While Arch Linux works out of the box on this laptop, this page contains recommendations for running it on the Alienware M16 R6 (2021). With some configuration almost all the hardware is well supported. Exceptions are the lighting, S3 state of suspend and anything above 60Hz on supported built-in panels.
The BIOS settings can be accessed by repeatedly pressing the F2 at boot. In here, the SATA Mode is, by default, at "AHCI" and hence needless to modify. If at all you have tinkered with this option, reverting back to "AHCI" is a must for installing Arch.
- If dual booting with an existing Windows installation, Windows may not boot after the change but this can be fixed without a reinstallation before changing the mode
- Change Fastboot to "Thorough" as it prevents intermittent boot failures
- Disable secure boot to allow Linux to boot
Installation of Arch Linux can proceed normally. Refer to the installation guide for more information.
iwctl detects the NIC without any workaround; WiFi and LAN work out of the box.
Suspend and Hibernate
The popular S3 state of suspend is not supported as, unfortunately, Dell has excluded it at a BIOS level on the newer notebooks. Meanwhile, S0 state of suspend, more commonly known as Connected Standby works out of the box. While resuming from sleep is almost instantaneous (even faster than from S3 in general), it comes at the cost of heavy power drain of around 80-85% in under 10 hours of sleep.
# cat /sys/power/mem_sleep [s2idle]
The missing parameter
deep clarifies the lack of support for S3 state of suspend.
Hibernation is the best alternative to combat the absence of S3 state of suspend and can be achieved by simply setting up and configuring a swap file. The major advantage here is the 0% power drain over time.
While the trackpad works perfectly out of the box with the libinput driver, the keyboard has a few quirks.
- Windows key lock (Fn+Super) and function lock (Fn+Esc) work perfectly
- F1 for performance mode works perfectly; fans max out
- F12 for disabling the trackpad is nonfunctional but it can be assigned a shortcut
- Hardware mic mute is nonfunctional as the kernel does not, as yet (
5.15.4-arch1-1), recognize its scancode but then again can be remapped to another key
The audio card requires the SOF driver which can be installed with thepackage.
DisplayPort and HDMI
The DisplayPort, accessible via the type-C port at the back, is wired directly to the Intel GPU and hence can output video even with a completely disabled Nvidia GPU. This is the default configuration and works out of the box.
The HDMI port is wired directly to the Nvidia GPU and hence requires an NVIDIA driver. Nonetheless, the power drain will be prodigious and disabling the Nvidia card altogether is also not an option, in which case there will be no video out through HDMI.
There is no way to get output from the Nvidia GPU through the type-C port and from the Intel GPU through the HDMI port even with Optimus configured perfectly.
60Hz+ Refresh Rates
All configurations of the M15 R6 include panels that support over 60Hz refresh rates, such as the LGD067E with 165Hz. Unfortunately, they default to 60Hz and there is no workaround at present (
$ xrandr eDP-1-1 connected primary 1920x1080+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 344mm x 194mm 1920x1080 165.00*+ 60.01 + 60.01 59.97 59.96 59.93
The above output is from
xrandr on an M15 R6 with the LGD067E running GNOME 41. While it shows 165Hz as the selected configuration, glxgears is capped at 60 FPS.
Presently, there is no third party support for the lights although there is a good issue to track on the akbl repository.