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#1 2015-11-05 19:04:48

ZombieMeat
Member
Registered: 2015-11-05
Posts: 13

Arch on New XPS 15(Late 2015)

My new xps just got in two days ago, and I've immediately started putting Arch dual booting with windows on this nice machine. Arch rocks! Most issues are resolved!

The spec I have is: New XPS 15, i7, 16GB, 84WHr, FHD.

Summary of Hardware:

  • Wireless: Modify

  • Sound: Works

  • Microphone: Not working, fixed in 4.3

  • Bluetooth: Modify

  • Touchpad: Works, buggy in 4.3(testing)

  • Graphics: Modify

  • USB-C: Not tested, usb function works

  • Webcam: Works

  • Power management: Works

  • Backlit Keyboard: Works

  • Battery Life:8~9 hrs(I'll explain)

Installation steps: I believe following the 0,1,2 steps from jchedstrom answer in http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2301071 is enough to get a Arch running.

Post-installation problem fix:

0) Wireless
Wireless works out-of-box, the wireless firmware shipped with Arch is somewhat working. However, the MAC address reporting something like 00:90:4c:0d:f4:3e. From an earlier post online, this is the default mac reported, which means everyone will have the same mac! This is fixed in upstream firmware. https://git.kernel.org/cgit/linux/kerne … /tree/brcm
Only brcmfmac43602-pcie.bin is needed; put it under /lib/firmware/brcm/

1)Bluetooth
Poweroff and rebooting seems to cause issues for the bluetooth: bluetooth mouse cannot be discovered. I didn't check much on the cause of this. But, after I exported the firmware from Windows; used hex2hcd to convert the format and copied it to /lib/firmware/brcm; the issue seems to go away.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/8goc4omhnzxij … 0.hcd?dl=0

2) Graphics
Remove the nouveau driver and setup bumblebee. However xbacklight, xrandr, etc. don't work. Setting kernel parameter resolves those issues with intel graphics.

i915.preliminary_hw_support=1

acpi_call can be used to turn it off completely, but this doesn't seems to give extra batter life.

3) Screen brightness
Set kernel cmdline will make xbacklight works! Full kernel cmdline:

acpi_backlight=vendor acpi_osi=Linux i915.preliminary_hw_support=1

4)Power management
Suspend works!
Update:
Hibernation also works, but needs a bit tinkering and not stable yet. Write the following to /etc/systemd/sleep.conf

[Sleep]
HibernateState=disk
HibernateMode=shutdown

5) Battery
Short story: No where near anything dell claimed.
After I set everything to good in powertop 2.8 , and turned off the discrete graphics using acpi_call. The power estimate is around 8w and estimated to last for 8~9 hrs. Turning off cores in the bios doesn't seem to help with battery life either.

Update: Also, using powertop's auto-tune capability will cause kernel process to utilize 100% of a core.
Update: The real culprit is Autosuspend for USB device BCM920703 Bluetooth 4.1 [Broadcom Corp].

In case you are wondering, Intel Speed Shift is supposedly to be supported by the new acpi-cpufreq module, and is called hardware pstate(HWP).

ASPM: not working under Linux, however is working under Windows. Some suggest it might be a BIOS problem.

6) Dual-booting with windows(update):
After changed the sata mode to AHCI(or Disable) and installed linux, try the following:

  1. try boot windows - failed: not recognized boot partition

  2. try booting into windows again(or several times) until windows try to find the boot error(of course it doesn't work), but on advanced boot options, you can set to reboot into safe mode: Troubleshoot - Advanced options - startup settings

  3. booting into windows - this time in safe mode - works fine

  4. normal reboot - voila, windows now can successfully boot!

  5. Install Samsung 950 Pro NVMe driver

This will give a working windows without the stability issue I metioned before.
Problems to solve:
0) Graphics related: xrandr not working, HDMI not working.
1) Power management: Systemd suspend not working.
2) Dual-booting with windows:
3) Power management: Better battery life with it. I'm using C740 right now(on Arch), it gives me ~9hrs of coding and web surfing without any problem. If xps 15 can't give me >= 10hrs will be another deal breaker for me.
4) Possible USB-C issue: I can't use the usb-c for tethering with nexus 5x.

