receive my T430 soon, but I am nervous about the UEFI. Is it enabled by default? Can I switch it off to use the standard Arch install, or do I have to do all the UEFI-related things during install, such as the FAT32 partition with the boot flag?

Andrew

Posted on 07/28/2012 at 3:43pm

has anyone been able to get above 10 hours?

I think this is certainly possible if you turn the brightness way down and/or turn off wifi.

You wrote that yourself? Wow, thats impressive, it looks quite polished.

Thanks. Here's the source. I didn't write the markdown parser though.

(I am missing RSS feeds and a preview function though. ;)

Me too. I really want a preview function. Just have to find the time!

I also want a way for users to subscribe to entries when they post comments so they don't have to keep checking the page for updates. (I hard-coded myself to receive comment notification emails though.)

MFserver

Posted on 07/28/2012 at 10:04am

What capslock key? Surely you mean the second escape key? ;)

That is a thing I am absolutely going to try! I never use capslock anyway, it just irritates me when I turn it on by mistake…

talked about battery life in my blog post above :P If I have the brightness all the way up, I'm about the same as Josh. 5-6 hours is a solid estimate. If I lower it to 66%, I can get at least 8 hours depending on what I'm doing. I'm very pleased with the battery life.

I think Lenovo themselves claim this machine could get 15 hours of battery life from a 9-cell 94 Wh battery, has anyone been able to get above 10 hours? I'll be bringing the machine to school without the power chord, and experience tells me the uptime might reach 10-11 hours a day in school :)

ix

Posted on 07/27/2012 at 4:55pm

You wrote that yourself? Wow, thats impressive, it looks quite polished.

(I am missing RSS feeds and a preview function though. ;)

Andrew

Posted on 07/27/2012 at 1:58am

And of course the blog software misformatted my comment. (It rendered just fine in the online markdown editor.)

My apologies. The blog software is not that great and represents a weekend's worth of hacking. Although, I didn't know you could use <pre> tags in markdown? (It's quite possible that my blog is aggressively sanitizing all HTML from user input, but I can't remember.)

I usually put code snippets in triple back-ticks.

What capslock key? Surely you mean the second escape key? ;)

I second this. I think this is more relevant for Vim users though :P

ix

Posted on 07/26/2012 at 9:20pm

And of course the blog software misformatted my comment. (It rendered just fine in the online markdown editor.)

Ignore the <pre>/</pre> tags and put newlines after "XF86Back" and after "clear Lock".

Sorry.

ix

Posted on 07/26/2012 at 9:16pm

Fn+Spacebar turns it on, and it has 3 brightness levels (the third also turns on the light above the screen)

Actually, that is not correct. The third level turns just the Thinklight on and turns the keyboard backlight off. You can't have Thinklight and Keyboard backlight at the same time.

That being said, I too love the backlight. It's just that good. Buy it!! (BTW, you can choose between Thinklight/Backlight, Just Thinklight and Just Backlight in the BIOS, so if you should want to get rid of it later, you can (but you wont))

Batteries

I get about 2h 15min on my T430s for light browsing (with 6 cell battery, the T430s doesn't take 9 cell batteries. And without bay battery.). I'll probably buy a bay battery soon.

Browser back and forward

This is easily fixed: add this to your ~/.xmodmap:

<pre> keysym Prior = Prior XF86Back keysym Next = Next XF86Forward </pre>

And this to your ~/.xinitrc (or somewhere else):

<pre>xmodmap ~/.xmodmap</pre>

After this, you can use Shift+PageUp as Back and Shift+PageDown as Forward (without shift, the keys will act normally, that is like PageUp/PageDown). This works rather well because the right shift key is just above those, so you can use the middle finger to hold down shift and index and ring fingers for the forward/reverse keys.

What capslock key? Surely you mean the second escape key? ;)

<pre> clear Lock keycode 66 = Escape </pre>

(Try this for a few days. You wouldn't believe how incredibly useful it is to have escape there.)

Andrew

Posted on 07/25/2012 at 5:12pm

Would you mind sharing some more experience about your battery life? What's the official battery life expectancy of your machine?

I talked about battery life in my blog post above :P If I have the brightness all the way up, I'm about the same as Josh. 5-6 hours is a solid estimate. If I lower it to 66%, I can get at least 8 hours depending on what I'm doing. I'm very pleased with the battery life.

