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The Chillblast Defiant Optimus Mini Laptop
Legacy version with Mint 16

This page covers the earlier work setting up of my Chillblast Defiant Laptop running under a dual booted system with Windows 8.1 and Mint 16 Petra - at the time the latest stable version of Mint. See latter pages for latest Mint. Mint is built on top of Ubuntu and both sit at the top of the popularity stakes but Mint has the advantage of the Cinnamon Desktop which will be very much more familiar than the Ubuntu Unity Desktop (or Microsoft Windows 8.1) to the majority of Windows and Apple users. This is document is still 'work in progress' although I have been confident enough to take the Defiant away as my main machine for three months and there are no major outstanding issues and I have always run under Linux Mint.

The 'Bottom Line' is that everything is now working that is essential, most now works 'out of the box' although a couple of tweaks are still needed during the initial booting of LiveUSBs, and, of course, software needs to be installed to handle the dual graphics configuration and save power by switching the discrete graphics card on and off when not required. The latest kernel in Mint 16 has greatly increased the support for the advanced Optimus configuration and nVidia GTX 765M card. I have written an applet to support the dual graphics configuration and monitor the GPU temperature.

I did a number of tests using 32 bit and 64 bit versions and to my surprise there were few advantages in speed in the 64 bit implementations but memory requirements are much less so my final installation is 32 bit.


The Chillblast Defiant and Ubuntu Linux - Background and Requirements

We spend quite a bit of time away from home and we have two MSI Wind Netbooks which have enabled us to keep up to date with most activities and provide music through the WiFi and bluetooth connection on our narrowboat and even watch some TV through a dongle. They are many years old and have been running out of power. But what finally precipitated Pete into looking for a replacement was the old video camera gave up and the replacement was, of course, HD and the ageing desktop could barely handle the load of video processing, leave alone the netbooks. During investigating a replacement it became clear that the nearest specification to meet our requirements tended to designated ''gaming' computers with both fast processing and good graphics. In looking through possible machines we came across the Chillblast range - they have a very good reputation for their desktops but have also started to produce some 'gaming' laptops including a small one called the Defiant which looked powerful enough to even handle video editing. We always keep up with pictures on route but this would give the opportunity to keep up with videos to avoid increasing the huge backlog. The Defiant has a Haswell architecture with an Intel Core i7 Quad processor (effectively 8 through hyperthreading) and two graphics processors, the integrated Intel 4600 GPU and an extra nVidia 765M Graphics Processor Unit (GPU) combined with the Optimus technology which only powers up and uses the power consuming discrete GPU on demand thus providing a reasonable battery life. Preliminary checks show it renders video about 5 times faster than the current 64 bit AMD Athlon 5000+ desktop and 25 times faster than the MSI Wind U100. It renders H.264 720i video at about 80% of real-time and 1080i even full HD (1080i) editing should be perfectly practical on the move.

We wanted obviously wanted a machine which was light for traveling but powerful and versatile enough to replace the Desktop and was largely self contained. The Defiant has a 13.3" 1920x1080 screen and weighs 2 kgs plus the weight of a 120 watt power adapter. It has a 1000 GByte hybrid drive (8 bytes SSD smart buffer) and 8Ggbytes 1600 Mhz RAM. It has no DVD but has Wifi, Bluetooth and an SD card reader and an HDMI output as well as VGA. We expect to largely run Linux but would prefer to also have a dual boot to Windows because of Pauline's teaching where we have to be sure that everything will work 100% although we can not remember when Pauline or Peter last used Windows other than helping others to remove the inevitable viruses. The following notes on the installation of Ubuntu are based on our Road to Freedom - A progressive migration from Windows to Ubuntu for Safety, Security and Savings in Home Computing and this will eventually provide a third part to that series - perhaps we will call it The High Ground.

Chillblast Defiant 13" Laptop with Haswell/Optimus Architecture,
Core i7 Processor and nVidia GTX 765M graphics - Specifications

The Chillblast Defiant was designed for gaming so has exactly the sort of specification which is required for Full HD Video editing. It has a vastly powerful Core i7 4700MQ 2.4 Ghz (3.2 on Turbo) quad-core (8 thread) processor, 8GB of 1600MHz DDR3 memory and a NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 765M. It has Optimus technology so when I am using the machine for something less demanding than Video processing, the GeForce switches off and the Intel HD4600 takes over, saving considerable power. It has a 13.3” screen with a Full-HD 1920 x 1080 non-reflective display.

A 1000GB hybrid SSD / HDD gives lightning fast response rates and plenty of space for Video editing in a single device, A mSATA SSD slot is available to provide even faster dedicated storage for the OS if desired. 8GB of RAM comes as standard, expandable to 16GB.

The Defiant measures 330mm x 227mm x 329mm and weighs 2.1 kg including the battery and is claimed to have up to 5 hours battery life. The MSI Wind has 5.5 hours on its power bulge 9 cell battery and weighs 1.4 kgs for a 10 inch 1024 x 600 screen. It should be a huge improvement.

Full Specification:
Core Logic: Mobile Intel® HM87 Express Chipset
Display: 13.3” (33.78cm) FHD (1920x1080) 16:9 panel, 2.8mm
Memory: 8GB 1600MHz DDR3 Memory (Expandable memory up to 16GB)
NVIDIA® Optimus Technology: GPU switchable between iGPU and dGPU
NVIDIA® Geforce GTX 765M (N14E-GE) - 2GB GDDR5 Video RAM
Storage: 1000GB Seagate Momentus XT Hybrid SSD/HDD
UK layout Keyboard
Built in touch pad with multi-gesture and scrolling function
SOUND BLASTER Cinema Surround Sound
1 x USB 2.0 port
3 x USB 3.0 ports(1x powered USB port, AC/DC)
1 x HDMI output port (with HDCP)
1 x external VGA port
1 x Headphone jack
1 x Microphone jack
1 x RJ-45 LAN port
1 x DC-in jack
6-in-1 Push-Push Card reader (MMC / RSMMC SD / Mini SD / SDHC / SDXC)
802.11N Wireless
Built in 10/100/1000Mb Base-TX Ethernet LAN
2M HD video camera
Full Range AC adapter, AC in 100~240V, 50~60Hz, DC output 19.5V, 6.15A, 120W
Removable 6 cells Smart Lithium-Ion battery pack, 62.16WH
Battery life : 300 minutes (UMA mode with 62.16WH battery)
Kensington® Lock
330 (W) x 227 (D) x 31.9 (H) mm
2.1kg, including 62.16WH battery
Motherboard with heat sinks removed - source unknown
Motherboard with easy access to all memory and all drive and peripheral slots
Heatpipe removed to show CPU and GPU

Using Optimus under Linux

nVidia Optimus is an computer graphics hardware power/performance optimisation technology created by nVidia which, depending on the resource load generated by client software applications, will transparently and seamlessly switch between two graphics adapters within a computer system in order to provide either maximum performance or minimum power draw from the system's graphics rendering hardware. With Optimus you can choose when to use the more powerful and battery consuming nVidia graphics card or to use the integrated power saving Intel or ATI graphics. This allows you to improve your battery life while also giving you access to more powerful graphics when needed.

