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#26 2017-01-28 23:29:22

darkmav
Member
Registered: 2012-01-21
Posts: 97

Re: Alienware 17 R4 (2016) - No brightness control!

The xrandr solution dims the screen, but it is neither a permanent solution nor a stable one.

Also, xrandr seems to do what Nvidia's driver utilities GUI application does.

See the second answer at http://askubuntu.com/questions/62249/ho … mmand-line.

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#27 2017-02-02 09:17:33

olivarch
Member
Registered: 2013-01-26
Posts: 39

Re: Alienware 17 R4 (2016) - No brightness control!

I've got a Clevo P650R, G-Sync, nvidia 1060, Gnome.

In my BIOS I can select "discrete" (only nvidia) or "mshybrid" (intel+nvidia).
In mshybrid mode, using the intel drivers I can control brigthness and the laptop is suspending. (I'm using bumblebee for nvidia)

In discrete mode, using only nvidia drivers, I'm loosing the brightness control and suspend.
Manually setting  /sys/class/backlight/acpi_video0/brightness has no effect.
I would say that with nvidia drivers we don't see the proper acpi interface. Or maybe the kernel is not looking at the proper location for the acpi ? Like it's connecting to the intel's related acpi not the nvidia's one ?

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#28 2017-02-03 01:53:33

darkmav
Member
Registered: 2012-01-21
Posts: 97

Re: Alienware 17 R4 (2016) - No brightness control!

olivarch wrote:

I've got a Clevo P650R, G-Sync, nvidia 1060, Gnome.

In my BIOS I can select "discrete" (only nvidia) or "mshybrid" (intel+nvidia).
In mshybrid mode, using the intel drivers I can control brigthness and the laptop is suspending. (I'm using bumblebee for nvidia)

Hi olivarch, thanks for your reply to this thread. The Alienware 17R4 seems to be different from the Clevo in at least one fundamental way according to Dell: the GSYNC Alienwares have two physical graphics cards (Intel and Nvidia) but only the Nvidia card is used. The Intel card is there for the ride. Windows 10 is able to control display brightness whereas Linux is not. This certainly points to a software driver issue. Nvidia doesn't seem eager to fix such problems, and it would appear that most customers using Alienwares or gaming laptops are...well...gamers...and gamers mostly use Windows. So this is a cost-dividend issue for companies like Nvidia. I don't think I need to get anyone in the Linux community started on Nvidia....

Anyway, another difference between Clevo and Alienware is that in the Alienware BIOS, there is NO option to choose between discrete and hybrid graphics. I was one of the first few people to get this laptop according to Dell, and when I asked them about Linux, backlight, BIOS, discrete and hybrid graphics, etc. they put me on a long hold before telling me about the limitations (ref: above paragraph) on the hardware side. The silly thing in their design is that there's also a Fxn + F7 key which says "I/D GFX" but is disabled. On previous models, it was supposed to let you switch between Intel and Nvidia.

If I could use bumblebee and get the display brightness to change, I'd be pretty happy. Unless I run computational simulations or some specific packages or my own CUDA code, I don't actually need the Nvidia. So in my view it is a waste of energy and resources. I don't know if the situation has changed with the newest Alienwares running Kaby Lake..

Just out of curiosity, why is that option called "mshybrid" on your Clevo?

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#29 2017-04-07 18:38:28

plus_M
Member
Registered: 2006-10-17
Posts: 50

Re: Alienware 17 R4 (2016) - No brightness control!

I have just upgraded to the 381.09 Nvidia driver release, and this appears to fix the backlight control. There was a post on the Nvidia developers forum claiming that when the backlight goes off because of inactivity, it will reset to 100% rather than to the previously assigned value after waking, but to be honest that does not sound like an Nvidia driver problem to me...

Unfortunately, the new driver has had no effect on my suspend issues.

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#30 2017-04-08 07:48:07

darkmav
Member
Registered: 2012-01-21
Posts: 97

Re: Alienware 17 R4 (2016) - No brightness control!

Thanks for the good news! I upgraded to the beta version of the driver on the AUR, and I can certainly control brightness now. But it is not very smooth, and the display actually appears rather grainy after this update. Maybe they have more things to fix.

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#31 2017-04-16 14:45:00

geophph
Member
Registered: 2014-12-01
Posts: 3

Re: Alienware 17 R4 (2016) - No brightness control!

This is excellent news, the beta driver works! Finally allowing me to control brightness. Which keeps me out of Windows as my daily driver. It flickers as I adjust the brightness, not very smooth. However it's minor and I don't see any graininess. I should add I've never had any issues with suspend.

I still have the same issue with a SDDM as described by plus_M. It's mostly a black screen, but flickers as I move the mouse. If I can get my mouse to the session choose drop down list and click it, SDDM remains completely visible. This hasn't been a huge issue as most of the time I just enter my password and my X session runs normally without issue.

