Thinkpad Edge 11″ AMD Nile, and using it with Ubuntu GNU/Linux

I recently purchased a new ultralight laptop to replace my 3 year old Sony Vaio TZ21. I settled for a Lenovo Thinkpad Edge 11″ this time. I am really fond of the Thinkpad brand, and this Thinkpad Edge is quite a deviation from the ‘normal’ Thinkpad design.
The Edge comes in a few variants, ranging from 11 to 13 and 15″, all available in AMD and Intel flavors. Wanting something thin and light I choose the 11″ model, which at 11.6 inches is slightly bigger then the Vaio (11.1″).

The red Lenovo Thinkpad Edge 11"
Shiny red Thinkpad

The screen has a decent resolution for the size, at 1366×768 it should be sufficient for most uses. The screen is of the glossy variant and has a good range in brightness settings and decent viewing angles. Like in any Thinkpad the hinges are made of metal, and the screen can bend all the way to a flat position. Also in the screen-bezel is a low-light uvc-webcam.

The Edge 11 comes in two versions, Intel Core i3 and AMD K325, both running at 1.3 Ghz. In the netherlands the AMD version comes with 4GB of DDR3 ram, while the Intel version comes with only 2GB. Given that the AMD version is also a good €100 cheaper, this choice was easy.

The 320 GB Hitachi HTS54503 5400rpm disk should provide enough space, but isn’t the fastest or biggest on the block. I’m thinking of replacing it with an SSD drive, or at the very least adding an SSD to the system.

The included Windows Home installation was quickly replaced by Ubuntu 10.10, which recognised almost all the included hardware, including (after installing the closed-source drivers) the Ati/AMD video chip, webcam, ethernet, bluetooth, cardreader and wireless network (The realtek driver does need an update before it works)

The Inside

I did have some small hardware issues with the Thinkpad, as the spacebar wouldn’t always register a press when I hit it on the far-left side. Since I mostly use my left thumb for hitting the space I noticed a lot of missing spaces. I contacted Lenovo/IBM support about this issue and then quickly sent me a replacement keyboard and directed me to the installation instructions.
I got the keyboard replaced the next day, which gave me a nice look at the inside of the Edge. It looks very well built, and is very much user-servicable.
Removing the 3 screws on the bottom allows access to all the internals:

  • Hard drive bay
  • Half-height mini-pci bay for Wifi/Bluetooth
  • Full-height mini-pci bay (empty, might want to use this for a mini-pci based SSD drive?)
  • 2 DIMM slots (both containing a 2GB DDR3 SODIMM)
  • Sim-card slot (for the optional internal Gobi 3G modem

Removing the keyboard required the removal of the battery pack and two screws underneath it (they hold the keyboard in place) and removing the sata harddrive (2 screws). After these are all removed you have access to the back of the keyboard, and it’s just a matter of a small push to click it loose.

Putting the Edge together again wasn’t hard and the entire procedure took no more then a few minutes (including doing it twice, since I didn’t correctly push down on the keyboard connector, so some keys weren’t working the first time)

Using it with Ubuntu Linux

Installation of Ubuntu was a breeze, as usual, and only a few issues remained after the initial installation:

  • The wireless network wouldn’t work
  • Suspend to ram doesn’t work
  • The touchpad/pointer would occasionally lock-up for short periods of time

Realtek rtl8192CE/8195 Wireless

The Realtek rtl8192CE driver included in Ubuntu 10.10 recognised the internal wifi card, but did have issues with it. Upgrading this driver with on from the Realtek site made the wireless network work, but still reports a lot of interesting messages in the ‘dmesg’ output. This situation should improve, as more work is done on this new driver.

Suspend to RAM

Appending ‘acpi_osi=linux noapic’ to the kernel commandline seems to fix all suspend/resume issues.

