24 September, 2012

Linux and the Samsung Series 9 NP900X3C

So I bought a new laptop, a Samsung series 9: the 13" NP900X3C (review on the Verge). Quite a nice piece of hardware. It is thin, light and has very decent battery life. For all Linux users who decided to buy this really nice piece of hardware or are still deciding, you can find below tips and tricks on getting the most out of it.

Update 22 March 2014: I've finally gotten around to update this post, after finally fixing the last major annoyance after a hint by +Rui Seabra. With the tip below you can get this laptop to reliably recognize the power plug and the screen being closed. Yay!

Also, there is a new generation out (Ativ 9) which honestly does not impress me. It is heavier, has a insanely high resolution screen so its battery life is barely improved and the CPU is slightly slower though the GPU is more powerful. The touch screen makes it thicker. If Samsung would put a Intel Haswell in the NP900X3C chassis combined with 8 or 16GB of ram, they would have improved their top model. Now - it has its plusses and minusses. Too bad.

Last update, Dec 2014: X3C still humming fine here with latest Linux (openSUSE 13.2, KDE's Plasma 5.x). If you're in the market for this or a similar laptop, the X3C can now be had for as little as USD 800 if you look around a bit. And there is a worthy successor: the NP900X3G. This laptop is nearly the same, but features the newer Intel Haswell CPU bringing longer battery life, 8GB ram, 256GB SSD, Core i7 4500U and full-HD screen. Otherwise, same weight (1.13kg), great aluminum body and so on. Not cheap, as usual with the series 9 - USD 1450 is the cheapest I've found it for, but the X3C has shown to be worth every dime and I think this'll be worth it, too. Too bad Samsung is pulling out of this market as they've been the only one producing laptops at or above the quality levels of Apple's (Macbook Air) devices.

The Specs of the NP900x3c

You don't exactly select this laptop on performance for the money. But just looking at specifications leads to buying ugly, fragile, heavy pieces of plastic with 20 minutes battery life. This laptop is the opposite.
  • Intel Core i5-3317U CPU 1.7 ghz (turbo to 2.4), 3MB cache and 17watt TDP
  • Intel HD Graphics 4000, 3W stereo speakers and 1.3MP webcam
  • 13.3" 1600x900 PLS super bright (400nits) screen
  • 4GB of ram (soldered on board) and replacable 128 GB Sandisk SSD
  • WLAN (Inel 6235, 2x2 a/b/g/n) and Bluetooth 4.0. Lan with included dongle
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC/MMC cart reader, 1x USB 2 and 1x USB 3 (powered when off)
  • VGA and microHDMI (both need separately sold dongle)
  • 80 keys backlit keyboard and all-button multi-touch touchpad
  • 44 WH battery (rated for 9 hours but count on max 7)
  • Made of aluminum. Weight 2.55 lb or 1.16 KG.

About how it looks and feels: it is as nice as they say in every review. The design makes it (imho) the best looking ultrabook on the market and it feels super solid. The matte screen is the best I've ever seen (awesome looking angles & brightness) and it's perfectly silent due to the overkill of 2 fans (that are off most of the time anyway, surprisingly, even under load).


To save you some research, here a comparison to two laptops with similar specs:
  • Compared to the ASUS Zenbook Prime it feels more solid (I've touched both) and has less Q&A issues (according to online complainers). It also has a ~14% lower weight and better touchpad but slightly worse keyboard according to reviews. The keyboard of the S9 is fine for me - shallow but I have no issues with it. The touchpad is indeed excellent, noticeably better under Linux than under Windows however. Battery life is claimed to be better on the Samsung, too. You do of course pay about 300 bucks more for about the same specs as the Prime...
  • Compared to the Sony Vaio Z - I haven't touched that one but it's certainly less solid (it is made of "carbon fiber"--I've had a "carbon fiber" Vaio Z before and I'd just call it plastic) and has less battery life. Then again, the Z is what you want if you want no compromise in performance vs portability - as in, a Quad core cpu in a Ultrabook chassis. The Samsung has way less crunch power. Also, you can get the Vaio with 8 and possibly even 16GB of ram. So go Vaio if you don't move that often and are OK with a slightly more flimsy device and higher price and/or need the processing power.

The Linux support of the S9 is OK - not perfect, but OK. (Update March 2014: actually, near flawless, but not yet out-of-the-box in most Linux distributions) Getting the most out of it - see below! By the way, I strongly suggest to update the Bios to the latest version first before installing Linux.