Last edited by geophph (2017-04-16 17:24:05)

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#32 2017-04-17 14:31:29

plus_M
Member
Registered: 2006-10-17
Posts: 50

Re: Alienware 17 R4 (2016) - No brightness control!

geophph, That problem should be fixable if you remove any Screen sections from your /etc/X11/xorg.conf or /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/* files. Plasma 5 at the very least is capable of maintaining screen layout configuration without it needing to be defined in an xorg.conf file. I assume most other DEs are the same.

With regards to your comment about suspend, can I ask which NVidia video card you have and whether you are booting in UEFI mode? If you are booting in UEFI mode, do you have Legacy ROM Option enabled in BIOS (I think this is sometimes called CSM)?

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#33 2017-04-18 18:06:12

darkmav
Member
Registered: 2012-01-21
Posts: 97

Re: Alienware 17 R4 (2016) - No brightness control!

For me, there's screen flicker while changing the brightness on Plasma and Gnome. I have an Nvidia GTX1060 and nvidia-beta 381.09-1 installed. I am booting in UEFI mode with the Legacy ROM option disabled.

Suspend just does not work. If my laptop is on battery backup and goes off to sleep, when I press the power button although KDM shows up within seconds, I have virtually no keyboard control for a long time. Even if I wait and somehow manage to log back in (through the lock screen), I have no keyboard control after Plasma resumes and only if I am lucky am I able to move my mouse cursor.

My current /etc/X11/xorg.conf looks like this:

Section "ServerLayout"
	Identifier "layout"
	Screen 0 "nvidia"
	#Inactive "intel"
EndSection

Section "Device"
	Identifier "nvidia"
	Driver "nvidia"
	BusID "PCI:1:0:0"
	Option "ConstrainCursor" "0"
	#Option "nvidiaXineramaInfoOverride" "2560x1440+0, 2560x1440+0"
        Option "RegistryDwords" "EnableBrightnessControl=1"
EndSection

Section "Screen"
	Identifier "nvidia"
	Device "nvidia"
	Option "AllowEmptyInitialConfiguration" "Yes"
	Option "ConnectedMonitor" "CRT-0"
	Option "CustomEDID" "CRT-0:/sys/class/drm/card0-LVDS-1/edid"
	Option "IgnoreEDID" "false"
	Option "UseEDID" "true"
EndSection

Section "Device"
	Identifier "intel"
	#Driver "modesetting"
	BusID "PCI:0:2:0"
	Option "AccelMethod" "sna"
EndSection

Section "Screen"
	Identifier "intel"
	Device "intel"
EndSection

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#34 2017-04-19 16:02:02

plus_M
Member
Registered: 2006-10-17
Posts: 50

Re: Alienware 17 R4 (2016) - No brightness control!

The suspend issue is well known. If you take a look at the NVIDIA developer board, there are several posts by users complaining about this issue. NVIDIA devs have said that they are tracking this issue under number 200273112... unfortunately this is an *internal* bug tracker we don't have access to. You can tell that you have the problem if you see the a line like the following repeated in dmesg many times after waking from suspend:

 [ 99.990662] NVRM: Xid (PCI:0000:01:00): 56, CMDre 00000000 00000080 00000000 00000005 00000024

NVIDIA devs seem to indicate this issue is limited to the 1060... which makes me somewhat regret not getting a 1070 instead...

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#35 2017-04-20 20:05:22

darkmav
Member
Registered: 2012-01-21
Posts: 97

Re: Alienware 17 R4 (2016) - No brightness control!

My dmesg reads (dmesg |grep NVRM)

[   11.610574] NVRM: loading NVIDIA UNIX x86_64 Kernel Module  381.09  Thu Mar 30 20:07:40 PDT 2017 (using threaded interrupts)

but this is under normal usage. After suspend I am not able to do anything other than a hard power off. But I also have the 1060 graphics card so if what you say is true, we just have to wait for the two problems (suspend and flicker) to get fixed. The only way out until then is to either modify your battery/power settings or keep the laptop plugged (and both are silly solutions).

Have you been able to find a fix for the Alienware FX lights? The only way I can keep them off is by booting into WIndows first, getting to a point where my last known profile settings are loaded, and rebooting into Linux. The AUR program "alienfx-lite" does not work for me. I am wondering if there's a command line solution to at least switch off all the lights and/or switch on the keyboard lights at will.

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#36 2017-04-21 14:17:12

plus_M
Member
Registered: 2006-10-17
Posts: 50

Re: Alienware 17 R4 (2016) - No brightness control!

darkmav, you should check journalctl -- there should be entries from after you woke from suspend with the Xid 56 error message.

Unfortunately, I don't have a solution to the case light issue. There is issue on the AlienFxLite github repository for implementing support for the latest generation of Alienware laptops, but I don't know how active the developer is or how difficult it would be to implement support for these laptops.

