Dell XPS 13 (9370)

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Reason: Stub (Discuss in Talk:Dell XPS 13 (9370))
Hardware PCI/USB ID Working?
GPU Yes
Wireless Yes
Bluetooth Yes
Audio No
Touchpad Yes
Webcam Yes
Infrared Yes
Thunderbolt Yes
Fingerprint sensor No

The Dell XPS 13 Early 2018 (9370) is the fifth-generation model of the XPS 13 line. The laptop was released in January 2018 in both a standard edition with Windows installed, as well as a Developer Edition with Ubuntu installed. According to Dell the fingerprint reader is not present on the Linux variant.

Installation

UEFI Settings can be accessed by pressing the F2 key at boot.

  • Change the SATA Mode from the default "RAID" to "AHCI". This will allow Linux to detect the NVMe SSD. If dual booting with an existing Windows installation, Windows will not boot after the change but this can be fixed without a re-installation.
  • Disable Secure Boot to allow Linux to boot.
  • To boot from a USB device attached via the USB-C to USB-A adapter included in the box, you will need to enable Thunderbolt boot. Once enabled, F12 on boot will enter the boot menu. It is also possible to use the right USB-C port directly without any UEFI adjustment.

Booting and installing from a micro SD card is also possible, as long as SD Card and SD Card Boot are both enabled in the UEFI setup.

dell-command-configureAUR can be used to modify settings without having to reboot to enter UEFI menu. For example, to configure the battery to stop charging at 75% and only begin charging again when depleted to 60%:

# cctk --PrimaryBattChargeCfg=Custom:60-75

Firmware

Dell provides firmware updates via Linux Vendor Firmware Service (LVFS). Refer to Flashing BIOS from Linux#fwupd for additional information. A package is readily available at fwupd. Updates are provided for the Thunderbolt controller as well. There is an issue where the Thunderbolt version number is detected as 00.00 after re-flashing (currently being investigated).

Alternatively, for the BIOS update, you can simply copy the .exe file from the Dell Support page to any FAT32 drive (even the boot partition seems to work). Then boot into the "BIOS Flash Update" utility by hitting F12 at boot time.

Dell has also released updates to the SSD firmware, but these can only be updated from Windows, not from Linux.

Display

The enable_psr=1 kernel parameter appears not to work properly, at least on the touchscreen model.

If the brightness of the backlight cannot be adjusted, add i915.enable_dpcd_backlight=0 as a kernel parameter.

Content Adaptive Brightness Control

In the XPS 13 the display panels (both FHD and 4K UHD) come with Content Adaptive Brightness Control (usually referred to as CABC or DBC, sometimes also as "EcoPower") enabled by default. While disabling required flashing the display firmware in previous generations, DBC can now be disabled in recent BIOS versions in the "Video" section. To test if DBS is enabled, go to this test page.

Storage

Firmware

The NVMe SSD is a Toshiba KXG50ZNV256G, KXG50ZNV512G or KXG50ZNV1T02. The stock firmware version AADA4102 has severe problems when the SSD enters the lowest power state. This results in a unresponsive device (kernel complains about read-only filesystem) The problems can occur any time, but seem to have become way more common on Kernel 4.18 on battery power. Firmware Version AADA4107 seems to fix the problem. The firmware is available for Windows only but can be updated under Linux at your own risk.

Note: On some devices, the NVMe SSD can be a SK hynix EJ82N00301190264W (1TB) and not a Toshiba one.

As the upgrade is only possible under Windows, and as even with upgraded driver the disk may be completely undetected by the kernel because of the SSD not being responsive in the deepest sleep mode, the following kernel parameter work as a workaround, preventing the disk to enter the problematic sleep mode (see Solid state drive/NVMe):

nvme_core.default_ps_max_latency_us=6000
Note: NVMe SSD should not be issued discards: Solid state drive/NVMe#Discards.

