My Initial Intel Broadwell Linux Experience With The ThinkPad X1 Carbon

Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 23 January 2015 at 04:33 AM EST. 24 Comments
On Thursday my Broadwell-powered Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon laptop/ultrabook finally arrived for some Linux testing of Intel's exciting Haswell successor. While many tests are forthcoming of this third-generation X1 Carbon -- including Broadwell Windows vs. Linux benchmarks -- here's my initial experiences over the first ~10 minutes with this new hardware.

For those that don't follow Phoronix closely (you should!), following CES this month in Las Vegas I decided my next main laptop/ultrabook will be the new X1 Carbon with Intel Broadwell CPU. I ended up buying the new X1 Carbon with Intel Core i7 5600U processor and HD Graphics 5500. Finally, yesterday the new laptop/ultrabook arrived fresh off the manufacturing line from China.

After some quick Windows 8.1 benchmarks to see how its OpenGL performance of the Intel HD Graphics 5500 perform for future comparison under Linux, I was wiping the drive and off to first try out Ubuntu 14.10. (The Fedora tests and other potentials are to come after the Ubuntu tests.)

The X1 Carbon can support booting in UEFI or legacy BIOS modes, while for now I left it in UEFI-only mode. However, I did disable Secure Boot from the UEFI setup since I often prefer testing kernels that haven't been signed for Secure Boot. Ubuntu 14.10 x86_64 booted up right away to the desktop! It mode-set correctly at 1920 x 1080 (the native panel resolution) and the touchpad was also working without any troubles. The ThinkPad trackpoint was also working out-of-the-box on Ubuntu 14.10.

The latest Intel WiFi was working out-of-the-box on Ubuntu 14.10.

There were no SSD detection issues so Ubuntu 14.10 went off to installing without any issues.

For the first few minute experience of the Intel Core i7 Broadwell CPU via the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, things are going great!

There is working hardware acceleration for the Broadwell HD Graphics 5500 with Mesa 10.3 + Linux 3.16 of Ubuntu 14.10.

All crucial components were a go, so off to explore a bit more of the performance for this X1 Carbon laptop.

Stay tuned for a more thorough Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Broadwell review in the days ahead along with a lot of initial Intel Broadwell Linux performance figures from various distributions (Ubuntu, Fedora, etc). For anyone with specific Broadwell Linux test requests, let me know and I'll try to honor them though the biggest priority is given to Phoronix Premium subscribers or those making PayPal tips that go to support the site in cases like these when hardware is purchased rather than just receiving review samples. So far the experience has been going well in the past few hours, compared to some past hardware launches that proved to be a bit more difficult for Linux users.
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Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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