Update for Kernel 4.3

a)Fixed
Graphics seems to be more stable: lagging & low refresh & freezes ... are gone for good. And extra kernel cmdline seem not needed anymore(thanks @stephane).

b) Half fixed
Microphone: both the internal mic and the mic with headset. However(@spheenik), the whole sound system have strange problems, works on startup but after plug & unplug headphones, go to suspend, then no sound comes out or goes in. Only way is to reboot.

b)Needs modify:
Touchpad(thanks @stephane): not always recognized on startup, rebooting helps; even when recognized only shows up as the following in 'xinput -list'

DLL06E4:01 06CB:7A13 UNKNOWN

Add the following to /etc/modprobe.d/

blacklist i2c_hid

This is about as far as I can get. I'm no expert and probably I've done something wrong in the process and not know about it.
Hope it can help someone and please help to solve the issues. It'll be a perfect linux machine - the few issues.

Last edited by ZombieMeat (2016-01-13 22:53:12)

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#2 2015-11-08 11:32:58

spheenik
Member
Registered: 2015-11-08
Posts: 4

Re: Arch on New XPS 15(Late 2015)

Thank you dear pioneer for walking the path first.
I ordered mine today, and hope that kernel 4.3 is out before it arrives.

Did you try to connect to any cable based ethernet yet? Does it come with an USB -> Ethernet Adapter?
Did you connect an external display?

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#3 2015-11-08 16:58:45

ZombieMeat
Member
Registered: 2015-11-05
Posts: 13

Re: Arch on New XPS 15(Late 2015)

Sorry, I don't have any USB-Ethernet dongle.
I do have connected this with HDMI to an External monitor. HDMI is connected to intel graphics, nvidia graphics doesn't need to be enabled ! Enable the preliminary hardware support in i915 driver and it will be fine.

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#4 2015-11-09 04:26:49

chx
Member
Registered: 2011-05-28
Posts: 101

Re: Arch on New XPS 15(Late 2015)

This is invaluable information. Do you have a PayPal account where we can say thanks?

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#5 2015-11-09 19:35:59

vixsomnis
Member
Registered: 2014-09-28
Posts: 4

Re: Arch on New XPS 15(Late 2015)

I keep getting black screens after boot whenever I stop disabling modesetting (via nomodeset, nouveau.modeset=0, or i915.modeset=0). Were you able to get it to work with just intel graphics?

I have nouveau blacklisted, booting with i915_preliminary_hw_support=1 and I need one of the above I mentioned to get to a tty.

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#6 2015-11-09 21:27:31

ZombieMeat
Member
Registered: 2015-11-05
Posts: 13

Re: Arch on New XPS 15(Late 2015)

No modesetting is needed, at least on my machine. The only kernel cmdline I used is:

acpi_backlight=vendor acpi_osi=Linux i915.preliminary_hw_support=1

I'm currently using a Bumblebee setup. Nvidia and nouveau are not loaded by default.  nouveau seems to be having problems; there are reports that it will spam the dmesg and cause system freeze. Also, if you are wondering, using bumblebee doesn't seem to degrade the battery life, and it is kinda nice that you could just enable the nvidia chip when you need it.

FYI, for a few times I wasn't been able to get to the tty, and stuck on boot. It might also be bluetooth related. You can try using the firmware I provided. If there is a problem, you will see a line in dmesg complains that bluetooth firmware is not found as follows:

Nov 04 10:06:53 xpsarch kernel: Bluetooth: hci0: BCM: Patch brcm/BCM-0a5c-6410.hcd not found

Kind of shocked me that I've booted this system for over 90 times in 6 days already smile

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#7 2015-11-13 11:01:52

OdinEidolon
Member
From: Belluno - Italy
Registered: 2011-01-31
Posts: 479

Re: Arch on New XPS 15(Late 2015)

I'm getting one too. I will contribute as soon as I get it, but damn, the Dell site says 25 days waiting time: I bet I won't get it before christmas.