As for the backlight flickering, I do not experience this issue at all. Do you mean that the backlight flickers constantly whenever it's not at its max value? Or does it only flicker when you change the backlight intensity? What DE are you using, and have you configured it to render at 120 Hz rather than the default 60 Hz (at least in the case of Plasma, I had to add the entry "MaxFPS=120" to ~/.config/kwinrc under [Compositing], otherwise it would pin the refresh rate to 60 Hz). I don't know if that's related to your flickering issue, though.

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#37 2017-04-25 11:57:05

geophph
Member
Registered: 2014-12-01
Posts: 3

Re: Alienware 17 R4 (2016) - No brightness control!

plus_M wrote:

geophph, That problem should be fixable if you remove any Screen sections from your /etc/X11/xorg.conf or /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/* files. Plasma 5 at the very least is capable of maintaining screen layout configuration without it needing to be defined in an xorg.conf file. I assume most other DEs are the same.

With regards to your comment about suspend, can I ask which NVidia video card you have and whether you are booting in UEFI mode? If you are booting in UEFI mode, do you have Legacy ROM Option enabled in BIOS (I think this is sometimes called CSM)?

I have GeForce GTX 1070 and I am booting in UEFI mode (secure boot is off) with Legacy ROM disabled.

Plasma seems to be fine, hence everything seems to work once I login. I do not have any screens configured. It's kind of bizarre as to what SDDM is doing.

Relevant xorg.conf.d's for nvidia, provided by aur/nvidia-full-beta-all 381.09-1:

$ cat 10-nvidia-drm-outputclass.conf 
Section "OutputClass"
    Identifier "nvidia"
    MatchDriver "nvidia-drm"
    Driver "nvidia"
    ModulePath "/usr/lib/nvidia/xorg"
EndSection
$ cat 20-nvidia.conf 
Section "Device"
        Identifier      "Default Nvidia Device"
        Option          "NoLogo" "True"
EndSection

EDIT: I'll try an alternate login manager eventually. The issue with SDDM is minor as most of the time I'm just entering my password and go. I recently got an Intel NUC with Arch installed and playing around with docker to distract me wink

Last edited by geophph (2017-04-25 12:10:07)

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#38 2017-04-26 12:02:24

darkmav
Member
Registered: 2012-01-21
Posts: 97

Re: Alienware 17 R4 (2016) - No brightness control!

If I have only a few tabs open in Chrome, and no tabs open in Firefox, I am able to at least log back in after suspend, without the system freezing like I described earlier.

However, the mouse pointer becomes invisible after resumption. The steps described on https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=169975 and https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=161973 do not work.

Moreover, when I try to log out of Plasma (to return to the console; I don't use a graphical log-in manager like sddm or kdm), the system just freezes up after displaying a black screen. No amount of waiting returns me to the console. This happens only when I log out of Plasma after a resumption from suspend, to be sure.

These problems have cropped up only with the Nvidia 381 beta update.

To answer plus_M's questions, I do have that refresh rate setting. If it helps, the flickering only takes place while changing (increasing or decreasing) the brightness of the in-built display. And the default brightness setting is too low, so I have to crank it up every time. (This is in contrast to the pre-Nvidia 381 days when the brightness was high for all of us I guess.)

EDIT: Another very annoying limitation with the new drivers is that Spectacle (the Plasma screenshot tool) cannot capture a screenshot in the rectangular region mode. This problem has been encountered by others before (see https://classicforum.manjaro.org/index. … ic=33763.0) but it was apparently fixed by a driver update from Nvidia. This just adds one more item to the ever-increasing list of expectations from Nvidia! Can you guys confirm whether you have the same problem?

Last edited by darkmav (2017-04-27 23:35:18)

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#39 Yesterday 14:24:43

plus_M
Member
Registered: 2006-10-17
Posts: 50

Re: Alienware 17 R4 (2016) - No brightness control!

Spectacle works just fine for me... I also don't experience any flickering when changing screen brightness. I'm not sure if this has any relation to those issues, but I have the following in /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/:

Section "Device"
        Identifier "nvidia"
        Driver "nvidia"
        Option "NoLogo" "True"
        Option "RegistryDwords" "EnableBrightnessControl=1"
        Option "AllowEmptyInitialConfiguration"
        BusID "PCI:1:0:0"
EndSection

Section "Screen"
        Identifier "nvidia"
        Device "nvidia"
        Option "AllowEmptyInitialConfiguration"
        Option "metamodes" "nvidia-auto-select +0+0 { ForceCompositionPipeline = On}"
        Option "AllowIndirectGLXProtocol" "off"
        Option "TripleBuffer" "on"
EndSection

These settings were necessary to eliminate tearing during video playback, but perhaps forcing the composition pipeline fixes some other issues too?