Synaptics touchpad behaving erratic

The touchpad will report errors and reset itself occasionally. This results in a few seconds of unresponsiveness. This also seems to be fixed by the above kernel commandline options. (I couldn’t reproduce it anymore since)


Plugging in a headphone will not redirect sound to the headphone jack (that stays silent, and the speakers keep playing). As user ‘Felix’ reported below, append “options snd-hda-intel model=ideapad” in /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf to fix issues with the microphone and jack plug-detection. (untested by me)

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly


  • Cheap
  • Light
  • Good battery life
  • Good chiclet keyboard, and also the ‘clit’ pointer
  • No optical drive or other useless hardware
  • Vga, HDMI, 3x USB, Cardreader, Ethernet… so much more then a macbook air.
  • 64 Bit, Dual Core, AMD-V capable CPU and enough memory
  • A nice red led as the dot on the ‘i’ in Thinkpad
  • Silent, without getting hot

The Bad

  • No backlit keyboard or thinklight
  • No disk and network-activity leds
  • Current state of linux support (though getting better)

The Ugly

  • No working suspend (yet) in Linux
  • Issues with the trackpad


The device list of this laptop:

00:00.0 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] RS780 Host Bridge Alternate
00:01.0 PCI bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] RS780 PCI to PCI bridge (int gfx)
00:04.0 PCI bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] RS780 PCI to PCI bridge (PCIE port 0)
00:05.0 PCI bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] RS780 PCI to PCI bridge (PCIE port 1)
00:11.0 SATA controller: ATI Technologies Inc SB700/SB800 SATA Controller [AHCI mode]
00:12.0 USB Controller: ATI Technologies Inc SB700/SB800 USB OHCI0 Controller
00:12.2 USB Controller: ATI Technologies Inc SB700/SB800 USB EHCI Controller
00:13.0 USB Controller: ATI Technologies Inc SB700/SB800 USB OHCI0 Controller
00:13.2 USB Controller: ATI Technologies Inc SB700/SB800 USB EHCI Controller
00:14.0 SMBus: ATI Technologies Inc SBx00 SMBus Controller (rev 42)
00:14.2 Audio device: ATI Technologies Inc SBx00 Azalia (Intel HDA) (rev 40)
00:14.3 ISA bridge: ATI Technologies Inc SB700/SB800 LPC host controller (rev 40)
00:14.4 PCI bridge: ATI Technologies Inc SBx00 PCI to PCI Bridge (rev 40)
00:18.0 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] Family 10h Processor HyperTransport Configuration
00:18.1 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] Family 10h Processor Address Map
00:18.2 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] Family 10h Processor DRAM Controller
00:18.3 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] Family 10h Processor Miscellaneous Control
00:18.4 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] Family 10h Processor Link Control
01:05.0 VGA compatible controller: ATI Technologies Inc M880G [Mobility Radeon HD 4200]
01:05.1 Audio device: ATI Technologies Inc RS880 Audio Device [Radeon HD 4200]
02:00.0 Ethernet controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8111/8168B PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet controller (rev 03)
08:00.0 Network controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. Device 8176 (rev 01)

Cpu Info

processor       : 1
vendor_id       : AuthenticAMD
cpu family      : 16
model           : 6
model name      : AMD Athlon(tm) II Neo K325 Dual-Core Processor
stepping        : 3
cpu MHz         : 800.000
cache size      : 1024 KB
physical id     : 0
siblings        : 2
core id         : 1
cpu cores       : 2
apicid          : 1
initial apicid  : 1
fpu             : yes
fpu_exception   : yes
cpuid level     : 5
wp              : yes
flags           : fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat pse36 clflush mmx fxsr \
    sse sse2 ht syscall nx mmxext fxsr_opt pdpe1gb rdtscp lm 3dnowext 3dnow constant_tsc rep_good \
    nonstop_tsc extd_apicid pni monitor cx16 popcnt lahf_lm cmp_legacy svm extapic cr8_legacy abm sse4a \
    3dnowprefetch osvw ibs skinit wdt nodeid_msr npt lbrv svm_lock nrip_save
bogomips        : 2593.54
TLB size        : 1024 4K pages
clflush size    : 64
cache_alignment : 64
address sizes   : 48 bits physical, 48 bits virtual
power management: ts ttp tm stc 100mhzsteps hwpstate
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66 thoughts on “Thinkpad Edge 11″ AMD Nile, and using it with Ubuntu GNU/Linux”

  1. Thanks for sharing your expieriences!

    I’m currently thinking about buying two of those which are available for a very attractive price here in Germany (K325: 360€) but without an O/S.

