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Thinkpad X1 tablet gen 3 (20KJ) + Lenovo TB3 eGPU dock (G0A1) + dual boot Win10/Ubuntu

2018-10-11, 10:32 AM

Hello all,


This is my first post on these forums, and it's going to be a rather long one.




I had originally been waiting for the delivery of the "vaporware" Eve V tablet for 7 months, before I gave up and asked for refund. Then, I purchased my X1 tablet gen 3 last June, received it two weeks later and I must say I am really pleased with the device, it is light, powerful, and the battery has enough juice for me. The pen works like a charm (I do not paint, I just use it for note taking or sketching ideas)


My intent with this tablet is to use it in very various situations:

  • At home for casual browsing/gaming
  • At home for tougher gaming with an eGPU
  • At work for real-time 3D programming under Linux (with or without eGPU)
  • On mobility (trains, planes, hotels, ...)
  • As a music score reader while playing the trumpet


The Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Tablet gen 3 along with an eGPU seemed like the best option to get all these use cases.


This is the story of my journey so far.


The easy part


Windows 10 works well, except that sometimes the fingerprint scanner does not unlock / wake up windows, and I have to switch back to pin authentication. I do not use face recognition so I didn't test this feature.


Getting Windows 10 to cohabit with Ubuntu was rather easy, I still have some issues with Ubuntu not recognizing everything (trackpoint, fnlock, ...) but they are not that bad.


I even had the good surprise to discover that the EFI system was touch-enabled, so I could use rEFInd as a bootloader for my dual-boot setup. Turned out rEFInd managed to respond to touches properly, but there's a catch. Windows 10, seems to dislike something in the way rEFInd loads it, and when used with bitlocker, Win10 won't boot with rEFInd (instead it launches the bitlocker recovery, which then reboots). I still have a workaround I want to test for that that may solve this: disabling all kind of system scans by rEFInd and use only static boot stanzas. Will try that later on.


So each time I want to boot linux, I have to go in the boot menu to select the rEFInd entry. This caused a new annoying issue to pop up:


When you touch the screen during POST (or hit enter key) there is a beep. It does not seem that this beep can be disabled in the BIOS settings. This quite annoying (especially in public places).


The less easy part


The tough part starts once I tried to use the eGPU. I bought the Lenovo TB3 graphics G0A1, both for portability and price, and thinking it may be better supported by the Lenovo tablet.


I first tried to use it under Windows 10. Getting it to be properly recognized with drivers installed and all was struggle by itself. I now have everything set up, performance is good and I get display on external monitor plugged in dock and internal screen.


Thing is, it proved really unstable. Even when not using the GPU, Windows crashes with a BSOD with errors VIDEO_TDR_FAILURE or VIDEO_MEMORY_MANAGEMENT_INTERNAL. I tried both with Lenovo-provided drivers and with official nVidia drivers, same result. However, hot (un)plugging the eGPU seems to work when following the directions found in the dock's manual.


I saw on the Lenovo support website that there was a firmware update for the dock. So, not knowing which version I had I tried installing it but it does not work (it is searching for wrong device identifiers). I can give additional information on this if asked. I did some dissection of the firmware update script.


The really hard part


Next thing, I wanted to try the dock under Ubuntu. Getting the drivers set up and the device properly recognized is a hassle, but I somehow managed to do it. I got the eGPU to work and it delivers good performance. I had to use nVidia's proprietary drivers, as the open source one (AKA nouveau) didn't manage to make it work. It was even necessary to take all sorts of actions to blacklist the "nouveau" driver to make sure the kernel does not try to load it.


The issue is that I can't get the display to work on the internal screen, only the displays plugged in the dock work. Also, when using the eGPU for a long time (multiple hours) , the tablet gets really hot, and eventually shuts off completely with no warnings. I think this has to do with overheating either of the dock or the tablet itself, system logs do not show any info as to why the tablet had to shut off. 




 So, the list of issues is the following for now :

  • All OSs: "Beep" at boot-time when entering the boot menu
  • Win10: Unable to execute the dock's firmware upgrade (and unable to check current firmware version)
  • Win10: Fingerprint scanner occasionnally fails to wake up the tablet
  • Ubuntu: Trackpoint not working
  • Ubuntu: Some keys not working (fnlock, some function keys)
  • Ubuntu: Internal screen not usable when eGPU is used
  • Ubuntu: Major system failure during intense CPU / eGPU sessions (overheating ?)

The journey is still going on and I hope to fix all these issues on the way (or get them fixed). I will update this post every now and then if requested details by you guys, or if I manage to fix issues.


Meanwhile, I will welcome any suggestion to fix these issues.


If you kept reading that far maybe you are kinda masochistic. But thank you nonetheless.


Bless you all !


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Re: Thinkpad X1 tablet gen 3 (20KJ) + Lenovo TB3 eGPU dock (G0A1) + dual boot Win10/Ubuntu

2018-10-12, 17:09 PM

Hey, if you don't mind, I have some questions as I'm also interested in this device. Do you ever find the tablet screen too warm to use under regular usage? And do you notice any visible lag when writing with the pen?


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Re: Thinkpad X1 tablet gen 3 (20KJ) + Lenovo TB3 eGPU dock (G0A1) + dual boot Win10/Ubuntu

2018-10-15, 9:46 AM
Hello, I don't know what "too warm" means in terms of exact temperature figures as well as "regular usage".

The screen can get hot under heavy load (gaming, compilation, ...) but never to the point where it could cause physical injury (to yourself, or the device).

I didn't notice any lag with the stylus (but again, I don't use it for illustration, but mainly for note taking).

Hope this helps.

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Re: Thinkpad X1 tablet gen 3 (20KJ) + Lenovo TB3 eGPU dock (G0A1) + dual boot Win10/Ubuntu

2018-11-15, 1:48 AM

I have the same problem with the fingerprint reader.  Additional training helped, but it still won't recognize my finger some days.  Never had such a problem on another device.


As far as Thunderbolt, this isn't exactly the same, but I am using the Lenovo TB dock and I was losing my mind because it kept randomly disconnecting and sometimes wouldn't connect (it would charge my tablet, no devices).  Different cables didn't help, but the same dock and cable on my laptop with ThunderBolt works perfectly with it - no issues.

Lenovo support suggested that I go in the BIOS under Thunderbolt and change authentication from User to None.  Not the greatest for security, but I haven't had a problem with the dock since.  Perhaps the disconnections are causing your BSOD. 


Several people are having problems with screen coating scratches and wear marks with the device.  Any issues with yours?




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Re: Thinkpad X1 tablet gen 3 (20KJ) + Lenovo TB3 eGPU dock (G0A1) + dual boot Win10/Ubuntu

2018-12-17, 23:48 PM

I have had several tiny screen scratches after just about 1,5 days of light use. 

I have already started a service request (4 years On-Site Service included), but no answer so far. 

I have been trying to get the graphics dock started on my device - no success after four hours and two lenovo calls. 


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Re: Thinkpad X1 tablet gen 3 (20KJ) + Lenovo TB3 eGPU dock (G0A1) + dual boot Win10/Ubuntu

2019-01-11, 13:23 PM

I started having pretty noticeable smudges and finger marks on the trackpad and keyboard literally the second day using it. I havent found a way to clean it off entirely, which is kind of a bummer. But this is my only issue with the tablet so im happy with purchase.

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