Ubuntu 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish Setup - on Dell 9560


This note is almost the same as installing ubuntu 18.04 with the difference of a tweak at boot after installation completes.

I reproduce here the previous note with the corresponding updates

The actual OS installation is very straightforward so I will skip it and focus on the tweaks needed to actually make the OS work.

sources:

Dell_XPS_15_9560 archlinux wiki
how-to-dual-boot-windows-10-and-ubuntu-18-04-on…
rcasero issues fixed

/Dell_9560_specs

  • CPU: intel i7-7700HQ 3.8GHz
  • RAM: 32Gb
  • HD: 1Tb SSD
  • Display: 15.6 / 4K
  • Dual GPU: intel / NVidia GTX 1050

/bios_setup

access dell’s bios by restarting or turning on the computer

  • press F2 or F12 at the Dell Logo until you land on a boot menu and select the bios settings options
  • modify these settings:
    • General -> Advanced Boot Options: check Enable Legacy Option ROMs
    • General -> Boot Sequence : select Legacy under boot list option
    • System Configuration -> SATA Operation: select AHCI
    • Secure Boot -> Secure Boot Enable : select Disabled

optional / good to know settings:

  • virtualization settings
    • Virtualization Support -> Enable Intel Virtualization Technology should be enabled
    • Virtualization Support -> VT for Direct I/O should be enabled
  • touchscreen settings
    • System Configuration -> touchscreen : enable or disable it from here, it works fine should you choose to leave it enabled

/OS_installation

  • insert a flash drive with Ubuntu Cosmic Cuttlefish
  • reboot and press F12 at the Dell logo
  • select the flash drive from the available drives and hit enter
  • install ubuntu with defaults (unless you know what you are doing) as we are going to change the relevant settings after install is complete.
  • when installation completes, you will be asked to reboot. The system will hang trying to reboot so you will need to power off and on pressing the power button

a few key features do no work straight away so we are going to tune them in the next sections

the misses include:
nvidia 1050 (discrete card) / power management

/OS_tuneup

after installing and rebooting you will be presented with GRUB. if you don’t see the boot menu and the computer just sits doing nothing, reboot again and hit the SHIFT key choosing safemode in cuttlefish won’t work so we need to adjust some parameters.

hit they e key to be able to modify grub params

remove "quiet splash" from kernel params and replace both with nomodeset

press F10 key to continue with modified params

  • graphics:
    • add graphics ppa, install nvidia drivers but select intel graphics chip:
Bash
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:graphics-drivers/ppa
sudo apt update
sudo apt install nvidia-driver-410 #this driver will in time be different as they update it
sudo prime-select intel #this will select the integrated intel card, which is less power hungry
# sudo prime-select nvidia #this will select the high performance nvidia GTX 1050 card.

# using the nvidia chip decreases significantly battery life

do not reboot

  • GRUB:
    • the graphic card caused lots of seemingly unrelated problems, from not booting to not rebooting or not waking up after sleep, etc passing a few kernel mods solves this.
Bash
sudo nano /etc/default/grub
# locate the entry below and add:
# nvidia-drm.modeset=1 nouveau.modeset=0 mem_sleep_default=deep nouveau.runpm=0
# it should look similar as below
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash nvidia-drm.modeset=1 nouveau.modeset=0 mem_sleep_default=deep nouveau.runpm=0"
# this solve the problems caused by the graphic cards either in nvidia or in intel mode

as you are editing grub you can also tune a few other options.

Bash
GRUB_TIMEOUT=10 # this will give you more time into the grub screen (time is in secs)

# with the 4K panel the default resolution is 4k. editing text in that res is mission impossible
# select the one that suits you best running vbeinfo in the grub menu after booting up
GRUB_GFXMODE=1920x1440

# once you are done, save the file and then update the boot loader
sudo update-grub

reboot for all changes to take effect

  • power Management:

I installed a few recommended power management utils, thou I could not benchmark a before and after thoroughly. The big noticeable difference in power consumption and temperature drop was the switching from the nvidia card to the intel one. I leave the usual suspects for power management here

Bash
sudo apt install tlp tlp-rdw powertop
sudo tlp start
sudo powertop --auto-tune
# auto tune will behave differently if the laptop is plugged or unplugged
# reboot

last but not least:

  • Kernel update:
Bash
uname -r 
-> 4.15.0-36-generic
# running  uname -r will display your current kernel version

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:teejee2008/ppa
sudo apt install ukuu
sudo ukuu --install-latest #ukuu can also be used graphically

# accept the prompts and then reboot
# after rebooting, run again uname -r to check you new kernel version is up
uname -r 
-> 4.18.15-041815-generic

After all this tweaks my laptop ran smoothly.

I connect and disconnect usb perifs without problems (USB mouse and kbd, headseat via jack, externals ssd HD and mecha HD via usb) and connect and disconnect a 2nd 24inch monitor via hdmi without problems. Booting has no problems and sleep / wakeup has no issues