    Did you have any further issues? Other users report issues with the Wireless connectivity as well as with the Touchpad? Otherwise I’d have to buy Win for the one my mother will get as present on x-mas.

    – Ben

  2. How long does the battery last using Ubuntu? I’m also thinking about purchasing the Edge in Germany, although it seems to take a while to be delivered.

  3. I can’t get the wireless network to work on Ubuntu 10.10. Does anyone have a fix for that yet?

  4. I just noticed this week that the audio doesn’t switch to the headphone jack when you plug in something.

    Seems the thinkpad x100-e also has this, but the fix for that model didn’t seem to work for me.

    Battery is about 4-5 hours I guess… but I haven’t tested this fully yet. It seems to use more juice then the vaio TZ21 I have, so it should last a bit shorter.

  5. There is an updated wifi driver from RealTek available. This will make the wifi useful. It still reports a lot of messages in the log and isn’t very clean, but it connects to all the networks I’ve been on.

  6. My touchpad issue still exists…tried i8042.reset i8042.nomux=1 and also pci=noacpi noapic.
    /var/log/messages still says:
    TouchPad at isa0060/serio1/input0 lost sync at byte 1
    The 8192CE driver form the Realtek site worked fine.

  7. @John: Hmpfh. This is the annoying part of monolithic Linux architecture: Most drivers are built-in directly into the kernel, hence simple kernel updates may break/fix hardware support. Do you use Ubuntu 10.10?

  8. @Ben Yes, i am using Ubuntu 10.10.Hope it get’s better with every update.

  9. @foobar: I stumbled upon a german forum post, which seems to solve the audio jack problem:

    Edit alsa-base.conf:
    gksu gedit /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf

    and add the line:
    options snd-hda-intel model=”olpc-xo-1_5″

    Can’t test. Still waiting for 2 edges getting delivered.

  10. ^^ just re-read my post content : Sounds this will work only on the Intel-based Edge versions πŸ™

  11. hi..bought one just few days ago…working well on W7, but have many issues with U10.10 πŸ™

    biggest one is with touchpad, i8042.nomux=1 wont work for me πŸ™

    another – integrated mic wont work, anyone with same problem? and fix? some apps doesnt play sound, I tried both analog and HD output, but I cant get any sound, same with headphones no matter what I do…no sound πŸ™

    ubuntu ATI driver isnt capable to play 1080p video, tried both – open and cataclyst driver πŸ™

    wi-fi its running now, thanx for fix!

    battery life around 5 hours on U10.10, one hour more on W7

    hope this problems will be fixed soon with updates, if not, I dont see any future for ubuntu on this laptop

  12. Small update: I had to install Ubuntu 10.10 again, because i crashed the partitions πŸ™‚
    I installed it, get all updates, installed build-essentials and build rtl8192ce driver from source.
    After a reboot a “Linux Driver for RTL819x Wifi Cards” (don’t know how it gets there, i only installed the ATI driver) is listed under proprietary drivers and until now (2 days of heavy using) the trackpad issue is gone !

  13. john…it was same on my one..when U build the realtek driver it appears in proprietary…and did U try trackpad on battery run? I had issues with it only on battery run, anyway I switched on linux mint 10 and it sounds crazy but it looks that batery time moves up maybe half hour, maybe more and there were no trackpad problems no matter if U running on battery or with power in.and GLXGEARS shows more FPS on mint with ATI drivers…
    I tried also mint debian, but its not so easy going as mint 10, so I switched back..

