lafité IV 15.6 + successful Pop_os 19.10 install (then updated to 20.04)

jerome_jm_martin

Bronze Level Poster
Update : 18th of july 2021

System has been running fine for a year and without any issue. (except lately an annoying IO latency on the btrfs FS)
I've just a fresh install with pop_os 21.04 yesterday (with Ext4 FS this time). + Freon + cpu freq + tuxedo keyboard...
system is snappy
I really recommend lafité with pop_os


UPDATE : 23rd of july 2020

system is running fine, did upgrade to pop os 20.04 two weeks ago, so far so good, performance is rock solid !
btw, I've setup my energy plan to battery life, laptop is lasting 4 to 5 hours and stays cool (around 38 deg) no fan noise (web browsing and office task)

______________________________


Hi,

I am writing this post to share with others my personal experience, but choose the distro that fits your needs...

You will find here :

I. The system Specs
II. Bios
III. Distro choice
IV. What is working (and what is not working)

happy reading.

I. The system Specs

Lafité Series : Châssis aluminium : Écran IPS LED mat 15,6 pouces Full HD (1920 x 1080)
Processeur : Quad Core Intel® Core™ i5-10210U (1,6 GHz, 4,2 GHz Turbo)
RAM : 16 Go Corsair 2666 MHz SODIMM DDR4 (2 x 8 Go)
HD : 500 Go SAMSUNG 970 EVO PLUS M.2, PCIe NVMe (jusqu'à 3500 Mo/R, 3200 Mo/W)
Wifi : AX200

the system is used to run office task and client's windows VMs, I am quite happy with the quality build. Packing is good, with lot of accessories (sata connector to add an another drive, rubber band, cd's and paper documentation...)

The keyboard is good, not the greatest keyboard but fairly good.
The touchpad is average to good, not the best one, but no major complaint about it, it's just lacking precision sometimes...
The Screen is very nice, much better that what I was thinking.
The fans are really quiet can't ear them below 45 deg. (with this distro, it can change depending on the distro you choose)
Laptop stays cool even if temp raise. good design.

II. The Bios

Ok, this is a tricky part, there's a lot of complaints about bioses issues (mainly with linux users), it does not really matter who provides the bios, or who the manufacturer is. frankly, I've never seen a perfect bios, there's always something faulty : bad dsdt tables, zero length memory address, faulty iomnu, faulty irq table, poor apci implementation, etc....

the bios in this laptop is : PC Specialist LTD N150CU/N151CU, BIOS 1.07.07TPCS2 11/15/2019

This bios is heavily stripped down, you can not do much in it, ie you can not boot in legacy mode (UEFI only), sata mode is either : AHCI or intel RST+optane, (luckily it's not hardcoded to raid mode like in the lafité pro series)

let me go straight to the point, there's some bugs in it, the main one is a faulty tpm implementation on irq 31 (see picture attached)

for the linux installation, I did change few settings in the bios to make things running smoothly :

1) Secure boot must be off (was already off in mine)
2) I switched off TPM (don't need it, not mandatory and to prevent the IRQ bug)
3) I switched off SGX (intel software guard) again not necessary

I wish to have an option to disable this "#()&! IME (Intel management engine) but it's not possible. I've checked the IME security with
Intel® CSME Detection Tool mine is patched. Check your IME with this tool.

III. Distro choice

Usually I am using only debian, because it is STABLE and it works...So why choosing pop_os ? well to be honest I made some choices and went for this distro to have a smooth install (kernel > 5.0) and not to much tweaking to do after the install. pop_os is made by system76 for their own pcs (laptops, workstations...), the laptops they are selling are clevo based very similar to Lafité series

on the top of that, pop os comes with lot of optimizations... battery, special theme, and under the hood optimizations like vm.swapiness set to 10... this is really sweet, making the system well polished and snappy. I really appreciate.

For pop _os, you can use the default install with encryption, it's fine for most users, simple, quick, and working, but there's one thing to keep in mind : with encryption the default keyboard to key in your password is US, mine is french... keys are not in the same place.

Personally i do not like the default partition scheme of pop_os (can not choose size of the partitions), so I went for something different with no encryption and a BTRFS filesystem.

once you have made the choice of you partition scheme and the install is done, the system will reboot to create your user account, very simple and it's working.
by the way the installation is lighting fast on my system (less than 5 minutes for a whole working system)

Post install tweaking :

Update the system ! (yeah there's some updates)
Get the extensions you want from gnome extensions (mine are : Freon, dash to dock, cpu power manager...)
install tuxedo keyboard from github (you will be able to control the keyboard with the function keys)
download and install gnome tweaks.
lm-sensors (needed for freon)
tailor the system to your needs

IV. What is working (and what is not working)

Well Almost everything !

