Dell XPS 9510 and the linux experience

Dell XPS 9510 and the linux experience

February 6, 2022 | linux

I do not own this notebook anymore. I recently sold this notebook, so I am unaware of any recent improvements/updates.

I’ve recently decided to migrate back to Linux after some years of using a MacBook. I haven’t distanced myself from Linux while using the Mac, as I had a Thinkpad x320 by my side all the time running Archlinux.

I wanted something much more powerful than the Macbook, along with a lightweight design and something that would last for the next five years.

I’ve got myself a Dell XPS, with the following specification:

inxi -Fxz --color=0
  Kernel: 5.16.5-arch1-1 x86_64 bits: 64 compiler: gcc v: 11.1.0 Desktop: Qtile 0.20.0
    Distro: Arch Linux
  Type: Laptop System: Dell product: XPS 15 9510 v: N/A serial: <superuser required>
  Mobo: Dell model: 0C6CP1 v: A00 serial: <superuser required> UEFI: Dell v: 1.7.0
    date: 12/09/2021
  ID-1: BAT0 charge: 6.4 Wh (8.1%) condition: 79.2/84.3 Wh (94.0%) volts: 11.7 min: 11.4
    model: BYD DELL M59JH1A status: Charging
  Info: 8-core model: 11th Gen Intel Core i9-11900H bits: 64 type: MT MCP arch: Tiger Lake rev: 1
    cache: L1: 640 KiB L2: 10 MiB L3: 24 MiB
  Speed (MHz): avg: 930 high: 1240 min/max: 800/4800:4900 cores: 1: 970 2: 917 3: 801 4: 818
    5: 801 6: 1221 7: 800 8: 1086 9: 841 10: 800 11: 791 12: 801 13: 1240 14: 840 15: 1199 16: 969
    bogomips: 79888
  Flags: avx avx2 ht lm nx pae sse sse2 sse3 sse4_1 sse4_2 ssse3 vmx
  Device-1: Intel TigerLake-H GT1 [UHD Graphics] vendor: Dell driver: i915 v: kernel
    bus-ID: 0000:00:02.0
  Device-2: NVIDIA GA107M [GeForce RTX 3050 Ti Mobile] vendor: Dell driver: nouveau v: kernel
    bus-ID: 0000:01:00.0
  Device-3: Microdia Integrated_Webcam_HD type: USB driver: uvcvideo bus-ID: 3-11:5
  Display: x11 server: X.Org driver: loaded: nouveau
    note: n/a (using device driver) - try sudo/root unloaded: modesetting resolution: 3840x2400~60Hz
  OpenGL: renderer: Mesa Intel UHD Graphics (TGL GT1) v: 4.6 Mesa 21.3.5 direct render: Yes
  Device-1: Intel Tiger Lake-H HD Audio vendor: Dell driver: snd_hda_intel v: kernel
    bus-ID: 0000:00:1f.3
  Device-2: UC02 type: USB driver: hid-generic,snd-usb-audio,usbhid bus-ID: 3-
  Sound Server-1: ALSA v: k5.16.5-arch1-1 running: yes
  Sound Server-2: JACK v: 1.9.20 running: no
  Sound Server-3: PulseAudio v: 15.0 running: no
  Sound Server-4: PipeWire v: 0.3.45 running: yes
  Device-1: Intel Tiger Lake PCH CNVi WiFi vendor: Rivet Networks driver: iwlwifi v: kernel
    bus-ID: 0000:00:14.3
  IF: wlan0 state: down mac: <filter>
  Device-2: ASIX AX88179 Gigabit Ethernet type: USB driver: ax88179_178a bus-ID: 2-4.1:3
  IF: enp0s13f0u4u1 state: up speed: 1000 Mbps duplex: full mac: <filter>
  Device-1: Intel AX201 Bluetooth type: USB driver: btusb v: 0.8 bus-ID: 3-14:7
  Report: rfkill ID: hci0 rfk-id: 1 state: up address: see --recommends
  Hardware-1: Intel Volume Management Device NVMe RAID Controller driver: vmd v: 0.6
    bus-ID: 0000:00:0e.0
  Local Storage: total: 968.19 GiB used: 327.43 GiB (33.8%)
  ID-1: /dev/nvme0n1 vendor: Samsung model: PM9A1 NVMe 1024GB size: 953.87 GiB temp: 43.9 C
  ID-2: /dev/sda type: USB vendor: SanDisk model: Cruzer Fit size: 14.32 GiB
  ID-1: / size: 434.62 GiB used: 20.08 GiB (4.6%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/dm-3 mapped: vg0-root
  ID-2: /boot size: 1006.7 MiB used: 484.5 MiB (48.1%) fs: ext2 dev: /dev/nvme0n1p2
  ID-3: /boot/efi size: 212.7 MiB used: 39.2 MiB (18.4%) fs: vfat dev: /dev/nvme0n1p1
  ID-4: /home size: 491.08 GiB used: 306.84 GiB (62.5%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/dm-2 mapped: vg0-home
  ID-1: swap-1 type: partition size: 10 GiB used: 0 KiB (0.0%) dev: /dev/dm-1 mapped: vg0-swap
  System Temperatures: cpu: 46.0 C mobo: N/A
  Fan Speeds (RPM): N/A
  Processes: 384 Uptime: 2m Memory: 62.54 GiB used: 5.37 GiB (8.6%) Init: systemd Compilers:
  gcc: 11.1.0 clang: 13.0.0 Packages: 1187 Client: Unknown Client: emacs-27.2 inxi: 3.3.12
0000:00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation 11th Gen Core Processor Host Bridge/DRAM Registers (rev 05)
0000:00:01.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 11th Gen Core Processor PCIe Controller #1 (rev 05)
0000:00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation TigerLake-H GT1 [UHD Graphics] (rev 01)
0000:00:04.0 Signal processing controller: Intel Corporation TigerLake-LP Dynamic Tuning Processor Participant (rev 05)
0000:00:07.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Tiger Lake-H Thunderbolt 4 PCI Express Root Port #2 (rev 05)
0000:00:07.3 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Tiger Lake-H Thunderbolt 4 PCI Express Root Port #3 (rev 05)
0000:00:0a.0 Signal processing controller: Intel Corporation Tigerlake Telemetry Aggregator Driver (rev 01)
0000:00:0d.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation Tiger Lake-H Thunderbolt 4 USB Controller (rev 05)
0000:00:0d.3 USB controller: Intel Corporation Tiger Lake-H Thunderbolt 4 NHI #1 (rev 05)
0000:00:0e.0 RAID bus controller: Intel Corporation Volume Management Device NVMe RAID Controller
0000:00:12.0 Serial controller: Intel Corporation Device 43fc (rev 11)
0000:00:14.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation Tiger Lake-H USB 3.2 Gen 2x1 xHCI Host Controller (rev 11)
0000:00:14.2 RAM memory: Intel Corporation Tiger Lake-H Shared SRAM (rev 11)
0000:00:14.3 Network controller: Intel Corporation Tiger Lake PCH CNVi WiFi (rev 11)
0000:00:15.0 Serial bus controller: Intel Corporation Tiger Lake-H Serial IO I2C Controller #0 (rev 11)
0000:00:15.1 Serial bus controller: Intel Corporation Device 43e9 (rev 11)
0000:00:16.0 Communication controller: Intel Corporation Tiger Lake-H Management Engine Interface (rev 11)
0000:00:1c.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Device 43be (rev 11)
0000:00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation Device 4389 (rev 11)
0000:00:1f.3 Audio device: Intel Corporation Tiger Lake-H HD Audio Controller (rev 11)
0000:00:1f.4 SMBus: Intel Corporation Tiger Lake-H SMBus Controller (rev 11)
0000:00:1f.5 Serial bus controller: Intel Corporation Tiger Lake-H SPI Controller (rev 11)
0000:01:00.0 3D controller: NVIDIA Corporation GA107M [GeForce RTX 3050 Ti Mobile] (rev a1)
0000:74:00.0 Unassigned class [ff00]: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTS5260 PCI Express Card Reader (rev 01)
10000:e0:01.0 System peripheral: Intel Corporation Device 09ab
10000:e0:01.2 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Device 9a07 (rev 05)
10000:e1:00.0 Non-Volatile memory controller: Samsung Electronics Co Ltd NVMe SSD Controller PM9A1/PM9A3/980PRO

