Kernel requirements for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.5 on Dell Precision laptops with Coffee Lake CPU

Solution Unverified - Updated -

Environment

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.5
  • Dell Precision Mobile Workstation (3530, 5530, 7530, and 7730) laptops with Coffee Lake CPUs.

Issue

  • What kernel parameters are needed at install time for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.5 on Coffee Lake based Dell Precision 3530, 5530, 7530, and 7730 Mobile Workstations.
  • After installing Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.5, what kernel version is the minimum version needed for full support.

Resolution

If this solution is attached to a certification that system was certified without using accelerated graphics drivers during install. The discrete GPU (if equipped) was disabled by passing the "nomodeset" kernel parameter.

It is recommended to install 7.5 on these systems with the "basic graphics" option in the installer, (Which passes the 'nomodeset' parameter to the kernel on boot).
Or you can install using the i915 accelerated video, and disabling the discrete graphics by passing the appropriate kernel parameters on install. e.g. "module_blacklist=nouveau,amdgpu,radeon i915.alpha_support=1"

Once the system is installed, you should upgrade to kernel 3.10.0-862.3.2.el7 (7.5 Batch Update 1 "z-stream"). This kernel requires no kernel parameters for accelerated i915 video,.

Root Cause

The i915 driver in the 7.5 GA kernel does not support Coffee Lake graphics by default.
In some instances the nouveau driver has caused lockups during install.

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3 Comments

What Graphics card was installed? Intel HD GFX or one of the Nvidia (3200, P4200) ?

In my case here is the hardware that I have (Kernel Panic'd every time until I added the kernel parameters).

Provided by dmidecode:

System Information Manufacturer: Dell Inc. Product Name: Precision 5530

lspci -vv output: 00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation UHD Graphics 630 (Mobile) (prog-if 00 [VGA controller]) Subsystem: Dell Device 087d Kernel modules: i915

01:00.0 3D controller: NVIDIA Corporation GP107GLM [Quadro P1000 Mobile] (rev a1) Subsystem: Dell Device 087d Kernel modules: nouveau

Here is what I added to the kernel booting parameters:

module_blacklist=nouveau i915.alpha_support=1

On RHEL 8 it was really simple to add the line:

# grub2-editenv - set "$(grub2-editenv - list | grep kernelopts) module_blacklist=nouveau i915.alpha_support=1"

I915.alpha_support=1 is only required with the 7.5GA kernel. 7.5 zstream, 7.6+, and 8.0+ do not need that parameter.

Blacklisting the nouveau driver is still needed in 8.0 but should not be needed for 8.1 (though you will still not have fully accelerated video because Nvidia has not released the signed power control firmware). Which you need to blacklist anyway if installing the proprietary driver.