Power usage

Let's start with power. As you probably bought this laptop for its portability (I know I did), let me give some info on battery life.

What to expect

I haven't done a full run-down test or anything and I usually use the battery life extender (max 80% charge power) but at the time of writing (sept 2012) the best you can get out of this laptop is about 6 hours of typing work with wifi/BT off, low screen brightness and battery life extender off. And that is provided you enabled silent performance mode, run laptop_mode and have enabled the power saving tips from the powertop tool (install it!!!). At that point, powertop reports 8-10 watt power usage. I have seen it go down as far as 6 but haven't figured out how to keep it there. As the laptop is supposed to do 7 hours under windows (and considering the 6 watt I've seen), there is surely room for improvement and I expect newer Linux versions/distributions to do better.

EDIT: after updating to kernel 3.6-RC6 (from here) I discovered power usage is down significantly. Varying between 6.2 and 7.2 watt, this might bring an additional hour of battery life to this laptop under Linux.

On more modest settings, you'll get more like 4 to max 5 hours - that's with wifi on, screen on a reasonable brightness and battery life extender on (so battery life -20%).

EDIT2: in 2014, you can really expect 5-6 hours, up to 7 if you're not taxing it much.

How to get longer battery life

As I said: install powertop. It can even tell you what's drawing how much energy (although this seems not too reliable). Powertop can enable a bunch of power saving options which must be configurable somewhere else too but I haven't figured that out for each. Start it, go to the right-most page and use the 'enter' key to enable them. They seem to stick mostly across reboots but not all of them do so use it whenever you need the battery life. Make sure especially to enable powersaving on the USB channels, one has the webcam which alone can draw 2-3 watts according to powertop.

Second, use the 'silent' performance_level. Set it by echo-ing 'silent' to '/sys/devices/platform/samsung/performance_level'. See more below. In my experience, the laptop is plenty responsive with the CPU speed capped at 800 mhz - as long as you do nothing too fancy.

Third - as you probably won't use it (much), disable the LAN port. Also uses quite some power according to powertop (although I doubt it's accuracy in this, it won't hurt). You can do this in the Bios of the system.

Fourth, enable power saving for the video card by going to Boot Loader in YaST, edit the boot loader options and add this after"Optional Command Line Kernel Parameter" (or editing grub(2) by hand if you're on a less easy distro):
    i915.i915_enable_rc6=1 i915.i915_enable_fbc=1 i915.lvds_downclock=1
See phoronix for more info on these. I took out acpi_backlight=vendor as it consistently doesn't work for me.

While you're editing boot parameters, you might want to enable zswap (compressed swap). On a 4GB ram laptop, this is, well, helpful. Add zswap.enabled=1 if you want it. Note that it only works from Linux 3.11 onwards and probably only well from kernel 3.13 up.

Linux support: what works

So what works and doesn't? In short, putting in an USB stick and booting from it, then installing openSUSE - works like a charm. You might have difficulty having it boot from a stick - look in the BIOS. Disable "Fast BIOS Mode" under the "Advanced" tab and it should work. Re-enable it later for faster booting! Now, on to the specifics.


Works perfect, better under Linux than under Windows. See under 'tips' for some config ideas.


to ram: no problems. Very occasionally it hangs the mouse - use Fn-F5 twice to disable and re-enable the touchpad and you should be good. If it still doesn't work, I have had to disable Fast Booting in the BIOS to get it back. After that turning it on again was no problem. Tja, computers.
to disk: works but kernel mentions it's "Dazed and confused, but trying to continue". Apparently "NMI received for unknown reason 2c on CPU 0" and the kernel wonders if "you have a strange power saving mode enabled?". Suspend to disk is pointless anyway as this thing almost boots faster than it resumes from suspend to disk (with a bit of optimization using systemd-analyze, openSUSE goes in 8 sec from grub to desktop, a bit more work and you'll get to ~5sec and I think even less is doable if you really work at it).

wifi, bluetooth

Both work great, no problems. The Fn key to disable wifi doesn't work out of the box.

screen, sound, multimedia buttons

Volume and screen brightness buttons work fine, touchpad disable button works. Keyboard brightness buttons don't work, neither does the wlan button (light in button does turn on/off depending on state of wlan, however). See below on fixing that.

Webcam, microphone, sound

All worked flawless for me. Skype and Google Hangouts work without issues.