A project called Bumblebee enables nVidia Optimus enabled laptops to work in a Linux systems. The latest versions provide some automatic power management so the nVidia Graphics card is turned off when the machine is started to save power and heat generation and is only turned on for programs which require it. A program which requires the graphics processor is specifically started in that mode by the user through Bumblebee and the Graphics card is automatically turned off when it is exited.

Bumblebee is included in the very latest Ubuntu/Mint Distributions but most users will need to install it through a PPA, likewise it is recommended to use the latest nVidia stable drivers again accessed through a PPA. Despite what people say it works on both 32 bit and 64 bit Linux kernels and the 32 bit systems seem to be more robust and supported. Again I expected a certain amount of configuration involving editing files but that has been limited and mostly for early testing.

Chillblast are being very helpful and I now know that the Defiant is based on the Clevo WS230ST chassis and I was able to download a 'generic' manual from the Clevo web site which answered some of my questions on the BIOS whilst I was awaiting delivery. More importantly it has enable me to widen my search to other machines using the same chassis and I have come on a very useful thread namely the Sager NP7330 Linux Guide/Review which indicates that some people are successfully running a machine based on the same chassis under Linux. There is also a lot of information in these threads http://forum.notebookreview.com/sager-clevo-reviews-owners-lounges/715556-official-clevo-w230st-sager-np7330-owners-lounge.html and a very full review here http://forum.notebookreview.com/sager-clevo-reviews-owners-lounges/725922-htwingnuts-sager-np7330-clevo-w230st-review.html . There are other firms using the chassis (in the USA) but nothing like the coverage as the Sagar.

Things Done before installing Linux with dual boot.

This is not going to be very different to the approach in The Road to Freedom except that Backup will not be so important as it will be a largely empty machine however Virus checkers and firewall ought to be installed even if Windows 8.1 is supposed to have its own built in. So the plan (which was largely followed so I have put times from opening the box in hours and minutes in brackets) was:

So it only took me 3 hours to get a protected Windows 8 system with a large chunk of free disk space to install Linux.

Chillblast Defiant Setup and Boot Menu Information

Howto Access the Bios Setup and Boot Options

Setup: To enter Setup, turn on the computer and press F2 (give the system a few seconds to enter Setup; the F2 on screen will be highlighted to illustrate that the system is processing the request) during the POST (or press F7 for boot options). If you get a “Keyboard Error”, (usually because you pressed F2 too quickly) just press F2 again.

Boot Menu: To see the boot options press F7 there seem to be two wide windows of time so this is easy with a LiveUSB but DVD drives may not be ready and require a pass in an out of the Bios Setup to buy time.

Warning: It has been reported that incorrect Bios settings can cause a Haswell Optimus system to malfunction. To correct mistakes, return to Setup and restore the Previous Values with <F2>, or Optimised Defaults with <F3> Practice this 'blind' as some Optimus and NVidia setup errors can reputedly leave a blank screen on some machines until the BIOS is reset to Optimised Defaults! I would rather not find that out the hard way

Tests using a LiveUSB and LiveDVD

I downloaded the iso of Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander 64 Bit (AMD) version and used UNetBootIn under Linux to create a LiveUSB with Persistence as well as burning a standard LiveDVD . UNetBootIn runs under Windows and Linux to create the Live disks. Neither this or the equivalent Mint Olivia would boot on the Defiant either from LiveUSB or DVD using F7. The DVD needed time to spin up and be recognised so I found entering and then leaving the BIOS setup (F2) gave time for it to show up on the next F7 in the Boot menu as the machine was not powered down that way.

To cut a long story short both Mint 15 Olivia and Ubuntu 13.04 were happy to boot in x64 and i32 forms. I did a lot with Mint Olivia x64 in Persistent LiveUSB form including installing updated nVidia Drivers from the PPA (version 319.49) and then Bumblebee (version 3.21) from the it's PPA and got some very impressive results with glxspheres which ran about three times faster on the nVidia 765m than on the internal Intel 4400 which was still much faster than anything I have.

Mint 16 Petra or Ubuntu 13.10 LiveCD - changes are required to avoid a boot error

As soon as it was available I moved to testing the new Mint 16 Petra Release Candidate LiveUSB but I could not initially get it to load - it failed with a message about a divide error on the screen which seemed to relate to the open source video driver nouveau for the nVidia card. On googling I found another user with a nVidia Optimus Geforce GTX 765M and Intel Haswell i7 also crashes in the same way and he found that booting in recovery mode allowed a boot to a software rendered fallback mode and he could then install bumblebee and nvidia drivers to get a working system.

I found the same procedure worked for me and I installed the nVidia drivers version 319.22 and bumblebee and could run nVidia Settings and other programs with optirun on the LiveUSB stick with a Gbyte of persistent memory. It did not however get round the basic problem of the drivers used during the boot process and the recovery mode boot was still required. As time has gone on more and more of the basic setting up is being done during in GRUB during the boot process, necessitated by the diversity of screens etc which have to be dealt with at an early stage. Although I was now running with the Intel Drivers for the onboard graphics and the nVidia proprietary drivers for Optimus the built in drivers were still being accessed during booting. There are a number of rather poorly documented control mechanisms of the boot process by GRUB, the boot loader - strictly it is now GRUB2. These are implemented in the control 'script' and it is possible to edit these during the boot process on a one off basis. The procedure to get round the boot problems is:

Interrupt the boot process during the countdown period by moving up and down and enter the edit mode by the Tab key (or as described on the screen if you are not using Mint).

An editor will open up that will allow you to temporarily change the grub options for the next boot, in Mint this allows access to a single line where additional options can be added or the existing options modified.

The best way that I have found to disable the nouveau driver during booting is by just adding nouveau.modeset=0 before the --persistent at the end of the line.

Enter now immediately takes you into the boot process

The changes made to the grub entry only disables the nouveau driver for the current session. To permanently disable nouveau you can edit the /etc/default/grub file and add nouveau.modeset=0 to the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX line and then run sudo update-grub. This does not however work on a LiveUSB as you are not able to update grub so you have to edit the line every time. Changes to GRUB on installed systems are covered in more detail below at Grub boot improvements where a number of additional changes are covered which are best all made at the same time.

I have also checked the same proceedure is required for Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy to boot.

Tests of Mint 16 Petra LiveUSB

I found no great problems and it solved almost all the problems present in Mint 15. Most importantly:

I installed the Petra Release Candidate into a separation partition so I have a triple boot system whilst I was testing everything out. I will use the same approach in the future so I can leapfrog each new version.

