Lenovo X1 Carbon and Ubuntu 13.04

I’ve had the Lenovo X1 Carbon for a few months, and in all honesty, it’s the best laptop I’ve ever owned (including Macbooks). Under Windows, everything works flawlessly, and I’ve had no problems. In Ubuntu, almost everything works out of the box with 13.04, but there are a couple of tweaks needed to get the best out of it.

Battery Performance

Battery performance on 13.04 is terrible on default options. I was getting … two hours? With Wifi and/or 3G enabled, I’m used to run times of 5 hours, so this was poor. I was not the only one having problems with Ubuntu related performance, but after a few tweaks I now get 4:55 from a full charge, which is good enough for me.

(Note – If anyone has more suggestions for eeking power, I’m welcome to hear them)

TLP – TLP appears to have the biggest punch. Apparently people got good value out of Jupiter, but it’s no longer supported. This walk-through gives details for a Thinkpad specific configuration, and so far it works a treat.

tlp also comes with three very useful commands to turn on/off the relative radios: wifi [on off]
wwan [on off]
bluetooth [on off]

Turning “Mobile Broadband” off in Network Manager did nothing to the 3G card (which was sat busily using loads of power according to powertop), but “wwan off” did the trick.

i915 Specific Options – This page details a few i915 specific options.

Generic Tips – This Ubuntu page specifies specific options, and a few more i915 specific options.

Powertop – See generic tips, but powertop genuinely does seem to eek out extra juice.

Mobile Broadband

I’m sure this worked out of the box with 12.10, but in 13.04 it appears a little broken. There’s a workaround, detailed on Launchpad, that appears to get things moving again.

Modem Manager for whatever reason likes to crash on boot. When it does, simply “sudo service modemmanager restart” brings it back to life. This also works if it stop connecting.

The interaction between modem manager and network manager is terrible. Modem manager will throw error messages that Network Manager only reports as “connection failed”. If you’re continuing to have problems, run modem manager and network manager in debug mode and see what error messages are being spat from modem manager.