T460p BIOS-Update from Linux Mint

If, like me, you have decided to go exclusively with Linux Mint on your Lenovo T460p, here is an easy way to carry out the BIOS update with an USB flash drive:

  • Visit the driver matrix for your T460p on support.lenovo.com and download the image of the „BIOS Update CD for Windows 10“.
  • If not already installed, install genisoimage:
    apt-get install genisoimage
  • Extract the El Torito boot-image from the downloaded *.iso-file, in my case that is isr07uj07wd.iso:
    geteltorito -o bios.img r07uj07wd.iso
  • Write the extracted image to an USB stick. In my case it is the USB stick is attached as /dev/sda:
    dd if=bios.img of=/dev/sda bs=1M
  • Boot from the USB stick and follow BIOS upgrade instructions
T460p BIOS-Update from Linux Mint

Lenovo T460p and Linux Mint 18

My recently acquired Thinkpad T460p (model 20FX-S0C4) came with no pre-installed OS which was just fine for me because I had already decided to go with Linux Mint. Furthermore, I decided to take the risk of installing the beta-release of Linux Mint 18 Sarah MATE Edition and haven’t been disappointed so far. It required just a few tweaks to get the system up an running wihout further issues. Here is what I did:

I recognized a crackling noise when logging in to the desktop environment. I was able to resolve this issue by blacklisting the snd_hda_codec_realtek module as described here: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Lenovo_ThinkPad_X1_Carbon_(Gen_3)#Audio

echo "blacklist snd_hda_codec_realtek" >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf

Screen tearing
I also recognized screen tearing artifacts during scrolling and video playback. I could solve this issue by switching to Marco + Compton in the Desktop Settings app.
UPDATE: No tearing on Mint 18 Cinnamon edition.

Trackpoint sensitivity
Although the trackpoint aswell as trackpoint scrolling worked out of the box the sensitivity was sort of sluggish. To permanently improve the sensitivity I added a new rule as described here: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Lenovo_ThinkPad_X220

In /etc/udev/rules.d/98-trackpoint.rules I added the following lines:

# Set the trackpoint speed and sensitivity
ACTION=="add",SUBSYSTEM=="input",ATTR{name}=="TPPS/2 IBM TrackPoint",ATTR{device/sensitivity}="255",ATTR{device/speed}="110"

To switch sensitivity on the go (settings will be lost on reboot) you can also use configure-trackpoint from the thinkpad-extras repo:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:linrunner/thinkpad-extras
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install configure-trackpoint

It’s always a good idea to install TLP on Thinkpads to get a better handle on the thinkpads powermanagement features/statuses. This can be accomplished with the following one-liner:

sudo apt-get install tlp tlp-rdw acpi-call-dkms smartmontools

GeForce 940MX
The Geforce 940MX can be installed via the driver manager app. I decided for the nvidia binary driver instead of the Nouveau display driver. In both cases Mint will add a new icon to the notification area which can be used to switch between integrated Intel graphics and the dedicated nvidia graphics. If you decide for the binary driver you will have to log out and in again to switch between both alternatives. This will not be necessary if you decide for the Nouveau driver. Just in case this is a use-case for you: I’ve tried out playing Diablo 3 for about half an hour with the nvidia driver which went just flawless. Core-temperature stayed around 60° C. As I am writing this blog entry, core temperature is 38° C with no fan running.

Keyboard backlight
I realized that the backlight turned on whenever I logged in independant of the status when I turned off the Thinkpad. To make the system remember the last status I did the following as mentioned here https://askubuntu.com/questions/700069/keyboard-backlight-turns-on-after-lock-screen-display-on

In the file:
<allow send_destination="org.freedesktop.UPower" send_interface="org.freedesktop.UPower.KbdBacklight"/>
<deny send_destination="org.freedesktop.UPower" send_interface="org.freedesktop.UPower.KbdBacklight"/>

Lenovo T460p and Linux Mint 18