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README.md

alienware-13-r3-ubuntu-16.04

This is guide where I have dumped my personal steps to getting Ubuntu 16.04 running smoothly with my Alienware 13 R3 (Early 2017 with Kaby Lake) with OLED.

Please be aware that your mileage my vary. I am definitely no Linux/Ubuntu expert. If you have any feedback, please raise an issue!

I take no responsibility for any damage or problems that arise as a result from following this guide.

READ THIS FIRST

Running Linux on a "hybrid" GPU (e.g. Nvidia Optimus) is a little trickier than without. It's important that you understand the technology and what trade-offs you want to make by using Linux.

I highly recommend that you read the following before continuing:

This guide will result in primarily using the integrated GPU (intel) with the option of invoking the discrete (NVIDIA GTX 1060) card via bumblebee.

My reasoning was:

  • get the most out of the 76 watt-hour-battery by using the integrated GPU as much as possible
  • able to be explicit about when I want to use the discrete GPU (e.g. When I'm using Blender)
  • primarily do my gaming in Windows
  • currently the most stable configuration that I've been able to achieve

Please be aware that running permanently on the discrete GPU via sudo prime-select nvidia will not work if you follow the steps in this guide.

Preparation

BIOS

Turn off Secure Boot in the BIOS. This will make it easier to install several 3rd party drivers.

I recommend leaving UEFI on. Be aware that to get entries in your bios, you will need to manually add a new entry and select the appropriate *.efi file.

I believe that you need to switch the SATA interface from RAID to AHCI before you're able to install Ubuntu. (I couldn't get the Ubuntu installer to detect the drive when using RAID but maybe this could be resolved with extra drivers).

WARNING: If Windows was installed with RAID, switching the SATA interface to AHCI will cause Windows to BSOD.

Be very wary of some guides that give instruction on to continue using Windows even after switching to ACHI. You can very easily stop Windows booting properly. Even with recovery points, don't expect this to be easy to undo. I highly recommend that you backup any important data.

trunet has advised me that this solution works.

Dual-boot with Windows

It is recommended that you have Windows 10 installed first. If you need to reinstall, you shouldn't need a product key as it should be embedded in the BIOS. If necessary, shrink the partition to make room for Ubuntu.

Installing Windows 10 is easy. Simply create a bootable USB using the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool. Get the drivers from Dell's website and get it all working.

Ubuntu installer

Creating a bootable USB Ubuntu installer can be done using Rufus, using these instructions.

Wifi not working after suspending in Ubuntu

I had an intermittent issue where Wifi wouldn't always come back after suspending. I'm yet to resolve this, but running sudo service network-manager restart resolves the problem.

Instructions

Ubuntu installer

Install Ubuntu 16.04 from the bootable USB.

Disable the screensaver

Go into System Settings.... In Brightness & Lock, change Turn off screen when inactive for: to Never.

Otherwise your screen may get stuck on a black screen (but the system is still responsive).

Fix the DPI

Go into System Settings... again. In Screen Display, change Scale for menu and title bars: to 1.5.

Install Nvidia 367

sudo apt purge 'nvidia.*'
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:graphics-drivers/ppa
sudo apt update
sudo apt install nvidia-367 nvidia-prime

I can't confirm if a newer version works, but 367 worked for me.

Edit: I'm actually using the 378.09 drivers now, but upgraded after following these steps.

Indicate that you want to primarily use the integrated graphics card

sudo prime-select intel

Do a general update/upgrade

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Intel Graphics Update Tool

Install v2.0.2 and run the Intel Graphics Update Tool.

Reboot and verify that you can login correctly

Verify that you're using the integrated GPU. Run the following and confirm it returns intel:

prime-select query

Modify grub defaults

We're going to fix 2 things:

  • a bug which causes lspci or lshw to hang
  • disable gpu-manager, which crashes resuming after suspending when using the integrated GPU
sudo vi /etc/default/grub

Modify GRUB_CMD_LINUX_DEFAULT and add options nogpumanager and acpi_osi=! acpi_osi="Windows 2009".

For example, mine looks like this now:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash nogpumanager acpi_osi=! acpi_osi=\"Windows 2009\""

Regenerate/update:

sudo update-grub

Reboot

After rebooting, check

  • that you can correctly suspend/resume.
  • running lspci or lshw doesn't crash

Install Bumblebee

These steps here were taken from this guide..

Add the Bumblebee testing repository and install bumblebee:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:bumblebee/testing
sudo apt update
sudo apt install bumblebee

Blacklist nvidia-367:

sudo vi /etc/modprobe.d/bumblebee.conf

Insert the following lines:

# 367
blacklist nvidia-367
blacklist nvidia-367-updates
blacklist nvidia-experimental-367

Configure Bumblebee:

sudo vi /etc/bumblebee/bumblebee.conf

Change to the following:

  • Driver=nvidia
  • KernelDriver=nvidia-367
  • LibraryPath=/usr/lib/nvidia-367:/usr/lib32/nvidia-367
  • XorgModulePath=/usr/lib/nvidia-367/xorg,/usr/lib/xorg/modules

Reboot

Reboot and afterwards confirm the following returns OFF:

cat /proc/acpi/bbswitch

optirun & nvidia-settings

You're able to configure the nvidia settings using the below command:

optirun -b none /usr/bin/nvidia-settings  -c :8

Whilst this is running cat /proc/acpi/bbswitch should now return ON.

Install Nvidia Power Indicator

This is a great little indicator that helps you know if the discrete GPU is being used.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt update
sudo apt install nvidia-power-indicator

Other tips

Fix lag when resizing windows

Follow this guide. Personally, instead of outline, I selected rectangle.

Fix flickering in Chrome

When the window is maximized and you scroll, you can sometimes see flicker.

The solution was to modify /usr/share/applications/google-chrome.desktop and update to the following:

Exec=/usr/bin/google-chrome-stable --disable-gpu-driver-bug-workarounds --enable-native-gpu-memory-buffers %U

Adjusting brightness

There's some great scripts on a reddit thread which can continously monitor and restore brightness.

Personally, I just use a script that executes the following:

xrandr --output eDP1 --brightness 0.35

Note: Try the script a few times if it doesn't work at first.

Unresolved

"Turn screen off when inactive for" option not reliably resuming

I'm intermittently ending up with a permanent black screen when trying to resume using the computer.

I initially thought this was causing the computer to freeze/crash, but ssh sessions from another machine were still responsive.

The following script (even run via an external ssh session) seems to fix the problem:

xrandr -d :0.0 --output eDP1 --off && xrandr -d :0.0 --output eDP1 --auto

Note: Try the script a few times if it doesn't work at first.

Tearing while watching videos.

This solution seemed to work for me.

Create /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-intel.conf and add the following contents:

Section "Device"
   Identifier  "Intel Graphics"
   Driver      "intel"
   Option      "TearFree"    "true"
EndSection

Log out and back in to see changes.