Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme

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Device Status Modules
Intel UHD 630 Graphics Working i965
Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti (Max-Q) Working nvidia
Intel I219-V Ethernet Working e1000e
Intel 9560 wireless Working iwlwifi
Realtek ALC285 audio Working snd_hda_intel
Synaptics touchpad Working synaptics + libinput
SunplusIT camera Working uvcvideo
Card reader Working xhci_hcd
Intel 9560 Bluetooth Working btusb
Intel JHL7540 Thunderbolt Working thunderbolt
Synaptics fingerprint reader Not working

The ThinkPad X1 Extreme is a thin-and-light 15.6" workstation/multimedia laptop from Lenovo's 2018 ThinkPad X lineup.

This page specifically concerns the specifics of running Arch Linux on this laptop. See Laptop for generic laptop-related information, or ThinkPad for other ThinkPad laptops. The Ubuntu certification page may also be useful.

Note: The Lenovo ThinkPad P1 is a workstation version of the same laptop which uses extremely similar hardware. Most of the information on this page should be applicable to P1 models as well.

Hardware compatibility

Firmware update

Despite not being strictly required for an Arch Linux install, a UEFI firmware update is strongly recommended for general use of the laptop - the initial 1.13 version devices seem to ship with contains multiple bugs that can result in bricking the laptop: Reddit thread discussing the issue; another Reddit thread discussing a different bricking issue.

Firmware updates are available via fwupd, the Lenovo Vantage application on Windows, or from Lenovo's website.

The latest version, v1.27, is highly recommended. All information on this page generally assumes the latest firmware unless explicitly stated.

Hybrid graphics

Hybrid mode works via Bumblebee, nvidia-xrun or optimus-manager. Both the HDMI port and DisplayPort outputs created when using either a USB-C adapter or Thunderbolt dock are wired to the Nvidia dGPU. In BIOS settings there are only 2 options: Discrete Graphics(Nvidia only) and Hybrid (Intel + GPU). Option to use only Intel GPU is not available.

Bumblebee

After installing Bumblebee, the HDMI port works after modifying the following files, rebooting, and executing intel-virtual-output -f from an X server running on the iGPU. See Bumblebee#Output wired to the NVIDIA chip for details.

/etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-intel.conf
Section "Device"
    Identifier "intelgpu0"
    Driver "intel"
EndSection
/etc/bumblebee/xorg.conf.nvidia
Section "ServerLayout"
    Identifier  "Layout0"
    Option      "AutoAddDevices" "true"
    Option      "AutoAddGPU" "false"
EndSection

Section "Device"
    Identifier  "DiscreteNvidia"
    Driver      "nvidia"
    VendorName  "NVIDIA Corporation"
    Option "ProbeAllGpus" "false"
    Option "AllowEmptyInitialConfiguration"
EndSection

Section "Screen"
    Identifier "Screen0"
    Device "DiscreteNVidia"
EndSection

optimus-manager

While optimus-manager requires logging out to switch graphics, it provides better performance and more stable external display support. The following configuration has been found to work well:

/etc/optimus-manager/optimus-manager.conf
[intel]
DRI=3
driver=modesetting
modeset=yes

[nvidia]
PAT=yes
ignore_abi=no
modeset=yes

[optimus]
pci_power_control=no
pci_remove=no
pci_reset=function_level
switching=bbswitch

The above configuration needs Bbswitch installed.

Using external graphics exclusively

Works fine with the default configuration produced by nvidia-xconfig, including HDMI output.

Thunderbolt

Thunderbolt works out of the box (tested with ThinkPad Thunderbolt 3 Dock); see Thunderbolt for details on security.

Fan control

The fan on the right side of the laptop can be controlled by thinkpad_acpi. 2nd fan can be controlled after patching thinkpad_acpi module; see [1]. If noise is an issue, the fan can be turned off manually by unplugging it from the motherboard, or the dust mesh can be removed.