  14. @xavier Yes, the trackpad works fine doesn’t matter if it runs on battery or with current converter.
    That sounds great, i am thinking about giving linux mint a try…

  15. Just a short feedback from my side: I received the first in the batch of two Edge 11″ AMD Neo II these days. And I really love the Thinkpad! (perfect size/price/keyboard) Except for the glossy display which – besides acting as a make-up mirror – seems to have a very limited vertical angle of viewing. I find myself adjusting the viewing angle all the time.

    As it came without any O/S I immediately installed Ubuntu 10.10 and really invested much time trying to get things running smoothly. Unfortunately I did not fully succeed.

    Fixing the internal mic. and/or the headphone jack didn’t work for me at all. Seems that the AMD version slightly differs as other user do report, that some mode tweaks helped at least solving the headphone jack problem. So therefore I finally resorted into reporting a bug you maybe want also to vote for:

    Nevertheless, here a few references/tip which might help to improve your Thinkpad/Lenovo expierience.

    1. As John stated, download and use the RTL8192CE-VA4 driver. Its labelled for a different chip but works perfect with the Realtek 8176.

    cd ~/Downloads
    sudo apt-get install build-essential linux-headers-generic
    tar -xvzf rtl8192ce_linux_2.6.0005.1116.2010.tar.gz
    cd rtl8192ce_linux_2.6.0005.1116.2010/
    // Next step is important!
    sudo su –
    make install

    Unfortunately you have to repeat these steps on every kernel update as its not a DKMS :-(. I have to find a solution for this to make it viable for my mother.

    2. There is a touchpad DKMS available here, which enables you to use multitouch gestures under System > Settings > Mouse > Touchpad
    Just download the deb from comment #16 at

    3. Some interesting software packages esp. for Linux on Thinkpads. Unfortunately most of them yet do not fully support the Edge 11:
    – hdaps (Hard Disk Emergency Parking Daemon)
    – tp-smapi-dkms (Advanced, in depth control of Thinkpad power management)
    – tlp (Power Managment utilities)

    4. I found the tool available at very helpful, too. Just click download, open and run to tweak many details of Ubuntu in a very easy way.

    Thats it for now. Cheers!

  16. Dell’s inspiron has an almost identical device list and – not surprisingly – suffers from similar suspend/hibernate problems.

    Are there any news on solutions or workarounds?


  17. Concerning the sound/micro problem. I’ve just added

    options snd-hda-intel model=ideapad

    in the /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf, and for me (I also use a Edge 11 with an AMD K325) everything works fine. But I’m still not getting suspend to ram working, are there any new hints concerning this issue?

  18. I own an edge 11,6 with k125 cpu. i tried maverick and mint 10, but the fan runs almost all the time. building the realtek wlan drivers made wifi work ;), but the fan makes me nervous. any suggestions or experiences?


  19. I have the K325 cpu… but haven’t noticed the fans running yet (they might be, but I haven’t specifically noticed). Is there anything eating all cpu ? (check with top).

    I’ll try the sound fix tonight. Hope the model=ideapad works for me as well. If so, I’ll modify the article above.

  20. @Felix:

    “acpi_osi=linux” in /etc/default/grub and “noapic” made my edge wake up from suspend and from standby. even with controller set to “ahci”.
    But the fan makes me…

  21. @Yurator and others:
    Vote for:

    One problems seems to be the a kernel bug occuring on dual-cores: I installed powertop and realized that the process rescheduler runs all the time and hogs up CPU and battery.


    I installed a 3.6.36 kernel as the link in comment #164 described without any hassles and now have a far better battery lifetime and the fan partially fully turns off.

  22. Great! Appending
    options snd-hda-intel model=ideapad
    in the file
    solved both problems for me on a Thinkpad Edge 11″ AMD Neo II K325: Audio Jack and internal mic. working with Skype using the 2.6.36 kernel I use for the reasons stated above.

