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acer_aspire_v7-482pg-9884

Acer Aspire V7-482PG-9882

Author(s)

Greg Michalec

Introduction

Just got this laptop last week (11/6/13) and so far it's pretty great - just want to save anyone else the few days of madness I've had tweaking this bad boy. This is just about the only model on the market that fit my needs of a haswell laptop with dedicated gpu & full hd IPS display weighing < 5lbs and under $1500.

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Specifications

NameAcer Aspire V7-482PG-9882
Processor Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-4500U CPU @ 1.80GHz
Screen14“ @ 1920×1080
RAM12GB
HDD1TB 5400rpm - Western Digital WD10SPCX-22H
SSD20GB mSSD - KINGSTON SMS151S
Optical Drivenope
GraphicsIntel HD 4400 + Nvidia GeForce GT 750M
Network Intel 7280 ACN wireless + bluetooth)

Linux Compatibility

DeviceCompatibilityComments
ProcessorYes
ScreenYesWorks - and is bright & beautiful - but makes eveything tiny :)! See below.
HDDYes
SSDYesBy default, this is used for windows caching - see below
Optical DriveN/A
Graphics ChipYesTakes some work see below
VGA OutN/A
DVI PortNot Tested
HDMI PortNot Tested
DisplayPortN/A
Touch ScreenYes
SoundYes
Bulti-in MicrophoneNot Tested
Headphone JackYes
Microphone JackNot Tested
EthernetYesStrange hinge on port - makes it easy to knock the jack loose
WirelessYes
BluetoothYesHad to tweak to get it to come on automatically - see below
USBYes
Card ReaderNot Tested
WebcamYes
Touch PadYesThe new age of 'click pads' is frustrating - see below on how to make it a little more bearable
Suspend/ResumeYesSometimes the screen goes into crazy mode after resume - this is easily fixed by switching to a VT and back (ctrl-alt-f1 / ctrl-alt-f7)

Notes

Ok - here's the stuff you gotta do to make this thing linux-happy. Note that all this was done mid-november 2013, using Ubuntu 13.10 (saucy salamander).

Installation

I followed the helpful instructions regarding a similar model here: http://www.linlap.com/acer_aspire_v7-582pg. Thanks carsten! Unfortunately, you can't just boot up the installer - it crashes.

  1. To get it to boot from usb, hit F2 to entire BIOS and enable the boot selection menu.
  2. When the grub menu comes up, select “install ubuntu” (not “try ubuntu” - it won't work', then 'e' to edit the grub command.
  3. Add the following kernel otions on the kernel line: nomodeset noload=ehci-hcd noload=xhci-hcd
  4. F10 to boot
  5. switch to VT1 (ctrl-alt-F1)
  6. cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf.failsafe /etc/X11/xorg.conf - edit this file to use fbdev rather than vesa
  7. I think you gotta kill the xserver and then startx, then back to VT1
  8. export DISPLAY=:1 && sudo unity, then ctrl-alt-f7

Installation went fine - I went ahead and left the extra recovery partitions alone, cuz it's not like I'm cramped with 1TB. Windows didn't seem t mind me shrinking its partition down to 245GB - then I made a 20GB root and used the rest for /home. Also, I didn't have to do anything with secure boot or uefi stuff. Also, bonus, it seems that with uefi we're no long limited to 4 primary partitions - the end of an era (of logical volume madness)! Note I think when you boot into the installed system, you make have to keep adding those kernel options until you get the graphics situtation fixed.

Oh, and it starts with the screen brightness all the way dark for some reason - see fix below. So, if you don't see anything on boot don't panic - just use fn-left arrow to bring the brightness back up.

Graphics

I'm happy to say I've got the optimus stuff working pretty well via bumblebee. I tried a lot of different stuff, but this is what seems to work:

  1. Install the 3.12 kernel from here: http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/ (or roll your own if that's how you do)
  2. add the xorg edgers ppa (add-apt-repository ppa:xorg-edgers/ppa)
  3. apt-get update and then
apt-get install nvidia-331 nvidia-settings-331 bumblebee-nvidia bbswitch-dkms
  1. edit /etc/bumblebee/bumblebee.conf and replace the following entries:
KernelDriver=nvidia_331
LibraryPath=/usr/lib/nvidia-331:/usr/lib32/nvidia-331
XorgModulePath=/usr/lib/nvidia-331/xorg,/usr/lib/xorg/modules
  1. Reboot!