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#40 Yesterday 18:46:10

darkmav
Member
Registered: 2012-01-21
Posts: 97

Re: Alienware 17 R4 (2016) - No brightness control!

plus_M wrote:

Spectacle works just fine for me... I also don't experience any flickering when changing screen brightness. I'm not sure if this has any relation to those issues, but I have the following in /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/:

These settings were necessary to eliminate tearing during video playback, but perhaps forcing the composition pipeline fixes some other issues too?

Hi, thanks for sharing your 20-nvidia.conf file. I replaced mine with yours but it hasn't changed anything at all for me. I am very curious to know why I'm experiencing flickering while changing screen brightness and you're not (and Spectacle is working just fine for you). I think we have the same hardware configuration. Can you share your arch.conf file (from /boot/loader/entries). Mine looks like this

title   Arch Linux
linux   /vmlinuz-linux
initrd  /initramfs-linux.img
options root=PARTUUID=fd15541c-151a-4f24-820b-c4601d92bb1b rootfstype=ext4 rw add_efi_memmap acpi_os= i915.preliminary_hw_support=

Last edited by darkmav (Yesterday 18:46:52)

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#41 Yesterday 18:58:26

plus_M
Member
Registered: 2006-10-17
Posts: 50

Re: Alienware 17 R4 (2016) - No brightness control!

darkmav wrote:

Can you share your arch.conf file

I should remind you that I am not in fact using Arch, but rather Gentoo. I've been participating in this thread anyway since we do seem to have very similar hardware configurations, and Arch and Gentoo have very similar versions of software available. I can share my default Grub menuentry though:

menuentry 'Gentoo GNU/Linux' --class gentoo --class gnu-linux --class gnu --class os $menuentry_id_option 'gnulinux-simple-9dc16cff-6af4-4ffd-940a-bdc094d7a94c' {
        load_video
        set gfxpayload=keep
        insmod gzio
        insmod part_gpt
        insmod ext2
        if [ x$feature_platform_search_hint = xy ]; then
          search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root  78964e39-1b66-4f87-b898-73cfb8c421ce
        else
          search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root 78964e39-1b66-4f87-b898-73cfb8c421ce
        fi
        echo    'Loading Linux 4.9.16-gentoo ...'
        linux   /vmlinuz-4.9.16-gentoo root=UUID=9dc16cff-6af4-4ffd-940a-bdc094d7a94c ro init=/usr/lib/systemd/systemd nvidia-drm.modeset=1 quiet splash acpi_osi="Windows 2015" nvidia.NVreg_EnablePCIeGen3=1 nvidia.NVreg_UsePageAttributeTable=1
        echo    'Loading initial ramdisk ...'
        initrd  /initramfs-4.9.16-gentoo.img
}

I don't think any of the nvidia menuentry things on the linux entry are doing anything important -- except perhaps nvidia-drm.modest=1. I also have i915 excluded from my initramfs file, whereas nvidia, nvidia-modeset, nvidia-uvm, and nvidia-drm are all included. The acpi_osi entry was from when I was trying to figure out the backlight issue and is very likely not necessary.

I'm not sure how familiar you are with Grub, but in case you are not very familiar, the way to reproduce my configuration is to modify /etc/default/grub with the following entry (modify the entry if it already exists; if it doesn't, create the entry):

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT='nvidia-drm.modeset=1 quiet splash acpi_osi="Windows 2015" nvidia.NVreg_EnablePCIeGen3=1 nvidia.NVreg_UsePageAttributeTable=1'

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#42 Yesterday 19:14:27

darkmav
Member
Registered: 2012-01-21
Posts: 97

Re: Alienware 17 R4 (2016) - No brightness control!

plus_M wrote:
darkmav wrote:

Can you share your arch.conf file

I should remind you that I am not in fact using Arch, but rather Gentoo. I've been participating in this thread anyway since we do seem to have very similar hardware configurations, and Arch and Gentoo have very similar versions of software available. I can share my default Grub menuentry though:

I'm not sure how familiar you are with Grub, but in case you are not very familiar, the way to reproduce my configuration is to modify /etc/default/grub with the following entry (modify the entry if it already exists; if it doesn't, create the entry):

Thanks I totally forgot that you use Gentoo smile
I'm familiar with Grub, but I'm using systemd-boot (https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/systemd-boot) on this system. Thanks again!

The flicker doesn't happen in Gnome, so maybe that's something worth thinking about.

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#43 Yesterday 19:29:45

plus_M
Member
Registered: 2006-10-17
Posts: 50

Re: Alienware 17 R4 (2016) - No brightness control!

You should be able to add the same entries I have in GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT to the options line in your /boot/loader/entries/arch.conf. I admit I'm not terribly familiar with systemd-boot, but the syntax looks very similar to Grub, so it will probably work.

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