Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 6)

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Tip: A great resource for thinkpads is https://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/ThinkWiki

Model description

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, 6th generation is an ultrabook introduced in early 2018. It comes in several variants(20KH* and 20KG*) and features a 14" screen, 8th-gen Intel Core processors and integrated Intel UHD 620 graphics.

To ensure you have this version, install the package dmidecode and run:

# dmidecode -t system | grep Version

Version: ThinkPad X1 Carbon 6th

Support

Device Working Modules
Intel graphics Yes i915, (intel_agp)
Wireless network Yes iwlmvm
Native Ethernet with included dongle Yes  ?
Mobile broadband No*  ?
Audio Yes snd_hda_intel
Touchpad Yes psmouse, rmi_smbus, i2c_i801
TrackPoint Yes psmouse, rmi_smbus, i2c_i801
Camera Yes uvcvideo
Fingerprint Reader No**  ?
Power management Yes  ?
Bluetooth Yes btusb
microSD card reader Yes scsi_mod
Keyboard Backlight Yes thinkpad_acpi
Function/Multimedia Keys Yes  ?

* no working linux pcie driver for Fibocom L850-GL forum link - also see this forum for more progress.

** the Validity90 project began reverse engineering the reader, but updates have stopped recently.

BIOS

The most convenient way to install Arch Linux is by disabling "Secure Boot" Security -> Secure Boot - Set to "Disabled". However it is possible to self-sign your kernel and boot with it enabled. For further information have a look at the Secure Boot article.

In case your efivars are not properly set it is most likely due to you not being booted into UEFI. Should the problem persist be sure to consult the UEFI#UEFI variables section.

Updates

Automatic Linux Vendor Firmware Service

In August of 2018 Lenovo has joined the Linux Vendor Firmware Service(LVFS) project, which enables firmware updates from within the OS. BIOS updates (and possibly other firmware such as the Thunderbolt controller) can be queried for and installed through fwupd.

Manual Installation

BIOS update 1.30 was released on 2018-09-07. Obtain geteltoritoAUR and run geteltorito.pl -o bios-update.img n23ur11w.iso on the downloaded ISO file to create a valid El Torito image file, then flash this file on a USB drive via dd like you would flash Arch installation media. For further information see flashing BIOS from Linux.

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon supports setting a custom splash image at the earliest boot stage (instead of the red "Lenovo" logo), more information can be found in the README.TXT located in the FLASH folder of the update image.

Suspend issues

The 6th Generation X1 Carbon supports S0i3 (also known as Windows Modern Standby), but not S3 by default. Missing S3 also causes hybrid-suspend to go directly to hibernate. Thankfully, S3 can be enabled through a BIOS option from BIOS version 1.30 onward.

Enabling S3

First, verify S3 is not currently available by running the following command and making sure S3 is not listed in the supported modes.

dmesg | grep -i "acpi: (supports"

To enable S3 support, make sure you have at least BIOS version 1.30 installed. Then, go into the BIOS configuration, and Config -> Power -> Sleep State - Set to "Linux". This should make S3 available. To verify, after making the changes in the BIOS configuration, boot into Linux, and run the dmesg command again to make sure that S3 is now available.

Disabling the memory card reader

You might also need to disable the Realtek memory card reader (which appears to use a constant 2-3 W) either via the BIOS or via

echo "2-3" | sudo tee /sys/bus/usb/drivers/usb/unbind

BIOS configurations

  • Config -> Thunderbolt BIOS Assist Mode - Set to "Enabled". When disabled, on Linux, power usage appears to be significantly higher because of a substantial number of CPU wakeups during s2idle.

Power management/Throttling issues

Due to wrong configured power management registers the CPU may consume a lot less power than under windows and the thermal throttling occurs at 80°C (97°C when using Windows, see T480s throttling bug).

There is a post in the official Lenovo forum to inform Lenovo about this issue.

Throttling fix

An easy package has been written to address the problem until (or if) Lenovo ever solves it.

Install lenovo-throttling-fix-gitAUR, then run:

sudo systemctl enable --now lenovo_fix.service

The script also supports more advance thermal/performance features including CPU undervolting. See the lenovo-throttling-fix repository README.md for details.

Note: If you installed thermald, it may conflict with the throttling fix in this package. Consider disabling thermald or otherwise work around this.

TrackPoint and Touchpad issues

Note: Some models of the 6th generation X1 Carbon seem to have issues with the TrackPoint and Touchpad working at the same time.

To get the TrackPoint and Touchpad to work at the same time, add synaptics_intertouch=1 to the psmouse kernel module options, for example in the cmdline of the boot loader:

 [...] root=/dev/sda1 rw psmouse.synaptics_intertouch=1 [...]

or by editing /etc/modprobe.d/psmouse.conf:

 options psmouse synaptics_intertouch=1
Note: When using TLP with default powersaving settings, there might be occasional hiccups such as dropouts of tap-to-click functionality for the Touchpad, as well as the TrackPoint not surviving suspends and needing to be re-initialized.

Reconnecting a dead trackpad can be done via

echo -n "none" | sudo tee /sys/bus/serio/devices/serio1/drvctl
echo -n "reconnect" | sudo tee /sys/bus/serio/devices/serio1/drvctl

A bug in the libinput library that caused dropouts of the tap-to-click functionality of the touchpad on the X1 Carbon 6th Gen has been fixed in libinput 1.11.2, which was released on 3 July 2018.

Full-disk encryption

Ramdisk module

With LUKS for root, i915 needs to be loaded in ramdisk in order to access the password prompt. Add i915 to MODULES list in /etc/mkinitcpio.conf and regenerate the ramdisk.

Tools

Diagnostics

s-tui (s-tuiAUR): an aesthetically pleasing and useful curses-style interface that shows graphs of CPU frequency, utilization, temperature, and power consumption. It also has a built in stress tester.

intel_gpu_top (intel-gpu-tools): gives you some top-like info for the integrated GPU. This can be quite useful in diagnosing GPU acceleration issues.

powertop (powertop): provides detailed information about CPU power consumption and recommendations on how to improve it.

tlp-stat (tlp): a much simpler alternative to remembering which cat /sys/devices/system/* to run in many cases. It can give very detailed, structured information about components like the battery, processor, graphics card, etc.

References

Additional resources