Anyone tried Linux on an MSI laptop?

Discussion in 'Linux Compatibility and Software' started by Phoenix, Dec 7, 2017.

  1. Phoenix

    Phoenix Super Tweaker

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    What to expect in terms of drivers? will it work?

    I'm thinking of trying Linux Mint - Cinnamon

    Is there a way to get the keyboard lights to work and control them? how about the FN keys and the dedicated keys on the right to switch GPU and whatnot
     
  2. Vasudev

    Vasudev Notebook Prophet

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    Your MSI light will not be controlled unless someone from MSI has a repo in github.
    Did my checking and it should work. Considering Mint, I'd say it will install either 4.8 or 4.11 kernel.
    Install all OS updates and app updates. After that, proceed to install nvidia drivers. I think its better to image this using MR because nvidia drivers may produce black screens so disable SLI, CPU OC etc in BIOS.
    Don't install nvidia drivers from Mint instead use this link https://launchpad.net/~graphics-drivers/+archive/ubuntu/ppa
    Some times Fn key might not work, so upgrade to 4.11 or 4,13 kernel for best performance. Use TLP, added tweaks for max battery life etc..
    One more thing, disable RAID and use AHCI. So backup all drives just in case, if Linux messes them up. RAID install might give a black screen sometimes(Mine refuses to boot on RAID and prefers AHCI)
    Disable Power savings on Killer Wifi, BT, add noatime to all SSDs. NVMe drives will not use a scheduler and SATA drives use cfq or deadline depending on Mint's preference.
    There are lot of things I forgot to tell you. So, I'll update this thread once I remember them.
     
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  3. Maleko48

    Maleko48 Notebook Evangelist

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    I don't understand how NVMe drives can get away without scheduling. Also, I remember back in the day on my Android phones whenever I rooted and ran a custom ROM that had a fully unlocked bootloader I could flash performance kernels that ripped tasks to shreds compared to the stock kernel/scheduler, albeit with more (or sometimes less) battery draw and in some cases stuttering of music or similar when heavy multitasking due to no prioritizing of media in such cases.

    Are there various kernels that can be experimented with at the system level to gain more performance/battery life/etc depending on the install?
     
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  4. Vasudev

    Vasudev Notebook Prophet

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    For music/video there's low latency kernel which is present in Ubuntu Studio. Battery life is very good on linux kernel 4.11 and 4.13, I get 8hrs+ on iGPU with TLP and powertop tuned for max battery life. No undervolt whatsoever.
    EDIT: Whenever you use a scheduler NVMe simply bypasses them. You can check phoronix benchmarks on various disk schedulers. So far, default no scheduler gave best performance. Possibly blk_mq or CFQ is possible alternative.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2017
  5. Phoenix

    Phoenix Super Tweaker

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    well sounds like a lot of things won't work and no RAID. Not very enthusiastic about it. I'll try booting from a USB and see how it is
     
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  6. Vasudev

    Vasudev Notebook Prophet

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    If you really use RAID then Intel says Linux does support RAID 01|10|5.
    Use LiveCD and use synaptic pkg mgr to install latest mdadm and use this link I got on linux mint https://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?t=129866
    It seems you're lucky after all. One more thing I forgot to tell you was, before install prop. nvidia drivers disable secure boot in Linux only using

    sudo mokutil --disable-validation
     
  7. Dennismungai

    Dennismungai Notebook Consultant

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    Hello there,

    I have owned both a GT83 Titan and the previous generation MSI GS43VR 6RE Phantom Pro, and both units were used on a dual boot system with Linux and Windows 10 coexisting peacefully on the same NVMe SSD.

    Now, for the keyboard backlight, you can either use the MSI keyboard GUI or if you prefer a command-line approach (recommended if you use wrappers around it). Another project combines the latter with a fully functional GUI.

    With Linux, you may run into small issues with the HD Audio jack's Headphone output if you're on an older kernel with older ALSA libs.

    Some WMI hotkeys, particularly the shift key, will not work at all.

    The rest works as expected.

    With NVIDIA Optimus, on Ubuntu-based distributions such as Mint, that should work out of the box for you. For troubleshooting, I'd highly recommend going through Arch Wiki's entry on that subject.
     
  8. Vasudev

    Vasudev Notebook Prophet

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    Try this alsa package for Creative SB, I am unsure what sound chip Sabre or Nahimic uses but its worth a try. https://code.launchpad.net/~ubuntu-audio-dev/+archive/ubuntu/alsa-daily/+packages
    On linux kernel 4.11 and above most hotkeys on skylake and above works out of the box.
    I couldn't get Optimus Prime to auto switch like Windows on proprietary driver. With nouveau, of course the switchable gfx worked but lacked Compute acceleration like OpenCL/CUDA.
    Even bumblebee doesn't work correctly these days and often nvidia-prime must be used to switch between iGPU and dGPU which is followed by logging out of current session for switching to work.
    Were you able to get Optimus prime to auto-switch using prop. nvidia and intel drivers? If so, please help me.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2017
  9. Dennismungai

    Dennismungai Notebook Consultant

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    I tried setting up PRIME on Ubuntu via the bumblebee project and never got it to work on the MSI.

    Outstanding bugs with switchable graphics on Linux is HDMI Audio from the NVIDIA GPU, it doesn't work at all.
     
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  10. Vasudev

    Vasudev Notebook Prophet

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    Bumblebee is obsolete. Only option is nvidia-prime package. You need to switch explicitly for the audio to work. If you use iGPU and connect to HDMI port then it might not work. So, you need nvidia chip to be in active state to achieve this.
     
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