HDMI, VGA, Network

All flawless. I'd recommend to disable the network port to save power, however...

'special' stuff you have to configure

The laptop has a few interesting extra features. I'll go over them and how to use them.

Fn keys

Go to this Red Hat bugzilla page to get a number of changes to udev which will allow your function keys to work. Probably not gonna be a problem with any modern Linux distribution 2-3 months from now (sept 2012). A reboot is the best way to get things working after the changes.

EDIT 14 Oct 2012: note that on openSUSE and possibly other distributions you can find the udev rules in /lib/udev/keymaps instead of /usr/lib/udev/keymaps. Also, note that updates can overwrite your changes in the two control files and you might have to re-apply them every now and then.

EDIT 22 March 2014: note that on modern distro's this has moved to /usr/lib/udev/hwdb.d/60-keyboard.hwdb and requires a different fix. My distro (openSUSE 13.1) does not yet have the latest version of that file. You can get the latest here, just overwrite the file. Then execute as root: udevadm hwdb --update. Now reboot and the keys should work properly. By the end of the year I think this will be in most Linux distro's

Below I have a number of tips with scripts and such to get the keys to work. You'll need some scripts and set some permissions and then bind actions to the keys. In a Plasma Desktop, KHotkeys can take care of that for you. To make it easy I created a khotkeys file here which you can just import. Do this by:
      start systemsettings
      go to 'Shortcuts and gestures'
      click 'edit' and choose 'import' ('edit' is found in the middle bottom of the 'custom shortcuts')
      Pick the file you can download above.
      Modify the paths in the shortcuts, they're set on my home directory!

keyboard backlight

enable zswap (comapressed swap)
Check if the keys work out of the box. They might depending on the release of your distribution. If not, follow these tips.

The keyboard backlight can be adjusted by echo'ing a number between 0 (off) and 8 (max) to a special file like this (all on one line):
    echo 8 > /sys/devices/platform/samsung/leds/samsung::kbd_backlight/brightness
You need to be root to do that or use sudo. To ensure you can do this as normal user, add the following to /etc/rc.d/boot.local (on openSUSE) or another place that gets executed at boot on your distro:
    # make it possible to change brightness chmod 0664 /sys/devices/platform/samsung/leds/samsung::kbd_backlight/brightness chgrp users /sys/devices/platform/samsung/leds/samsung::kbd_backlight/brightness
(note that my blog might put things on a new line which shouldn't be. The chmod 0664 /sysblabla is one line, so is chgrp!)

Of course, you now want to assign the brightnes keys (Fn F9 and Fn F10) to these actions. The easiest way is to go to the KDE systemsettings and open 'Shortcuts and Gestures'. Then follow these steps (or import the khotkeys file I created instead):
      Create a new global shortcut (on the bottom: edit > new > global shortcut > command/URL) and call it 'backlight off'
      As trigger, assign the Fn-F9 key
      As Action, add this (all on one line):
        echo 0 > /sys/devices/platform/samsung/leds/samsung::kbd_backlight/brightness; kdialog --title 'keyboard backlight' --passivepopup 'off' 1
create a second global shortcut, call it backlight on, and give it this Action:
    echo 8 > /sys/devices/platform/samsung/leds/samsung::kbd_backlight/brightness; kdialog --title 'keyboard backlight' --passivepopup 'on' 1
    The keys should now work.

performance mode

The S9 has a nice feature in the 'performance mode' which does work under Linux but has to be triggered specially. I made a script you can bind to the ventilator key to make it work just like under windows.
There are two performance modes on the S9: 'silent' and 'normal'. Silent forces the CPU to 800 mhz max, keeping the fans always off and power usage down to about 8-9 watt), normal is - well, normal... I've seen the CPU go up to 2.4 ghz in 'normal' mode. For my use (text writing, browsing, email, occasional video or music), silent is perfect and I like the fact the laptop stays cold and quiet so I have that almost always on.

triggering it
You can change the performance mode by echo'ing 'normal' or 'silent' to /sys/devices/platform/samsung/performance_level. If you want to be able to do that as user, add the following to /etc/rc.d/boot.local to set the permissions open for the group 'users':
    # make it possible to change performance level chmod 0664 /sys/devices/platform/samsung/performance_level chgrp users /sys/devices/platform/samsung/performance_level echo silent > /sys/devices/platform/samsung/performance_level # set silent (800 mhz) performance as default

If you want the fan (Fn F11) button to take care of it for you, download the file here and follow the instructions in it.