Disk Partitioning

It is now time to discuss partitioning the hard drive

This should be a two part process with the initial shrink of a partition under Windows and final partitioning using Gparted under Linux. Somewhat to my surprise it was using the older MBR partitioning which implied that it was not UEFI booting machine which I had expected from a machine running Windows 8.1. Ubuntu/Mint will handle UEFI but it would have put a requirement of a 64 bit install. It was avery basic arrangement with a large partition for Windows (C: drive) and a small reserved partition which probably contains recovery software but not a full install image which many computer manufacturers do for easy of support and the economy of not having to provide DVDs nor the special partition for the UEFI boot. It did make it very easy as I knew reasonably well what I was doing and had done it all with the same software lots of times. All that was left was the exact planning. and layout.

So what I had was just the first tiny 350 Mbyte partition which should not be touched and a huge NTSF partition (C:) with Windows system covering the rest of the disk. So how far to shrink i? Windows 8.1 has to have a minimum of 20 Gbytes but I had lots of space so I chose 120 Gbytes so it could still be really useful or could be shrunk again. I needed several partitions and the maximum number of primary partitions under the old MBR scheme is 4 so I used one for a swap space and put all the rest into a logical partition. Swap is conventionally at the top (unless there is already a Windows recovery image partition) and 2 x the real memory and but that gave 16 Gbytes but so what as there is a lot of space. 8Gbytes would be plenty and the chances of using even that much with linux is very small even with video work.

This was planned to be a 64 bit system so I roughly doubled what I would normally consider for the root partition (/ 40 Gbytes) and reserved space for another root partition (30 Gbytes) so I could triple boot during development. I also left part of it unallocated at this time (for a spare home partition or encrypted partition for security??). Then a home folder to share between my systems at 200 Gbytes (/home) and the rest 500 Gbytes as an NTFS partition for data (/media/DATA)

The screen dump above is from my actual set up After Mint has been installed so the mount points show. The partition labeled reserved is to allow an extra system to be installed and allow triple booting of a development system in the future and there is also an unallocated area for an extra home partition or system (or anything else I have not thought of yet.

Installs from LiveUSB for assessment purposes

This is a step most users will not bother with. I did a number of installs of different systems from LiveUSBs before the final install. You must use custom partitioning and make sure you are installing into the correct partition for root and setting that partition to be reformatted every time you load a new system.

This enabled me to try out 32 and 64 bit systems and see what problems came about. It turned out that the 32 bit systems booted easily and the 64 bit systems of the Ubuntu and Mint versions I wanted to use gave problems in booting after installation. It is likely that was caused by the same problem that prevented the Mint 16 Petra LiveUSB from booting which was the open source nouveau drivers which are known not to play well with optimus until the proprietary drivers are installed and were preventing access to the internal graphics. A catch 22 as one needs to get a system installed and then load bumblebee which blacklists the nouveau drivers from loading during booting. This has not yet been confirmed and I am using a workaround in Grub for .booting from the LiveUSB and during use when installed.

Final Install to Disk

So once I had confirmed which system to install the actual process was simple. The LiveUSB is run again and the various questions answered up to the partitioning where custom is selected and the partitioning above set up partition by partition including a home partition ( /home) . The only partition which is formatted is the one set to root ( / ) I used ext3 for the trial installs but for the final install of Mint 16 Petra I used the newer and slightly better ext4.

Addition steps if you are already a Linux user and want to transfer an existing user.

When it came to user, name and password I used a temporary name as it would create a folder in /home for that user and I wanted to be able to bring in an existing home folder from another machine then create the user which would pick everything up. I have written about the proceedures for doing that under Carrying out a Distribution Update and Backing Up using tar archives - it is worth noting that sometimes one has to change the permissions on a file at that point or sometimes the whole user folder if the restore was done from a LiveUSB or LiveCD - see Home Permission Errors.

The mount point for the DATA partition can be set up at this time but I have always found it necessary to edit the file system table /etc/fstab to get it auto-mounting as I want. Again this has been written about in the past at the end of the first reference above and is not of the essence for this write up.

Repairing a boot

After finishing the installation, it is possible to find that you have Windows 8 disabled from booting and it only boots to Mint (or Ubuntu), do not worry. In this case you can install a small utility to sort this out.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:yannubuntu/boot-repair
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install boot-repair

Now run boot-repair

Boot Repair may report mention a GRUB error. In most cases, just click on Apply and boot repair fixes everything. Now reboot and you should see again see a Windows 8 and Ubuntu/Mint options. I should add I have installed boot-repair as a precaution but have not yet used it in anger!

Installing Bumblebee

I have had a number of problems installing the x64 bit systems from a Uneytbootin LiveUSB and none of them would boot to completion. However I found that the 32 bit Mint 15 installed and booted with no problems and after a lot of time try to get an x64 installed I found that contrary to all the guides that Bumblebee seems to work fine with a i32 system and the glxspheres runs at the same speeds as on the x64. I have since then kept to 32 bit systems

Bumblebee provides support for NVIDIA Optimus laptops. Using Bumblebee, you can use your NVIDIA card for rendering graphics which will be displayed using the Intel card. Bumblebee is officially supported by Ubuntu in 13.10 Saucy or newer. However, all releases are supported by the Bumblebee Project community from Ubuntu version 12.04 up to 13.10. The following follows https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Bumblebee

Remember to enable the Universe and Multiverse repositories (for bumblebee and nvidia packages respectively).

If you install Mint 16 Petra or Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy you do not need any of the PPA's although as time goes on they will potentailly be more up to date.

All you need to do is to install these packages - nvidia-319-updates nvidia-settings-319-updates bumblebee bumblebee-nvidia primus using the Synaptic Package Manager or in a terminal. It is probably best to first install the nvidia packages then the bumblebee ones so

sudo apt-get install nvidia-319-updates nvidia-settings-319-updates
sudo apt-get install bumblebee bumblebee-nvidia primus

If you are using Mint 15 Olivia which is based on Ubuntu 13.04 or earlier we do not have the latest nVidia drivers available or you want to use later versions then do the following as I did on Mint 15. If you have already installed nVidia drivers inadvertently they should be removed before proceeding. I se e no reason to use anything other than Mint 16 Petra at present as the Long Term Support version has a kernel which is unlikely to give adequate support to the anOptimus based system. New Wine in Old Bottles is never a good idea.

