20200604

Part 2: Ubuntu 20.04 LTS on Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14" 81x20005us

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14" 81x20005us 

Summary

In the first part of my review I went over the good and bad I found using Ubuntu 20.04 on the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14" laptop. This laptop a a definite buy and all features of the laptop can be used with Ubuntu 20.04 (and probably any other distro).

I'll provide a quick update on the Good and the Bad list that I want to highlight. Then I'll add some of the steps needed to get the laptop fully working on Ubuntu 20.04.

Follow up

  • Battery life is well over 4 hours with heavy use. 
  • Fan blows out to the rear and under load it isn't noticeable
  • Brightness control works but requires Linux Kernel 5.7*
  • Brightness control keys are probably in need of some tuning but totally functional
  • 16GB RAM (Not Upgradeable)
  • NVME SSD 256GB (Single Slot Upgradeable)
  • WiFi Module/Card (Looks like a mini pcie slot and is Upgradeable)
  • Web Camera (works with boltgolt/howdy facial unlock tool but need a well lit area, no IR)
  • Stylus registers as a Wacom HID 5217 device 
  • HDMI port works with External Display (Registered as Device: AMD RENOIR)*
  • Fan can be noisy if you have the laptop in stand mode and under heavy load
  • Sleep is working now with the new Kernel*
  • More photos below of the Hardware
  • See Instructions for updating the Kernel

Instructions

Installing 5.7 Kernel

Use the mainline tool to update the kernel. Originally described here
  1. sudo apt-add-repository -y ppa:cappelikan/ppa
  2. sudo apt update
  3. sudo apt install mainline
  4. Open up the application mainline and select the 5.7 kernel

In order to boot into this kernel, you will need to set the Laptop to boot "Legacy Mode" because this kernel is not signed yet. 

Installing missing firmware, follow the instructions in this post.
You should be able to use all the features tagged with '*' from the follow up list.

Photos

RAM, NVME Slot, WiFi PCIe Slot

Hardware View

Top and Bottom Inside Shot

Separate Bottom Cover Carefully

Bios Version






20200603

Ubuntu 20.04 LTS on Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14" 81x20005us

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14" 81x20005us 

Summary

I'll keep this short, this laptop is a buy.
At the time of this post, it goes for $599 on Amazon

Out of the box almost everything works. After installing Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, everything works except for the HDMI port. I think this has to do with the AMD AGPU and a driver is probably needed. I'll follow up with the fix once I have one if this is a software issue. 

Other than that, this laptop is a buy. I didn't bother booting up into windows. I booted Ubuntu from a USB stick and installed it with secure boot and updated the MOK without issues.

Good

  • USB-C Charging 65W adapter included
  • 2 in 1 
  • Backlit Lenovo Keyboard
  • AMD Ryzen 4500U 6 Core CPU
  • 16GB RAM (Not Upgradeable)
  • NVME SSD 256GB (Upgradeable)
  • TouchScreen works out of the box in Ubuntu 20.04
  • Web Camera (works with boltgolt/howdy facial unlock tool, I don't think it's IR)
  • 2 X USB A 3.0 Ports
  • SD card slot
  • Glossy screen and bright enough for me
  • Comes with Stylus
  • Speakers are loud, good for YouTube Watching
  • Good amount of screen real estate
  • Fans quiet, near silent with Chrome open and playing YouTube in the backgroun
  • Plastic material has a rough feel and grips well to my wrist
  • Bezel around the screen is thin and not noticeable at all
  • Performance is great and 6 cores and 16GB of ram is plenty
  • 2 in 1 functionality works well
  • In Tablet Mode, keyboard and mouse automatically disable