Rf Kill

You can trigger turning off wifi and BT with files also in /sys/devices/platform/samsung under rfkill. The names of the files do change sometimes. Also for this I made a script, which you'll have to allow to be run at root. All instructions are in the file. Get it here.

Battery life extender

The laptop has a function called 'battery life extender'. It's a limit the bios puts on the battery on how full it can charge: no more than 80% if the battery life extender is on. This will increase the life expectancy of the battery significantly. You can enable and disable it in the bios but also from Linux and Windows. I have turned it on and rarely change it.

I didn't bother writing a script for this as I don't change this often: you can enable and disable the battery life extender by echoing either 1 (on) or 0 (off) to battery_live_extender in the already-familiar /sys/devices/platform/samsung folder. A quick command line to remember (you have to be root to do this):

    "echo 1 > /sys/devices/platform/samsung/battery_live_extender" to turn it on and "echo 0 > /sys/devices/platform/samsung/battery_live_extender" to turn it off

I use it when I expect to need my battery life to be maximal, like on intercontinental flights or when traveling to a conference. At home I almost never use the extra ~hour of battery life this gives.

Linux support: what doesn't work

The things which don't work ATM are:
  • recognizing if the system is on battery power or not. this is messy ATM. Usually, after a suspend cycle, it correctly shows the status. I'm guessing a kernel newer than the 3.5 I run now will solve this at some point, or maybe a new udev. It is annoying because it prevents laptop mode (battery saving mode) from automatically kicking in. In my use case it's not a big deal as it's usually charging in the house and when I take it somewhere it sleeps while traveling... Here is the bug on the kernel bugzilla
  • recognizing if the laptop lid is closed. Same story there - I guess a newer kernel version will solve it. For now, the system won't go to sleep or anything if you close the lid - you have to assign a key for sleep. I assigned the power key to sleep by going modifying the button events handling in System Settings -> Power Management. Not a BIG deal, I actually often close the lid while thinking (Yes, I do it, though infrequently) to save power...

And there now is a fix! I was made aware of it by +Rui Seabra, points for him. I am fairly certain the fix will make it into a kernel soon and to your distributions later, but for now you can put in a little work by hand and have it work too. Follow these steps:
  • Get this c file and compile it into a binary. Instructions are in the file, but to help you: gcc -o samsung_fix_ec_events samsung_fix_ec_events.c will do the trick. Yes, you need gcc. zypper in gcc will work on openSUSE. Thanks to Juan Manuel Cabo for creating this!
  • Now copy the resulting binary to /usr/local/bin/samsung_fix_ec_events
  • Download this file and copy it into /home/jospoortvliet/Dropbox/Public and make it executable: chmod +x /home/jospoortvliet/Dropbox/Public/samsung_fix_ec_events
Now, whenever you suspend or come back from suspend, the samsung_fix_ec_events file gets executed, cleaning up the bits that were blocking ACPI.

Tips to get the most out of the S9

A few minor tips to make things nicer on this laptop...


The laptop has a bunch of partitions and I could give all kind of tips about which to keep and all that - but I just cleaned everything up and installed Linux only so I have nothing to say.

Fast booting

If you'd like to make the laptop boot faster, install systemd-analyze, a tool which can show you what services delayed the bootup procedure most. It works best with the 'plot' function which generates a SVG of the bootup process:
    systemd-analyze plot > test.svg
Then view test.svg with a browser or so and see what seems to be blocking progress and try to fix it. In the pic in my blog (from my desktop, btw) it seems it takes a long time to go on line and the system waits with executing the login until it has connected. See this and this for some on how to do this.


Go through the options in Synaptiks or whatever your distro or desktop ships as touchpad tool - a must. First of all, make sure it switches off the touchpad on keyboard activity (I've set it to 0.75 seconds which works without annoying me but I think that this setting is VERY personal) and you should enable the horizontal and vertical scrolling with two fingers under Touchpad Configuration. I have also enabled "continue edge scrolling automatically", which feels very natural if you're trying to scroll quickly.

Under tapping, as Plasma Workspaces are single-click everywhere (by default...) I've enabled "make single taps faster and double taps slower". And I use one finger for left mouse, two for right and three for middle-click (can't live without middle-click-paste in Linux). But you can also use the corners. I don't like the automated dragging - sometimes I DO a double-tab to e.g. maximize a window and it often starts dragging. The dragging with this touchpad works very well, almost perfect: just click (until you get a audible and sensory CLICK) on the bottom-left of the touchpad, then move with your other finger. Works quite OK although it sometimes gets annoying when you drag and have to lift your finger to keep going - sometimes things snap back.