As I mentioned in the post, I have a 9 cell battery and a 1600x900 screen. I also have all of the tweaks indicated by powertop enabled when I'm on battery power. At idle, I think I'm around 10-12 watts, but I haven't checked in a while.

Also, do you use the keyboard backlight?

Yes! I love the keyboard back light. I use it all the time. It's more than good enough to stand on its own and not require any ambient light.

Josh

Posted on 07/25/2012 at 4:31am

MFserver,

I tend to get 5-6 hours on a 9 cell battery in Ubuntu with casual browsing and the screen on normal brightness. Regarding the backlit keyboard, it's a free upgrade, so why not get it? There have definitely been cases with previous laptops when I wished I had it, and if you aren't using it just don't turn it on. Fn+Spacebar turns it on, and it has 3 brightness levels (the third also turns on the light above the screen). A lot of people complained about the chicklet style keyboard, but I personally prefer it to the old keyboards. It just feels better typing on and I seem to make fewer errors. That said, it is missing some keys (such as SysRq and the browser back and forward buttons), and the Caps Lock key doesn't have a light to indicate whether or not it's on.

MFserver

Posted on 07/24/2012 at 8:41am

Would you mind sharing some more experience about your battery life? I am looking to buy a T430 with pretty much the same specs as you have, but I want to do some research on the machine first. What's the official battery life expectancy of your machine? Also, do you use the keyboard backlight?

Andrew

Posted on 07/24/2012 at 5:16am

Do you happen to compile by source the kernel? if you do can you provide a .config file? Thank you for all the information.

No, sorry. I use the default kernel in the Archlinux repositories.

gnusosa

Posted on 07/24/2012 at 4:59am

Do you happen to compile by source the kernel? if you do can you provide a .config file? Thank you for all the information.

Andrew

Posted on 07/22/2012 at 8:25pm

Definitely sucks since this computer is less than a week old. But at least I have confirmation now that this isn't normal and isn't a Linux problem.

Well, I'm glad support didn't give you too much trouble. Let us know how it turns out!

Josh

Posted on 07/21/2012 at 10:21pm

Thanks for posting your output. Powertop only gives Poll (I'm assuming C0), C1, and C2. I was using i7z to get a more detailed breakdown that has C6 and C7 as well (might also have C5).

I'm just taking a guess on what's causing one core to be so much hotter. I can't think of a better explanation. I've also read that Intel uses crappy thermal paste on the Ivy Bridge heat spreader instead of a quality material, so that could also have something to do with it. When I resume from suspend, within 3 seconds of opening the lid when I run sensors it shows one core as being 53C and the other core at 37C, so I suppose it also could be a faulty temperature sensor. Either way it's causing the BIOS to keep the fan on high constantly even without thinkfan, so something is defective.

I called support and the lowest tier marked it as overheating (not strictly accurate, but the guy on the phone needed something to select on his form). I'm waiting for a call back from their higher up support in the next 1-2 business days, but in the meantime I got an email implying they're sending a box to ship it back in. I'm going to see if they have an authorized repair center nearby when they call. Definitely sucks since this computer is less than a week old. But at least I have confirmation now that this isn't normal and isn't a Linux problem.

Andrew

Posted on 07/20/2012 at 11:17am

Does your system ever enter the lower C-states?

I'm actually not sure. I can get this info from powertop, right? I'll try to check for you on Sunday (when I get back from vaca).

How about the idle temperature? Based on your thinkfan settings and how you said the fan ran on the lowest setting if at all, I'm guessing mine is quite a bit hotter than yours.

Yup, I think so. At idle, I'm usually around the 39-42 degree mark. Here's the output of sensors

[andrew@Tiger ~] sensors thinkpad-isa-0000 Adapter: ISA adapter fan1: 3244 RPM

acpitz-virtual-0 Adapter: Virtual device temp1: +39.0°C (crit = +104.0°C)

coretemp-isa-0000 Adapter: ISA adapter Physical id 0: +40.0°C (high = +87.0°C, crit = +105.0°C) Core 0: +40.0°C (high = +87.0°C, crit = +105.0°C) Core 1: +35.0°C (high = +87.0°C, crit = +105.0°C)

One core is definitely hotter than the other, but only by a few degrees. Nothing like the 15 degrees in your case.