For the latest drivers add the ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates PPA

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install nvidia-319 nvidia-settings-319

It is now time to install the latest bumblebee, you can add primus if you want as well - no need for a reboot

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:bumblebee/stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install bumblebee bumblebee-nvidia linux-headers-generic

In both cases it is probably now as well to do a reboot as a check and also look at dmesg for errors

dmesg | grep bbswitch

What you should see is something like this

$ dmesg | grep bbswitch
[ 25.961465] bbswitch: version 0.7
[ 25.961471] bbswitch: Found integrated VGA device 0000:00:02.0: \_SB_.PCI0.GFX0
[ 25.961476] bbswitch: Found discrete VGA device 0000:01:00.0: \_SB_.PCI0.PEG0.PEGP
[ 25.961564] bbswitch: detected an Optimus _DSM function
[ 25.961603] bbswitch: Succesfully loaded. Discrete card 0000:01:00.0 is on
[ 25.963225] bbswitch: disabling discrete graphics

Bumblebee should now have turned off the Graphics card to save a lot of power. To run your application with the discrete NVIDIA card run in the terminal:

$ optirun [options] <application> [application-parameters]

ie to run firefox to look at Catchup

optirun firefox

It should turn off when the program is closed

For a list of options for optirun run:

$ optirun --help

Normally you do not use optirun for your window manager, installations or other non graphic heavy demanding programs. The optirun command is mainly used for graphic demanding programs or for games. In the long term one will edit/create new .desktop files for programs using the NVidia driver. There is an alternative to optirun - primus which is less developed but may offer advantages to optirun.

You can also check that everything is working by running nVidia Settings like this -

optirun -b none nvidia-settings -c :8

This runs the nVidia settings program. The use of optirun is required to turn on the card before running nVidia Settings - the other options flags are only needed with nVidia settings. nvidia-settings should not work fully without optirun if the card is disabled which is the case.

The final check is to run glxspheres with and without using optirun and see how it speeds up. It should be installed in one of the dependencies of bumblebee. Also try the 'aquarium' test at http://webglsamples.googlecode.com/hg/aquarium/aquarium.html

The latest versions of Mint and UObuntu do not seem to have the virtualgl package that contains glxspheres. It can be obtained from http://sourceforge.net/projects/virtualgl/files/VirtualGL/2.3.3/virtualgl_2.3.3_i386.deb/download and installed by a right click to GDebi Package Manager and then run by:

optirun /opt/VirtualGL/bin/glxspheres

This direct installation of software is not ideal but I have included it as glxspheres is recommended as a test in so many places

Checking Power Saving is operational (bbswitch)

The primary goals of the Bumblebee project include smart power management of the dGPU when it's not in use. This uses either bbswitch (a module) or vga_switcheroo (kernel module, experimental) to do this in Bumblebee. Since Bumblebee 3.0, this feature is enabled by default, using bbswitch. This allow automatic power management, without any additional configuration needs. To find the status:

sudo cat /proc/acpi/bbswitch

0000:01:00.0 ON

There are some commands you can use for test and extra information at bbswitch

I also checked power consumption and GPU temperature as an indicator.

Monitoring nVidia GPU temperature

Firstly it is necessary to use optimus to call the nvidia-setting when bumblebee is in use as the GPU would otherwise be off and not respond and and with bumblebee 3.21 See http://www.webupd8.org/2013/04/bumblebee-321-released-with-ubuntu-1304.htm and there are some additional options namely: "-b none " to disable injection of any render offloading bridge (primus or VirtualGL). So to invoke nvidia-settings we use

optirun -b none nvidia-settings -c :8

and to just get the core temperatures in the terminal (or within a script) we do

optirun -b none nvidia-settings -q GPUCoreTemp -t -c :8

This works with Bumblebee 3.21 giving two temperature readings which always seem to be the same. Note the capitals now in GPUCoreTemp

optirun -b none nvidia-settings -q all -c :8

The above gives all the sensors with information so you can pick out what you want and showed me that the temperatures need capitalising

Cinnamon Users - nVidia and System monitoring applets

It should be easy to build one of the terminal strings above into an applet to give a continuous display and there is already one cinnamon applet which displays a lot of information including temperature when clicked.

Also see http://cinnamon-spices.linuxmint.com/applets/view/111 which uses nvidia-settings for the information and provides a very comprehensive output. It needed modification as above when used with bumblebee but it was easy to modify the javascript file and it is well written and commented. It involved 5 substitutions.

The image shows the end result showing my card in the Defiant when I have modified the applet for optimus. It was a simple search and replace on one file in ones home folder structure at ~/.local/share/cinnamon/applets/gputemperature@silentage.com/applet.js of nvidia-settings by optirun -b none nvidia-settings -c :8 in 5 places - do not do a replace all as you will change some comments etc as well .

Warning: Since the early tests I have realised that this applet is continually turning the GPU on and off to get information evry 2 seconds and this increases power consumption significantly so I have written a simple applet which does not check at all when the GPU is disabled when, of course, you do not need to know the temperature. This is covered below and is now available from http://cinnamon-spices.linuxmint.com

lm-sensors and the CPU Temperature Indicator 1.0 applet

lm-sensors is used by some of the monitoring applets. It needs to be set up initially by running a setup in the terminal. You have options to let it investigate many options and there are preferred yes/no options for each - you should keep on to the safe side and not scan those that are not recommended and certainly NOT the graphics chip ones at the end, not only because nvidia-settings provides the information but also they have been reported to occasionally cause problems and the cause is unknown. It is however believed to be safe for monitoring CPU temperatures. There us an applet which uses lm-sensors and displays the CPU temperatures for each core plus an average in panel called CPU Temperature Indicator 1.0 which I have loaded at present

CPU Load, Memory Utilisation and Network Statistics

The System Monitor built in and accessible from the menu is an essential tool but not one to leave running. There are various applets which can display this data in the toolbar and I am using the Multi-Core System Monitor 1.4 which gives an graphical display in the toolbar and a more comprehensive pop-up. I only monitor the Processor Loads and Memory Use as I have written my own network monitor applet, the Network Usage Monitor with Alerts v18_2.3.7

The screendump shows applets for Network, CPU temperature, CPU loads (running flat out processing video rendering), Memory Usage breakdown including caching and GPU temperature (GPU on at time). The full information is on the popup. It also shows system applets for bluetooth and brightness to the right.

BAND (Bumblebee And NVidia Display) Applet

This is an applet I am writing to get round the problems of the existing nVidia/Bumblebee Monitoring Applets, in particular that of additional power usage when the nVidia Card is not in use. The screenshot shows two sample programs set up in the left click menu and the DGPU is on so the temperature is displayed. You will note that there are two additional and useful applets to the right of BAND.

It either displays the nVidia GPU temperature when running or a message that the DGPU (Discrete Graphics Processor Unit) is off. It interrogates bbswitch to get the status and when the card is on it uses nvidia-settings to get the GPU temperarure. It uses the same fudge as gputemperature@silentage.com to run nvidia-settings asyncronously and writes the output to a temporary file in applet folder. It currently has a delay of 20 seconds on loading before it gives information as bumblebee and bbswitch seem to take a while to come up at boot time.

The right click context menu gives the ability to easily run the nVidia Settings program without use of the terminal and also the System Monitor and Power Statistics, all useful for monitoring Bumblebee and power consumption which is paramount when using a laptop on batteries.

The standard left click menu provides a configurable list of programs which one can run using the discrete nVidia graphics through Bumblebee - this otherwise requires them to be called through optirun in a terminal or via a modified launcher. This list is configured using the standard applet configuration mechanism available from Cinnamon 1.8 (Cinnamon 2.0 required for this to be on the right click menu). One can also configure the update rate of the applet in settings.

