Linux on Samsung Chronos7

Specification

Processor
Intel Core i5 2430M
Linux Support
gets very hot sometimes and fan is running almost all the time which is related to the onchip (and dedicated) video device(s)
Constantly comes down to ~60 C now
Identification/Module
Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-2430M CPU @ 2.40GHz
Comment
using the ondemand governor and cpufrequtils
Memory
Intel Core i5 2430M
Linux Support
good
Identification/Module
Comment
OnChip Video
Intel HD 3000 256MB
Linux Support
ok
still having temperature issues Constantly comes down to ~60 C now but gets very hot as soon as you use movie playback or other video related applications
Identification/Module
i915
Comment
For power saving and reducing heat add the following to your GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT: pcie_aspm=force acpi=noirq acpi_osi=Linux acpi_backlight=vendor intel_iommu=off i915.modeset=1 i915.i915_enable_rc6=1 i915.lvds_downclock=1; additionally what seemed to help a bit with temperature issues: i915.semaphores=1 Adding the acpi=noirq might help to really enable rc6. Do not forget to run update-grub then! To ensure the gpu does not get too hot try this: echo 650 > /sys/kernel/debug/dri/0/i915_max_freq. It sets the max gpu frequency to a user defined frequency (the lowest possible 650 in my case). No more fan terror… Downside: playing 3D games will not be much fun from now on…
Discrete Video
AMD Radeon HD 6470M 256MB?
Linux Support
turned off gets too hot as long as you do not change the power profile/method or use the proprietary fglrx
consumes too much power
Identification/Module
radeon/fglrx
Comment
To switch it off: blacklist radeon and run update-initramfs -u; switch it off at boot by adding fbcon=map:0 to GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT It might help to switch the power method to dynamic: echo "dynpm" > /sys/class/drm/card1/device/power_method or the profile to low: echo "profile" > /sys/class/drm/card1/device/power_method; echo "low" > /sys/class/drm/card0/device/power_profile
Harddisk
1TB Samsung HDD
120GB Samsung 830 series SSD
Linux Support
good
Identification/Module
SATA ahci
Comment
very fast
Wifi
Broadcom 802.11bgn
Linux Support
No powersave with kernel drivers
Identification/Module
BCM43225 – bcma
Comment
Bluetooth
Broadcom ...
Linux Support
good
Identification/Module
btusb
Comment
LAN
1 Gbit
Linux Support
good
Identification/Module
RTL8111/8168B – r8169
Comment
Display
Size 14″
Resolution 1600×900
non-glare
Linux Support
good
Identification/Module
Comment
very bright
Keyboard
With backlight
Linux Support
Working
Can’t toggle backlight with FN-Keys
Identification/Module
Comment
very bright
Touchpad
Elantech
Linux Support
almost perfect
Some gestures missing
Identification/Module
Comment
DVD/CD
Samsung...
Linux Support
good
Identification/Module
Comment
with Eject over keyboard
Audio
Intel HDA
Linux Support
good
Identification/Module
snd-hda-intel
Comment
OS
Windowx 7 Pro 64bit
Ubuntu Linux 11.10 12.04 12.10 64bit
Linux Support
good
Identification/Module
kernel 3.345 64bit (Ubuntu Mainline precise)
Comment

Power usage

Battery power consumption (without discrete graphics)

Type
Standard
Usage
~15,5-19 Watt
Temp
CPU mostly between 45 and 59 C°
Mobo mostly between 50 and 60 C°
Runtime
>3,5-4h
Type
Without Wifi+BT
Usage
~14,5-15,5 Watt
Temp
CPU mostly between 45 and 59 C°
Mobo mostly between 50 and 60 C°
Runtime
~4,5-5h

AC power consumption (without discrete graphics)

Type
AC
Usage
> 20 Watt
Temp
CPU mostly between 55 and 69 C°
Mobo mostly between 55 and 69 C°
Runtime
forever…

AC power consumption (with discrete graphics)

Type
AC/Battery
Usage
> 30 Watt
Temp
CPU mostly between over 70 C°
Mobo mostly over 70 C°
Radeon mostly over 70 C°
Runtime
forever…

What I did

Used google until my keyboard (almost) burned.

Using powertop and tweak what it demands. Ubuntu comes with pm-tools which allows own scripts to be executed when you go on battery. For detailed configuration see Scripts/powersave

Turned off the discrete radoen by executing:
echo IGD > /sys/kernel/debug/vgaswitcheroo/switch
echo OFF > /sys/kernel/debug/vgaswitcheroo/switch

I have been wrong: the Chronos uses „PowerXpress“ to switch between cards. So only acpi_call or the fglrx drivers can help with switching.
But not vgaswitcheroo! Or just not loading the radeon driver.

Not sure if it helped: compiled and installed acpi_call module and deactivated the discrete radeon.

It may further help to switch off compiz. Have not tried that yet. It helps. But not enough…

Definitely a good thing: Install the recent ati/amd fglrx drivers. A good description can be found at http://wiki.colar.net/ubuntu_12_04_on_samsung_series_7_chronos_laptop and http://askubuntu.com/questions/205112/how-do-i-get-amd-intel-hybrid-graphics-drivers-to-work
If you get an Xorg-error like fglrx-libGL.so.1.2 not found with 64bit try linking /usr/lib/fglrx to /usr/lib32/fglrx.
Now you are able to use both cards (but you still have to restart the X server).
aticonfig --pxl shows the card which is in use right now.
To switch it:
sudo aticonfig --px-dgpu # Activate discrete GPU
sudo aticonfig --px-igpu # Activate integrated GPU

Starting with ubuntu 12.10 you might need Nick Andrik’s Workaround. For me it worked.