Bad

  • USB C port does not support Video output must use HDMI)
  • SD Card slot is half (maybe 1/4) depth so you need an adapter if you want full time slotted SD card
  • .2lbs Heavier than a surface pro 4 with Keyboard, case, pen
  • Ubuntu Screen brightness not working, screen only turns on or off using brightness control
  • Stylus uses funky usb slot holder, just put the stylus in your bag.
  • Sound doesn't have enough bass
  • The keyboard is a good size but I noticed I my right index reaches a little more than usual for the 'Y' key, this could be due to using a Surface Pro 4 and Macbook 13" (or it's just in my head).
  • Trackpad feels cheap, it's large but the clicking is loud and has a cheap click feel to it
  • Fingerprint reader is a nice touch but it should just be on the power button or someplace above the function keys
  • CPU SMT would have been nice, getting this to 12 threads would make it the ultimate buy
  • Keyboard and trackpad do not disable when in tent or movie stand mode, this is probably an Ubuntu/Linux limitation. 
  • Screen won't rotate when in Tent mode, again probably an Ubuntu/Linux limitation. 
  • Screen does not rotate to portrait mode when converting to tablet mode, again probably an Ubuntu/Linux limitation. 
  • Webcam face detection using Howdy only works in well lit rooms.


Photos
















20200123

Arista DCS-7050S-52-R Modding

Arista DCS-7050S-52-R Modding

Background

I've recently purchased two Arista switches a 7124S and 7050s. Best piece of advice, stay away from the 7100 gen1 and gen 2 switches. These are too old and don't support enough modding features. The other issue, especiially with the Gen 1 7100, the DIMM is a special DDR2 format called Mini DIMM. Finding the right DIMM is very difficult and I have spent too much money on DIMMs going that route.

Modding Solutions

The 7050s is by far the cheapest and most mod friendly platform. I was able to upgrade it to 16GB of RAM, 4GB DOM SSD, and I've thrown several different optics towards the SFP+ ports. The swich supports EOS 4.18 and below. If you want support for 4.21 or 4.22 EOS, then you should fork the money over for a 7050QX. The issue with that platform, 40G interfaces. I don't have a need for 40G and I save approximately $400 in my hobby expenses.

Purpose

By not sounding too crazy, this is my hobby. I wanted to have 10G interfaces for my VMWare Lab servers and other switches. Having OpenFlow and potentially docker available on the switch, allows me to expand my dabbling in Network Automation.

Upgrades, Configs, and Mods

Fans and Noise

  • environment fan-speed override 30

Allow SCP copy to the device

  • aaa authorization exec default local

USB DOM

  • Innodisk USB 4GB SSD Hard Drive NAND FLASH MEMORY DOM USB Header

DIMMs

  • Upgraded from 4GB of ECC RAM to 16GB of ECC RAM
    • TriCor TRF7256U64F9333G7-HYBP
  • New RAM
    • 2x8GB PC3-12800R DDR3-1600MHz 1Rx4 Reg ECC Samsung M393B1G70BH0-CK0

Compatible 3rd Party Optics

  • To support 3rd party optics and DACs, create an empty file "enable3px" in /mnt/flash/
    • FINISAR CORP.    FTLX1471D3BCL
    • CISCO-TYCO       1-2053783-2
    • CISCO-TYCO       1-2053783-2
    • US Critical             GLC-T-US
    • Methode Elec.        SP7041-M1-JN1-01
    • OEM OPTIC          E10GSFPLR-OO
    • Intel Corp               FTLX1471D3BCV-I3

Future

SSD

  • There is a SATA connector that appears to allow for a SATA SSD drive to be plugged into it.
  • This would require an right angle connector and some way to secure the SSD drive.
  • Ideas
    • Use a right angle SATA adapter.
    • Use an M2 SATA drive.
    • Secure to the middle frame using some sort of ribbon cable.

ext4 boot

  • I would like to boot using an ext4 formatted partition.
  • Today it appears to only allow vfat with a 2GB partition size limit.
  • Aboot does a dosfscheck at boot everytime.

Aboot

  • Upgrade Aboot and coreboot to allow for more flexibility and maybe features.
  • Need to learn how Aboot is flashed and how to recover from a "mistake."