Lenovo ThinkPad T530

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Revision as of 19:06, 25 March 2014 by Andreas1724 (talk | contribs) (xfce4-volumed-pulse seems to work better than xfce4-volumed (little outdated))
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Base System

  • You can follow the Beginners' guide for this
    • Basically everything that is there is what is needed, I will expand on the extra configs and weird tweaks that may be needed.
    • Go up to not through the GUI configurations, since we may be changing some things.


Note: With linux 3.11.x, this seems not to be necessary any more.
Note: As of linux 3.6.x, auto-mute may have to be disabled for working sound.

Temporary Fix Options:

  1. launch the Alsa Mixer CLI interface (in the terminal just type alsamixer) and then hit "F6". Select HDA Intel PCH and scroll over to "Auto-Mute" and hit the down arrow.
  2. Just enter this in the terminal /usr/bin/amixer -c 0 sset "Auto-Mute Mode" Disabled

Permanent Fix Options:

  1. Make the above command (/usr/bin/amixer -c 0 sset "Auto-Mute Mode" Disabled) launch at login.
    • Gnome/Cinnamon: Alt+F2, gnome-session-properties, add the command and title/describe it as you wish)
    • Mate: Follow "Gnome/Cinnamon" with "mate-session-properties" instead.
    • Openbox: Add the command to the ~/.openbox/autorun file.

Internal speakers and headphones (including optional auto-mute and DisplayPort audio) work out-of-the-box.

To enable sound you need to configure the kernel module

options snd-hda-intel model=thinkpad

(see Lenovo ThinkPad T400s)


You should install the xorg-server xorg-xinit and xorg-server-utils packages.

Also, I am going to assume that you have the same set-up as me so you'll need to do the following items.

I was in process of configuring Bumblebee, but after trying it both ways on my T530 - I don't really see a huge gain for the pain. So I dropped it. In my specific case, if I really need the extension to the battery life, you can just turn off the Dedicated card in the BIOS.

Intel HD 4000

You will need to install the xf86-video-intel package.

# pacman -S xf86-video-intel

Backlight Control

If backlight control does not work properly (eg in KDE), check /sys/class/backlight:

# ls /sys/class/backlight/
acpi_video0 intel_backlight

If the output looks similar to the above (ie more than one backlight device), your Desktop Environment might choose the wrong device for backlight control.

You can try creating a configuration file for Xorg specifying the device to use. Create the file /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-intel.conf with the following contents:

Section "Device" 
        Identifier      "HD 4000" 
        Driver  "Intel" 
        Option "Backlight" "intel_backlight" 

This tells Xorg to use intel_backlight for controlling backlight. After a reboot, you should be able to control the backlight and get OSD notifications about it (KDE).


Now you have a few options as far as what driver to use.

Arch recommends the xf86-video-nouveau driver, which is Open Source. However, while it has fast 2D, it only has basic 3D support and does not fully support power saving at this point.

# pacman -S xf86-video-nouveau

The other option is the nvidia package, which supports 3D and provides power saving. That being said, however, it will take some configuration to get it right. See the nvidia page for config.

When in discrete graphics mode, The backlight does not work while in UEFI Mode. This limitation does not exist in Legacy Mode.

Probably a waste, but I disabled this card in the BIOS for when I don't use it. Took battery from ~2hrs to ~4.5hrs



You need to add a new XORG Config file to handle the TrackPoint events (mostly the Middle Button handling horizontal and vertical scrolling, the MiddleClick works by default).

Create /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/10-trackpoint.conf with these contents:

   # vim /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/10-trackpoint.conf

Section "InputClass" Identifier "Trackpoint Wheel Emulation" MatchProduct "TPPS/2 IBM TrackPoint|DualPoint Stick|Synaptics Inc. Composite TouchPad / TrackPoint|ThinkPad USB Keyboard with TrackPoint|USB Trackpoint pointing device" MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/event*" Option "EmulateWheel" "true" Option "EmulateWheelButton" "2" Option "Emulate3Buttons" "false" Option "XAxisMapping" "6 7" Option "YAxisMapping" "4 5" EndSection

Once you reboot - you should be good-to-go with both vertical and horizontal scrolling while holding the middle TrackPoint button.

Hotkeys (Media Keys)

Media keys that work out of the box:

  • Wireless On/Off
  • Backlight Brightness (If you use the nVidia driver, configuration will be needed - documented on the Nvidia wiki page)
  • Thinklight / Keyboard Backlighting
  • Sleep

Keys that do not work out of the box, depending on your DE (you can bind them):

  • Mute
  • Vol+/-
  • Prev/PlayPause/Next
  • Lock
  • Mic Mute (doesn't even register on my keymapper)
  • Fn+F7 - Display Toggle (Projector?)
  • Fn+F6 - WebCam Toggle
  • Launcher (right of the Mic Mute)

XFCE-users could install xfce4-volumed-pulse from AUR instead of bind the mute/volume-keys.