    Only the GNOME audio recorder seems to ignore the internal microphone ?!

  23. @Yurator

    thanks for your hint, unfortunately it still doesn’t work. Do you have an Edge with an AMD or with a Intel CPU?

  24. @Felix:

    mine is “powered” by the k125 single-core cpu (amd).
    i also set acpi=on. tested under maverick.

    one hour ago i checked both mainline kernels –> 2.6.36 and 2.6.37-rc2 with matchin’ fglrx drivers.
    no luck at all, the fan is still whirling… any mousemove pushes the cpu load. we’ll see…

  25. finally the latest mainline kernel for/under lucid makes my “jet engine” spin down… even under ac.
    the kernel scheduler works, no more load balancing issues.
    by the way –> i changed from cpudyn back to powernowd.

    power consumption is about 11 watts with 80% brightness, wifi/bt on, hd is running and firefox in normal use.

  26. short summery:
    kernel: under lucid with powernowd installed –> loadbalance/fan problem solved.

    built realtek wlan drivers work fine. no more touchpad problems.

    etc/default/grub: “noapic noplymouth” –> “edgy” resumes sane from suspend. (and with bt switched off even without any error messages!)

    so far…

  27. latest config:

    clean 10.10 with pae standard kernel, all updates, powernowd and fglrx installed. noapic, nolapic (mine is single-core) noplymouth. realtek wlan driver built. bt & wifi on, brightness about 80%, by writing this post. fan is down (broken? self learning control system? ;)). battery is fully charged. –> 4:50 h left. i did all powertop-hints. the last and only sleeptracker is the ehci controller and the wlan hardware…

    for now, santΓ©!

  28. ok…found another strange thing. HDMI – if I use this port, I cant get fullHD resolution on LCD (tested on philips 22″ and 37″ LCDs),there is always black margin around picture (tested on W7 and U10.10), when connected thru VGA – picture is correct? any ideas?

  29. Dear All

    I’d like to by this machine with AMD K325 and 4 GB ram. I will install my own win xp. could you please let me know if there is any problem with the “fan” or “wlan” with windows. Also please tell me how load is the fan sound and how can I solve that problem in windows. Thanks all.

  30. I wonder how you guys manage to keep the fan quiet, installing the 2.6.36 Mainline Kernel doesn’t improve my K325 Edge’s noise level. It gets a little hot too… That sucks, it’s such a sexy little piece of hardware and I considered to use it as main system (with an external monitor and keyboard)… But it’s so loud.

  31. And BTW I’m using Kubuntu 10.10 64bit. I don’t think that the desktop environment can make such a big difference?

  32. @babak
    i installed a sp3-slipstreamed xp pro. you can get all needed drivers from the lenovo website. but due to the missing bt xp-driver i took the vista 32 bit driver for bt. fan is no problem, wether on ac or on battery.
    wlan does not make any problems at all. xp is running pretty fast on my edge and it was very simple to manage, but i’m not really “in love with m$”…

  33. @babak again
    i also integrated the x86 ati-ahci driver in the xp setup cd and let the controller in native sata mode. setup worked fine. trying the f6 method with an usb floppy drive failed (don’t know why)

    good luck

  34. O.K., @ least:


    i installed 10.10 64 amd an did the following

    1 – build-essential
    2 – realtek wlan driver
    3 – all updates (latest kernel included)
    4 – fglrx
    5 – “nolapic_timer, nopat, noplymouth” in etc/def./grub
    6 – audio workarounds discribed above
    7 – be satisfied :), ’cause almost everything works (standby and hibernate even without any error messages)

    this is my “construction”, wich is worth to get imaged πŸ˜‰

    enjoy your edges

  35. i forgot the most important:

    give granola a try!
    for me finaly it did a better job than powernowd or tlp regarding the noisy fan.

