Thinkpads, Ultra Docs, nVidia and headaches

Hello DL! I apologize for the length in advance. I seldom reach out on forums and chat spaces looking for help because I can normally find solutions with some Google-fu and a little bit of work. That being said, I have been having a tough time finding resolution and I hope someone here can give me a hand.

A coworker GIFTED me a high end Lenovo Thinkpad P50. Xeon E3-1505M, 64GB RAM, nVidia Quadro M2000M AND an Ultra Dock to go with it!

Needless to say this is huge step up over my dual core lappy I was using and I was itching to get i3wm up and running with the dock.

However, the nVidia setup on this machine has been giving me a ton of trouble. I cannot get a distribution of Linux loaded up on this machine and have it cooperate with the Ultra Dock.

I know that the P50 has the HDMI and mini Displayport connected to the nVidia card. Additionally, I believe that the Quadro also pushes the displays attached to the Ultra Dock (I could be wrong though). I have a triple monitor setup, but the dock can only drive two of them. So my 32" ultrawide LG and one of my 24" Dell’s are connected to the dock via Displayports. The matching 24" Dell, which is the third monitor in the setup, is plugged directly into the HDMI port on the P50.

I have tried the following distros:

  • Manjaro - i3, Gnome, KDE
  • Pop!_OS (18.04, 19.10 [AMD and nVidia])
  • Fedora 31
  • Ubuntu (18.04, 19.10)
  • Ubuntu Mate (19.10)
  • Archlabs w/ i3

Additionally I have read a ton of forum posts, wikis and blog posts, including (but not limited to) Arch Wiki - Lenovo P50, Hybrid Graphics, Optimus, Bumblebee etc.

I have also tried different configurations with UEFI display settings to Discreet and Hybrid while installing and after installs.

The best I have been able to accomplish was with Fedora 31 and live images with Pop!_OS and Manjaro KDE.

Fedora 31’s live installer worked great. All monitors were detected and I could organize all of the monitors in the GUI. However, after install and a reboot, the monitor connected to the P50 via HDMI direct fails to populate a screen. It also isn’t detected with xrandr or in the GUI settings app or nVidia Manager.

I had the same experince with Pop!_OS. Manjaro KDE worked the best out of the bunch. Not only were all monitors detected and usable in the live install, after the install and reboot, all monitors populated desktops. The caveat was the desktop is all that would show! No cursor, no task bar, only a desktop background. I also could not Alt+F1 to a tty for further troubleshooting.

Needless to say, I am pretty exhausted after the past two days . I am pretty sure that I forgot to include some stuff and I am still relatively new to Linux, so if I missed something, please let me know.

Thank you in advance!

For Quaddros, i believe the best drivers are the noveau because Nvidia only loves open source enterprise.
Also try Ubuntu Mate 19.10. Martin Wimpress did a beautiful job with the optimus drivers there.

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