How I Got It Working

Here’s a small bit of documentation regarding how I succesfully booted various GNU/Linux Distributions on my Aero15X laptop, for those interested.


Manjaro Gnome

Here’s a pic of the laptop when running Manjaro Gnome. I learned early on that I wouldn’t be able to succesfully boot Manjaro on this bad boy with the GTX 1070 dedicated GPU left on. After disabling the GPU in the BIOS, it turns out the Arch-based distro booted fine into a live medium and installed fine. The issue here is that neither bbswitch nor bumblebee itself properly enabled the graphics switching on here, so I was limited to the intel gpu with poor graphics performance, but decent 6-8 hour battery life.

After doing some initial research, it seems that NVIDIA Optimus needs a bit more support from the Linux kernel itsself, as of kernel 4.18.xx. Here’s hoping that, as of the release of kernel 5.xx.xx we will see a few more developments for Optimus in the future. In the first sentence of this paragraph, I linked a slightly aged guide to get it running. After trying a few things in that guide, here is what didn’t work for Arch-based distros:
1. disabling the GPU got the distro to install properly, but then bumblebee wouldn’t properly install afterwards
2. the nvidia-prime install in the AUR is depressingly out of date as of the end of 2018/Jan 2019 and therefore didn’t help me
3. nvidia-xrun would work properly, but various steps were required to get it running in another desktop on this laptop. I didn’t have time for such steps, as I use this thing for school as well as side-jobs until I move in June of 2019.

Just Straight Arch

Here we have a placeholder image, as I had too many issues getting bumblebee and the like to properly work after neither the ArcoLinux installer nor a terminal-based install for Arch would work properly with the GPU on…so of course I again installed this distro with the dGPU (dedicated GPU) off and everything went swimmingly on into a desktop. I’ve come to the conclusion, for future laptop choices, that I’ll either get an AMD Ryzen APU-equipped laptop for light gaming or something that has dedicated graphics without needing to rely on special drivers for NVIDIA’s terrible Optimus implementation. NVIDIA has a lot of hate on laptops from the Linux community and it seems, at this point, it is rightfully deserved. (I gave up with limited time)

Placeholder arch image from lifehacker australia

Placeholder arch image from lifehacker australia

Screenshot from 2019-03-01 14-40-26.png

Pop!_OS from System76

The installer for Pop!_OS was just as easy to navigate and go through as a simple Ubuntu installer. The .ISO was seeded with the drivers for NVIDIA graphics cards, so everything went painlessly with the GPU enabled in the BIOS. I can disable or enable it at will from the BIOS just like with Manjaro, however UNLIKE Manjaro, I can keep the GPU on when the computer restarts and everything is fine. Under Manjaro it was a blank screen after loading…

Everything is A-OK! Though I would love to run a rolling release distro on here instead…