EDIT: thanks a ton for the writeup.
EDIT EDIT: XPS15 ordered!

Last edited by OdinEidolon (2015-11-13 13:00:22)


Hardware: 2016 Dell XPS15 - matte FullHD - i5-6300HQ - 32GB DDR4 - Nvidia GTX960M - Samsung 840EVO 250GB SSD - 56Wh
Software: Plasma 5 - rEFInd - linux-ck - preload - prelink - verynice - psd - bumblebee

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#8 2015-11-15 09:22:50

OdinEidolon
Member
From: Belluno - Italy
Registered: 2011-01-31
Posts: 479

Re: Arch on New XPS 15(Late 2015)

Ok so my XPS15 is going to be delivered... who knows. Looong delivery time.

I was considering exchanging for the Precision 15, which is almost identical, but has MUCH LOWER delivery time.
I can configure this exactly as I want (pci-e SSD, FHD, 81Wh batery, i7 quad core, Intel wifi), while the XPS has only one acceptable fixed configuration for my tastes.

Question is: will the Nvidia Quadreo M1000M ever be usable under Linux?


Hardware: 2016 Dell XPS15 - matte FullHD - i5-6300HQ - 32GB DDR4 - Nvidia GTX960M - Samsung 840EVO 250GB SSD - 56Wh
Software: Plasma 5 - rEFInd - linux-ck - preload - prelink - verynice - psd - bumblebee

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#9 2015-11-15 18:38:42

vixsomnis
Member
Registered: 2014-09-28
Posts: 4

Re: Arch on New XPS 15(Late 2015)

I don't know why my first install kept having problems. I might have just misspelled nouveau or something. Anyway, my reinstall (without the complexity of an LUKS->LVM->btrfs) is working now.

Some notes:
1- You can set SATA Operation to Disabled instead of AHCI. Might improve performance, since native NVMe is better for SSDs than AHCI, but I haven't benchmarked or tested at all (or verified it's not actually just using AHCI). You still have to boot into safe mode to get Windows to recognize it, but it works.
2- Bumblebee/nvidia is optional. I'm booting with nouveau.modeset=0 and i915.preliminary_hw_support=1 and the ACPI parameters and gdm/gnome-desktop is working on Intel.

@ZombieMeat Thanks for the writeup! I was freaking out when my (shiny/new) laptop wouldn't boot any of the latest isos.

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#10 2015-11-16 10:14:59

pawboy
Member
Registered: 2015-11-16
Posts: 4

Re: Arch on New XPS 15(Late 2015)

Hello,
Can I ask how you configured for UEFI booting? .. I can not get it working.

The furthest I get is grub-rescue prompt reporting:

    grub error: `' disk not found

my partitions are (on /dev/nvme0n1):
  1 - ef02 -512MiB - /boot
  2 - swap
  3 - btrfs - /

after mounting and then installing, I installed grub like so:

  grub-install --target=x86_64-efi --efi-directory=/boot --bootloader-id=grub --recheck
  grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

without the following, nothing gets found for booting and the Dell support interface loads:

    mkdir /boot/EFI/boot
    cp /boot/EFI/grub/grubx64.efi  /boot/EFI/boot/bootx64.efi

After the reboot, the boot process does load grub, but just gives me the grub-rescue promtp mentioned above.
I wonder am I missing a step .. or perhaps my grub-install is incorrect

Can you remember how you installed/confgured the bootloader to start Arch on this machine?

cheers

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#11 2015-11-16 10:31:53

OdinEidolon
Member
From: Belluno - Italy
Registered: 2011-01-31
Posts: 479

Re: Arch on New XPS 15(Late 2015)

pawboy wrote:

Hello,
Can I ask how you configured for UEFI booting? .. I can not get it working.