The applet requires at least Cinnamon 1.8 and 2.0 is desirable to access the configuration from within the applet. Bumblebee and the nVidia graphics packages obviously need to be installed but no other packages are needed. Installation is standard and the folder bumblebee@pdcurtis is extracted from the zip file to ~/.local/share/cinnamon/applets and then added to the panel.

The latest version is v20_0.9.5 is the Release Candidate and can be downloaded from the Cinnamon Spices Web Site. There is a longer write up on my Cinnamon Spices page.

Overclocking the GPU using nVidia Settings

Possible but not explored yet - I understand that an nVidia Settings configuation file needs changing to make this feature visible.

Optimising Bumblebee

There are various options built into Bumblebee which most users do not exploit. You can get a good introduction to an alternative 'backend' (Render Bridge) called Primus which is available in the standard packages on the the Webupd8 page Primus: Better Performance And Less Power Consumption For Bumblebee . In summary the Bumblebee developers explain the difference as:

Bumblebee uses VirtualGL to copy the image generated by the second (faster) GPU to your display. VirtualGL was intended for use over a network though, so it takes a great many steps to enable this (compression, sending the image over a network link, decompression, etc).

Primus doesn't perform all these "extra" steps, instead taking a more direct route (copying the rendered image in memory to the other GPU, then displaying there). In theory this should get you better performance as well as better compatibility. Running applications will "see" the OpenGL implementation of your real hardware, nothing virtual is presented to them.

Primus only uses/starts secondary GPU for OpenGL parts of applications - everything else remains on your main GPU (power savings)

I have not been able to reproduce the speed improvements that Andrew got even when using "vblank_mode=0 primusrun" instead of simply running "primusrun". It is working but primusrun is not quite as good as optirun even in that mode.

I also looked in the Bumblebee Release Notes and there is some interesting information in the Notes namely:

- VirtualGL performance is very dependent on the Transport method set. The default "proxy" setting appears to perform bad in some situations. Try other available settings like "rgb" or "yuv".
- in many cases, primus offers better performance; please try it and report compatibility issues in primus tracker, if you find any; for now VirtualGL is still preferred as the default autodetected render bridge, while primus is being tested at larger scales before being released as default.

I looked at the manual page for optirun and found the following about the appropriate options:

-b, --bridge METHOD
acceleration/displaying bridge to use. Valid values are auto, virtualgl and primus. The --vgl-* options
only make sense when using the virtualgl bridge, while the --primus-* options apply only when using the
primus bridge. Additionally, value none is recognized, and its effect is to add paths to driver
libraries to LD_LIBRARY_PATH (useful for nvidia-settings and CUDA applications)

-c, --vgl-compress METHOD
image compression or transport to use with VirtualGL. Valid values for METHOD are proxy, jpeg, rgb, xv
and yuv. Changing this setting may affect performance, CPU usage and image quality

The compression method can offer significant improvements in speed.

Some examples of the commands I used during investigation were:

optirun -c proxy /opt/VirtualGL/bin/glxspheres
vblank_mode=0 optirun -b primus /opt/VirtualGL/bin/glxspheres
optirun -c yuv /opt/VirtualGL/bin/glxspheres
optirun -c jpeg /opt/VirtualGL/bin/glxspheres
vblank_mode=0 /opt/VirtualGL/bin/glxspheres

The Integrated Intel 4600 Graphics gave 130 Mpixels/sec. Using primus gave 239 Mpixels/sec with video blanking switched off. Using the optirun default gave 270 Mpixels/sec. Using optirun with yuv compression gave 315 Mpixels/sec and jpeg compression gave 361 Mpixels/sec (33% better than the default). The most interesting result perhaps was that turning video blanking off for the integrated graphics processor gave the best result of all at 385 Mpixels/sec. All were with the window maximised on a 1920x1080 screen. I have not carried out respective power measurements.

In summary - it is worth trying the various options on real programs as the glxspheres test does not exercise the graphics processor fully and there will be tradeoffs in quality of speed, power and display. However for normal use the integrated graphics seem very good and the lower figures for it are often because of the video blanking limiting the performance to that of the screen leaving a large margin in hand. Update: I have found a lot of similar conflicting performance results with primus in the comments on the Webupd8 page Primus: Better Performance And Less Power Consumption For Bumblebee but nothing much on compression mechanisms.

Setting up the new machine for real

You will recall the disk was set up with a separate partition for the home folder(s) /home. The initial user was set to a temporary user when the install was done so that the entire home folder from my previous machine could be transferred in. The procedure is simple to carry out once one has understood the principles. It is exactly the same as making a backup into a compressed repository and saving all the associated file information, in particular the owner, group and associated permissions. Obviously programs have to be closed at the time and there is one temporary area which has to be excluded - this is all covered in Fun with Ubuntu - Backing up a Home Directory prior to a Distribution Update so I will not go into at length here.

Having opened the new/old user I found that I had to change a number of the settings as it was previously on an Ubuntu/Cinnamon rather than a Mint/Cinnamon environment so many of theme components were missing. I also had to turn the Touchpad on using an external mouse as the hardware was different! That said everything was back to normal and ready to load the missing programs within an hour. I set a timer and it is three minutes past a day as I write this section and the script loading my standard set of programs is running.

Ran tests on rendering Video with kdenlive - the bottom line test. On existing desktop my standard 5 min 12 sec takes 28 minutes with two cores in use and H264 720i video. On the Defiant it takes 7 min 30 with 2 cores and 4 minutes with all 8 cores allocated - faster than real time although it does get the fans going! On the netbook it was taking 100 minutes with both cores.

At this point the Desktop is virtually back to normal but some essential proprietor programs are missing such as Truecrypt and I am yet to check out ssh and set up unison

My solution to change USB Drive auto-mount point back to /media

I am using a udev feature in Ubuntu 13.04 and higher (needs udisks version 2.0.91 or higher).

Create and edit a new file /etc/udev/rules.d/99-udisks2.rules

sudo gedit /etc/udev/rules.d/99-udisks2.rules

and cut and paste into the file


then activate the new udev rule by restarting or by

sudo udevadm control --reload

When the drives are now unplugged and plugged back in they will mount at /media/USB_DRIVE_NAME


Skype has two problems on the Defiant under Mint 15. Neither have anything specific to do with using a Optimus enable machine as far as I can tell. The Skype section is not in what seems a logical place but it was here that another problem was identified which is also present in the next section.

Skype Audio - crackling bug

The first is that the audio is terrible as Skype (which is now owned by Microsoft) has not been updated to take account of the recent versions of pulse audio. There is a fix which works but needs better integration. It needs an environment variable to be set when skype is called.

Test it by doing it like the following in a terminal window:

env PULSE_LATENCY_MSEC=30 skype %U

Try increasing the number if the crackling does not stop - I found 90 worked well.

