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ThinkPad W540

This page gives an overview of the ThinkPad W540.

Standard Features

  • One of the following processors:
    • 4th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-4930MX (Up to 3.9GHz, 8MB L3, 1600MHz FSB)
    • 4th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-4900MQ (Up to 3.8GHz, 8MB L3, 1600MHz FSB)
    • 4th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-4810MQ (Up to 3.8GHz, 6MB L3, 1600MHz FSB)
    • 4th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-4800MQ (Up to 3.7GHz, 6MB L3, 1600MHz FSB)
    • 4th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-4700MQ (Up to 3.4GHz, 6MB L3, 1600MHz FSB)
    • 4th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-4600MQ (Up to 3.6GHz, 4MB L3, 1600MHz FSB)
    • 4th Gen Intel® Core™ i5-4330M (Up to 3.5GHz, 3MB L3, 1600MHz FSB)
    • 4th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-4200M (Up to 3.1GHz, 3MB L3, 1600MHz FSB)
  • Discrete Video Card
    • NVIDIA Quadro K1100M 2GB
    • NVIDIA Quadro K2100M 2GB
  • One of the following displays:
    • 15.5" 3K IPS (2880 x 1620) (300 NITS)
    • 15.6" FHD TN (1920 x 1080) (220 NITS)
    • Color Sensor optional
  • Memory
    • Up to 32GB DDR3 1600MHz
  • One of the following storage options:
    • 500GB 5400rpm
    • 500GB 7200rpm
    • 1TB 5400rpm
    • 128GB SSD SATA3
    • 180GB SSD SATA3 OPAL
    • 240GB SD SATA3 OPAL
    • 256GB SSD SATA3
    • 512GB SSD SATA3


Linux Installation

Do not install Linux if you are using a BIOS version prior to 2.08! Depending on your BIOS settings this can break your mainboard.

As of 2014-02-24 the following problems exist with the W540 under opensuse 13.1 64bit Linux:

What is not working:

  • monitors connected to the Ultra Doc.
  • Audio port on Ultradoc (works on side of laptop)

Details: When running opensuse 13.1 x64, there are two Bumblebee repos, Do not mix them. The smithfarm/overman79 instructions work. Make sure you have the kernel dev pattern installed, as well as the kernel source.

There is another repo that looks more official and has a mixed set of packages, some newer and older than the overman79 repo. I don't know how to use the X11:Bumblebee repository yet.

It is able to drive two external monitors and the internal display using the two side ports. The thunderbolt connector works correctly, including audio though the thunderbolt port via an HDMI adapter to a TV.

There are more problems to work around on other machines; probably, the BIOS version is making the difference. When installing opensuse 13.1 (64 bit) on a machine with BIOS version 2.09, "OS Optimized Defaults" disabled in the BIOS setup, the following problems might occur:

  • Activating the NVIDIA GPU causes memory corruption leading to crashes and file system corruption. This might be related to this issue. A workaround is using only intel graphics using the kernel options
    i915.modeset=1 nouveau.modeset=0
    and probably rdblacklist=nouveau and blacklisting the nouveau module in /etc/modprobe.d.
  • Under unknown circumstances, the USB subsystem dies completely. This might be related to the integrated camera and power saving (using the "tunables" in powertop might also have provoked this behaviour). This does not seem to happen when using the kernel options
    acpi_osi='!Windows 2012' apm=off powersaved=off nohz=off usbcore.autosuspend=-1
    Probably, nohz=off is sufficient.
  • The current kernel does not support the card reader. There's no known workaround besides using an external reader.
  • You might want to use the kernel option acpi_osi='!Windows 2012' for better working brightness keys.
  • To get the TrackPoint button emulation working, edit your /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-synaptics.conf according to the answer to this question.
  • There seems to exist a udisk bug causing the desktop not to recognize some external USB drives. Affected drives must be mounted manually until the fix is applied by opensuse.

When experimenting with this, you should be familiar with the Magic SysRq key to minimize file system corruption. This is a bit harder on a W540, because SysRq has been replaced with Fn+S on the new keyboard and because the Alt key must not be released during the whole sequence: An emergency sync looks like this:

Press Alt, press Fn, press and release S, release Fn, press and release S or another command key, release Alt.