Install the xbindkeys packages from the community repo. To run xbindkeys, it will want you to have a .xbindkeysrc file and will offer the default. Personally, I think the default options are terrible for a US layout (example: Rebinding Ctrl-F to not be find). So I just make my own to make it to my liking.

Here are the main ones, just open your preferred file editor and save the following as ~/.xbindkeysrc:

# Volume Controls
"amixer set Master 5%+"
"amixer set Master 5%-"
"amixer set Master toggle"
# Lock (Fn+F3)
"gnome-screensaver-command -l"
# I use banshee for my audio
"banshee --next"
"banshee --restart-or-prev"
"banshee --toggle-playing"
# Launcher (right of the Mic Mute)

Be sure to set xbindkeys to run at startup, and any time you edit the file you need to restart the process. In Gnome/Cinnamon hit Alt+F2 and type "gnome-session-properties" and hit enter. Click "Add" and type in xbindkeys for the command. You can call it and describe it however you want.

If I get time, I plan to make a script that will change the program the PlayPause/Prev/Next control. This will just do banshee in my example, but I would like to expand that to control VLC if it is open and banshee is not.


Both the Ethernet and wireless are supported by Arch out of the box. All the available Intel wireless cards are very well supported, including good powersaving. The Lenovo branded (Realtek) card does not work as well and does not support powersaving on Linux.

Ericsson H5321 GW Mobile Broadband modem

The Mobile Broadband modem may need the following change to be made into module settings so that mobile data starts to work.

echo options cdc_ncm prefer_mbim=N >> /etc/modprobe.d/cdc_ncm.conf

Thinkpad Specific Modules

While many of the system resources will be realized by the system, you may want to add the thinkpad_acpi module to boot.

  sudo echo thinkpad_acpi > /etc/modules-load.d/thinkpad.conf

This will let you check fan speeds and such with

  cat /proc/acpi/ibm/fan

Battery Usage for T530

As a barometer, my Arch system uses about 6.9 watts (as per Powertop) at idle with minimum screen brightness wifi connected. My Fedora install uses about 10 watts idle, and my Windows 7 install uses about 8 watts idle according to the lenovo power manager. Tips to extend battery life:

  • Install powertop and run it as root. Pay special attention to any applications (as opposed to system processes) which cause CPU wakeups. I have had a clipboard manager use .5 watts on its own, so pay special attention to any apps or services you use. Also pay attention to bluetooth and network devices so you can disable them.
  • Use Integrated Graphics mode under Display in the BIOS setup. Even with Nvidia Optimus selected, no applications launched with 'optirun' and the card OFF as listed by
  cat /proc/acpi/bbswitch

Powertop still consistently reports .3 watts more idle usage than with Integrated Graphics only mode set in BIOS. If you run Optimus, use

  cat /proc/acpi/bbswitch 

to check the power status of the nvidia card, and use

  echo OFF >> /proc/acpi/bbswitch

to disable it. The power consumption is noticeably less than having the discrete card enabled, but still higher than the Intel card alone. NOTE: You may have to unload the nvidia module first before turning it off: 'rmmod nvidia' as root...

  • Laptop-mode-tools: Install/enable as per the wiki. Nearly all options work fine for the T530. For some reason, the ethernet device (enp0s25) uses upwards of a watt on my system. Laptop-mode-tools doesnt seem to disable this by default, even with /etc/laptop-mode/conf.d/ethernet.conf properly labeled with my ethernet device. If powertop reports such usage, go to /etc/laptop-mode/conf.d/exec-commands.conf and change:


  BATT_EXEC_COMMAND_0="ip link set enp0s25 down"
  LM_AC_EXEC_COMMAND_0="ip link set enp0s25 up"
  NOLM_AC_EXEC_COMMAND_0="ip link set enp0s25 up"
  • profile-sync-daemon available in the AUR. When using the web browser on battery, write operations for cache, etc will wakeup the hard drive. profile-sync-daemon allows all write operations to go to RAM (as the profile is stored there), and then syncs to disk every hour (configurable). This will also reduce the wear on your hard drive, make the web browser feel faster, and reduce write cycles for SSD users.
  • Use 'noatime' in /etc/fstab if access times arent important to you. This is another way to reduce write cycles, and thereby disk wakeups.
  • Dont use any compositing at all. I tried using compton for panel transparency and this increased power consumption consistently by 4-4.5 watts idle using just the Intel card. Powertop will inform you of gpu operations as well.

See also