You also can try putting this in the desktop file that links to and starts up Skype or using the menu editor in Mint.

Either locate a skype.desktop file and open it with a text editor.

Find the line that reads Exec=skype %U and modify it to the following (exactly as written):

Exec=env PULSE_LATENCY_MSEC=30 skype %U

Save the file. Remove your old shortcut in the menu and replace it with the new one. You may need to reboot, dependent upon your Linux distribution.

Or edit directly using the Menu editor.

I had an unresolved issue in starting in the startup applications into the system tray which has now cleared for no good reason.

Skype Video - Green screen bug - NOT IN MINT 16 PETRA

I was unable to see any video in skype when using Mint 15 Olivia. This is not a webcam problem, as the remote user can see me fine. I can't see their video, or mine, only 2 solid green rectangles. Web searches show the green screen problem is well known and the standard fixes do not seem to work on the Haswell in the Defiant so far. Videos from the camera show up correctly in the Cheese application if installed using Synaptic.

See, for example, How to make Webcam compatible with Skype. This problem in various forms seems to have been around since 2008. It is usually to do with the video 4 linux libraries (V4L) used by Skype. By default the current library is V4L2, to make your webcam work with Skype when you have this problem, requires the preloading of V4L to make it compatible or V4L2 conversion. You may have to search for the location of the 'conversion' files as they change with distribution. Even when I found them the solution did not work for me. This problem however does not seem to be present in in Mint 16 Petra but I have left this section in place as I have no confidence that it will not reappear or still be there in Ubuntu as itis possible Mint have fixed it.

Sorting Video playback and monitoring in editors

The green screen also occurs in Kdenlive, Openshot and VLC with their standard configurations but not in the Mint Videos player or Cheese (the webcam application) .

Videos: This is the pre-installed player in Mint 15 and is actually the Totem player. This does not have the Green Screen problem as far as I can tell.

VLC: Version 2.08 offers Video driver option and leaving the Accelerated box ticked and the output set to OpenGL GLX video output (XCB) works well. I have not explored all the options.

Kdenlive: This seems to be a driver problem and Settings -> Configure kdenlive -> Playback lists 10 options of Video driver to use as well as an OpenGL tick box. Choosing XVideo and ticking the OpenGL box works fine and gives a smooth preview even without optirun. I have not explored all the other options.

Openshot: does not have any options so currently does not work on the Defiant under Mint 15 and untested under Mint 16.

HDMI Output


I initially only tested without Optirun and using Displays under Settings. Setting the LCD to the same resolution as my Goldstar 23" DVI enabled monitor (1680 x 1050) through a converter cable enabled mirror use and I could also choose either by switching the other monitor off in the panel. Using a dual monitor set up may be possible but I have not tried it.

I have since tried with an HDMI input on a 1920x1080 TV and again it worked fine with both in the same resolution and one could switch from one to the other or mirrored. If mirrored was set one could unplug and replug the monitor and it would sort itself out automatically. The same applied for a VGA cable and leaving a mirrored setting seemed to be good. The settings were preserved through a suspend. The use as a monitor seems fine.


The problems however start with the HDMI sound output - there seemed to be no sound and no sound settings to switch to HDMI sound when using Mint 15.

This seems to be another kernel regression as sound worked in kernels prior to See

It looks most likely to have been another problem which is solved in kernel 3.11.0 used in Mint 16 Petra. I have done some tests on the Petra now it is installed and sound was available so hopefully no more needs to be done. Again I have left the information in case of future regressions!

Defiant Wifi and Bluetooth

This uses the Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6235 802.11a/g/n, dual stream 2x2, dual-band WiFi + Bluetooth 4.0 PCIe half mini card. See http://www.intel.com/content/dam/www/public/us/en/documents/product-briefs/centrino-advanced-n-wimax-6235-brief.pdf for more details. I understand from Chillblast that the WiFi works much better with WPA than WEP which I still have on a router for old XP machines and hardware. It seems fine close round the house with WEP but this is probably the excuse to change. The card has both hardware and software switching of radio but the hardware mode does not seem to be implemented in Mint so there may be a small extra power consumption.

Implementing an Airplane Mode in Defiant

The Defiant has an indicator light for Airplane mode and it can be switched on by Fn F11 under Windows and this turns off all transmitters (Bluetooth and Wifi). It is implemented by a Windows Driver. This does not seem to be a hardware switch but only in software and the light seems just to be an indicator which is unrelated to the hardware. If one sets Airplane Mode using Fn F11 in Windows and turns the machine off the indicator is still on when you reboot into Linux (Mint 15) but the Wifi can be turned on and off as usual and works with the light still lit. This is not ideal as there is a real risk that a linux user might not realise and there is a finite, if small, risk that aircraft or hospital systems could be affected. The light does not have any obvious control other than in a dual boot system via windows.

In Mint 15 and 16 the Network Manager -> Settings has a Airplane Mode switch which switches both Wireless and Bluetooth off.

I have solved the problem to a large extent by setting up a keyboard map from Super + F11 to open the Network screen with the switch for airplane mode in front of one - it may be possible to look at the code and write a direct call script.

Keyboard Mapping is found by System Settings -> Hardware section -> Keyboard -> Keyboard Shortcuts tab: Click Custom Shortcuts then Add custom Shortcut which opens a small window: Set Name to Aircraft Mode and Command: to cinnamon-settings network then Add. Now click on the Aircraft Mode entry which will be in the list and then click twice on space marked unassigned and it will change to New accelerator. Now use the key combination you want to set which is Super and F11 - that it you can close the Window or do the same to set up Display Manager on Super F7 with command cinnamanon-settings display

Card Reader Driver - Realtek

This is not recognised or supported in the kernel - a bug report has been raised for kernel 3.8. https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux/+bug/1201321 This bug was fixed in the package linux - 3.8.0-29.42

This is solved in the 3.11 kernel used in Mint 16 where it is correctly recognised and uses the rtsx_pci driver and an updated kernel is available for Mint 15 Olivia but it is on the list as having known problems and not recommended. I installed it anyway and it does solve the problem, however this led me to optimise the booting options

Sorting the Fn and Function Keys (Blue markings on keyboard)

The function keys (F1 - F12 etc.) act as hot keys when pressed while the Fn key is held down.

Function Keys & Visual Indicators Action in Windows Comments
Fn + ~ Play/Pause (in Audio/Video Programs)

Does not work
Not an issue
Most programs have
their own hot key

Fn + 1 Fan Control Toggle
between Automatic Fan Control
and Full Power
As expected
Fn + F1 Touchpad Toggle As expected
Fn + F2 Turn LCD Back light Off
Press a key to or use Touchpad to turn on
As expected
Fn + F3 Mute Toggle As expected
Fn + F4 Sleep Toggle As expected
Fn +F5/F6 Volume Decrease/Increase As expected
Fn + F7 Display Toggle - not actually a toggle but provides access to display configuration under Windows.

