Sony Vaio Pro SVP-1x21

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Revision as of 15:11, 28 October 2013 by Alesguzik (talk | contribs) (Added info about NFC)
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This document will guide you through the process of installing Arch Linux on the 2013 Sony Vaio Pro Haswell based Ultrabook. From what we've seen, this laptop seems to be very Arch friendly! :)


  • Intel Haswell Series CPU (4200U/4500U)
  • 4/8GB of DDR3 1600MHz RAM
  • 128 to 512GB SSD with read speeds over 1GB/s
  • 11/13" LED-backlit 1080p IPS screen
  • Optional touchscreen
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Webcam
  • Wireless: WiFi 802.11n, Bluetooth, NFC
  • Sensors: ambilight
  • Ultra low weight; around 1.1kg for the 13" model


BIOS Configuration

Get into the BIOS by pushing the assist button when the system is shut off and then hitting Start BIOS Setup. Do not try to boot from your usb key using recovery mode, instead change the boot order in the BIOS. Make the following changes:

Intel(R) AT Support System	[Disabled]
Secure Boot			[Disabled]
External Device Boot		[Enabled]
Select 1st Boot Priority	[External Device]

If you want to use the legacy boot (non-EFI), change:

Boot Mode			[Legacy]

Install media

  • Important! Do NOT use the usb port labelled with a lightning bolt, you will never get it to even boot.
  • When booting from USB, append libata.force=noncq to the kernel parameters to avoid problems with the SSD.

Internet connection

As the Intel 7260 WiFi card is only supported in kernel 3.11 or newer, you might have to use another method to connect to the internet during install.

Known working methods:

  • USB tethering with an Android device. Samsung i9300 @ 4.2.2 tested.
  • Nexus 4 tested also confirmed working

Pretty much all usb tethering over Android is working just fine.


Picking a bootloader



Works as expected.


Some users are unable to run the install.

Note: Grub should install fine if UEFI boot mode is turned on in the BIOS.



Works as expected.


  • For a faster boot, don't forget to undo these BIOS settings:
External Device Boot		[Disabled]
Select 1st Boot Priority	[Internal Drive]
  • If you want all the power from the Haswell CPU, install a RC of the 3.12 kernel (linux-mainlineAUR).

Hardware support


Issues regarding getting full performance are being fixed in Linux kernel 3.12. 3.11 is working fine, just has no turbo.


Works good with the xf86-video-intel driver. For instuctions on installing and configuring, see the Intel Graphics article.


As the Installation Guide suggests, install alsa-utils and follow this guide to get started. Works out of the box, although main sound card may have index 1, making it non-default (index 0 is taken by Intel HDMI). To fix this, edit /usr/share/alsa/alsa.conf (near line 68):

defaults.ctl.card 1
defaults.pcm.card 1


The Intel 7260 WiFi card is supported in Linux kernel 3.11 or newer.

Touch screen

Tapping works out of the box. Multitouch gestures do not work.

Keyboard backlight

Works out of the box. Enables in low amblient light and a key press, turns off after about 20s. Can be customized by modifying kbd_backlight and kbd_backlight_timeout found in:


A simple shell script for toggling the backlight, bind to a keyboard shortcut for easy use:

if [ $(<$path) -eq 1 ]
echo "$newval" > $path

Make sure that you can write to this file without root privileges:

# chmod 777 /sys/devices/platform/sony-laptop/kbd_backlight

Monitor backlight control

Works out of the box with xorg-xbacklight. By default the backlight is only adjusted by 1% per button press. This can easily be fixed by binding those keys to a xorg-xbacklight command. DM:s like Xfce does take larger steps by default.


Works great with the xf86-input-synaptics driver. A good base config can be found here.

Keyboard and buttons

Works very well out of the box.

Toggle TouchPad via Fn+F1

The hotkey that toggles the TouchPad can be configured using acpid. Create the following two files to do so:

event=button.fnf1 FNF1
action=/etc/acpi/actions/ "%e"
export DISPLAY=:0
USER=`who | grep ':0' | grep -o '^\w*' | head -n1`

if [ "$(su "$USER" -c "synclient -l" | grep TouchpadOff | awk '{print $3}')" == "0" ]; then
    su "$USER" -c "synclient TouchpadOff=1"
    su "$USER" -c "synclient TouchpadOff=0"
Note: Restart acpid using systemctl after adding the files.

Fan control

Works well out of the box. It stays quiet during normal load. Change profile by editing thermal_control found in:


Available profiles can be found in thermal_profiles in the same directory.


Set the maximum charge to 50/80/100% by modifying battery_charge_limiter found in:


USB ports

Some users are having issues with the usb port labeled with a lightning bolt not working for anything but charging. This is a known issue for many Sony laptops.

SD card slot

Works out of the box.


Works out of the box with Intel's neardAUR. No luck yet getting tools from libnfc to work.


Works out of the box.


Works out of the box.

Internal mic

Not working for some users. A fix has been committed to the kernel in 3.12-rc5.

Summary of known issues

  • Haswell turbo is not supported in kernel 3.11.
  • Some users are having trouble with the internal Mic showing as "Unavailable" to pulse and not working. (fix is merged linux 3.12-rc5)
  • Only one usb port fully working for some users.