Dell Precision 5520

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Revision as of 20:47, 21 September 2018 by AlphaCubed (talk | contribs) (Tech Specs)
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Notes for Installing Linux

You will need to disable Secure Boot in the BIOS. Repeatedly press F2 when turning on the laptop to get to the BIOS screen.

During installfest events, we'll use PxE booting (network booting) as an alternative to using so many flash drives/LiveUSB sticks. This will require some special configuration in the BIOS, see Installfest_PXE_Server for details. You will have to allow legacy boot & decrease thunderbolt security (to unauthenticated access) to get PxE booting over ethernet to work properly. Installation of Linux via UEFI/PxE booting on legacy boot works well for these laptops. You will need Dell's specific ethernet dongle to do PxE booting on them.

The GPU is based on the Maxwell architecture, which is not fully compatible with the FLOSS nouveau driver. You may need to install the nvidia proprietary driver or the bumblebee driver with nvidia for graphics to work. nouveau may not work well as a daily driver, but it is okay to have running during installation on a Live USB with a Linux distribution on it (it is the default of most distros to include nouveau instead of nvidia).

Bumblebee for battery/power mgmt.

Bumblebee extends battery life by a lot. the ArchWiki page details the full installation of it.

If you accidentally install the full-out nvidia or just vesa (NOT mesa, which is needed) driver (and maybe nouveau too) WITH bumblebee (happened to me on Manjaro Linux in the "Hardware Configuration" part of KDE settings when I got some weird dialog asking me to install vesa to uninstall an nvidia package, I forget what, or I might have just been experimenting), you'll need to uninstall them. In these cases, Linux may not boot to a login screen and you'll need to press Ctrl+Alt+F2 to get a shell (it says tty, that just means a virtual Linux terminal). Login as the root user/enter the root password you have set. You specifically need to install the bumblebee and possibly intel-mesa (?) drivers and uninstall the others using your package manager. See the page at the ArchWiki page for more detailed/better instructions/details on how to install/uninstall bumblebee/get the nvidia/intel drivers themselves back.

Touchpad scroll gestures, etc

I uninstalled libinput and installed xf86-input-synaptics or something to get reverse scrolling/less touchpad force needed (FingerLow/FingerHigh) options using a config file. libinput is working on the issue right now.

AlphaCubed's touchpad configuration file is located at this page if you want a reference.

I put it in /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/30-touchpad.conf so I can use it on the lock screen too (it is used by other users and the system's users that control the X11 application because it is in the /etc/X11 folder, so it doesn't just happen when I'm logged in as my own user).

You can also see if those options are in your distro's mouse settings. KDE is fixing this issue by making the descriptions more detailed/understandable.

Here are some useful links and references:

How to change Synaptics touchpad configuration globally via X11 (if some settings you want are not available via your distro's settings GUI) (helpful tips in here)

Settings you can change in the configuration file

Tech Specs

The 2017 laptop given to Rose students has the following specs:

Processor Intel Core i7 7820HQ (Kaby Lake) (2.9GHz stock, 3.9GHz boost, not overclockable)
RAM 16 GB @ 2400MHz DDR4 (2x8GB SODIMM sticks)
Solid State Drive M.2 SATA3 256 GB (approx. 238.42 GiB) Solid State Drive (theoretical max 600MB/s); spare drive bay (m.2 SATA)
Optical Drive None
Display 15.6" FHD 1920x1080
Video Card Nvidia Quadro M1200M (Maxwell architecture) w/ 4GB GDDR5 RAM (supports Vulkan and OpenGL)
Network Cards Intel Dual-Band 8265 802.11ac wireless, Gigabit (1Gb/s) Ethernet and PxE (network) boot via USB Type-C port using a compatible USB-C to Ethernet adapter
Battery 3 cell Lithium-Ion 56 WHr
USB (2) USB 3.0 and (1) Thunderbolt 3 (USB Type-C form factor)
Pointing Devices Synaptics Trackpad
External Video Port Dedicated HDMI port (and HDMI passthrough via Thunderbolt)
Integrated Webcam 720p integrated webcam
Network Accessories USB Type C to Ethernet adapter
Warranty 4 year with Accidental Damage Protection (ADP) (Note: Dell only allows one ADP claim in a 12 month period)