It’s a powerful machine, but that’s not what I am here to talk about. I want to talk about quirks and hacks I needed to do to get the hardware fully working.

During this writing, I am running Archlinux on a 5.16.5 kernel.

Wi-Fi #

Works out of the box with Archlinux


Intel i915 #

The Intel i915 with NVidia disabled worked out of the box with one issue.

  • Suddenly, Alacritty’s window turns black, as if it’s completely unresponsive. I’ve tried running with vblank_mode set but no luck.

Update <2023-06-06 Tue>:
I noticed a few i915 0000:00:02.0: [drm] *ERROR* Unexpected DE Misc interrupt popping up from time to time in dmesg, so I made a few configurations, which seemed to have fixed the error (and the frozen issue!).

In /etc/mkinitcpio.conf, add i925 to MODULES.

MODULES=(... i925)

Then run mkinitcpio -p <whatever-kernel-you-have>.

Create or edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf, with the following device. I think you can also create a /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-intel.conf and add it there instead, but I didn’t do that.

Section "Device"
  Identifier "Intel Graphics"
  Driver "intel"


Modesetting #

The Modesetting driver works completely out of the box, with no quirks (at least none found yet).

NVidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti Mobile #

Works out of the box with the nvidia driver from Archlinux’s official repository. I have tried bumblebee out, but no luck getting the hybrid (Intel and NVidia) to work along.

Update <2023-06-06 Tue>:
I tried Linux Mint for a few days and the hybrid mode (intel or nvidia) worked out of the box.

Bluetooth #

Worked out of the box. I had to install blueman though, but nothing that you cannot find in the Archlinux wiki.

Display #

I’ve disabled the touch functionality of the screen, but it does work out of the box with Xorg (haven’t tested in Wayland).

Brightness works well with xbacklight when using the Intel driver or light when using Modesetting.

USB-C ports #

All are working out of the box.

Keyboard #

Working out of the box.

Touchpad #

Works well with synaptics, but much better with libinput. You can get libinput-gestures to set up asmooth gesture functionality.

Update <2023-06-05 Mon>:
Turns out that from time-to-time the touchpad started lagging. This is a known issue and I’ve fixed it by following this guide to downgrade the touchpad firmware to 0x000c.

I am keeping the firmware here as a back up.

Touchpad firmware 0c for XPS 9510
sha256: 11704b552a1e4cf45ab8d48db6da00e50df418d8cdffd261fdd710709ca13e91

Fingerprint #

I haven’t tried to get it working yet, but I don’t think it will work from what I’ve seen on the Internet.

Hibernate/suspend #

I haven’t managed to get it working. It seems it needs some configuration in the BIOS, but regardless, it did not work.

Update <2022-06-17 Fri>:
Turns out I needed to enable the resume hook in my initramfs, append a line to my grub configuration and systemd’s sleep configuration [gist].

I will keep this updated as time goes by.