Out of the box :

fn+1 : Fans auto / full speed is working,
brightness,
lcd on/off,
camera (got to download uvc camera),
wifi, sound,
suspend to ram/resume,
bluetooth,
did not test thunderbolt but it's being fully recognized in system setting

with some tweaks :

keyboard colors
suspend_then_hibernation
hibernation to disk... working partially, but not perfect yet...

what is not working :

disabling the touchpad with fn+F1,
fingerprints reader

Happy install !
J

Capture d’écran de 2020-03-10 10-57-24blur.png


the faulty tpm implementation below :
do not mess with the irqpoll option, it will make things worse.
And if you wonder, yes there's a working patch with kernel dev team but it's not yet in the new kernel release.

IMAG0328_1_resultat.jpg
 
Last edited:

ubuysa

The BSOD Doctor
Moderator
A really helpful post. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and experience here, I know its much appreciated. [emoji846][emoji106]
 
I have been wondering in view of the alterations made to the bios by PCS, would it be possible to:
1. Flash the original Clevo bios after purchase, or
2. Ask PCS to supply a PC with the original Clevo bios.
This would seem to be a way of restoring some of the functions and alterations made that suit Microsoft OS users but make life more difficult for Linux users.
 

ubuysa

The BSOD Doctor
Moderator
I have been wondering in view of the alterations made to the bios by PCS, would it be possible to:
1. Flash the original Clevo bios after purchase, or
2. Ask PCS to supply a PC with the original Clevo bios.
This would seem to be a way of restoring some of the functions and alterations made that suit Microsoft OS users but make life more difficult for Linux users.
I would phone PCS and ask. In my experience they're pretty amenable so you never know, they might be able to help and/or let you keep your warranty. :)
 
I would phone PCS and ask. In my experience they're pretty amenable so you never know, they might be able to help and/or let you keep your warranty. :)
I did contact PCS using chat and here is the question:
I am interested in the 15.6 Lafite IV. I asked a question concerning the bios on https://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/forums/threads/lafité-iv-15-6-successful-pop_os-19-10-install.67308
Can it be supplied with the Clevo bios unaltered. The reason is that I use Linux exclusively and the original bios is better suited to that operating system than the one altered by PCS to better suite MSWindows.
You could reply to the post on the Linux Formum if you want or I can pass on any comments that you make in response.

I am a proud owner of an UltranoteIII which serves me very well. Many thanks for your service.
Kind wishes, Ian. PS This is more like a letter than a chat!
Reply:
HI Ian, thank you for getting in touch with us. I would gladly assist you with your query. Unfortunately we do not support Linux and our PCS systems do come with the PCS logo. I do apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Could I flash the Clevo bios without invalidating the gaurantee? They responded that I would have to do it under the direction of PCS to not invalidate the guarantee. (I forgot to copy the exact reply to this question.)
 

Stephen M

MOST VALUED CONTRIBUTOR
Seems a peculiar response from PCS. I understand they would want their logo on a machine but if they are willing to assist in flashing the BIOS, which would likely remove the logo, why would they not supply a machine in that state originally.
 

ubuysa

The BSOD Doctor
Moderator
HI Ian, thank you for getting in touch with us. I would gladly assist you with your query. Unfortunately we do not support Linux and our PCS systems do come with the PCS logo. I do apologise for any inconvenience caused.

That's the standard response.

Could I flash the Clevo bios without invalidating the gaurantee? They responded that I would have to do it under the direction of PCS to not invalidate the guarantee. (I forgot to copy the exact reply to this question.)
Well they didn't say no, which is a start. Pity you didn't copy the full text because that's they key question and answer! :)
 
That's the standard response.


Well they didn't say no, which is a start. Pity you didn't copy the full text because that's they key question and answer! :)
I found the reply in an email of the chat.
Could I flash the Clevo bios without invalidating the gurantee? Reply: I will have a look into this for you.
Ian: Thanks. I guess that these are complicated questions. Reply: It would void the warranty unless it was done under our instruction.
 

Tony1044

Prolific Poster
Great information, thank you for sharing.

I honestly don't know why PCS/Clevo lock their BIOSes down to the crazy extent that they do. It was one of the main reasons I chose not to replace my aging Defiance II with another PCS unit, and that's a shame because they're cracking units otherwise.

Things like not being able to change the RAID mode or in my case, not being able to access the virtualisation extensions to turn them all on are an absolute show stopper.

It is doubly difficult to understand given the target market.
 

ubuysa

The BSOD Doctor
Moderator
Great information, thank you for sharing.

I honestly don't know why PCS/Clevo lock their BIOSes down to the crazy extent that they do. It was one of the main reasons I chose not to replace my aging Defiance II with another PCS unit, and that's a shame because they're cracking units otherwise.

Things like not being able to change the RAID mode or in my case, not being able to access the virtualisation extensions to turn them all on are an absolute show stopper.

It is doubly difficult to understand given the target market.
PCS are Microsoft partners and they clearly state that they do not support Linux on any build. You might not like that but at least they are completely up front with it.