Filesystems and such on a SSD

There are lots of SSD tips and tricks on the net. Most of these are not needed these days as the Linux schedulers are just fine with SSD's and other settings are done with laptop-mode-tools or are standard in openSUSE 12.2. But for the curious: I use btrfs and I have the following options after "default," in my fstab "noatime,compress=lzo,ssd,discard".

Also, I would put /tmp on a tmpfs. Probably not needed on a 2014 distribution but not (yet) standard in older distro's. Do this by modifying /etc/fstab and adding the following line:
    tmpfs /tmp tmpfs defaults 0 0

That's it

If you've got a NP900X[Something], have fun with it and let me know if this was useful!


  1. Just to let you know that the microHDMI, the VGA proprietary adapter, and the Ethernet dongle all work out of the box on Linux :)

    Enjoy your Sammy, it is a great machine!

    1. Good to hear the VGA adapter also works, I've ordered one. They are ridiculously expensive, I must say - I've paid about 55 Euros for mine. But I need it for projectors at conferences.

  2. There are two additional tweaks I use for extended battery life.

    1. phc-intel or phc-k8, for express undervolting. It works, and provides all the expected advantages and risks of undervolting. Use with care.

    2. Jupiter. I thought at first glance that it was a hoax, but Jupiter really works. It automates a lot of the tweaks PowerTop suggests.

    1. I understand sandy bridge and ivy bridge are not supported by the current phc project.

      I looked at Jupiter but it seems weird to me. I need to run a python cpu hog waking up my system all the time to save energy? Find that hard to believe. Isn't that what laptop-mode is for? When I run powertop on battery, all recommendations are done already so I doubt jupiter could do anything else.

      I also looked at tuned from fedora which again seems to do the same as the laptop-mode script. Is that script openSUSE specific that everyone is re-inventing the wheel or what?!?

  3. In my opinion Thinkpad X1 Carbon would have been a better option, especially considering Lenovo usually has good Linux support.

    1. It has a bigger screen but is also significantly heavier (1.35 kg). Also, it is noisy, has a crappy screen and much worse battery life (7 vs 5 hours). Rapid charge is nice but doesn't help in an airplane... Big plus is the keyboard but I still don't think it is a real contender unless you absolutely must have Thinkpads. See http://www.engadget.com/2012/08/14/lenovo-thinkpad-x1-carbon-review/ for some comparison (but there are plenty of other reviews).

  4. Thanks for this great article that gather all this useful informations.

    I have an i7 version of this laptop and it boot with systemd, connman and Enlightenment to under 4s without any particular trick. The biggest slow down during the boot process is now the kernel (2.5s), and I should take the time to do compile a custom one at some point. I know that it is possible to make it boot in around 2s with a patched kernel and a properly configured user space.

    As for the LAN connector, yeah, it just work :-)

    1. 4s, nice! You do have the 256GB SSD, which is faster than the 128GB's so that might help. Still, impressively short, I am happy with the 5.5 sec I usually get :D

  5. after updating to kernel 3.6-RC6 (from http://kernel.opensuse.org ) I discovered power usage is down significantly. Varying between 6.2 and 7.2 watt, this might bring an additional hour of battery life to this laptop under Linux.

    It doesn't fix the lid or power plug issues, unfortunately. I tried also updating to upower 0.9.18 but this doesn't solve the problem either.

  6. Since the Vaio Z series came up: I have a Vaio Z21Q9E and it is one of the best Linux supported laptops I've owned so far.
    Basically everything I've needed worked out of the box on a standard Debian installation: WLAN, LAN, Bluetooth, VGA, HDMI, touch pad, card reader, brightness/volume keys, suspend/resume to/from RAM)

    The most annoying thing is that it can do 5 hours of continous use on Windows but only about 2.5 on Linux. However I haven't looked into any tips on powersaving yet, so that is likely improvable.

    1. See my tips - many of them should be relevant for the Vaio too. Basically, powertop is your friend ;-)

  7. The battery and lid switch event handling are deficiencies in the laptop's ACPI (BIOS-side). I have identical behavior on the NP900X4C (15" model).

