Ubuntu/linux in general and the m14x?

Discussion in 'Alienware 14 and M14x' started by elmo93, Apr 16, 2012.

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  1. elmo93

    elmo93 Notebook Guru

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    Does anybody out there know how to get Ubuntu running on the m14x? So far, I've tried 11.10, (it boots but the setup screen goes away for some reason. The next time I try to get into it I get a boot error) 12.04, (pretty much the same problem) and finally 10.10- which boots fine but there is a major graphical problem with it. I've heard that the 555m is incompatible with Ubuntu, but is there any way to just use the Intel graphics? Or get the 555m working somehow? I've also seen posts where people say Ubuntu works fine on their m14x. Any help with it would be great. I've been to every forum where this problem is mentioned and haven't seen a fix.
    Thanks
     
  2. Pete- 7r0jan

    Pete- 7r0jan Notebook Consultant

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    I've tried ubuntu 10.10, and BTr1 & r2 persistant live..
    although I mostly run virtual via the flash card reader now.
     
  3. doniGforce

    doniGforce Notebook Geek

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    I run 11.10 (boot from USB flash) perfectly fine , no problems although I think it just runs on GT555m because battery life is short. I had problems with 10.10 too but that's because I think the old kernel didn't support the card.
     
  4. elmo93

    elmo93 Notebook Guru

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    I'll try it with a usb then. Before I just used the installer thing that does it for you. Maybe that was the problem. Thanks!
     
  5. elmo93

    elmo93 Notebook Guru

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    Ok so I installed it with a CD. It installs fine but the graphics is screwed up. And in order to boot you have to go into safe mode first. Is there any way to get it working with the graphics card?
     
  6. MetalgodZ

    MetalgodZ Notebook Enthusiast

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    Long story short: It will support the card, it just doesn't like the "Optimus" setup in these laptops, which uses the nVidia card for the heavy lifting and dumps it to the embedded Intel solution to send it to the screen.

    Long story, longer: I'm running 11.04 right now. IIRC, a successful install required me to run with classic Gnome, which didn't turn enable the nVidia driver, leaving only the embedded graphics working. Installing the nVidia drivers caused the system to fail to start X properly, puking at the point where it tried to figure out what to do with the two drivers.

    At the moment, AFAIK, there is no way to nicely tell the system when to switch back and forth. There are two projects (Ironhide and Bumblebee) that handle the setup correctly and allow you to run individual programs (or everything) with the nVidia GPU, but I just don't find myself using it all that often in Ubuntu. The biggest plus of the setup, for me at least, was that it allows me to shut off the nVidia card and not have it using power while being unusable.

    Lots of info out there, but you can definitely get started with a base Ubuntu install by just disabling the nVidia card (in software) and forcing it to redo the X config with just the built-in.
     
  7. madmantm

    madmantm Notebook Consultant

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    using ubuntu 12.04 beta 2 with bumblebee and i can get 3h30 off the battery ;)

    things have changed with the new kernels :)
     
  8. elmo93

    elmo93 Notebook Guru

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    So you can disable the nVidia graphics and use the Intel embedded graphics? That's what I've been wandering but I haven't seen any way to do that. So how do you just disable the card?
    Thanks for the helpful reply btw!
     
  9. MetalgodZ

    MetalgodZ Notebook Enthusiast

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    After all the trouble I went through figuring out how to manually disable it, I didn't bother writing it down, and I find I'm never battery power, so I really mostly use it just for enabling the nVidia card for individual apps that require it.

    A little further research today looks like Bumblebee semi-recently released v3.0, which is purported to include auto switching. A bit of info here, but I haven't tested it.

    If I do install it (and I might...can't help myself :D) I'll post up the process & results. You will need to get a working install of Ubuntu first, so definitely do a base install when you find the time. Don't do any 3rd-party driver installs, or activate any of the built-in 3rd party drivers, and don't enable Unity. Once you've got the nVidia card working, then you can attempt the Unity enable. Slightly embarassing - I hate X config in general, though, so my failed attempts have always resulted in a reload. I just haven't been able to make sense of how any dist handles X config. It's one of the reasons I use Ubuntu. :eek:
     
  10. MetalgodZ

    MetalgodZ Notebook Enthusiast

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    Updated to 11.10 today, followed the instructions at https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Bumblebee, making sure to remove & purge the old nVidia drivers and Ironhide install before installing the new version, and it works perfectly:

    metalgodz@alien:~$ glxspheres
    Polygons in scene: 62464
    Visual ID of window: 0x94
    Context is Direct
    OpenGL Renderer: Mesa DRI Intel(R) Sandybridge Mobile
    58.563597 frames/sec - 65.356975 Mpixels/sec
    59.745601 frames/sec - 66.676091 Mpixels/sec
    59.963230 frames/sec - 66.918964 Mpixels/sec
    59.864053 frames/sec - 66.808283 Mpixels/sec
    ^C
    metalgodz@alien:~$ optirun glxspheres
    Polygons in scene: 62464
    Visual ID of window: 0x21
    Context is Direct
    OpenGL Renderer: GeForce GT 555M/PCIe/SSE2
    106.418238 frames/sec - 118.762754 Mpixels/sec
    104.849562 frames/sec - 117.012111 Mpixels/sec
    105.268559 frames/sec - 117.479712 Mpixels/sec
    103.760026 frames/sec - 115.796189 Mpixels/sec
    ^C[WARN]Received Interrupt signal.
    metalgodz@alien:~$ optirun -c yuv glxspheres
    Polygons in scene: 62464
    Visual ID of window: 0x21
    Context is Direct
    OpenGL Renderer: GeForce GT 555M/PCIe/SSE2
    142.187086 frames/sec - 158.680788 Mpixels/sec
    142.777628 frames/sec - 159.339833 Mpixels/sec
    141.642239 frames/sec - 158.072739 Mpixels/sec
    142.065350 frames/sec - 158.544931 Mpixels/sec

    That's almost a 100fps difference between the Intel and the nVidia!

    Haven't confirmed for sure that it's using less power yet, but it IS working better. Lots of other good info at https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Bumblebee.
     
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