  36. Thanks for the hints, but I’ll send my Edge back. It’s great but I can’t accept the fact that it handles temperatures so badly. The CPU has 55 degrees while the fan is running on its lowest stage. The latter produces a very annoying high frequency noise. It doesn’t change with different kernels or different settings from various tools. When I stop the fan the CPU reaches temperatures up to 70 degrees and the whole notebook gets hot, so that doesn’t seem to be a solution either.

    Also in the German forums they talk about a annoying fan on K325 Edges running Windows, so the operating system doesn’t seem to be the problem. I guess one has to have a lot of luck because it seems to me that some units of the K325 Edge don’t have any problems regarding temperature or fan.

    I’ll think about purchasing a Edge 13 since people seem to be content with the fan there.

  37. I have the Edge 11 with Core i3 and the same issues with the trackpoint and touchpad. Kernel 2.6.38 seems to reduce the frequency of the hickups (now maybe only one in 30 mins). Can anybody confirm this?

  38. Hi Guys,

    Trying to get 10.04 to work so it is usable as my primary system with the amd edge 11. Same issues with wifi and suspend.

    I am new to linux and need to know how to actually install drivers. Any documentation around?

  39. Well, got wifi working by playing around with Ben’s explanation, needed a different notation.

    Now what I would like to solve is the temperature. It is not hot-hot but warmer than it does in windows. I noticed that gnome-system-monitor takes a lot of cpu, sometimes between 20 and 40% where most are at zero. Any thoughts on how to tweak this to a lower level?

  40. Good news:
    With the new Ubuntu 11.04 (currently still Beta) using the kernel 2.6.38 WLAN works out of the box without the need to install any additional driver.

    Additionally suspend-to-ram started to work (resumes nowo longer hang)

  41. That is good news! How about suspend to disk? I noticed that windows (I need it but not very happy with it) would not restart either so I guess restarting is handled by grub2?

    But is it possible to go back to 10.10 without reinstalling it? Iǘe had a bit too much to do with

  42. For the fan issue thinkfan package is working well with these or similar settings:
    (0, 0, 60)
    (1, 50, 68)
    (2, 63, 71)
    (3, 68, 75)
    (7, 70, 32767)

    Fan level 4 is actually stops the fan, 5 and 6 have the same speed as 1 and 2, that’s why those are missing.
    My only concern is that till 60c level 0 would be ok, but the temperature constantly increasing above 70c, even during idle operations. On my lenovo x200 idle temperature never increasing above to a point that fan have to turn on, but intel cpu and x200 could have better thermal design.

  43. I have upgraded to 11.04 and then changed to kde. I now have audio, ethernet and susspend/hibernate out of the box.

    Hibernate or suspend is yet unclear to me, in Dutch the choicees are “Slaap” and “slaapstand” which is not an understandable difference….

    Have not yet tried if Hibernate/suspend works in windows.

  44. Found it. Suspend to ram (slaap, slapen) works, Hibernate (Slaapstand, suspend to disk) does not.

    Hibernate gives two beeps and then returns to work.

  45. Actually the ramping up idle temperature was because the VGA’s power saving capabilities were not enabled. After installing fglrx driver, and enabling power saving, idle temp could stay around 50c, without the fan turning on. Of course during browsing, light working this goes up, and the fan turns on, but it is ok.

  46. Another great advantage of this little machine is the availability of tp-smapi, with wich you can enable advanced battery functions, like to set thresholds for battery charging. (ie longer battery life) The only difference is, that you can only set one value for both stop_charge_tresh and start_charge_tresh. I don’t know if it is hardware limitation or software bug though.

  47. My initial enthusiasm has gone. 11.04 is crap. Sound has disappeared, wifi does not work properly and the system just freezes every now and then. All of these are widely documented in several forums but no useful solutions. I had mobile broadband working but so far can not get it to work in 11.04. I’m going to get rid of it, just do not want to spend the time on reconfiguring everything…


  48. @Sven

    I also have 11.04, but I don’t have these problems you mention.
    BTW I installed the system as fresh, and using unity

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