Performance

If the system becomes unresponsive when creating any kind of large file or when data is being swapped then you may need to disable Native Command Queuing by adding the the kernel parameter libata.force=noncq

Peripherals

Keyboard

The keyboard backlight has a feature that makes it automatically turn off after a given timeout. This timeout can be adjusted by writing into /sys/class/leds/dell\:\:kbd_backlight/stop_timeout. For example,

# echo "5m" > /sys/class/leds/dell\:\:kbd_backlight/stop_timeout

This would set the timeout to 5 minutes. Note that different timeouts are maintained when the machine is connected to AC and when it is running from battery.

Touchpad

Cursor Jump

The touchpad can sometimes produce a "cursor jump". Sometimes this is detected and worked around by libinput, resulting in a similar journal entry:

libinput error: event12 - DELL07E6:00 06CB:76AF Touchpad: kernel bug: Touch jump detected and discarded.

There is a libinput bug about this where the conclusion was that this is probably a hardware issue or a bug in the kernel driver.

Sensitivity

By default, the libinput driver might not have the desired sensitivity. The acceleration can be changed via xinput as follows:

$ xinput --set-prop $(xinput | grep 'DELL.*Touchpad' | awk '{print $6}' | sed 's/id=//g') 'libinput Accel Speed' 0.5

Webcam

If the webcam does not work after going into deep sleep, you need to update your bios to version 1.5.1 or newer. Some users have reported problem of the webcam being stuck at 640x480.

Infrared camera

The infrared camera can be used as an authentication method with howdy.

Warning: As said in howdy's documentation, "DO NOT USE HOWDY AS THE SOLE AUTHENTICATION METHOD FOR YOUR SYSTEM".

Fingerprint reader

The fingerprint reader is not supported. There is a libfprint feature request.

Audio

Built-in audio worked approximately until 2020, but does not work any more since kernel 5.4, due to a kernel bug, a firmware/UEFI issue or both.

The built-in audio card has been observed to work with a low likelihood at random, roughly during one boot out of high tens. Telltale messages (for search engines to find):

journalctl -k -b
snd_hda_intel 0000:00:1f.3: spurious response 0x0:0x0, last cmd=0xfff0005
hdaudio hdaudioC0D0: no AFG or MFG node found
hdaudio hdaudioC0D2: no AFG or MFG node found
hdaudio hdaudioC2D0: no AFG or MFG node found
hdaudio hdaudioC2D2: no AFG or MFG node found
snd_hda_intel 0000:00:1f.3: azx_get_response timeout, switching to polling mode: last cmd=0x200f0000
snd_hda_intel 0000:00:1f.3: No response from codec, disabling MSI: last cmd=0x200f0000
snd_hda_intel 0000:00:1f.3: azx_get_response timeout, switching to single_cmd mode: last cmd=0x200f0000
snd_hda_intel 0000:00:1f.3: no codecs initialized

There seems to be no known workaround to this problem (other than Bluetooth headphones or the USB soundcard in a dock) as of September 2022.

Connectivity

Bluetooth

The Bluetooth adapter sometimes becomes unavailable after waking up from suspend and can even stay deactivated and invisible after a warm reboot. End of October 2018 a kernel patch was announced by Dell. However the issue appears to remain unresolved for at least some users.

A quick workaround is rmmod btusb before suspend and modprobe btusb after resume. To do this, you can put an executable script of any name in /lib/systemd/system-sleep/.

#!/bin/sh
if [ "$1" 1 "pre" ]; then
  systemctl stop bluetooth && rmmod btusb
elif [ "$1" 1 "post" ]; then
  modprobe btusb && systemctl start bluetooth
fi

Make sure it is executable. Credit to Cyrus Lien for this workaround.

WiFi

The WiFi adapter contains a Qualcomm Atheros QCA6174 module. It should work out of the box with the ath10k_pci driver in recent linux kernels.

For any WiFi issues a guideline is provided by Dell to install the latest Killer wireless drivers.