ou can maybe find some good info here (for the 9350, but should apply nonetheless):
http://frankshin.com/category/dell-xps- … lake-9350/


Hardware: 2016 Dell XPS15 - matte FullHD - i5-6300HQ - 32GB DDR4 - Nvidia GTX960M - Samsung 840EVO 250GB SSD - 56Wh
Software: Plasma 5 - rEFInd - linux-ck - preload - prelink - verynice - psd - bumblebee

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#12 2015-11-16 10:47:35

pawboy
Member
Registered: 2015-11-16
Posts: 4

Re: Arch on New XPS 15(Late 2015)

awesome, thanks ... i'll give it a run through tonight.. using bootctl sounds like a good option, fingers crossed it might not have the same problem I am causing

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#13 2015-11-16 16:51:12

ZombieMeat
Member
Registered: 2015-11-05
Posts: 13

Re: Arch on New XPS 15(Late 2015)

@pawboy You could try systemd-boot, which is what I used. From my experience, it is far simpler than using grub. Same as in the post @OdinEidolon talked about.

@vixsomnis You are welcome. I was also frustrated for the first few days: nothing seems to be working and fixes one might just breaks another. Right now I'm just glad it all worked.
I also consider the setting to AHCI part to be strange. I'll check it out.

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#14 2015-11-17 08:45:37

pawboy
Member
Registered: 2015-11-16
Posts: 4

Re: Arch on New XPS 15(Late 2015)

Using systemd-boot (bootctl) solved my issue and I can now boot arch on the XPS15 \o/

I think the problem might have been that I set my efi partition (/boot) type to ef02 in gdisk, but it should be ef00.... it was a bootctl error message that brought this to my attention
If this was my only problem, it means grub will probably work, but for me using systemd seems lighter and less complex

thanks for the help all

Last edited by pawboy (2015-11-17 09:00:32)

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#15 2015-11-17 09:15:09

OdinEidolon
Member
From: Belluno - Italy
Registered: 2011-01-31
Posts: 479

Re: Arch on New XPS 15(Late 2015)

@ZombieMeat
Can you actually check that the SSD is running in NVMe, and not in AHCI? NVMe should be significantly faster (but use more power, according to Anandtech).
Some users on the Ubuntu forum report that the drive is actually using NVMe even if the AHCI flag is set in the BIOS.

Related: why does this flag need to be set? AFAIK Linux should be able to boot from NVMe drives.

EDIT: question 2, does the BIOS have an option for ASPM? This, again according to Anandtech, should strongly affect power consumption.

Last edited by OdinEidolon (2015-11-17 09:26:27)


Hardware: 2016 Dell XPS15 - matte FullHD - i5-6300HQ - 32GB DDR4 - Nvidia GTX960M - Samsung 840EVO 250GB SSD - 56Wh
Software: Plasma 5 - rEFInd - linux-ck - preload - prelink - verynice - psd - bumblebee

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#16 2015-11-17 19:43:30

ZombieMeat
Member
Registered: 2015-11-05
Posts: 13

Re: Arch on New XPS 15(Late 2015)

@OdinEidolon
Well, I don't actually know how to check for that. I do believe you are right. lspci gives samsung nvme controller and nvme module is loaded for both settings in bios. However, setting sata operation in bios to disabled will give ~5% increase in performance under windows, which might as well be variation between tests.

As for why to set it to either of the modes, for the default RAID mode, linux seems to have a driver problem which makes the drives not recognized.

Yes, the BIOS support ASPM. Link State Power Management can be toggled under windows smile

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#17 2015-11-17 19:55:22

OdinEidolon
Member
From: Belluno - Italy
Registered: 2011-01-31
Posts: 479

Re: Arch on New XPS 15(Late 2015)

ZombieMeat wrote:

@OdinEidolon
Well, I don't actually know how to check for that. I do believe you are right. lspci gives samsung nvme controller and nvme module is loaded for both settings in bios. However, setting sata operation in bios to disabled will give ~5% increase in performance under windows, which might as well be variation between tests.