Does Nothing
Use a key binding to 'Displays' in Settings Manager using Super+F7

Fn +F8/F9 Brightness Decrease/Increase

Decreases but does not Increase
See my fix in Grub2

Fn + F10

PC Camera Power Toggle
Only indicator is on Camera
(If camera in use)

As expected
Fn + F11 Airplane Mode Toggle
Indicator Light

Does Nothing
Indicator does not change
from last setting in Windows
Alternative Needed
Key binding 'Network Settings' to Super+F11
as Fn is not recognised as a 'modifier'

Fn + F12 Toggle Keyboard Illumination
and Adjust Brightness Level
As expected
Fn + Num Lock Provides Numeric Keypad with indicator light
Indicator Light
As expected including indicator
Fn + Scr Lock Scroll Lock

Does Nothing
Rarely used except as toggle
for KVM switches
Keystroke mapping may be possible
but not a priority to me

Fn + Power Toggle USB port power on right front on and off independent of computer to power USB devices when Mains adapter in use or battery above 20% As expected including flashing orange power light

Brightness Keys Bug

There is a bug reported in the kernel https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux/+bug/1218547

The core of the issue is that there are two interfaces present that are trying to control brightness. If one boots with a kernel boot parameter of "" this disables acpi_video0 interface leaving intel_backlight.

The acpi_backlight=vendor can be added by editing the boot sequence during a boot to test and if works it can be included by editing the grub start up scripts in a permanent way - see above for more details

This shows /etc/default/grub the start of which typically contains these modifications by me:

# If you change this file, run 'update-grub' afterwards to update
# /boot/grub/grub.cfg.
# For full documentation of the options in this file, see:
# info -f grub -n 'Simple configuration'

GRUB_DISTRIBUTOR=`lsb_release -i -s 2> /dev/null || echo Debian`
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="acpi_backlight=vendor nouveau.modeset=0 quiet splash"


Remember to do a sudo update-grub after the editing

Boot improvements - modifications to GRUB

I wanted the full choice available for booting in to and the ability to save the choice. First lets look at how to restore the full list by:

sudo gedit /etc/grub.d/10_linux

At the end of the file you will find:

if [ "$list" ] && ! $in_submenu; then
echo "submenu \"Previous Linux versions\" {"

if $in_submenu; then
echo "}"

add the "#" character in front of some lines to comment them out so they look like this:

if [ "$list" ] && ! $in_submenu; then
#echo "submenu \"Previous Linux versions\" {"

#if $in_submenu; then
#echo "}"

Then run update grub to apply the changes.

sudo update-grub

Now we need to edit another file to make the last kernel run the default.

gksudo gedit /etc/default/grub

shows /etc/default/grub the start of which typically contains:

# If you change this file, run 'update-grub' afterwards to update
# /boot/grub/grub.cfg.
# For full documentation of the options in this file, see:
# info -f grub -n 'Simple configuration'

GRUB_DISTRIBUTOR=`lsb_release -i -s 2> /dev/null || echo Debian`
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="acpi_backlight=vendor nouveau.modeset=0 quiet splash"


GRUB_DEFAULT=0 will boot the first menu item and so on. GRUB_DEFAULT="saved" will boot the same entry as last time.
GRUB_SAVEDEFAULT=true ensures the last used kernel is saved
GRUB_TIMEOUT=5 will display for 5 seconds
acpi_backlight=vendor is an addition to make the brightness keys work correctly
nouveau.modeset=0 is an addition to allow booting when using Mint 16 Petra

After making any changes you must run in a Terminal:

sudo update-grub

to save the changes into the file actually used during booting

This means that the system will now show all the previous kernels as options and boot into the one last used (including Windows) after a pause to make changes which is reduced to 5 seconds.

Howto Avoid Booting into Windows Recovery

You will notice that there are two Windows entries shown - always use the first. Many recent computers, in particular, laptops and netbooks as many computer manufacturers no longer supply the Microsoft CD/DVD for Windows but instead have a hidden partition which has a disk image to restore the machine to exactly the state you bought it. Unfortunately this is not hidden to Ubuntu and it is given as an alternative operating system in the Grub start up menu. It is not always obvious which is which so it is possible for the unwary to boot into the Restore Disk which is not good news and you are only a key stroke away from deleting everything. Chillblast do supply the disks but still have a recovery partition so are at risk. I will not cover how to remove that from the menu as it covered in Fun with Ubuntu - Customising The Grub 2 Boot Loader Menu

Repairing Boot problems

It has been known that at the end of an installation or partitioning, that Windows 8 is disabled from booting and it only boots to Mint/Ubuntu. There is a boot repair utility which can be added from a PPA by:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:yannubuntu/boot-repair
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install boot-repair

Boot-Repair will now be in the Menu.

In most cases just apply the default repair and it should fix everything and when you reboot you should find all the Options are restored including Windows 8 and Ubuntu/Mint.


Comparison of 32 and 64 bit performance

Ubuntu have always recommended running the 32 bit system, certainly for systems of 2 Gbytes memory or under, as the additional memory requirements cancel out any gains from the richer instruction set and faster processing.

I have done a quick and dirty check on my AMD Athlon 64 dual processor 5000+ with 2 Gbytes of Memory which is on the boundary. Speed in rendering videos (which is a good processor benchmark) was only 5% faster, almost within the measurement noise. Memory use was up 40% on average with quite a wide variation (28% Firefox with many tabs on startup and 54% Thunderbird with many accounts on startup). This is in line with Tests by Phoronix on Ubuntu 13.10 amd64 and i32 where Video and Audio processing showed ~15% gain and only FFTs showed a lot more, in most cases it was a very marginal or none existent gain.

I have also run the benchmarks at the end of the System Information program and GLXSpheres. The Defiant tests here were with Mint 15.

Benchmarks AMD Athlon 5000+ i32 Defiant i32 Defiant x64 LiveUSB
CPU Blowfish 8.39 1.77 1.72
CPU CryptoHash 125.2 624 691 (higher better)
CPU Fibonacci 2.93 1.38 1.30
CPU N-Queens 16.09 0.48 0.47
FPU FFT 6.75 0.69 0.74

GXLSpheres 1920x1080

N/A 116 fps
230 Mpixels/sec
119 fps
237 Mpixels/sec

It is interesting to see how little change there is between 32 and 64 bit linux - 10% max and sometimes the 32 bit is actually faster even with a fancy hybrid drive. The use of a LiveUSB has little effect as the programmes are effectively running from memory.

Using Mint 16 Petra with the 3.11.0 kernel the i32 speeds for full screen GLXSpheres increased to 137 fps and 275 Mpixels/sec

How to get a low power mode with the nVidia GTX 765M powered off on Mint 15 or other older distributions.

