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Minimal Ubuntu Installation and power optimization steps

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Xiaomi Air 13: minimal Ubuntu installation and power optimization steps


  • Make bootable flash drive. Personally I don't use flash drives and I have only one with some files on it. I used this wiki to prepare multi boot usb.
  • Download your favorite ubuntu distro. Without reason i chose xubuntu 16.04 (LTS).
    > after testing it turned out that unity DE with default settings is less efficient than XFCE : minimal power consumption 7W vs 4W.
  • Power off laptop, power on and press F2 to get in BIOS(?). If I do reboot F2 doesn't work.
  • Select usb to boot from. If you created usb without UEFI choose legacy mode in boot menu. Save - Reboot
  • Boot to xubuntu-desktop and run gparted in terminal:
    sudo gparted
    . I created 4 partitions for root - / , for /home, swap 8Gb and EFI one (200Mb). Efi partition I did with idea to change boot linux or windows in bios only. Thus I can make grub transparent (without menu and s etc.) when laptop start from hibernate.
  • You may check power consumption with live usb, in terminal
    upower -d
    in my case with USB plugged it was about 7W
  • I downloaded lubuntu alternate to make minimal installation


  • You may want use wifi, in terminal:
    sudo modprobe -r acer_wmi; sudo service network-manager restart
  • Start Installation icon. Make some steps. Downloading updates and HD youtube music video will slow down installation.
  • At page with third-party software you must
    Turn off secure boot
    . Without this step we will not be able install efficient NVIDIA driver blob.
  • Answer no to unmount /dev/sda
  • In HDD partition selection I chose
    Something else
    to do manual selection.
  • Chose partitions for / and /home and uefi
  • Make obvious steps: your location, your language, your login details
  • reboot in ubuntu you probably will need select proper boot order in BIOS

## Configuration * Unlock secure boot: follow instructions on blue screen. * WiFi:

sudo modprobe -r acer_wmi
sudo service network-manager restart
sudo -i
echo 'blacklist acer_wmi' >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf
  • NVIDIA blob, I used version 370, but 367 is stable

Warning: Don't do it on Debian. Use How-to for NVIDIA driver from official wiki

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:graphics-drivers/ppa 
sudo apt update
sudo apt dist-upgrade
sudo apt install  nvidia-370

In result you will get two errors with intel video firmware:

W: Possible missing firmware /lib/firmware/i915/kbl_dmc_ver1.bin for module i915_bpo
W: Possible missing firmware /lib/firmware/i915/skl_guc_ver6.bin for module i915_bpo

Download it from

cd /tmp/

Here you can create links, but i just copied. Update initramfs.

sudo cp /tmp/kbl_dmc_ver1_01.bin /lib/firmware/i915/kbl_dmc_ver1.bin
sudo cp /tmp/skl_guc_ver6_1.bin /lib/firmware/i915/skl_guc_ver6.bin
sudo  update-initramfs -k $(uname -r) -u
  • Once drivers installed, just activate laptopmode. You can add second line to /etc/rc.local in line before exit 0
sudo -i
echo 5 > /proc/sys/vm/laptop_mode

you also may want remove bluetooth and camera modules from kernel

modprobe -r btusb
modprobe -r uvcvideo

One step more, switch to intel video card with prime-select

sudo prime-select intel
sudo prime-select query

After this step I got about 4W power consumption with wifi on at screen brightness 5% running awesome wm.

xbacklight -set 5
sleep 180
upower -d

alt text

  • Installation tlp and tlp radio with default settings can reduce power to bit less in my case 3.9W > some reports say that tlp installation make suspend much more stable.
  • In my case, when I removed btusb, uvcvideo, iwlwifi modules i got only 3.8W . I can conclude that these drivers are realy efficient.
  • And finaly I removed XFCE and get no improvement in energy-rate

Conclusion: with proper drivers xiaomi air 13 power consumption in ubuntu is just equal to windows 10 one. Timelife is about 10 hours.

Some tricks

  • Swich off wifi
nmcli r wifi off
  • For proper sleep and hybernate edit /etc/systemd/logind.conf , my noncomented lines are:
  • You may try hibernate after some time of suspend script, best how-to is here

  • I use autofs to mount flash and samba/nfs resourses. Configs are folder autofs

  • For awesome wm brightness control was done with xbacklight

    awful.key({ }, "XF86MonBrightnessDown", function () awful.util.spawn("xbacklight -dec 5") end),
    awful.key({ }, "XF86MonBrightnessUp",   function () awful.util.spawn("xbacklight -inc 5") end),
  • I use parcellite to manage clipboard, It's cool thing

    parcellite -n &
  • I added to /etc/rc.local , I don't want blacklist it. ```

    remove camera

    modprobe -r uvcvideo ```

Optimus technology with bumblebee

  • Installation

warning ! it's just unstable, probably you may want wait for bumblebee 4.0

 sudo add-apt-repository ppa:bumblebee/testing
 sudo apt update
 sudo apt upgrade


  • adjust kernel driver to
  • replace
    to get this in bumblebee.conf:
 # colon-separated path to the nvidia libraries
# comma-separated path of the directory containing and the
# default Xorg modules path

Sometimes it could be that installed bumblebee does not have configs, so easy solution is just take my configs

cd /tmp
git clone 
cp -r /tmp/xiaomi-mi-13-ubuntu/bumblebee/ /etc
  • Checking
    • stop bumblebee service and run in debug mode
sudo service bumblebeed stop
sudo bumblebeed --debug
  • It could that bumblebee service could not load. It may come from ppa package issues ( I can't check it but it happens with some user). In this case we should use bumblebee for official repo.
 sudo add-apt-repository ppa:bumblebee/testing
 sudo apt update
 sudo apt install bumblebee
 cp -r /tmp/xiaomi-mi-13-ubuntu/bumblebee/ /etc
  • REBOOT in any case

  • run glxgears in new terminal and check for ERROR lines in bumblebee output

primusrun glxgears

normal output is :

[  579.639172] [INFO]Unloading module nvidia_drm
[  579.648303] [INFO]Unloading module nvidia_modeset
[  579.668459] [INFO]Unloading module nvidia_uvm
[  579.688268] [INFO]Unloading module nvidia
[  579.713437] [INFO]Switching dedicated card OFF [bbswitch]
[  579.729761] [DEBUG][XORG] (II) NVIDIA(GPU-0): Deleting GPU-0

bbswitch output should be OFF

~$ cat /proc/acpi/bbswitch; primusrun glxinfo|grep vendor ; cat /proc/acpi/bbswitch; sleep 5; cat /proc/acpi/bbswitch
0000:01:00.0 OFF
server glx vendor string: NVIDIA Corporation
client glx vendor string: primus
OpenGL vendor string: NVIDIA Corporation
0000:01:00.0 ON
0000:01:00.0 OFF

now you can run your games:)

primusrun steam

TLP fix to run bumblebee on kernel 4.8 (probably 4.8+)

Edit /etc/default/tlp to adjust two options :


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