Installing Fedora 17 on a ThinkPad W530

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The Lenovo W530 I am installing on (2247-HJ5) came without operating system, so I cannot comment on how easy or difficult it is to add Fedora next to a possibly preexisting Windows installation. The same applies to the new, upcoming UEFI "secure boot" mechanisms, at least on my box they were just disabled in the BIOS and caused no issues whatsoever.

preinstallation considerations

In my case, installing Fedora was extremely smooth, nothing special to report here.

Intel vs. NVidia

The W530 is one of those laptops coming with the Optimus™ Technology, allowing to switch between a low power Intel HD GPU (Intel HD 4000 in particular) and a high power NVIDIA Quadro K1000M GPU, with the latter providing much better graphics performance but also consuming much more power.

In the past with my old W500 I found the Intel GPU working in there quite sufficient and never used the ATI card, so I initially decided to disable the NVidia GPU in the BIOS and install with the "Integrated Only". That worked quite well, but as it seems, the Intel GPU now only operates with the laptop display and does not drive any external monitors.

So if you want external monitors, you have to use the NVidia GPU.

postinstallation tasks

optimize power management

Now that I am somewhat forced to use the NVidia GPU my interest in optimizing power management when running on battery is huge. So, the best way I have found to tweak the box easily is to use the TLP tools. Install the tool as described here (yum based). The installation is described for F16, but it works identical for F17.

The akmod-tp_smapi package containg the tp_smapi kernel module does not work with my W530, so I uninstalled it.

I tweaked the following things:

  • /etc/default/grub

add "i915.i915_enable_rc6=1" to the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX line

  • /etc/default/tlp

- the lifetime of modern batteries is longer, when they are not constantly charged to 100%

# Main battery (values in %)

- When connected to a LAN, I want to disable both WIFI and WWAN (and reenable them, when unplugged)

# Radio devices to disable on connect
# Radio devices to enable on disconnect


noisy fan

At the time of writing (Oct 22, 2012) there appears a BIOS bug preventing the fans to spin down even when absolutely no load is present and the temperature for the system is just around 30° to 40°C. No matter what you set in the BIOS, the fans will always work with about 2700rpm. Lenovo is working on the issue, but for the time being you have to live with a rather loud laptop.

One "workaround" I've found however was to enable the fan control features of the thinkpad_acpi kernel module. In order to do so, check the How to control fan speed page on the wiki.

no external displays with the Intel GPU

As explained in the preinstall considerations, the Intel GPU on the W530 cannot drive any external monitors. So you are basically forced to use NVidia if you use external monitors.

using Optimus in Fedora

NVidia proprietary vs. open source Nouveau GPU driver

not tested yet