Installation and Configuration

No issues while ubuntu installation. Everything works fine there. Choosed ext4 + eCryptfs /home

Some Questions and possible answers

Right click with touchpad (should work with kernel 3.2 and higher)
Two finger tap
Opening the case/rear cover (what worked for me):
get a perfectly matching screwdriver and open the rear cover screws (all of them including the one for memory access) – took me a while cause one screw did not want to move…open the cover by using your finger nails and the card reader dummy to hold spaces open once you lowered the cover a bit – be careful and patient, this is somewhat tricky…
Wifi issues
bcma/brcmsmac/mac80211 – no problems so far
Keyboard backlight
working fine for me
but associated FN keys do not work
If your fan is almost always running
most definitly this is not caused by wrong cpu governing rather than the discrete radeon or internal intel graphics. But even after disabling the dedicated radeon with vgaswitchero the laptop heats up very fast. So there must be some other reason I did not figure out yet. I did even try to shut it off with the acpi_call module (see Sources & Links). I have to retest this but it seems to me that it helped. Fan speed control is another topic I have not tried yet.

Scripts and Downloads

Powersave
Modified PM powersave script from crunchbanglinux. Put it into /etc/pm/power.d/PM has its own hooks which are executed when going into battery mode.By using the script with 96_ these tweaks will be overwritten.You can test it by executing the script like sh 96_powersave true|false.
UPDATED August 26th 2012
Disable/Enable wireless connections
This script provides functions to turn off wifi and bluetooth. Either both or separately. Still working on extending and improving this script
/etc/default/grub configuration
changes I have made to grub default config – UPDATED June 6th 2012
Xorg configuration
xorg.conf adjustments for touchpad

Sources and Links

No special order whatsoever…

https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Intel
Arch Linux Intel Graphics description wiki article
https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?pid=1030190
Discussion about heat problems with sandy bridge
https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=132077
Another discussion about heat problems with sandy bridge
https://github.com/mkottman/acpi_call/
mkottman’s acpi_call module github development page
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=11160983
Discussion about battery life and power consumption with intel graphics
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1906363
Discussion about kernel 3.2 with Ubuntu Oneiric
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=OTYwNA
Phoronix article about linux power regression bug
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=intel_i915_power&num=1
Phoronix article about power saving with intel i915
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=linux_aspm_solution
More Phoronix on power regression, battery life and power consumption with pcie
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTAwNjU
Phoronix article about i915 rc6’s ups and downs
http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2011/11/linux-power-regression-overheating-problem-on-thinkpad-fixed/
Blog article about overheating problem with thinkpad X300
https://bugs.freedesktop.org/show_bug.cgi?id=41682
Bug Report – sometimes enabling rc6 leads to rendering issues
http://www.codemonkeyjava.com/2012/01/14/getting-the-samsung-chronos-7-touchpad-working-in-ubuntu-11-10/
Blog article about how to get the touchpad working – you need kernel 3.2 at least
http://www.webupd8.org/2011/06/linux-kernel-power-issue-fix.html#comment-339773934
More on rc6 and tweaking – I might have to switch back to Ubuntu 10.10 to solve the temperature issue, though…
http://www.williambrownstreet.net/blog/?p=387
Blog article and a lot of information about battery life improvement tweaks
http://fridge.ubuntu.com/2011/04/21/the-power-user%E2%80%99s-guide-to-unity/
Unity information portal – might help with unity related issues
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/HybridGraphics
Ubuntu help pages about hybrid graphics – vgaswitcheroo and other cool stuff
http://superuser.com/questions/355836/compatibility-of-linux-with-samsung-series-7-chronos
Discussion about Linuxo on Chronos – initial reading hast not been that encouraging…
http://crunchbanglinux.org/forums/topic/11954
Thread about power saving – Nice (quick and dirty) power saving script
http://schibum.blogspot.de/2011/11/ubuntu-oneiric-on-samsung-series-7.html
Blog article about Oneiric on Chronos – made me buy this laptop
http://openideals.org/2012/04/15/tuning-ubuntu-on-samsung-series-7-laptop/
Another blog article about Linux on Chronos with good insights – tipped me to the following project
https://launchpad.net/~voria/+archive/ppa
Project discussing and including tools for samsung laptops.While the tools seem to be great I would not recommend to try phc-intel and samsung-backlight… Unless you like kernel panics at boot…Also the samsung_brightness tool sometimes does not let me increase the brightness anymore
http://www.h-online.com/open/news/item/Linux-3-4-will-use-Intel-s-power-saving-RC6-GPU-technology-1503382.html
Article about RC6 in kernel 3.4
http://brot.echorulez.de/doku.php?id=linux_powersave
More details on the i915 issue (German)
http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v3.4-precise/
Ubuntu 3.4 Mainline kernel for precise pangolin
http://wiki.colar.net/ubuntu_12_04_on_samsung_series_7_chronos_laptop
Another Linux and Chronos user. Might help when installing the ati fgrlx drivers
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1930450
Discussion and howto about using the chronos with the proprietary ati fglrx drivers
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/BinaryDriverHowto/ATI#WORKAROUND
Nick Andrik’s Workaround for 12.10

Todo

Find a way to use the discrete radeon card (and automatically switch it on/off when (not) needed)

Switch off sound and measure power saving

Write an (indicator) applet to toggle bluetooth, wifi and sound (when on battery). Or automate it