How do you rate this laptop with Linux?
Excellent
 
29% (6)
Good
 
14% (3)
Fair
 
10% (2)
Poor
 
33% (7)
Unusable
 
14% (3)

Lenovo ThinkPad W541

Introduction

This is a template for a future compatibility guide to running Linux with the Lenovo ThinkPad W541 laptop. If you have the Lenovo ThinkPad W541 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.

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Specifications

For full specifications see the Lenovo ThinkPad W541 specifications page.

NameLenovo ThinkPad W541
ProcessorIntel Core i7-4710MQ Processor
Intel Core i7-4810MQ Processor
Intel Core i7-4910MQ Processor
Intel Core i7-4940MX Processor Extreme Edition
ScreenFHD 1920 x 1080 TN 300 nits
3k 2880 x 1620 IPS 350 nits
RAM32GB max
HDD500GB
512GB SSD
Optical DriveDVD-RW
Up to 1TB HDD with Bay Adapter
Up to 512GB SSD with Bay Adapter
Travel Bezel
GraphicsNVIDIA Quadro K1100M 2G
NVIDIA Quadro K2100M 2G
NetworkRJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet
Intel 7260 2×2 AC + Bluetooth 4.0
Intel 7260 2×2 b/g/n + Bluetooth 4.0

Linux Compatibility

DeviceCompatibilityComments
Processorfully workingneed: intel-ucode.img installing and kernel option: nomodeset
Screenfully workingneed: blacklist nouveau
HDDfully working
Graphics Chipsee Screen
VGA OutNot Tested
DVI Out n/a
HDMI Out n/a
Display PortNot Tested
Optical Drive fully working
2nd HDD Drive Bay fully working
Sound fully working
Microphone fully working
Headphone Port fully working
Microphone-In Port n/a
Line-In Port n/a
SPDIFIn n/a
SPDIFOut n/a
Ethernet fully working
Wireless fully working
Bluetooth fully working
WWAN fully working
UWBNot Tested
Modem n/a
USB fully working
Firewire n/a
PCMCIANot Tested
Express CardNot Tested
Card Reader fully working
Webcam fully working
ESATA Port n/a
Serial Port n/a
Parallel Port n/a
IR n/a
TV Out n/a
TV Tuner n/a
Keyboard fully working
TouchPad fully working
Trackport fully working
Docking StationNot Tested
Fingerprint ReaderNot Tested
SmartCard InterfaceNot Tested
GPS fully working
Suspend/Resume broken in this kernel 4.4

Notes

My ThinkPad is running Arch Linux. I am an IT contractor and thie laptop is my workhorse.
I have upgraded the memory to 32GB and installed a second SSD running now RAID-1.

Summary

You can enter a summary of how well the Lenovo ThinkPad W541 works with Linux here.


Discussion

Kay, 2016/08/05 21:42

I'm running Ubuntu 1604 on w541 i7 2.5Ghz in a dual boot with win 10. Everything works well but while i'm running linux, the laptop overheats even when it's idle. Ubuntu is installed on M2 SSD and win is on another SSD. I tried most of the solutions available but none of them works. TLC makes it slightly better but it seems the main problem is not solved.

Addi, 2016/08/09 07:27

Hi Kay,

how do you know it is idle and how do you know it is overheating?

Please check you haven't enabled “system” jobs kicking off when the system thinks it is idle. Some of these services are: indexing, package sync, google back-up, photo back-up, and social apps.
Please check you have the “think” tools installed. i.e. thinkfan, smapi-dkms, tpacpi-bat, thinkgui plus dependencies ( intel-ucode ) and keep them up to date. ;-) Also make use of the CPU frequency capability.

I run my laptop for days, use the suspend functionality when un-used either via power settings or via pressing the power button. Then the laptop is idle!
Rebooting normally happens when a kernel update is installed. See:
Linux laptop 4.6.5-1-ARCH #1 SMP PREEMPT Thu Jul 28 08:30:15 CEST 2016 x86_64 GNU/Linux
uptime: 08:14:56 up 3 days, 15:26, 14 users, load average: 0.09, 0.15, 0.25

The fan on my thinkpad only kicks in when I run several vagrant boxes via libvirtd otherwise as you can see it is just ticking …

Enjoy life and have fun with this super laptop.
Addi

PS: keep us updated on how you are getting on.

Kay, 2016/09/10 17:03

Thanks for you response. I still have problems. There are some suggestions that the problems comes from nvidia graphic card. I tried to switch to intel Gpu in Ubuntu. It didn't work. So, I installed Mint-KD. The nvidia driver works fine on new Mint however the heating problem still exists. There are some suggestions that linux cannot utilize i7 functions well and it gets overheat. I think it is not the case, stupidly, just because the overheat place on my laptop is located on exact location of the graphic card! I'm so disgusted with Win and Mac. And I love w541 machine so I keep trying to solve problem.

Addi, 2016/09/12 07:18

Hello Kay,

I love this laptop too :-)

Also, I have upgraded to 32 GB memory and added a 1TB SSD drive replacing the DVD.

Unlike you I do not have many issues with the machine getting hot. Sometimes the fan starts buzzing but that is when I run 5 or more virtual machines for on my machine.

One of my DIY measures for keeping the air circulating under the laptop properly is resting the back feet on two small jenga blocks …. :-D

What are you doing with your machine? video editing and transcoding?

Have you tried bumblebee for GPU switching?

Have you got upower running?

Have you checked htop, especially checking what consumes memory and CPU when it gets hot?

If you like mail me on addi at abel DE COMma … I am happy to help!

Kind regards

Addi

Addi Abel, 2016/02/19 12:23

Hi all,

please drop me a note here when you have any questions. I will answer as quickly as possible.

Jeff Quitney, 2016/01/07 03:06

I don't have the full details handy, but while trying to boot Linux Mint 17 on my W541 I got the error which others have also gotten: “mmc0 unknown controller version(3), You may experience problems” after which the system tried but failed to boot. The same USB drive holding Linux Mint 17 booted on my ThinkPad X230 without any problems.

Addi, 2016/08/09 07:36

Hello Jeff,

Sorry, but I did not see a notification of your question earlier.
The “mmc0” controller kernel module took a while to filter down to all distros. Fedora for instance added this controller in their 24 Alpha release to GA in June.
Whereas Arch Linux released it last year, November I think.

Hope your problems have been resolved in the meantime. :-)

Kind regards
Addi

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lenovo_thinkpad_w541.txt · Last modified: 2016/02/19 12:21 by 81.128.179.58
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