I *think* that's everything I did. Note the brightness issue above if you don't see anything. Everything purrs along nicely using the low power intel card (which still isn't terrible 3d-wise). But if you want to pull out the big guns and use your Nvidia powerhouse, just start programs using primusrun, ie

primusrun steam

to play some HL2, or even

primusrun playonlinux

. Holy crap, I can play Skyrim in linux now - my productivity is over! Just be careful, cuz that nvidia will cook your lap when it's running!

Backlight

It's a little frustrating to have to reset the brightness every time you boot, so do this:

  1. create a file called /etc/udev/rules.d/44-backlight.rules
  2. give it the contents
    ACTION=="add", KERNEL=="acpi_video0", SUBSYSTEM=="backlight", SUBSYSTEMS=="pci", DRIVERS=="i915", ATTR{brightness}="100"
  3. reboot, and enjoy (thanks WonderWoofy - https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?pid=1193741#p1193741)

Bluetooth

For some reason, the bluetooth seems to boot disabled. Lame. I fixed it by adding “hciconfig hci0 up” to /etc/rc.local

Screen Resolution/DPI

The ITS Full HD screen on this puppy is gorgeous, but unfortuntely, everything is tiny at 1920×1080 on a 14” screen. I scoured the nets for the magic Xorg setting that allows you increase you dpi from 96 to the proper 158 for this screen, only to discover that it essentially doesn't exist. I tried a lot of different things, but nothing I did worked how I wanted. So, until X.org catches up to the glory of ultrabooks, here's what you can do to save ruining your vision:

  1. apt-get install unity-tweak and change the text scaling (i'm using 1.3)
  2. to fix firefox and thunderbird, go to about:config and change layout.css.devPixelsPerPx - again, i'm @ 1.3
  3. in chrome, you can go settings, advanced, page zoom (125%)

the unity UI stuff is still pretty tiny (those little close button are a bit hard to hit) but overall, i'd say this is usable. Note, this is not any issue with the hardware, but with the state of X.org I believe.

Clickpad

*sigh* This is my biggest gripe with this system. Again, this is an issue with the drivers and not the hardware (though I would much prefer physical buttons+touchpad, but it seems everything is moving toward these). There is still some maddening behavoir, but I'm mostly getting used to it. The one thing I changed to make it a little more usable was to add this line to ~/.xprofile:

synclient AreaBottomEdge=4000

This ignores mouse movements in the button zones, which makes it a little easier to make precise clicks. Unfortunately, it still recognizes a resting finger, making dragging difficult. There's a bug open for this missing feature in the synaptics driver here: https://bugs.freedesktop.org/show_bug.cgi?id=66532. The developers comment is worth quoting: “culprit is “if (!inside_active_area) reset_hw_state(hw)” in HandleState(). That's the starting point. The end point will likely be drinking island.”

SSD

I decided to nuke the windows caching and use the SSD for my root. Simply uninstall the expresscache program in windows - it didn't seem to mind, then partition the SSD. You may want to do this before you install to make things easier - I was taking one step at a time. Note that for some reason, you can't boot to the ssd. So just install grub to the 1TB drive and boot to the ssd from there. I've partitioned the ssd into a 12 gb root partition and set the rest up as bcache for /home. I boot in like 10 seconds now!

Summary

Overall, I am very pleased with linux on this laptop. The only real issues (after the above tweaking) are the screen being *too good* for linux and the annoying clickpad. Hopefully the synaptics driver will get the needed changes to make the clickpad less annoying. If you make the tweaks suggested in powertop and dim the brightness, you can get this thing to run at 9.5 watts *while on wireless*. Pretty sweet! If you have further suggestion, please let me know!

acer_aspire_v7-482pg-9884.txt · Last modified: 2017/09/24 20:45 by don