    I totally wiped out the original Windows partition and started it over, installing drivers manually as needed. At first, the power handling was identical to Linux, but eventually everything started to "just work" after installing the Samsung Easy Settings utility. I suspect this means that a lot of the power management is handled in WMI on Windows (especially convenience things like super-fast S3 resume and wake on lid switch). It's unfortunate and may mean this line of awesome machines may never see proper support by Linux.

    So it's unlikely that a near-future kernel upgrade will solve the ACPI problems with these machines. Hopefully it won't take too long for it to be consistently usable.

    1. thanks for the updates jos! additional information is very helpful.

      @Anonymous -- what you state here is very interesting. i still have run into these issues with my np900x3c, acpi issues seem to work just fine (but i doubt it'll stay like that).

      this has been perhaps the best possible explanation for this issue. though i wouldn't say linux users are doomed. apparently there is a wmi client for linux:

      it's already in use for some drivers (asus backlight through wmi):

      so it could be that a wmi query could return the proper values... and that wmi should be used instead of acpi to fix these issues.

    2. Indeed an interesting theory. I'd still like to know why different distributions have different results with acpi. Opensuse seems to do a lot better than for example ubuntu.

    3. @in0ni - (OP Anon here)

      Ah, excellent tip with the WMI client. With that, it may be helpful to look through the libraries and utilities included with the Samsung Windows tool. Might even find some WQL in the strings. I'll look around when I have some free time.


    4. @last anonymous: keep us posted, I also look forward to a solution ;-)

  8. Thanks for this great description of how to make Linux runnable on a Ultrabook.
    I would like to buy a new ultrabook in next weeks. My favorite is currently the ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A-R4002V.
    But your comparisions with ASUS is very curt. Is it possible to describe it in more detail, for instance as detailed as the one for the Samsung Series 9

    1. I have both available. The issue described here is the only issue in teh Samsung left. The issue the Asus has is that after suspend the usb ports stop working.

      Apart from that the keyboard of the Asus SUCKS!
      You have to hit them with a hammer. Samsung looks just more finished and better build quality.

  9. Soldered RAM on a PC? Yuck! I guess that it is not extendable?

    1. Nope, it is not. Yeah, it's the biggest downsize of this type of devices... I'd have preferred one with 8GB, even if it was significantly more expensive :(

    2. I saw this video:
      In the shop here they sayed: memory can expanded to 8 GB

    3. @KC yeah, that's the NP900X3A - that one could be upgraded. The X3B, X3C and x3D can not. The X4A, X4B, X4C etc CAN be updated - they're the 15" models.

  10. Hi Jos,

    Hoping for some advice if you would be so kind.

    I am weighing up two laptops; your Samsung Series 9, or the new Lenovo Ideapd Yoga 13.

    About the Samsung:
    1. Hardware support wise - how much of an improvement do you anticipate opensuse 12.3 being?
    2. Does the keyboard backlight work by default (turns on when dark, etc), whereas your instructions are only for modifying the intensity?

    About the Lenovo:
    1. The Yoga is one of the new breed of tablet/notebooks hybrids - how much of a problem do you anticipate in getting the transition to work automatically as it does in Win8?
    2. Is the opensuse team interested in packaging Plasma Mobile along with Plasma Desktop for use in hybrid tablet/notebooks, including supporting the automatic transition?

    Given that i want to run run opensuse on my new laptop - would you recommend a traditional laptop for the near future on the general principle that hardware support will be better, or are you optimistic that hybrids will quickly pick up support from linux for their additional functionality?

    Kind regards


    1. 1. 12.3 might bring some improvements - the changes to udev probably will not be needed anymore, for example, so some keys work out of the box. I don't think the special stuff will start working out of the box, however, like the battery protection and the performance/silent mode thing.
      2. No, you have to turn it on. I am not sure if it even has the ability to turn on automatically, I don't think so.

      About the Yoga, I bet there'll be some problems for a while.
      The openSUSE folks are interested, but we heavily depend on upstream in this as we don't have the resources to write support for this ourselves.

      I would wait with hybrids for now ;-)

      Have fun,

    2. thank you Jos, the information is very helpful.

      could i get you to commit to writing a similar article detailing how to get 12.3 running on your shiny new laptop when it arrives in march?

      it would be greatly appreciated for a non-technical opensuse.

      kind regards

    3. @jedibeeftrix: I might write a blog about 12.3, sure, that'd be fun :D

  11. Hi Jos,

    Hoping for some advice if you would be so kind.

