In this article, I describe in what points my installation of Gentoo Linux on the Lenovo Thinkpad T530 2429-2UG differs from the official guide at Some configs and scripts can be found in my T530 git repository at

Partitioning and SSD optimizations

As space on SSDs is expensive, I moved away from my usual habit to keep Windows (fresh install consumes 37GB) as a backup OS on the disk. To enable recovery, I made a backup of the three partitions using partimage and stored the images on a different host using NFS (partimage also has an own network protocol). Afterwards, I wiped the whole SSD using so-called secure erase ( This way, all blocks should be marked as empty (see TRIM). As the BIOS issues the freeze command, one has to do a suspend-to-ram cycle before secure erase is possible. Because the Gentoo installation image does not support this, I used an Ubuntu image to issue the erase command.

If you understand german, there is also a collection of SSD-related articles on

To keep up with state of the art, I switched to GPT partitioning (and therefore grub2). For GPT, one simply uses gdisk instead of fdisk. This way, it also automatically handles proper sector alignment. As I was not exactly sure, how my final partitioning scheme will look like (e.g., I might encrypt some directories), I used LVM to allow new "partitions" or changing their size afterwards. For the beginning, I created two logical volumes for / and /home. As my T530 has 8 GB Ram and I have a SSD, I did not create a swap partition. For a LVM howto, see the Gentoo wiki. To pass-through TRIM commands, one has to enable the issue_discards option in the LVM config file.

Update: If you plan to boot with UEFI instead of BIOS, also create a small GPT partition with 200-500 MB. Booting with UEFI and grub2 works so far, but I didn't notice any improvements.

As filesystem, I chose the standard: ext4. To avoid write accesses, I mounted /tmp using tmpfs and mounted /var/tmp using -o bind to /tmp. Additionally, I linked ~/.thumbnails to /tmp/, deactivated the browser cache and configured Thunderbird to not store the emails on my disk. Usually, I always have a fast internet connection, so this is not a problem for me.

In order to keep /var/log/ in a tmpfs as well, I wrote a small initscript that will rsync chosen files at startup/shutdown with a permanent storage on the SSD. The script and instructions can be found here.

I am also experimenting with a reduced portage tree as described here. An actualized version of the script can be found in my T530 git repository. In my case, it reduced the portage size from 830MB to 124MB.

With the following command, IO accesses can be monitored: iotop -aobPq -d 4 . As I'm using LVM, all accesses to the actual hard disk should be accumulated in the lines with processes named like "[jbd2/dm-0-8]".


As my T530 contains new devices, I directly started with the 3.4.5 gentoo-sources kernel. My kernel .config can be found in my T530 git repository.


Sound works out-of-the-box so far with the Intel HDA and Realtek module. However, if you're using a docking station, the headphone jack is not working automatically, yet. The model=thinkpad parameter seems to work for pre-IvyBridge models only. With hda-analyzer I found the required settings that can be set using the commandline with the hda-verb tool and following commands:

./hda-verb /dev/snd/hwC0D0 0x1b SET_PIN_WIDGET_CONTROL 0x40
./hda-verb /dev/snd/hwC0D0 0x1b SET_AMP_GAIN_MUTE 0xb000
./hda-verb /dev/snd/hwC0D0 0x1b SET_CONNECT_SEL 1

Probably this is true for other [TWX][45]30 models as well. A script can be found in my T530 git repository. If you hear a click during suspend/resume, this is caused by the laptop-mode-tools that put the device to sleep. This can be deactivated in the laptop-mode configs.

Update: Thanks to Takashi Iwai, the following kernel patches enable the jacks in the docking station and, if necessary, allow to force this settings using a model=lenovo-dock kernel parameter: Patch 1, Patch 2. They should be included in kernel version 3.6 or 3.7.

Update: Regarding DisplayPort/HDMI audio output see this part.

Network interfaces

Wired ethernet interface works out-of-the-box with the e1000e module.

For wireless connection, the iwlwifi module and the firmware in sys-firmware/iwl6005-ucode are required. If you plan to install Gentoo over WLAN, copy the firmware onto a USB stick and after booting into /lib/firmware. If your connection gets stuck with a 11n router, try adding iwlwifi.wd_disable=1 and/or iwlwifi.11n_disable=1 to your parameters until the bug is fixed in a new kernel version.


My T530 contains the HD4000 GPU in the IvyBridge processor and a dedicated Nvidia NVS 5400M. Both work out-of-the-box. If the system freezes after booting the kernel try adding the nomodeset parameter to the kernel parameters. For now, I choose the integrated GPU when on batteries and the dedicated GPU in the docking station (the DVI port on the docking station is an internal DisplayPort interface, and all DisplayPorts are only connected to the dedicated GPU).

Update: I installed Bumblebee through portage and it seems to work so far, except that it looks like the current nouveau module does not support 3D acceleration on this card, yet. I will test again with a newer kernel. The installation is pretty easy, just unmask and install, add user to bumblebee group and start bumblebee and vgl during boot. For nouveau support, you have to build it as separate module, not builtin in the kernel.

Update: Displayport works out-of-the-box with my DP-2-HDMI cable. Only issue was the sound. Auto-detection of pulseaudio seems to have a bug and you have to manually configure the audio sinks as described in the ArchWiki. Afterwards, you just have to redirect the output of your application to the HDMI device (default is internal audio) using kmix, for example.

Other stuff

The webcam works with uvcvideo module. I added some lines to the actions file of the acpid in order to dynamically (un)load the module after pressing the function key.

Other things like the Cardbus slot and Firewire are untested, yet. As I never used Cardbus and Firewire so far, I deactivated both in the BIOS for security (I don't know if they still allow attached devices direct memory access).