USB Type-C ports

The 9370 has only three Type-C ports (and no other ports, just an audio jack). Two of these (on the left side) support Thunderbolt 3. There is no power jack. A 45 W USB Type-C charger is included in the box. Any of the three Type-C ports can be used for charging. Since the laptop has no USB-A ports, one Dell-branded Type-C to A adapter is included.

Also all three Type-C ports support DisplayPort alternate mode. It is taken care of by the firmware, so it will work even with older kernels that do not otherwise support it. To the operating system it appears as if the laptop had two DisplayPort connectors (in addition to the embedded DP that the internal screen uses). So far the following adapters have been tested. All of these will appear to the operating system as if you plugged something into one of the DP connectors.

Power

Power Saving

To save more battery use TLP package and/or Powertop.

You can monitor the used power and also the temperature of your machine with the s-tui tool.

To minimize the GPU's power consumption, make sure i915 is correctly loading the firmware as described in Intel graphics#Enable GuC / HuC firmware loading.

By default, Intel Turbo mode appears to be disabled when on battery to save power. If this is not desired, TLP can be configured to re-enable Turbo on battery, however it is not always successful in doing so. A solution is to use acpid to detect AC charger disconnection and re-trigger TLP after a short delay by adding the following:

/etc/acpi/handler.sh
...
     ac_adapter)
       case "$2" in
           ACPI0003*|AC|ACAD|ADP0)
               case "$4" in
                   00000000)
                       logger 'AC unplugged'
                       sleep 2
                       tlp true
                       ;;
                   00000001)
                       logger 'AC plugged'
                       sleep 2
                       tlp false
                       ;;
               esac
               ;;
           *)
               logger "ACPI action undefined: $2"
               ;;
       esac
...

Sleep

If the laptop seems to have an high drain when in sleep mode. As a possible workaround, you can set the machine to enter S3 deep sleep mode. Add quiet mem_sleep_default=deep to the kernel parameters.

According to the manufacturer (see this upstream kernel bug), the machine uses S2 intentionally instead of S3, and they are working towards fixing the power drain on S2.

Note: on older BIOS and/or kernel versions the power button cannot be used to wake the laptop from sleep. In this case the Sleep button (Fn+End, or just End if you have "Fn lock" enabled) can still wake up the machine. This has been fixed by a BIOS update.

Thermal Throttling

By default thermal throttling activates around 80°C resulting in maximum sustained CPU frequency around 2.4Ghz, much lower than in Dell's standard Windows installation.

Package temperature above threshold, cpu clock throttled (total events = 971)

This can be resolved using throttled or intel-undervolt, both of which can be used to set a higher trip temperature. Both can also be used to undervolt to further reduce throttling, however system firmware newer than 1.12.1 appear to disable this ability.

Thermal Modes / Fan profiles

Just like in Windows by using Dell Power Manager you can set the thermal configuration and behavior of the fans and CPU of your machine. This is done with the commands below (ensure libsmbios is installed), or alternatively via a KDE Plasma widget, plasma5-applets-plasma-pstateAUR:

To find out what thermal mode is set type:

# smbios-thermal-ctl -g

To find all available thermal modes type:

# smbios-thermal-ctl -i

And finally to set the desired thermal mode that you identified with the command before type:

# smbios-thermal-ctl --set-thermal-mode=THERMAL_MODE
  • "Quiet" and "Cool Bottom" profiles limit CPU power to 11W (18W boost) and thus reduces overall system performance.
  • "Balanced" and "Performance" profiles remove this limit.
  • Thermal profile changes may not reliably alter the CPU power limit. When connected via Thunderbolt dock it appears to be worse.
  • In some circumstances after booting (particularly with "Quiet" profile), power may be limited to 10W.
  • Disconnecting and reconnecting power, changing thermal profile, or simply waiting may resolve these issues.

For more fine-grained control of the fans, i8kutils can be used to specify the temperature at which either fan should activate. This may conflict with the BIOS fan control, which can be disabled using dell-bios-fan-control-gitAUR.