    I am weighing up two laptops; your Samsung Series 9, or the new Lenovo Ideapd Yoga 13.

    About the Samsung:
    1. Hardware support wise - how much of an improvement do you anticipate opensuse 12.3 being?
    2. Does the keyboard backlight work by default (turns on when dark, etc), whereas your instructions are only for modifying the intensity?

    About the Lenovo:
    1. The Yoga is one of the new breed of tablet/notebooks hybrids - how much of a problem do you anticipate in getting the transition to work automatically as it does in Win8?
    2. Is the opensuse team interested in packaging Plasma Mobile along with Plasma Desktop for use in hybrid tablet/notebooks, including supporting the automatic transition?

    Given that i want to run run opensuse on my new laptop - would you recommend a traditional laptop for the near future on the general principle that hardware support will be better, or are you optimistic that hybrids will quickly pick up support from linux for their additional functionality?

    Kind regards


  12. Hi,
    how to boot from usb? I changed the boot order and I also disable the fast boot mode, but nothing...

    1. You have disabled fast boot mode but also let the device boot from the usb stick first over the hard drive. Either enter the boot device choice menu at boot (hit one of the F keys, not sure which one) or go into the bios at boot priority and set the usb drive(s) first.

      You have to enter the bios and pick the USB device first (in boot order) or hit the key to enter the boot device choice menu at boot (that'd be one of the F keys, not sure which)

  13. thanks for the review, I bought this laptop and am using all the tips u have suggested in this review. U have made my Samsung NP900X3C 10x more awesome now that i got everything going under linux
    thanks, Acebond

  14. Notebook does not like to fly… Can someone help?
    For some unexplained reason my Samsung Notebook Series 9 stops working in flight. I turn on the notebook and it works fine for about 30-60, seconds then freezes. It seems to be something with the touchpad. I have to shut it down and then once I reopen on the ground it works perfectly.
    This is very strange and I can’t work out what the problem is.
    I welcome any advice or similar experiences.

    1. Very weird. I have not experienced any issues using the laptop while flying.

  15. Hi Jos, I cannot decide which one to buy x3c or x4c. They are all awesome ultrabooks. I just looked at "theverge" review of this ultrabook. The editor gives 4 points score for heat/noise. It is the worst score. What dou you think about this ? When you writing some code, surfing and other stuff like daily usage, is it getting warm and noisy ? Another question is 13.3" screen is enough size for when writing some java, c or c++ code ? Thanks for your answer.

    1. you will probably never hear this laptop - as I wrote, it is completely silent in 'silent' mode and almost silent, even under heavy load, in normal mode. Unlike other ultrabooks, they managed to cram in TWO fans which can run far slower than the competition - far more quiet.

      It also barely gets warm in daily usage, even under heavy usage it gets warmer but I've never felt it unpleasantly warm. The aluminum shell does quite well in dissipating heat.

  16. I've just run through an Arch Linux install on my brand new NP900X3C. I opted for a pure UEFI + GPT boot, and found that I was kernel panicking randomly. It turns out there are some problems with the samsung-laptop kernel module (at least in 3.6 and 3.7), so I've black listed it an am running much more stable now. Without samsung-laptop neither rfkill and keyboard backlight don't work, so I can add them to the list of already non-working sleep and AC power detection...

    More info on my blog: http://mjanja.co.ke/2012/12/machine-check-exception-on-samsung-np900x3c-on-uefi-boot/

    Otherwise, I love this hardware, and can't wait for Linux support to mature.

  17. Hello Jos,

    first of all congratulations for your blog!

    I bought a sammy np900x3c-a02 just two days ago and now I'm tring to fix what doesn't work. In particular, I noted I have no samsung folder in /sys/devices/platform/..... why? any tips? I'd like to improve the battery performace with your advices.
    My sammy is runnig Ubuntu 12.10 (3.5.0-21).
    Do you think I should switch from Ubuntu into OpenSuse in order to get a smooth configuration?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Maybe Ubuntu disables Samsung hardware support, I dunno - this folder should exist if the Samsung module is loaded. The module is named samsung_laptop and you can try to load it manually (as root) with "modprobe -v samsung_laptop". -v will ensure modprobe tells you what is going on. Hope it helps.

