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Ubuntu 11.10 on Lenovo Q150

Jan 22 2012: I updated the post and added instructions to describe the sound settings for HDMI using Ubuntu 11.10. This post instructions should work on 11.10 and 11.04, but I recomend using 11.10.

The Lenovo Q150 comes Atom D510 and the nvidia Ion gfx, 2GB of ram and a 250 GB HD, but mine  is running with a OCZ Vertex 2 disk and 4 Gb of memory to improve the speed.

I decided to install the 64 bit version of Ubuntu. I also installed:
  • ubuntu tweak
  • miro
  • minitube (youtube player, without flash)
  • huludesktop
  • skype
  • chromium

How to add Ubuntu-tweak

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tualatrix/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-tweak

XBMC install:
# Install the nvidia drivers to be able to start xbmc, the open source drivers won't work. You can do that by going to "System Settings" and run the "Additional drivers" app on Ubuntu followed by a reboot. After this install xmbc 

sudo apt-get install xbmc
You can get all the other applications from Ubuntu Tweak or Ubuntu Software Center.
The latest version of Ubuntu contains updates to the kernel, alsa and nouveau nvidia drivers.

- The new opensource video drivers seems as fast as the proprietary drivers when playing video and this is great, but flash is a little bit faster with the nvidia drivers.
- It also detects the nvidia HDMI sound card and sound works out of the box.
- Basic installation from a USB key works fine.
- HDMI/VGA and sound out, little USB keyboard/mouse works fine.
- Dual boot with Windows 7 works fine. But since I got a SSD installed on the Q150, I removed windows.
- Video acceleration at 1080p works great for Miro, mplayer, minitube, vlc, xmbc with the opensource drivers. Sound works out of the box for xmbc, with default settings.
- Wireless card works out of the box as well as the Ethernet drivers. In the Ubuntu 10.10 and 10.04, I had some problems to get the Ethernet driver to work without a cold reboot, but now it seems to work flawless.

Problems I found:

- Flash video acceleration does not work as fast as in windows, it uses more CPU, I think this is because flash on linux does not have gfx acceleration.
- With the the nvidia opensource drivers Ubuntu sometimes freezes, this normally happens when using Unity or playing Videos. I assume this is related with 3d or video acceleration stuff since using just the browser does not seem to create problems. You need to reboot Q150 if this happens. With video nvidia drivers seems to be stable. I'm currently using the nvidia drivers.

Wake up from usb wireless keyboard

You need to enabled USB wake up, in /proc/acpi/wakeup
# cat /proc/acpi/wakeup
sudo -s
echo USB0 > /proc/acpi/wakeup
echo USB1 > /proc/acpi/wakeup
echo USB2 > /proc/acpi/wakeup
echo USB3 > /proc/acpi/wakeup
echo EUSB > /proc/acpi/wakeup

This will allow you to suspend the machine use the wireless usb keyboard to wake up.

Wake up from at certain time
# Check alarm is not step
cat /proc/driver/rtc
# clear alarm, is need before setting
sudo sh -c "echo 0 > /sys/class/rtc/rtc0/wakealarm"
# Set alarm
sudo sh -c "echo `date -u --date "Aug 9, 2010 00:05:00" +%s` > /sys/class/rtc/rtc0/wakealarm"

# Check alarm time
cat /sys/class/rtc/rtc0/wakealarm
cat /proc/driver/rtc

How to use sound over HDMI 

If you install nvidia drivers sound should work out of the box for HDMI, the open source drivers don't support sound over hdmi. After installing the nvidia drivers and a reboot, just go to sound Preferences and select Hardware->"High Definition Audio Controller" to "Digital Stereo (HDMI) nr 4 Output", and disable the other sound devices. In my case I had to play with that setting, it looks like only one setting works for me: "Digital Stereo (HDMI) nr 4 Output". None of the others produce a sound. This was done using Ubuntu 11.10.

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  1. Hey
    Just got a Q150 based on your progress with Ubuntu. This is my first Linux install, I'm hoping its "that simple". You make it sound easy.

  2. I can't for the life of me get this thing open. I removed all six screws including the VGA posts. The hard drive end opens fine, but the heat sink end is frozen tight.

    I mainly want to clean out the heat sink, but have you noticed any decrease in fan noise after installing the SSD?

  3. Hi Joe, is pretty simple just use the Ubuntu 11.04 release, that supports all the hardware in the Q150.

    Install it using the USB drive installation.

  4. Hi Allison,

    After installing the SSD, the Q150 still runs the fan at low speed, but I didn't notice any increase in the fan speed after installing the SSD, even when CPU is running at 1005 for a while.

  5. Iafa - Did you have any problems with opening the case at the heat sink end like me? I don't want to break the damn thing.

    Also, is there a performance boost from the SSD? I also own a Revo 1600, and I had read that the performance bottleneck on that system was the BY FAR the Atom processor.

  6. Hey Allison,

    You can use a credit card allow the edge to snap-out the case, it is a snap in case, just make sure all screws are removed including the VGA screws. You can force it a little bit with a plastic credit card to snap it out. Mine also is a little hard to snap-out, it's a lot easier to snap it in place, compared to removing. I did several times, now.

    Let me know if that works for you

  7. Awesome. Not sure what I did different (after FOUR tries), but it popped right open.

    Heat sink wasn't too dusty, but the processors are running 24C cooler without the lid. Good gravy.

    Thanks for the encouragement.

  8. lafa,

    Thanks for posting your experience with your Q150.

    I'm downloading Ubuntu 11.04 (stable, at this point) and using your blog as a template.

    You went for the 64-bit install this time. Any qualitative improvements in performance over the 32-bit Ubuntu?


  9. Hello... for the life of me I can't get this working. I have a Q150 and have tried 11.04 10.10 and 11.10. Can you explain step by step after install now to get the hdmi sound to work?

  10. Hi Andy,
    I updated the post with instructions for HDMI sound setup, let me know if that work for you.

  11. Lafa,

    I wonder if you could help me figure out how to get HDMI running on the LIVE version of xbmc? (XBMCbuntu)

    There are a few threas going at regarding sound issues, including one for the Q150.

    Funny thing is, my old Dharma install still works fine (after poking around asound.conf and setting custom field plughw:1,9 in XBMC)

    However, my fresh install of XBMC Eden just won't work with any of the solutions that worked under Dharma.

  12. Hi freya,

    You can try Ubuntu 12.04 when it is released. I think the latest xmbc is will be included by default on the ubuntu repositories starting on this release.

    I never used xmbc eden, so I'm not sure what is wrong with it. I would install the nvidia drivers, if you need HDMI sound. For regular sound using analog output should work without the nvidia drivers.

  13. Can you tell me what the specs are on the memory, I am trying tp upgrade my q150, but don't know what type of memory to get. A link or model number would be great!

  14. Hi Ronak,

    Check my other post and if you read the comments, there is a description of the memory and disk that I used for the upgrade.

  15. Great site I really appreciate your write ups! With the release of XBMCbuntu, do you think much additional tweaking would be needed after the install on a Q150 (specifically model 40814AU)? From your comments it looks like the Q150 hardware is supported by Umbuntu 11.04 and XBMCbuntu is on version 11.10. I'm imagining a really easy install if this is the case!


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