Thursday, August 4, 2016

Linux Ubuntu 16.04 on Gigabyte Aero 14

I got myself a Gigabyte Aero 14 laptop. It's a nice little unit with a massive battery.
In Australia the unit only comes in black, with the nvidia 965M and 8GB RAM.
The SSD is a Transcend TS256GMTS800, at time of this writing the model was already no longer manufactured. Performance are sub-par (380MB/s read / 280MB/s write) being a SATA drive only, surely they could have fitted a NVMe one.
Luckily it has room for another one, and I fitted a Samsung 950 Pro, which surprisingly is performing as well as what it advertises (2.6GB/s read, 1.6GB/s write)

The keyboard has a nice touch, but suffers from a very painful design fault: some keys often do not register, despite being fully depressed. This is particularly noticeable with the space, shift and Del key if pressed on the side. The Del key being the worse. you have to press it hard, and right in the centre.


Now, how to install Ubuntu 16.04 on it.

Disable nvidia adapter in BIOS otherwise no live CD will boot (I tried every linux distributions to date until I found out that the problem was the nvidia graphic adapter).

Install as usual.

From time to time, the trackpad (an Elan) will no longer work upon rebooting. This happens if you ever performed a hard reset (with the power button). To fix that, boot into Windows 10 and reboot again under Linux. Very painful but I'm yet to find a nicer solution to it (not that I get the same issue with Windows 10 anniversary edition when coming out of hibernation)

Blacklist nouveau, machine will not boot otherwise if you enable the nvidia graphic adapter.
$ cat /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-nouveau.conf
blacklist nouveau
blacklist lbm-nouveau

Install nvidia drivers from graphic-drivers PPA:
Get 367.35 or later, will just hang shortly after booting. I've tried all nvidia proprietary drivers, and all suffered the same problem.

If you plan on installing Linux 4.7.0 that just came out: then also get the various Intel firmwares from
That is as of today:

decompress them and run the script.

Note that once you install the nVidia drivers 367.35, I couldn't notice a difference between the stock 4.4.0, 4.6.4 and 4.7.0.

Battery Life

Battery life at first sucked big time, could hardly get more than 2-2.5 hours
Found on Reddit a thread about how to improve the battery life.

$ cat /etc/modprobe.d/i915.conf
options i915 enable_rc6=7 enable_fbc=1 lvds_downclock=1
$ update-initramfs -k all -u

setting enable_fbc tripled my battery life (over 6hours now easily). Deeper rc6 mode do not appear to be supported, and lvds_downclock isn't recognised, so you don't need that one.

 Suspend, reboot all work and so will hibernation (provided you have a swap partition bigger than your RAM size). However, when it resumes from hibernation, the trackpad no longer works and you have to reboot into Windows to get it working again.

Audio, input headset.

Plugging a combo headset/microphone into the 3.5 jack, I found that the external microphone didn't work.

To fix this I did the following:
% sudo apt install alsa-tools-gui
% hdajackretask

There click on "Show unconnected pin"
Search for Pin ID 0x19, check override and select "Microphone", click on apply now.
For the change to remain permanent, click on "Install Boot Override" and reboot.

Now in the sound settings, the input VU-metre will show the level of the external microphone. When holding the button on my headset (which normally would mute my iPhone), it will show the input level of the internal microphone (next to the webcam)

That's all for now.