  18. Hi again Jos I bought a samsung series 9 x3d. it is perfect but i have some problems when installing opensuse 12.2 on it. Firstly i booted from usb drive setting Fast BIOS Mode to disabled and secure boot to Uefi and the other options (sorry i could not remember). Installer suggest me automatic boot configuration with grub2 and os will boot / partition. When installation finished, it wont boot from hdd. I searched from internet about it but could not solve my problem. Please help me about this thanks for your help

  19. Hi Jos.

    I'm planning on buying an X3C in a few days and I'm trying to make sure that I would have a descent Linux experience with it since I'm a Linux-only user. I believe everything seems to work perfectly but there is one thing that considers me which is the wireless problem. I just wanted to ask you about the issues you have encountered with the wireless of this computer if any. Some users mention regular connect/disconnects and some packet drops. Do you have these problems with your system? And finally since I mentioned that I only use Linux on my computers, I have to make sure that the computer I get should be able to run Linux smoothly in order for me to be able to perform my daily tasks on it. Even though I really like the design of this computer, would you still recommend me to pick one of these up?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. No problems with Wifi whatsoever - perfect and fast. And yeah, I'd recommend to buy this laptop, especially as the prices have gone down quite a bit since I bought it ;-)

  20. Jos,

    Do you have UEFI enabled? If not, how do you disable it?

    I just read this which states Linux on Samsung with UEFI can/will brick the laptop:

    1. I don't have it enabled - IF it is available on this laptop (have not checked) you would have to enable it in the BIOS, it's not there by default. So, just don't touch it :D

  21. Do you have UEFI enabled on your laptop Jos? Have you followed the bricking issue with Samsung? Does it apply here?


    1. I don't know if it applies and honestly, I don't want to try ;-)

      Not enabling UEFI should cover the bases...

  22. Hi,

    as it seems there are some serious issues with the samsung_laptop module and the firmware.
    So, please be careful when loading the module. Do not do it in UEFI mode.

  23. Hi Jos,

    Could we ask you to do a similar guide to this for Opensuse 12.3 when it arrives in march, please?

    p.s. http://www.h-online.com/open/news/item/Protection-against-Samsung-UEFI-bug-merged-into-Linux-kernel-1795332.html

    Kind regards


    1. I'll have a look to see if things seriously change, but I doubt it. I already upgraded to oS 12.3 (RC1) and have no issues. Only power usage is down a little further ;-)

  24. Thank you, great blog, just bought a X4D. Useful info here, will try it out...

  25. When you said "I use btrfs and I have the following options after "default," in my fstab "noatime,compress=lzo,ssd,discard"...

    ...which new line does I have to add in /etc/fstab after the default configuration?

    a) noatime,compress=lzo,ssd,discard?
    b) default,noatime,compress=lzo,ssd,discard?

    I don't know how it's work exactly in my ssd. It's useful? Can you explain it?

    Thank you very much.
    Your blog is very useful for me!

    1. b is best.

      noatime means the filesystem won't update something on the disk every time you read a file.
      compress=lzo enables compression of data by the filesystem (won't help on sandforce SSD's, they do compression already)
      ssd enables ssd mode in btrfs. This is already default these days so I don't think you need this.
      discard enables TRIM support on the SSD.


  26. For openSUSE 12.3 users I can tell you that the keyboard now works out of the box, no more editing udev files. Nothing has changed in the ACPI area - powerplug and closed lid are still not detected. Maybe a bios update will fix that but you need to have windows installed to update the bios and I don't have that.

  27. Hi Jos,

    First I want to thank you for this post, very useful indeed :D.
    I'm curious, does your light of wifi go off when you press it??? Mine stays on but the network goes down!
    Now I'm curious what changed in this new version of openSUSE for the keyboard to work! I also want to put that working, with out the operation you mentioned in your post.

    Once again, thank you :)

    Best Regards

    1. For me, the wifi light goes off when I turn off the wifi using my script. The keyboard just works without me having to do anything from that Red Hat bugzilla page but you still need the scripts for turning off keyboard backlight and speed and wifi.

  28. echo 1 > /sys/devices/platform/samsung/battery_live_extender
    bash: /sys/devices/platform/samsung/battery_live_extender: Arquivo ou diretório não encontrado
    echo 1 > /sys/devices/platform/samsung/battery_life_extender

  29. Hello Jos, thanks for the your very useful guide!

    I think I'll try your script for fan button (Fn F11).

    On the web I also found this https://code.google.com/p/easy-slow-down-manager/

    You think it's a good alternative?

    Thank you, and excuse my bad English.

    1. Yeah, that also works - but it doesn't add anything over what is in the kernel. You still have to echo a value from a script...


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