As for why to set it to either of the modes, for the default RAID mode, linux seems to have a driver problem which makes the drives not recognized.

Yes, the BIOS support ASPM. Link State Power Management can be toggled under windows smile

Thanks.


Hardware: 2016 Dell XPS15 - matte FullHD - i5-6300HQ - 32GB DDR4 - Nvidia GTX960M - Samsung 840EVO 250GB SSD - 56Wh
Software: Plasma 5 - rEFInd - linux-ck - preload - prelink - verynice - psd - bumblebee

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#18 2015-11-18 10:56:17

OdinEidolon
Member
From: Belluno - Italy
Registered: 2011-01-31
Posts: 479

Re: Arch on New XPS 15(Late 2015)

Quick question: has Dell changedthe power port? My local Dell reports the Dell Power Companion is not compatible with this generation of XPS products. It looks impossible to me!

EDIT: no, it's just that the local Dell resellers are idiots.

Last edited by OdinEidolon (2015-11-26 10:22:05)


Hardware: 2016 Dell XPS15 - matte FullHD - i5-6300HQ - 32GB DDR4 - Nvidia GTX960M - Samsung 840EVO 250GB SSD - 56Wh
Software: Plasma 5 - rEFInd - linux-ck - preload - prelink - verynice - psd - bumblebee

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#19 2015-11-20 03:50:41

jano
Member
Registered: 2007-11-10
Posts: 4

Re: Arch on New XPS 15(Late 2015)

vixsomnis wrote:

I keep getting black screens after boot whenever I stop disabling modesetting (via nomodeset, nouveau.modeset=0, or i915.modeset=0). Were you able to get it to work with just intel graphics?

I have nouveau blacklisted, booting with i915_preliminary_hw_support=1 and I need one of the above I mentioned to get to a tty.


We have the same issue here at the ubuntu side of things: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php? … st13393733 (and the postings above). Nivida 355 works okay and the intel graphics as well, both have the black screen issue and this makes using the machine a big pain. The provided custom script solution works but not reliably.

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#20 2015-11-20 07:55:14

OdinEidolon
Member
From: Belluno - Italy
Registered: 2011-01-31
Posts: 479

Re: Arch on New XPS 15(Late 2015)

vixsomnis wrote:

I keep getting black screens after boot whenever I stop disabling modesetting (via nomodeset, nouveau.modeset=0, or i915.modeset=0). Were you able to get it to work with just intel graphics?

I have nouveau blacklisted, booting with i915_preliminary_hw_support=1 and I need one of the above I mentioned to get to a tty.

You should be able to turn off the dedicated nvidia card this way:
https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Hy … screte_GPU

Did you try it?


Hardware: 2016 Dell XPS15 - matte FullHD - i5-6300HQ - 32GB DDR4 - Nvidia GTX960M - Samsung 840EVO 250GB SSD - 56Wh
Software: Plasma 5 - rEFInd - linux-ck - preload - prelink - verynice - psd - bumblebee

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#21 2015-11-25 12:35:16

gabriel9
Member
From: Banja Luka, RS
Registered: 2009-05-06
Posts: 82

Re: Arch on New XPS 15(Late 2015)

Did you try to connect external monitor via USB-C port?


"The flesh knows it suffers even when the mind has forgotten."

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#22 2015-11-25 14:20:37

Utini
Member
Registered: 2015-09-28
Posts: 218
Website

Re: Arch on New XPS 15(Late 2015)

ZombieMeat wrote:

5) Battery
Short story: No where near anything dell claimed.
I haven't do a realworld testing due to the suspend issue. But after I set everything to good in powertop 2.8-rc4 , and turned off the discrete graphics using acpi_call. The power estimate is around 8w and estimated to last for 8~9 hrs. Turning off cores in the bios doesn't seem to help with battery life either.

Update: Also, using powertop's auto-tune capability will cause kernel process to utilize 100% of a core.
Update: I was wrong. The real culprit is Autosuspend for USB device BCM920703 Bluetooth 4.1 [Broadcom Corp].