Currently Bumblebee is switching GPUs correctly but the switching off of the discrete GPU when not in use is not taking place correctly on Mint 15. This is carried out by bbswitch and it seems that mixed information is being provided by the Optimus hardware on a number of machines and a number of hacks are in place but it really needs to be fixed in the Kernel which is choosing the wrong dmi handler interface in this case. It may be fixed properly in kernel 3.12 whichwas not due for a while so in the meantime I was looking for some quick fixes to at least allow the power consumption to be lowered even if the discrete GPU is not vailable in that mode. As can be seen the gains are useful.

The starting point is in http://linux-hybrid-graphics.blogspot.co.uk/2010/07/using-acpicall-module-to-switch-onoff.html which is what I used to get the plots above. This adds a special module to the kernel (it has to be added every time you reboot in the most basic set up and certainly after every new kernel is added). It was an intermediate development in 2010 on the way to bbswitch but does allow a search to find the correct handle to use. I would recommend only adding to a single kernel just in case something goes wrong. The interface is by a file which you write the call to and the response is written back - the response only seems to stay for a very short time. I have also found it needs have the permissions set so it is write enabled without using sudo. It should be possible to set up a script run by a launcher to disable the graphics processor. One should also have script to replace optirun to ensure it is on before it is used like bbswitch. The bbswitch issue is fixed in kernel 3.11.0 used in Mint Petra and Ubuntu Saucy so this is really for my own documentation. In any case I am not going to give anything more than the link and the two codes as it has risks and if you do not understand from the link should should not do it! I have only used it so far on a liveUSB.

There are several warnings on the web site and from others and it is recommended to turn back on before suspending.

Power Saving Figures with Discrete GPU Off

These tests were run it on a LiveUSB but with a 64 bit system (30% brightness and nothing at all pruning except the Power statistics screen and a terminal to load the module ito the kernel and do the switch. The results are that an idle of 23 watts drops to 16 watts - a saving of 7 watts giving a battery life of nearly 4 hours rather than the 2 hours 40m which is worth having.

GPU off and no programs running other than the terminal and this monitor with fudge in Mint 15

You can see the increase as I run the program to switch the GPU on at 6 minutes in and increase to 23 watts from 16 watts

The predicted time of operation with the GPU off and no programs running other than the terminal and this monitor - compare to 2 hours 45 mins which is the case with the GPU on and Optimus enabled.

Other Power Saving

There are at least two applications which claim to optimise the power saving settings on linux machines. The are Laptop Mode Tools and TLP. Neither are in the standard repositories and need PPAs to install them. I have tried both and can not truthfully say that either produce any significant savings on the Defiant. The main power savings options already seem to be well set up and I am pretty sure I would have seeneven a 0.5 watt saving and neither produce that in normal use both leave the power at 15.5 watts on idle with firefox open (equivalent to 4 hours on battery) as above. I have left TLP installed. The links are to Webupd8 articles if you do want to follow up further. The main power savings are gained by turning the brightness to circa 30% and turning off the keyboard illumination. I got no significant savings from turning Bluetooth off.

Note: I have not found a way to turn Bluetooth or Wifi Hardware off, only to disable in software so there still be some scope for savings.

Turbo Mode Performance

The above screen dump is from the output od the i7z program which is now in the Ubuntu Repositories. This was obtained with a processor load of about 25% average and all 4 processors are in Turbo mode It shows that the core temperatures are at about 65 degrees but the fan was running at quite a high level.

The above is using all 8 cores to render h264 HD Video. All processors are running close to flat out and the frequency has been dropped back to 3.1Ghz - 100Mhz less than the maximum the Turbo Multiplier for 4 processors provides although the temperature has risen to 87 deg.

The above shows the situation when the machine is idling - the processors speeds have been reduced lowering power consumption and the temperatures are now low and the fan is not running.

In conclusion the Turbo modes and control over power and speed seems to all be implemented under Linux.


Bluetooth was one of the last issues to address on the Defiant and I have some slightly mixed results on what I have tried. The bluetooth Applet is new in Cinnamon 16 in that it is now in the Cinnamon Settings but closely based on what went before with gnome-control-center. It works fine for pairing a bluetooth audio receiver which enable me to pass audio to the hifi on the boat or house without wires. The Audio receiver then works fine as expected.

Mobile Phone Tethering not working under Mint 16 Petra and Ubuntu 13.10

My main use of Bluetooth to access modems in my older phones and use the spare data allowances for internet access in the UK. I have covered this at length in Adding Spices to Ubuntu - Bluetooth and Connecting to the Internet via Bluetooth modems in phones Unfortunately this does not work seem to work under Mint 16 Petra on the Defiant. Eventually I went back to the Mint 15 Olivia and it works fine on the Defiant both using the inbuilt mechanisms through the network manager and also through gnome-ppp which is my usual way because there has been a problem starting at kernel 3.8 with the inbuilt mechanism. Neither way works under Petra and this seems to be a real bug but one not reported and I have filed a bug report at https://github.com/linuxmint/cinnamon-bluetooth/issues/5. I suspect few people 'tether' using bluetooth these days although I know at least one sailor who haules his bluetooth connected phone up the mast to get a good data connection at sea!

I have done some further investigation which confirm it is not a Defiant problem and have a crude workround which I have added to Adding Spices to Ubuntu - Bluetooth and Connecting to the Internet via Bluetooth modems in phones and added my findings to the bug report. (Last Updated 18th January 2014)


Defiant Specific Outstanding Issues


Internal Card Reader: The card reader is only enabled if a card is in place when the machine is booted up. After that cards can be changed and suspending is fine. This seems to be a power saving function with the reader powered off if no card is detected during booting. The problem does not seem to be occuring on the latest updates to Mint 16

Airplane (or Aeroplane) Mode: Better handling of Airplane Mode (Fn F11) where all transmitters are disabled to allow use on Aircraft - now handled by keyboard shortcut Super + F11 as Fn key used does not act as a 'modifier' in Mint. It opens the Network Settings screen which has the Airplane Mode switch. Issue is that this does not activate the light and does not switch off the Hardware hence there are no power saving advantages.

Before You Leave

I would be very pleased if visitors could spare a little time to give me some feedback - it is the only way I know who has visited, if it is useful and how I should develop it's content and the techniques used. I would be delighted if you could send comments or just let us know you have visited by Sending a quick Message to me

Fun with Ubuntu Linux | The Road to Freedom - The Journey Starts |The Road to Freedom - Base Camp | Ubuntu All Together - Sharing, Networking, Backup, Synchronisation and Encryption | Ubuntu on the Lookout - Browsing, Email, Contacts, Calendars and Tasks| Ubuntu on the Move | Ubuntu on the Take | Ubuntu making Music | Ubuntu Unity - Evolution or Revolution | Lubuntu - an alternative for lower power machines | Adding Spice to Ubuntu - Cinnamon and Mint | More Spices for Cinnamon - Applet Development | The MSI Wind U100 Netbook for Global Communications and Computing | High Ground - The Chillblast Defiant Mini Laptop with Optimus Technology

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Content revised: 6th September, 2015