Ubuntu 16.04 LTS on Lenovo Thinkpad x230

From MarcsHomepage

I recently bought a refurbished Lenovo Thinkpad x230, which came with Windows 10.

Of course I had to install Linux.

Technical data

List of technical details regarding my x230. There are different models out there, which differ in CPU, memory, display-specs and extra components (card-readers, fingerprint-readers, disk drivers, UMTS-radios, etc.).

Lenovo Thinkpad x230
CPU Intel Core i5-3320M (2.60 GHz, 3MB Cache)
Chipset Intel QM77 Express
BIOS --
Memory 8 GB RAM PC3-12800 1600MHz DDR3
Graphics Intel HD 4000
Display 1366x768, LED backlight
Harddisk 256 GB SSD
Connections
  • 1x Audio-In/Out kombiniert
  • miniDisplayport
  • VGA
  • 2x USB 3.0
  • 1x USB 2.0 powered
  • Gigabit-Ethernet, Intel

Installation: Things which...

...work out of the box

Downright boring. Installation of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Desktop 64 bit from an USB-stick. Everything obvious (graphics, touchpad, display, WiFi) works right out of the box.

...work with tweaking

Despite ordering a new 48 Wh replacement battery from Sanyo, the laptop drains a full battery quite fast if running Ubuntu 16.04 (as most Linux distros do without power optimization).

Checking the battery with

upower -i /org/freedesktop/UPower/devices/battery_BAT0

reveals, that the battery is OK as advertised.

See http://thinkwiki.de/TLP_-_Linux_Stromsparen (in german, but it is only about TLP) for some hints specifically geared towards Thinkpads:

tl;dr:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:linrunner/tlp
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install tp-smapi-dkms acpi-call-dkms
service tlp start

See how this improves runtime.

The network currently has issues when the laptop comes back from hibernation. This has not been the case at the beginning, so I suspect an issue with the current kernel as this seems to be kernel-module related (
sudo systemctl restart network-manager.service
does not solve it). See e.g. https://askubuntu.com/questions/761180/wifi-doesnt-work-after-suspend-after-16-04-upgrade or https://askubuntu.com/questions/452826/wireless-networking-not-working-after-resume-in-ubuntu-14-04. The solution for me was to reload the kernel modules in question with
sudo rmmod iwldvm && sudo rmmod iwlwifi && sudo modprobe iwlwifi && sudo modprobe iwldvm

...don't work

The Thinkpad special key -but who cares.

The aftermarket battery died on me after only 9 month of regular use. This is crap. However on the very positive side, the retailer immediately and without any fuss sent a replacement battery even without further proof, that the old battery was indeed broken.

This is hardly an issue with old Thinkpads, rather one with aftermarket batteries. I should probably have kept the original battery and bought a new original Lenovo battery indepenently instead. Who knows. We will see, how long the second aftermarket battery will last.


Recommendation

Buy. New Ultrabooks are probably thinner and may have full-HD-screens but cost 3x the money of this system. The only real advantage may be a longer runtime with a small battery due to the low-power CPUs (which are not really faster than the > 3 year old CPU of this machine). However, you could buy a 9-cell battery pack + an extra second battery pack if you don't mind the extra kilogram of weight.