How do you rate this laptop with Linux?
43% (6)
50% (7)
7% (1)
0% (0)
0% (0)

Lenovo ThinkPad W520


This is a compatibility guide to running Linux with the Lenovo ThinkPad W520 laptop. If you have the Lenovo ThinkPad W520 and are running Linux on it please consider editing this page or adding a comment below with your compatibility details. By contributing you will help other people running this laptop or trying to make a decision on whether to buy it or not.

This page is just for discussing using Linux on the Lenovo ThinkPad W520. For a general discussion about this laptop you can visit the Lenovo ThinkPad W520 page on LapWik.

Editing This Page

If you would like to edit this page please first view our Editing Guidelines.


For full specifications see the Lenovo ThinkPad W520 specifications page.

NameLenovo ThinkPad W520
ProcessorIntel Core i7-2630QM processor (quad-core, 2.00GHz, 6MB Cache)
Intel Core i7-2720QM processor (quad-core, 2.20GHz, 6MB Cache)
Intel Core i7-2760QM processor (quad-core, 2.40GHz, 6MB Cache)
Intel Core i7-2860QM processor (quad-core, 2.50GHz, 8MB Cache)
Screen15.6“ 1920×1080 Widescreen
RAMUp to 32GB
HDDUp to 500GB
Optical DriveDVD+-RW
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 3000
NVIDIA Quadro 1000M
NVIDIA Quadro 2000M
NetworkNo Ethernet
Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300, 3×3

Linux Compatibility

ProcessorOkayWhen booting via UEFI on an older kernel (3.0.x), only 1 CPU core is detected. Boot with 'noapic' to work around the problem
ScreenOkayX does not detect every possible resolution that the display supports, but the native resolution works fine
Optical DriveOkay
Graphics ChipOkayOptimus works fine with Bumblebee 3.0 and bbswitch. HDMI output can work in optimus mode with hybrid-screenclone. However, the BIOS hides the HDMI audio PCI device from Linux. Intel graphics have no problems. Booting with NVIDIA graphics in UEFI mode may require 'noapic' to be passed.
VGA OutOkayOnly works when booted in NVIDIA mode or in optimus mode with bumblebee and hybrid-screenclone.
DisplayPortOkaySee VGA Out comment.
SoundOkayThe system memorizes two audio levels: one for laptop speakers and one for headphones. They do not appear as separate channels in alsamixer. Ie. the master channel will jump when headphones are plugged in.
Bulti-in MicrophoneOkayWorks fine in any recent distribution.
Headphone JackOkaySee above for the comment on audio levels.
Microphone JackNot TestedRequires special adapter for the headphone/microphone combination jack.
WirelessOkayIntel wireless chips work perfectly (including 802.11n). The Realtek rt8192se (Thinkpad Wireless) works fine, but isn't the most reliable. Ie. ssh into the machine may require a few tries to connect. The rt8192se is much more reliable in current kernels compared to kernel 3.0.
WWANNot Tested
ModemNot TestedDoes not exist in US models.
USBOkayUSB 2.0 is necessary for certain distributions to be installed from USB because USB 3.0 drivers aren't compiled into the kernel.
ESATANot Tested
FirewireNot TestedMust be disabled in the BIOS for IOMMU to work properly (for PCI passthrough to virtual machines).
Card ReaderOkayWorks fine in newer kernels. Older kernels may cause data corruption. If an older kernel is used, make sure no errors are reported in dmesg when the card is inserted (keeping trying if so) and always run “sudo sync” before unmounting.
ExpressCard SlotOkayacpiphp needs to be loaded for hotplugging to work.
Fingerprint ReaderOkay
Touch PadOkayTwo finger scrolling works fine. Multitouch may require patches to xf86-input-synaptics.
Track PointOkayWorks fine, but the sometimes feels like the mouse is 'stuttering'.
Suspend/ResumeOkaySuspend always works. Resume only works in Intel and optimus mode. Resuming in NVIDIA mode requires really old drivers and doesn't always work properly.



W520 User, 2013/04/18 21:07

Fingerprint Reader(UPEK) has a green light but that doesnt mean that there are authentication backends that support it
ESATA works perfect, firewire works too(tested briefly with a camera), USB3.0 also works perfect with recent 3.4/3.6 kernel even with experimental drivers (under Gentoo and Ubuntu/Mint)

Enter your comment. Wiki syntax is allowed:
If you can't read the letters on the image, download this .wav file to get them read to you.
lenovo_thinkpad_w520.txt · Last modified: 2013/03/24 03:03 by billg
Contact Us Sister Sites Privacy Policy Terms of Use
Copyright © 2006-2013 and other authors