Flickering screen with Fedora 32 on ThinkPad X1 Extreme

With a fresh installation of Fedora 32 on a ThinkPad X1 Extreme, my screen flickers occasionally. The flickering to and from a black screen happens every couple of minutes, and takes a fraction of a second.

On Windows and Ubuntu 20.04, this does not happen, and so this appears to be a Fedora-specific issue.

The flickering happens regardless of whether the nouveau or proprietary NVIDIA drivers are used, and also regardless of whether Xorg or Wayland is used.

Solutions and/or ideas for things to try would be very welcome.

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@jbaayen, Welcome to Ask.Fedora!

This could be the same issue as described here…

… and reported here: https://gitlab.gnome.org/GNOME/gnome-shell/-/issues/2665

Can you confirm?

That issue might be related, but unlike the issue:

  • My system does not hang after flickering occurs.
  • The flicker occurs regardless of what I do. It also occurs when browsing the web or using the terminal, for instance.

I see https://forums.lenovo.com/t5/ThinkPad-X-Series-Laptops/X1-Extreme-Gen-2-screen-flickering/m-p/4597861?page=1#4597861
and they don’t speak of any OS… so it might be a general problem.

I saw that post too, but I don’t observe any flickering with Windows 10 or Ubuntu 20.04 …

I have been using Windows on this machine most of the day today, and I haven’t observed a single flicker. Whereas on Fedora, it happens every couple of minutes.

I have a ThinkPad X1 Extreme (Gen 1) and installed Fedora 32 yesterday. I had some flickering issues with the nouveau driver, but once I installed the NVIDIA drivers I had no issues and in fact I am very impressed Fedora 32. Its been a very long time since I installed a Fedora distro on hardware.

Some notes:

  1. ThinkPad X1 Extreme (Gen 1) - not sure which Gen you have
  2. In the firmware I selected discreet (NVIDIA only) graphics
  3. I installed the rpmfusion repo’s directly from the site https://rpmfusion.org/
  4. I did not enable the NVIDIA driver repos from GNOME Software
  5. I installed NVIDIA as per the rpmfusion HOWTO instructions https://rpmfusion.org/Howto/NVIDIA?highlight=(CategoryHowto)
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Many thanks for sharing this.

My recipe had been the same, apart from step two, changing the display setting in the BIOS.
Searching around reveals this to be a risky operation on older BIOS versions:
https://forums.lenovo.com/t5/ThinkPad-X-Series-Laptops/Thinkpad-X1-Extreme-Black-Screen-Help/td-p/4286292?page=1
But, after verifying that my BIOS version did support changing this setting, I went ahead and changed the setting to “discrete”.

No flickering since! So I can confirm that this resolves the issue. :grin:

For the record: This is a 2nd generation X1 Extreme.

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Glad I was able to help. The reason I tried Fedora in the first place was because of the news that Lenovo will be shipping ThinkPads with Fedora installed. To my surprise it works great!

Ok… At first when you mention the problem existed both with Nvidia drivers and Nouveau I convinced myself not to feel guilty. But now that you suggest that switching to Nvidia fix it, I feel guilty! Because a bit more than one year I isolated a flickering problem on an old Nvidia GPU (I don’t remember the model)… and my fix was applied by Nouveau maintainers… around december, I learned that it caused flickering problem on less obscure models… It was proposed to apply my patch only for the detected problematic model… but I frankly just don’t know how to test for the hardware… so I sat on the bug… The bug report is https://bugs.freedesktop.org/show_bug.cgi?id=108514 My patch have been ported to:
Linux 4.14.125, Linux 4.19.50, Linux 5.1.9 so if you test on a version just a bit older on Nouveau… well you could make me feeling even more guilty. :wink: The most recent version I can find that is prior to my patch, is 5.1.8 for Fedora 30: https://koji.fedoraproject.org/koji/buildinfo?buildID=1283779 … which make it a bit hard to test. Maybe it is possible to test in a more recent version… I am very unsure.

Oh, interesting! Looking at your patch though, does it not apply to Radeon cards only?

Well… yes you are right… it would certainly not apply to a GeForce® GTX 1650 Max-Q 4 Go.