Installing Xubuntu 16.04 on a Sager NP8952 laptop (Clevo P950HR)

November 25, 2017

Here are some notes for anyone attempting to install Xubuntu 16.04 on a Sager NP8952 laptop (Clevo P950HR). Most things work well enough. The initial installation onto the primary SSD along side Windows 10 was uneventful, from a live USB created with unetbootin.

System components:

CPU: Intel Kaby Lake i7-7700HQ
GPU: GTX 1070 (8GB) MAX-Q, with Optimus
Primary drive: WD M.2 SSD, with Windows 10 preinstalled
Wireless: Intel AC8265
Audio: Intel HD + Sound BlasterX

Here is the status so far:

Bluetooth – works.

Camera – untested.

conky display

Dave’s conky display, Xubuntu, Sager NP8952 laptop

Card reader – untested

CPU frequency scaling – seems to work with Intel p-state driver after some fiddling. There were times when the driver unnecessarily kept the CPU frequency at maximum, so I tried a variety of fixes including installing and configuring laptop-mode-tools, xfce4-indicator-plugin, cpufrequtils, and perhaps others. Not using cpufreqd, nor tlp. cpufrequtils is currently disabled in /etc/init.d/cpufrequtils. Frequency scaling seems to be working now and I’m no longer sure which tweaks were necessary.

External monitor – works with HDMI.

Fingerprint reader – untested.

Keyboard backlight – permanently on, steady blue, no way to control it.

Keyboard hotkeys – some work: screen brightness, volume, suspend, external monitor, and others.

Nvidia proprietary driver – works (384.90).

Shutdown – (1) use “systemctl edit cups-browsed.service” to reduce the CUPS timeout to a few seconds as described in https://askubuntu.com/questions/760952/slow-shutdown-on-ubuntu-16-04-lts-stopping-thermal-daemon-running-fit-make-remo; (2) add acpi=force to linux command line to allow shutdown to finish.

Sleep/restore – the headphone jack is inoperative after suspend/restore.

Sound – (1) the speakers were muted at first: use alsamixer to unmute the speakers; only need to do this once; (2) the headphone jack is inoperative after suspend/restore.

Touchpad – works.

Wifi – works

You can get a copy of my conkyrc file here. Just rename it to .conkyrc.

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posted in Linux by Dave

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3 Comments to "Installing Xubuntu 16.04 on a Sager NP8952 laptop (Clevo P950HR)"

  1. Iain wrote:

    Hi Dave – I landed at your blog after a first day of trying to get the same Intel AC8265 card to work with Xubuntu (I’ve tried both 16.04.3 and 17.10, to no avail), and the new Clevo laptop.

    May I ask if it just worked immediately for you? Is your router a fairly modern one, or did you have to tweak some settings?

    I know the kernel supports the card, I can see the firmware files in the relevant folder,but it just refuses to work. Horrible visions of having to Windows if this continues!

  2. Dave wrote:

    Hi @Iain, I really wish I could help, but for me, it just worked, and it has connected successfully with several different wifi modems, old and new. You’re not the only one having trouble with it, though, for apparently a variety of reasons. Here’s one report that says the device worked after an upgrade to kernel 4.12.3: https://communities.intel.com/thread/115681 . Good luck, and if you’re so inclined, we’d love to hear how you resolve it.

  3. Iain wrote:

    Cheers Dave, my apologies for not having replied sooner. I’ve not had the time I’d have liked to test it out fully, but it does seem to be my old ISP-supplied router that the card isn’t liking.

    The router only does up to -n standard, and making some changes to its settings as suggested in a forum post that I can’t find right now, seems to make it connect after a fashion. I got the chance to test it on a friend’s BT Hub 5 today, an -ac standard router from what I read, and it worked fairly well in the few minutes I had to try it out.

    Given that everything else in the house works well with the router, I’m loath to compromise the current settings to accommodate this card, nor do I really want to have to buy a new router. I still have the mini PCI wireless card from the old laptop (don’t have the model number to hand), hoping that it might not be completely obsolete, perhaps compatible.

    Fingers crossed, I’ll let you know of my unlikely success!

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