In case you are wondering, Intel Speed Shift is supposedly to be supported by the new acpi-cpufreq module, and is called hardware pstate(HWP).

For power management on my Dell XPS 15 9530 (previous model to yours, with haswell CPU) I use TLP + thermald (with lm_sensors) + kernel parameters + bumblebee + SSD/HDD scheduler:

TLP:

Install tlp + configure it -> tlp.txt -> http://files.bestmail.ws/Arch/setup/tlp.txt

thermald with lm_sensors:

Install "lm_sensors" + run "sensors-detect"
After that install and enable "thermald"

Kernel parameters:

https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Dell_XPS_13_%282015%29#Powersaving
https://wiki.manjaro.org/index.php?title=Optimized_power_settings#GRUB_Flags

.... altough I have no idea what to set for my Dell XPS 15 9530 or what to set for yours hmm

Bumblebee:

Install bumblebee + nvidia/intel drivers

SSD/HDD scheduler:

Change I/O scheduler to noop -> sudo nano /etc/udev/rules.d/60-schedulers.rules:

# set noop scheduler for non-rotating disks
ACTION=="add|change", KERNEL=="sd[a-z]", ATTR{queue/rotational}=="0", ATTR{queue/scheduler}="noop"
# set bfq scheduler for rotating disks
ACTION=="add|change", KERNEL=="sd[a-z]", ATTR{queue/rotational}=="1", ATTR{queue/scheduler}="bfq" 

Also "intel-ucode" might help ?
I would also "adaptive brightness" on arch ? hmm

Last edited by Utini (2015-11-25 14:22:00)


www.whymacsucks.com - Just the truth about why Mac sucks !

Setup: Dell XPS15 9530, 15.6" QHD Touchscreen - i7-4702HQ 2.2-3.2Ghz - 16GB RAM - NVIDIA GT 750M 2GB - Samsung SSD SM841 512GB
Accessories: Filco Majestouch Tenkeyless MX-Brown Mini Otaku, Benq XL2420T (144Hz), Lo(w)gitech G400, Puretrak Talent, Sennheiser HD600 + Audio-GD NFB-12.1

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#23 2015-11-26 10:24:57

OdinEidolon
Member
From: Belluno - Italy
Registered: 2011-01-31
Posts: 479

Re: Arch on New XPS 15(Late 2015)

Quick question: I unfortunately need to keep Windows 10 on the machine. What partitioning scheme do you suggest on a 250GB drive? Can I do without the Windows recovery partition, and just use a 100MB EFI, 150GB Linux and 100GB for Windows?


Hardware: 2016 Dell XPS15 - matte FullHD - i5-6300HQ - 32GB DDR4 - Nvidia GTX960M - Samsung 840EVO 250GB SSD - 56Wh
Software: Plasma 5 - rEFInd - linux-ck - preload - prelink - verynice - psd - bumblebee

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#24 2015-11-26 14:12:38

Xabre
Member
From: Serbia
Registered: 2009-03-19
Posts: 674

Re: Arch on New XPS 15(Late 2015)

No, you can't, Windows won't let you do it without recovery partition.

Question for owners. it's very tightly packaged, so what are your experiences with system temperatures? I know it has two fans, that should help a lot, but am curious if it's actually enough.

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#25 2015-11-26 16:45:29

tavianator
Member
From: Waterloo, ON, Canada
Registered: 2007-08-21
Posts: 858
Website

Re: Arch on New XPS 15(Late 2015)

Xabre wrote:

Question for owners. it's very tightly packaged, so what are your experiences with system temperatures? I know it has two fans, that should help a lot, but am curious if it's actually enough.

The fans got pretty loud during some kernel builds, with temperatures up to ~70°C.  Nothing scary though.  In normal usage it's quiet, idles somewhere around ~30°C.  I have the i7, might be different with other models.  And I'm not using the NVIDIA card at all yet, so I'm not sure what its effects on fan/temp are.

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