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ThinkPad W510

Standard Features

ThinkPad W510

Linux Installation

As of 2010-03-01 the following problems exist with the W510 under Linux:

  • Audio on some W510's has been "destroyed" after running for a while. It has been confirmed that speakers have melted in t400s and t410s as well, this is unrelated to Linux.
  • nVidia FX 880M requires driver >= 195.36.15. Earlier versions have stability or graphics corruption problems.
  • To enable brightness control in X, append 'Option "RegistryDwords" "EnableBrightnessControl=1"' to the Device-Section of xorg.conf, orginal source: This may result in a high-pitched whine after lowering the brightness within X. Brightness may not be lowered and raised in the same increments on Archlinux.
  • Suspend not implemented yet in USB 3.0 (xhci) driver - system cannot suspend unless driver is unloaded first -
  • System can only resume from suspend once - acpi related kernel crash occurs on resume (but system continues to operate), next resume shows BIOS screen and hangs -
  • Lenovo has issued a BIOS update that fixes the 2nd suspend problem (c.f. Ubuntu bug tracker)
  • TEMPORARY WORKAROUND for suspend issues: Use kernel > 2.6.33 mainline and add "acpi_sleep=sci_force_enable" to kernel arguments. This allows the system to suspend and resume multiple times without issue, however it doesn't fix it the "right" way. Lenovo BIOS update mentioned above will eliminate the need for this step.
  • Wired networking stuck at 10Mbit without manual change using ethtool. For Ubuntu Karmic this can easily be fixed by manually downloading and installing the e1000e driver from Intel. After installing this driver however, the wireless stopped working me.

(NOT true for me on kernel 2.6.33 ethtool says " Speed: 1000Mb/s " -mstragowski)

  • Archlinux before version 2010.5 cannot easily be configured, as the wireless and ethernet cards both require drivers that are not present in the 2009.08 release. This may be a problem for other distros, as well. With Archlinux 2010.5, ethernet works out of the box and wireless works after kernel update.
  • While Turbo Boost IS working properly with recent distros, built in Linux utilities do not currently show Turbo Boost activity. Intel Powertop or i7z will show actual CPU state properly, including Turbo Boost and advanced C-states. Can be verified running Ubuntu Lucid and compiling a kernel or other tasks, WHILE ON AC POWER.
  • 2-finger scroll on touchpad not working even wtih gpointing-device-settings
       Option "EmulateTwoFingerMinZ" "4"
       Option "VertEdgeScroll" "off"
       Option "HorizEdgeScroll" "off"
       Option "VertTwoFingerScroll" "on"

in the synaptics section in xorg.conf solved that one for me (EmulateTwoFingerMinZ is the relevant part here I think.)

  • If you find the flashing wireless LED annoying, you can change its behavior so it will be on steady whenever the radio is powered on, and off when the radio is off. Add "options iwlcore led_mode=1" to /etc/modprobe.d/iwlcore.conf to set the LED on steady, or you can set led_mode=0 to have it flash whenever there is wireless activity (default)
  • XEN and W510 - After trying numerous combinations of Linux distributions & XEN to get the W510 running a dom0 the problem was well-integrated XEN environments with no support for the W510 or new distributions (like Ubuntu) fixing driver problems but no XEN support whatsoever. I have (false?) hope that XEN and ubuntu will one day work again.... but I got through manual compilation, having Ubuntu 10.04 (jeremy git at 2.6.32-14) dom0 booting ok (with some manual grub editing for Ubuntu) but stuck at 800x600 graphics as NVIDIA driver seems to lock up the kernel and no success getting Nouveau working in a dom0 environment. No matter what flags or changes I made to the grub startup and/or blacklisting drivers etc as per online guides made any difference. SO.... an alternative while XEN ubuntu kernel makes its way towards 2.6.34... I tried OpenSuse 11.3 milestone 7 and it worked flawlessly with full resolution graphic support using Nouveau (2.6.34-8) in a dom0. Note: you have to enable VT-d support in BIOS if you want HVM support. But presently having networking issues getting an HVM to launch without hotplugin script errors ( --Diti2202 21:25, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Memory - Only since Bios version 1.24 you may use more than 3GB under amd64 Linux --carpf)


  • On Ubuntu Karmic, Wireless can be enabled by installing linux-backport-modules-karmic. This adds missing firmware for 6000-series cards. This does not seem to work with the 2.6.31-20 kernel but I have no problems in the 2.6.31-19.
  • All Versions: System cannot suspend unless SUSPEND_MODULES="xhci" (on ArchLinux with 2.6.35 the Module is called "xhci_hcd") is added to /etc/pm/config.d/unload_modules (may need to create this file) Note that this does not resolve the "crash on second resume" problem.
  • On archlinux, ethernet will work after one manually installs the newest kernel26 package, while wifi requires the appropriate microcode package, iwlwifi-6000-ucode.
  • The Nouveau open source nVidia driver [1] works at full resolution without freezing (but without 3D acceleration). This driver is included in Ubuntu Lucid. Note that you may experience elevated (but safe) system temperatures when running Nouveau.
  • Full touchpoint support can be activated by installing gpointing-device-settings - this allows middle click scroll, etc.
  • To control brightness without the (admittedly minor) nvidia driver issues, do not add the EnableBrightnessControl option, but instead switch to a virtual console to change the brightness--this change will remain when you switch back to X.

Hardware notes

  • The W510 ships with a large (nearly doubled size of the 90W version) 135W power supply. However, it is possible to plug 90W power supplies, but they get rather warm. Upon boot there's a notification message, that a power supply with reduced performance is connected. Note: In order to avoid overloading the weaker power supply, the CPU is throttled drastically and usually does not go above 400 Mhz.
  • If the binary nVidia drivers are not installed the system runs about 10 degrees warmer and uses a few watts more power. It seems the open source 'nouveau' driver does not have power saving functionality with the nVidia chipset. The program "nvclock" might be able to alleviate this, but I haven't tried.
  • A high pitched noise can sometimes be heard when the computer is running. I was informed that this is the CPU's power management unit. If it annoys you it can be disabled in the BIOS.
  • The computer does not boot at all when some USB keyboards are plugged in at power on. This is a problem with the BIOS and not with Linux or Windows. The only solution is to unplug the keyboard and plug it in again once the laptop is past the BIOS screen and booting as normal.
  • After upgrading to Ubuntu 10.04 the system hangs very often. Nothing unusual in dmesg or system logs. Seems to happen more often when using wireless. (see bug

Pages in category "W510"

The following 80 pages are in this category, out of 80 total.