Dell Studio XPS 13

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Revision as of 03:27, 18 April 2013 by Fengchao (Talk | contribs) (Hybernation - Suspend: Remove duplication.)

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I have just bought a new Dell Studio XPS 13. I have not been able to find any information for installing Arch Linux on this machine. It is a very nice looking laptop, and runs fast and smooth. I have had a successful install (32-bit only, 64-bit). I still have a few things to get working, like the Bluetooth, and media buttons.

System Specs:

  • Processor
    • Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU P8600 @ 2.40GHz
  • RAM Memory
    • 4 GB DDR3
  • Webcam
    • 2.0 Megapixel Webcam
  • Hard Disk
    • 320GB SATA 7200 rpm HDD
    • 500GB SATA 7200 rpm HDD
  • Video Card
    • NVIDIA 9400M
    • NVIDIA 9500M (9400M G + 9200M GS)
  • Wireless
    • Broadcom Corporation BCM4322 802.11a/b/g/n Wireless LAN Controller
    • Atheros Communications Inc. AR928X Wireless Network Adapter

The basic installation performs normally, with the core cd, also the wireless modules ( Atheros wifi card ) were well recognised and worked out of the box.

Power Management

HDD important issue

With the Western Digital hard drive (not SSD), there is an important issue: using the APM (Advanced Power Management) there are too nomerous spin-down, that can damage the hard drive [1]. To confirm this issue you have to install smartmontools:

# pacman -S smartmontools

And you have to run multiple times this command (once in a minute for like 5 minutes):

# smartctl -a /dev/sda|grep Load_Cycle_Count

If the number under Load_Cycle_Count is increasing in a small amount of time (1 or 2 in a minute) you have this issue.

The problem is easily solvable using laptop-mode-tools. In your /etc/laptop-mode/laptop-mode.conf you have to set:

# Should laptop mode tools control the hard drive power management settings?

# Power management for HD (hdparm -B values)

This disable all power management systems of the hard drive cause a light heat up (maybe). The same behaviour can be obtained running this command:

# hdparm -B 255 /dev/sda

the 255 number is the power-management level, in a range of 1-255 where 1 is maximum powersaving and 255 powersaving disabled. However setting the value to 253 causes a lot of spin-down. Setting the spin-down feature (it parks the heads away from disk) however can save hdd in case of fall.

Hybernation - Suspend

This feature works very well, See pm-utils

Make sure acpid is installed and running. You can add it to the DAEMONS array in /etc/rc.conf.

Then edit these files...


sh ~/bin/suspend

(Taken from [+] with a little modification)



# discover video card's ID
if [ "$ME" != "root" ]; then
    echo "You must be root!"
    exit 1

ID=`lspci | grep VGA | awk '{ print $1 }' | sed -e 's@0000:@@' -e 's@:@/@'`

# securely create a temporary file

TMP_FILE=`mktemp /var/tmp/video_state.XXXXXX`trap 'rm -f $TMP_FILE' 0 1 15

# switch to virtual terminal 1 to avoid graphics
# corruption in X

chvt 1

# write all unwritten data (just in case)


# dump current data from the video card to the
# temporary filecat 

/proc/bus/pci/$ID > $TMP_FILE

# suspend

echo -n mem > /sys/power/state

# restore video card data from the temporary file
# on resume

cat $TMP_FILE > /proc/bus/pci/$ID

# switch back to virtual terminal 7 (running X)
chvt 7

# remove temporary file
rm -f $TMP_FILE

This should suspend your laptop to RAM when the lid is closed.