Good luck! I'd say ineffective application of thermal paste is a good idea about what's going wrong. But could that result in one core being hotter than the other?

Josh

Posted on 07/20/2012 at 5:03am

What is your CPU temperature? I think there's something wrong with mine, perhaps they didn't spread the thermal paste properly across the heatsink. My fan is ALWAYS on. lm-sensors reports, while idle:

acpitz-virtual-0 Adapter: Virtual device temp1: +56.0°C (crit = +104.0°C)

coretemp-isa-0000 Adapter: ISA adapter Physical id 0: +58.0°C (high = +87.0°C, crit = +105.0°C) Core 0: +58.0°C (high = +87.0°C, crit = +105.0°C) Core 1: +42.0°C (high = +87.0°C, crit = +105.0°C)

thinkpad-isa-0000 Adapter: ISA adapter fan1: 4132 RPM

It looks like one core is over 15°C hotter than the other. i7z (http://code.google.com/p/i7z/) reports the same as lm-sensors, and also shows that the CPUs are always either in C0 or C1, neither ever enters C3, C6, or C7. I verified to make sure that power management is enabled in the BIOS/EFI, and I even changed it to use battery performance settings while on AC.

Does your system ever enter the lower C-states? How about the idle temperature? Based on your thinkfan settings and how you said the fan ran on the lowest setting if at all, I'm guessing mine is quite a bit hotter than yours.

ix

Posted on 07/15/2012 at 1:35am

Occasionally after closing/opening the lid the screen locks up. (Left 70% of screen are black, right 30% filled with vertical black/white stripes. Cant zap xorg, cant switch to another vty.)

Does that happen for you too?

Hoss

Posted on 07/14/2012 at 2:10am

Out of curiosity, why use hibernate? I know it saves more on battery life, but how dramatic is the difference?

once upon a time, i burned through several laptop batteries really fast by only ever using suspend and screwing up their charge profile – but these days with more sophisticated batteries and smart charging features i really don't know how badly it affects battery life.

These days I don't actually use hibernate instead of suspend – suspend is still my go-to for "i'm not going to use my laptop for the next 30 minutes of this meeting, lets save some juice". i use hibernate as a substitue for "power-off" because it lets me save my entire desktop session state – all apps, all windows, all terminals, each with all of their accumulated bash history … I think the only time I ever actaully powered down my T400 was for kernel upgrades.

The only read advice I can give you is to try the Troubleshooting section on the Archlinux wiki.

yeah, thanks. I've been reading up a lot on pm-utils and the various quirks mode … i've confirmed it is definitely all a video problem (if i leave youtube videos playing when i run pm-hibernate, and then thaw, i can hear the audio start up again even though the screen is useless) so i'm guessing some quirk options are need for pm-hibernate, i just haven't figured out which combination of quirks … and testing is slow when it doesn't reliable fail every time, and when it does fail you have to hard power off – not to mention the old day job (hibernate isn't exactly the sort of thing you can play with while you're waiting for code to compile)

One thing I did just discover however is an aparent workarround that has been successful about a dozen times so far: When you get the grey box problem i described during a thaw from a hibernate, use Fn-F4 to trigger a suspend (assuming you have that Fn-F4 keybinding setup, and assuming you don't have hibernation configured to auto-lock the screen and supress the Fn-* keybindings … which is evidently what happens if you use the gnome hibernate menu options) and then when you resume from that suspend the screen works fine again.

that at least buys me some time to figure out a real solution

ix

Posted on 07/13/2012 at 5:51pm

but how dramatic is the difference?

Not very dramatic. A hibernated laptop uses pretty much no power at all (exactly as if it was powered off instead of hibernated.). But since I use my laptop every day and I pretty much always have access to some power outlet the power usage of suspend-to-RAM is no problem for me.

Also, my T430s arrived today. Just like I expected, the screen isn't great but it isn't nearly as bad as some people said. The keyboard is not as great as the old Thinkpad keyboard. That sucks a bit, but its tolerable. The layout is just bad and the depth of the keys is.. less than the old thinkpad keyboards (still better than all other chiclet keyboards I've tried). Also, oh my god, the t430s is LIGHT. In comparison, my R500 felt like a brick. The T430s is burning the recovery DVDs now and the T430s the Arch CD :)

The screen is nearly as wide as my old 15inch R500s display, but lacks about 3 centimeters in height.