Other hardware

The touchpad experience can be greatly improved by enabling "intertouch" as hinted by kernel messages. This can be done by either adding psmouse.synaptics_intertouch=1 to the kernel command line or by creating a modprobe entry like:

/etc/modprobe.d/psmouse.conf
options psmouse synaptics_intertouch=1

The webcam works out of the box, though it reports a completely black image instead of the "disconnected" placeholder when the protective slider is closed.

The fingerprint scanner is currently not supported in libfprint - a reverse engineering effort was ongoing here, but seems to have stalled. Upstream libfprint bug is tracked here.

Everything else works correctly out of the box.

Software tweaks

Dolby Atmos Effect on Linux

In order to get the same speaker sound quality/effect as on Dolby Atmos with Windows install & configure PulseAudio and pulseeffects. You can then download the Dolby Atmos preset from JackHack96's Github and enable it in the "Convolver" tab of the PulseEffects GUI.

Microphone noise reduction

PulseAudio's Echo/Noise-Cancellation can be used to reduce the amount of microphone noise by adding the following to /etc/pulse/default.pa:

/etc/pulse/default.pa
### Enable Echo/Noise-Cancellation
load-module module-echo-cancel use_master_format=1 aec_method=webrtc aec_args="beamforming=1 mic_geometry=-0.0257,0,0,0.0257,0,0" source_name=echoCancel_source sink_name=echoCancel_sink
set-default-source echoCancel_source
set-default-sink echoCancel_sink

The above mic_geometry is specific to the X1 Extreme.

Battery charge thresholds

Battery charging thresholds can be configured via sysfs nodes /sys/class/power_supply/BAT0/charge_start_threshold and /sys/class/power_supply/BAT0/charge_stop_threshold, or using TLP.

CPU throttling workaround

Warning: As of firmware v1.27, overriding thermal limits will result in your laptop running out of spec under certain conditions. A proper firmware level solution is being worked on by Lenovo, and should be available eventually.

A stress test using s-tui indicates that the CPU is limited to 38W/80C, resulting in maximum sustained frequency of around 2850 MHz on i7-8750H under heavy loads. The limits set by Windows in "performance" mode are considerably higher, at 44W/95C. It's possible to configure the power limits in one of the following ways:

via sysfs

Starting with version 5.4, the Linux kernel exposes multiple interfaces to configure the thermal policy of the CPU. There are two major knobs to be tweaked: the DPTF policy, which controls the throttling behavior, and the TCC offset, which controls the maximum allowed package temperature. Those can be configured to match Windows using a script like this one:

#!/bin/bash

# set DPTF policy to "adaptive performance"
echo "63BE270F-1C11-48FD-A6F7-3AF253FF3E2D" > /sys/devices/platform/INT3400:00/uuids/current_uuid

# enable INT3400 thermal zone
for zone in /sys/class/thermal/thermal_zone*; do
	if [ "$(cat $zone/type)" == "INT3400 Thermal" ]; then
		echo enabled > $zone/mode
	fi
done

# set TCC offset to 5 degrees (Tmax = 95C)
echo 5 > /sys/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:04.0/tcc_offset_degree_celsius

via third party tools

throttled and intel-undervolt (see below) can be used to override both thermal and power limits. However, the approach used by those tools is less reliable.

CPU undervolting

Warning: While generally not directly dangerous to the hardware, undervolting is not supported by Lenovo or Intel. If you experience any issues whatsoever while your hardware is undervolted, reset to stock voltages and verify the issue is still present.

Undervolting the CPU/Intel GPU works well with intel-undervolt. Generally -150mV seems to be a safe choice on the i7-8750H and i7-8850H CPUs, but your mileage may vary.

The effects of undervolting on system stability will vary depending on individual hardware (a.k.a. "the silicon lottery").

Specifications

All information on this page has been tested on laptop part number 20MF000BUS and 20MFCTO1WW, with the following specifications:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-8750H / i7-8850H
  • Graphics: Hybrid Intel UHD 630 + Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q
  • Display: Innolux N156HCE-EN1 1920x1080/60Hz IPS (other vendors may be used)
  • RAM: 16GB / 32GB
  • SSD: Intel 7600p series 512GB NVMe / Samsung 970 Pro 1TB NVMe