A gaming laptop BIOS is locked mainly because they're operating at the limit of their ability to cool. Allowing the customer to tinker with BIOS settings is very likely to lead to a fried laptop.

Sent from my SM-G965F using Tapatalk
 

Tony1044

Prolific Poster
PCS are Microsoft partners and they clearly state that they do not support Linux on any build. You might not like that but at least they are completely up front with it.

At what point did I say otherwise? Perhaps stay on-topic if you're going to quote me?

A gaming laptop BIOS is locked mainly because they're operating at the limit of their ability to cool. Allowing the customer to tinker with BIOS settings is very likely to lead to a fried laptop.

Which is plain wrong. I am typing this on a Dell gaming laptop which has an unlocked BIOS. You cannot use one manufacturer and apply it across the board to others.

Please explain to me why enabling VT extensions could fry a laptop? Or how locking a drive controller into RAID mode prevents this?

I'm not suggesting they have the same things available as a desktop (clock speeds etc) but come on.
 

Tony1044

Prolific Poster
And to expand - I couldn't use device guard on my Defiance II. The hardware was all there - TPM, supported CPU etc etc. But, because I couldn't access all of the VT extensions, it wouldn't allow me to put it on. Same with the sandbox.

I couldn't install Qubes OS - despite, again, the hardware all being independently on the HCL. Same issue but this time it meant that the extensions prevented the protected network from working. No WiFi, simply.

These aren't performance-related. They won't fry anything. Having spent over £2k back in the day, I want the option to do what I want with my device - if I cook it, then mea culpa.

I wouldn't even mind if PCS / Clevo would supply an unlocked BIOS as an option when asked, on the understanding that if you do blow the thing up, it's not under warranty but they don't.
 

ubuysa

The BSOD Doctor
Moderator
You forget I think, that PCS don't only supply technically competent people like you. Most of their customers aren't that clued up and we know from experience on here that lots of people tinker with things, based on questionable advice from websites and without fully understanding what they're doing. Thus the probability of a fried laptop through an unlocked BIOS is extremely high.

I notice also that your recent absence has not mellowed your combative posting style.

Sent from my SM-G965F using Tapatalk
 

SpyderTracks

We love you Ukraine
Moderator
You forget I think, that PCS don't only supply technically competent people like you. Most of their customers aren't that clued up and we know from experience on here that lots of people tinker with things, based on questionable advice from websites and without fully understanding what they're doing. Thus the probability of a fried laptop through an unlocked BIOS is extremely high.

I notice also that your recent absence has not mellowed your combative posting style.

Sent from my SM-G965F using Tapatalk
I think the point is you can lock down clocks and voltages without locking down required virtualisation, security and storage settings, they’re completely independent.
 

Stephen M

MOST VALUED CONTRIBUTOR
Fully accept PCS do not offer Linux support and not worried by that but agree with Tony, if I am willing to risk frying my machine it should be my choice.

Microsoft do not help, the days of Steven Balmer may be behind us but there is still a worry about the way the operate. I cannot see how they could see a system used by <3% of the world as a problem but Balmer clearly did with his "Linux is cancer" rant. Exactly what pressure they put on UK companies is unknown but from my time in Germany I know that until their government and the EU issued a few warnings they were trying to make it very hard for people to use anything other than their OS.
 

Tony1044

Prolific Poster
You forget I think, that PCS don't only supply technically competent people like you. Most of their customers aren't that clued up and we know from experience on here that lots of people tinker with things, based on questionable advice from websites and without fully understanding what they're doing. Thus the probability of a fried laptop through an unlocked BIOS is extremely high.

I notice also that your recent absence has not mellowed your combative posting style.

Sent from my SM-G965F using Tapatalk

My "combative posting style" was in response to you accusing me of making comments that I didn't and to which you responded quite harshly to said imagined comments. At no point did I say I expected PCS to support Linux or suggest they weren't a Microsoft Partner, or...

You are quite often overly blunt yourself and I really suggest you read my initial comments, followed by your first response to me, because frankly it was quite rude in its tone. If you don't like that tone, then perhaps don't use it to others. You know well I am more than happy to have my answers challenged but I'm not going to be taken to task for things I didn't actually say.

I notice the ad hominem attacks have continued rather than respond to my questions...

I also disagree with the belief that PCS only sell to the "tinkerer" - that might be the bulk of the questions here on the forums, but since none of us work for the company, we cannot say how many units they sell to the avid gamer who knows exactly what they want? The kind of person that can build their own rig but prefers the security that comes with letting a company do it for them.

I would also point out that when it comes to building a machine, I would not consider myself even vaguely competent anymore and I make no such claims - you must have noticed I rarely comment on requests for advice about configuring a build?

I am still genuinely curious to understand how enabling access to virtualisation extensions or allowing a user to unlock RAID settings compromises the cooling performance of a laptop?
 
Top