MSI GS66 11UX

From ArchWiki

Tango-edit-clear.pngThis article or section does not follow the Laptop page guidelines.Tango-edit-clear.png

Reason: Missing an accessibility, firmware and function key section. (Discuss in Talk:MSI GS66 11UX)
Hardware PCI/USB ID Working?
Touchpad 06cb:cdad Yes
Keyboard 1038:1122 Yes
Display Yes
GPU (Intel) 8086:9a60 Yes
GPU (NVIDIA) 10de:249d Yes
Webcam 5986:2127 Yes
Ethernet 10ec:3000 Yes
Bluetooth 8087:0032 Yes
Thunderbolt 8086:9a31 Yes
Audio 8086:43c8 Partial
Wireless 8086:2725 Yes

MSI has released refreshed GS66 laptops with 11th Intel processors and NVIDIA Ampere graphics. Exact models are 11UH, 11UG and 11UE. Note that these models should not be confused with 10UX models as they are reported to work out of the box with Linux.

For a general overview of laptop-related articles and recommendations, see Laptop.

Preparation

Useful shortcuts:

  • Pressing INSERT during startup will open BIOS.
  • Pressing F11 during startup will open boot menu.
  • Pressing LEFT ALT + RIGHT CTRL + RIGHT SHIFT + F2 while in BIOS will show advanced settings.
Warning: It is possible to completely break the laptop if you do not know what you are doing with BIOS advanced settings. For example, you would not be able to use any screen (integrated or HDMI) if you disable internal graphics, including the BIOS screen. In such case, one might attempt to reset BIOS settings by powering off the laptop, then holding power button for ~30 seconds (laptop will turn on, then turn off, then power button starts blinking and then stops blinking).

Installation

BIOS configuration

Before installing Arch Linux, several steps need to be done in BIOS:

  • Secure Boot must be disabled in BIOS > Security > Secure Boot.
  • VMD controller must be enabled in BIOS > Advanced > VMD controller.

Add VMD module

Arch Linux will not detect SSD during boot from the same SSD, unless vmd is added to Mkinitcpio#MODULES array. Ensure initramfs is regenerated, see Mkinitcpio#Manual generation.

Install audio firmware

Arch Linux will not detect audio hardware unless you install ALSA firmware.

Tips and tricks

Keyboard RGB control

Install msi-perkeyrgbAUR and see the project's README#usage. Using the --model gs65 argument works fine with GS66 11UX models that have an US keyboard. This has not been tested with all other keyboards, but it does not work with Spanish keyboards.

Disable fan when idle

Laptop fan never powers off, even when system is completely idle. This can be fixed by installing iswAUR package, configuring EC register to be available with write support and issuing this command on boot:

# isw -s 0x72 0

Mux switch

By default, this device operates in Hybrid graphics which works completely fine, but one of the key features of this device is mux switch. In short, it allows physically wiring NVIDIA GPU to the display, which eliminates the need for the integrated graphics processor and resulting in improved performance.

MSI only provides Windows application (UWP or ZIP) to switch between Hybrid graphics (Intel + NVIDIA) and discrete graphics (NVIDIA) mode. Basically it sets some sort of a flag (presumably in EC register) and reboots. During the reboot, it seem to temporarily boot into BIOS, change the graphics mode and reboot back to Windows. Some reverse engineering to achieve the same functionality has been done on a similar model (see the GitHub issue and the GitHub project), but there was no success for this specific model.

While there is an option in BIOS to change such graphics, it is greyed out. Fortunately, BIOS version E16V4IMS.107 (mirror) is the most up-to-date version that does not have such option greyed out and allows to change graphics. Note that you will need to activate advanced options, allow BIOS downgrading and flash this BIOS file as a regular BIOS update.

Known issues

Audio clipping

The audio device exhibits issues under Linux, whereby audio may be lost at the start or end of playback. During continuous playback, the device behaves as expected.

This occurs using ALSA directly, meaning it is independent of software mixers like Pulseaudio or Pipewire, and also occurs in legacy mode, using driver options snd-intel-dspcfg dsp_driver=1, and with power management disabled. It is unknown what is required to make the device operate optimally under Linux.

See also

  • TLP - general power usage optimization for notebooks.