My experience with Linux (Nobara Steamdeck Edition) on the Lenovo Legion Go (Very Positive!)

First, a disclaimer - I have been using Linux for many many years and things that most people consider difficult or obtuse are easy for me. So any statements about Linux's ease of use should be taken with a bit of salt. Grin

So I bought my Lenovo Legion Go with the full intent to dual boot with Linux, and I couldn't be happier!

Nobara Steamdeck Edition was really easy to install (relative to other linux distros) and 90% of the device's features are working without doing anything else.

However, I'm a bit picky so I swapped out a bootloader that supported touchscreen selection (rEFind), and found a wonderful guide that brings the functionality almost to parity with Windows (and actually superior in a few ways) - https://github.com/aarron-lee/legion-go-tricks

The end result is something that feels better to use than Windows. Nobara running in "Gaming Mode" (Big Picture) uses only 1.6GB of barely breaks 2.5GB with a third party launcher running. This means that setting the UMA memory allocation (Vram allocation) to 8GB works a lot better! Even launching into "Desktop Mode" provides a better experience than Windows 11 in many places - mainly resource usage and responsiveness. 

Ultimately, I'm considering shrinking my Windows partition to be only used for Firmware and Bios updates going forward. Linux provides that good of an experience for me.

Linux still probably isn't for the non-technical quite yet, but in a year or two, it might be! In the meantime, if you like to tinker, consider this an enthusiastic recommendation to give it a shot!

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  • That's awesome,  !

    Do you know which kernel you're running?

    Until I installed (Debian) kernel 6.5, I've had less than stellar performance on a Legion 5i Pro Gen 8.

    Kernel 6.0 was quite bad on Intel 13th-gen mobile.  Kernel 6.1 was ok, but not good or great.  I'm curious if you've tried upgrading the kernel — to the latest version.  You may see drastic improvements.  Not just performance, but power-management and battery-life.

    I know.  I know.  The Legion Go has an AMD Ryzen Z1.  And the Linux-kernel usually supports AMD better than Intel.  But, not necessarily... when the processor is brand new.

    If you're interested in reading more about my experience, check out my Lenovo EDU Community post(s) (link opens new tab or window).  FYI- custom configuration of tlp increased work-on-battery from 4 hours to 7 hours.  Suspend-on-battery remained the same — 1%/hour, for (theoretically) 4 days of suspended-on-battery.  I typically get 24 hours of uptime, before I need to recharge my (80 Whr) battery.  I also disabled Rapid Charge in the BIOS — to improve battery-health and battery-lifespan.

    I include links to some of my Geekbench6 scores.  They beat Wendell's scores¹ — running Geekbench6 Pro on a 13th-gen Intel ITX-system from MinisForum!  Even in multi-core!

    Wendell's system has a large heat-sink and a Noctua NF-A12×25 PWM (120 mm) desktop-fan on it.  My system has Lenovo's "Performance Mode" (Fn+Q) + gaming-laptop cooling.  But, Wendell ran his tests on Windows 11. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    ¹ While running the Lenovo Legion 5i Pro Gen 8 on AC-power — cooling in "Balance Mode".  That model has an i7 13700HX (16c/24t).  Wendell's MinisForum AR900i is running an i9 13900HX (24c/32t).  Both CPUs have the same number of P-cores — 8.  The difference in core-count/thread-count comes from the E-cores — 8 vs 16, respectively.

    btw- I've also been using Linux for "many many years".  This year makes it a quarter-century — starting with RHL 5.9.  But, I've been using desktop Linux for only 22 years — starting with Knoppix-STD LiveCD (2002). :-)

Reply
  • That's awesome,  !

    Do you know which kernel you're running?

    Until I installed (Debian) kernel 6.5, I've had less than stellar performance on a Legion 5i Pro Gen 8.

    Kernel 6.0 was quite bad on Intel 13th-gen mobile.  Kernel 6.1 was ok, but not good or great.  I'm curious if you've tried upgrading the kernel — to the latest version.  You may see drastic improvements.  Not just performance, but power-management and battery-life.

    I know.  I know.  The Legion Go has an AMD Ryzen Z1.  And the Linux-kernel usually supports AMD better than Intel.  But, not necessarily... when the processor is brand new.

    If you're interested in reading more about my experience, check out my Lenovo EDU Community post(s) (link opens new tab or window).  FYI- custom configuration of tlp increased work-on-battery from 4 hours to 7 hours.  Suspend-on-battery remained the same — 1%/hour, for (theoretically) 4 days of suspended-on-battery.  I typically get 24 hours of uptime, before I need to recharge my (80 Whr) battery.  I also disabled Rapid Charge in the BIOS — to improve battery-health and battery-lifespan.

    I include links to some of my Geekbench6 scores.  They beat Wendell's scores¹ — running Geekbench6 Pro on a 13th-gen Intel ITX-system from MinisForum!  Even in multi-core!

    Wendell's system has a large heat-sink and a Noctua NF-A12×25 PWM (120 mm) desktop-fan on it.  My system has Lenovo's "Performance Mode" (Fn+Q) + gaming-laptop cooling.  But, Wendell ran his tests on Windows 11. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    ¹ While running the Lenovo Legion 5i Pro Gen 8 on AC-power — cooling in "Balance Mode".  That model has an i7 13700HX (16c/24t).  Wendell's MinisForum AR900i is running an i9 13900HX (24c/32t).  Both CPUs have the same number of P-cores — 8.  The difference in core-count/thread-count comes from the E-cores — 8 vs 16, respectively.

    btw- I've also been using Linux for "many many years".  This year makes it a quarter-century — starting with RHL 5.9.  But, I've been using desktop Linux for only 22 years — starting with Knoppix-STD LiveCD (2002). :-)

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  • I tend to roll with the cutting edge kernel, which at the time of writing is 6.7.4. However in this case the 6.7 series introduces a frame-capping bug that I find annoying on some games. So I'm instead on the 6.6 LTS release for now and I'm pretty happy with it.

    I hope they fix the regression by 6.9 since that's when the AMD's preferred core patch finally arrives offering about a 2-7% performance uplift in CPU loads (depending on the silicon, of course).

    As for the Z1 Extreme, there's not a lot of special sauce needed for it, actually. It's still based on the documented ZEN4 architecture which was introduced a few versions back. From a CPU standpoint things are stable, and performance gets continual updates. The GPU is a Radeon 780M which has been usable since release and is constantly getting better. It can reliably output an HDR10 complaint signal and output games in HDR even!

    Bearing in mind that I'm using the Nobara fsync kernel which also introduces a few different patches that helps smooth over some wrinkles found in the standard kernel.

    No need to clarify your linux skills, they are apparent! Myself I'm a Cloud SRE that maintains some super high performance databases for some big named companies all on linux, using linux. It sounds like I'm bit younger than you though, so my first experience with Linux was Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn.

    Fun fact! I was born 09/17/1991 - check out what version of Linux came out that day!