Also one nice surprise: I thought you couldn't change the T430s battery. Turns out you can, but the battery just has a different format and thats why you cant use 9-cell batteries.

Andrew

Posted on 07/13/2012 at 6:01am

I don't suppose you've had any problems with hibernate have you?

Unfortunately, no. I only use pm-suspend (that is, suspend-to-RAM). Out of curiosity, why use hibernate? I know it saves more on battery life, but how dramatic is the difference?

Anyway – just wondering if you use hibernate (you mentioned pm-suspend, but not pm-hibernate), if it's working for you, and if you think any of your configuration tweaks might be related to it working properly,

I can't think of anything off the top of my head. :-( I recall trying pm-suspend successfully pretty early on (probably before I did any sort of heavy customization).

The only read advice I can give you is to try the Troubleshooting section on the Archlinux wiki. Obviously it isn't Ubuntu, but you might get some ideas.

Good luck!

Hoss

Posted on 07/13/2012 at 5:49am

I don't suppose you've had any problems with hibernate have you?

I have a T430s running ubuntu 12.04 and at least 80% of the time waking up for hibernate freaks out – the machine definitely resumes (when i check later there are clean syslogs, even wifi starts up) but the screen stays black with the right 25% being white-ish. Ctrl-Alt-F1 isn't responsive, so i don't think it's an X problem.

The really crazy thing is if i just leave it alone and don't touch it for ~30 minutes, then suddenly everything is fine and they screen works (possibly related to my "screen blanking" power settings?)

Anyway – just wondering if you use hibernate (you mentioned pm-suspend, but not pm-hibernate), if it's working for you, and if you think any of your configuration tweaks might be related to it working properly,

ix

Posted on 07/02/2012 at 7:10am

Thanks for the reply!

Andrew Gallant

Posted on 07/01/2012 at 5:31pm

@ix

Linux support on Thinkpads was the motivating reason behind purchasing one. It's definitely not lacking here!

As for the screen, I really do think the concerns are overhyped. I think it's partially fueled by NBR's review on the T430, which has the 1366x768 screen, which definitely does not seem to be as good as the 1600x900 screen. (This video compares a 1366x768 T430 with a 1600x900 W530, which is, as far as I know, the closest comparison we've got.)

Obviously, I can't be your eyes, but the screen seems OK to me. I've worked on it for several hours so far (at 66% brightness) and what can I say? It works. It isn't IPS, but it definitely isn't a piece of shit either.

ix

Posted on 07/01/2012 at 5:09pm

Thanks for the post!

I'm also using Arch and it's great to know that there'll be no significant problems with Arch on the T430. (Though that was to be expected; Linux support on Thinkpads has historically been pretty good.)

I've heard a few horror stories about the T430 screen, especially wrt color reproduction and viewing angles. Right now that's pretty much the only thing holding me back. I just hope those are overexaggerated. (It seems that some people expect IPS-like viewing angles on a TN panel and color reproduction like on a high-gamut glossy screen. The same people also claim that the T420 screen was bad, and I tested one of those yesterday night and it turned out to be just fine.)

I guess I'll just wait a few more days, just to be sure noone notices any really serious problems, and then order it.

Andrew Gallant

Posted on 07/01/2012 at 3:41pm

@Raul - Sweet! I'm going to go look for that now. I'll edit my post to reflect any updates.

@masteryod - Thanks :-) Unfortunately, this is my first Thinkpad and therefore can't honestly compare it to past models. It does have a non-glare display, and the screen looks quite nice to me. I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have though.

Raul

Posted on 07/01/2012 at 2:40pm

There is a BIOS option to switch the fn and control keys on the T410 and T420.

masteryod

Posted on 07/01/2012 at 2:07pm

Good to hear Arch is working for you. Congrats on the thinkpad. How's new t430 in comparison to old IBM thinkpads? Once upon a time I was happy user of t43 and it was the best machine I've ever had. I hope they are still mounting non-glare displays?