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Alienware M14x


This is a compatibility guide to running Linux with the Alienware M14x laptop.

This page is just for discussing using Linux on the Alienware M14x. For a general discussion about this laptop you can visit the Alienware M14x page on LapWik.

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For full specifications see the Alienware M14x specifications page.

NameAlienware M14x
ProcessorIntel® Core™ i5 2410M 2.3GHz (2.9GHz w/Turbo Boost, 3MB Cache)
Intel® Core™ i7 2630QM 2.0GHz (2.9GHz w/Turbo Boost, 6MB Cache)
Intel® Core™ i7 2720QM 2.2GHz (3.3GHz w/Turbo Boost, 6MB Cache)
Intel® Core™ i7 2820QM 2.3GHz (3.4GHz w/Turbo Boost, 8MB Cache)
Screen14“ 1366×768 or 1600×900 Widescreen
RAMUp to 8GB
HDDup to 750GB
Optical DriveDVD+-RW
GraphicsNVIDIA® GeForce® GT 555M
Network10/100/1000 Ethernet
Intel® Wireless-N WiFi Link 1000 a/g/n 1×2
Intel® Advanced-N WiFi Link 6205 a/g/n 2×2 MIMO Technology
Intel® Ultimate N WiFi Link 6250 a/g/n 2×2 MIMO Technology with WiMax

Linux Compatibility

Optical DriveWorks
BluetoothWorks (12.04) UI Device
ModemNot Tested
FirewireNot Tested
Card ReaderNot Tested
T PadWork
Alien FX Dont Work


A recent Linux distribution, something running at least kernel version 3.0, should be used for best results.

Is functional with Ubuntu 12.04 + Bumblebee

You can install the proprietary NVIDIA drivers to get 3D working.


The Alienware M14x is quite a good laptop for Linux.


Your Name JorgeAT
Tested on M14x R2 + 12.04


Mac, 2015/02/10 14:53

Update 2015, for a new MX14x

nvidia-prime supports “native” switching. The only thing I've needed use Win 8.1 for was the AlienFX (which I don't play with anyway)

All other hardware working out the box with Ubuntu 14.04 / Linux Mint 17

Ag, 2013/07/24 19:59

Anyone knows how to enable touchpad gestures?

Veraster, 2012/12/22 17:24

HOW did everyone else get the wireless working???!!? I installed Ubuntu 12.04 and not matter what I can't get the damn wireless to work. It's got the Intel Centrino wireless-n 2230. I've tried ndiswrapper, liwifi and just about everything else on the internet that other people have reported to work and I can't get it. I've been working on this damn thing for the past few days.

The only thing iv'e managed to do is make the wireless option stop showing up in System Settings>Network.
Can anybody help?

It's almost 2013 and Linux drivers STILL aren't worth crap.

rsm, 2014/11/03 06:46

“It's almost 2013 and Linux drivers STILL aren't worth crap.”

Actually it is your fault, there are the drivers for that card and they work perfect.
On Ubuntu the wifi works out of the box, on Debian distributions you need to install
the package firmware-iwlwifi from wheezy-backports.

If you want to get the link, go to the official DEbian guide that I've posted.

Good Luck.

Paul, 2011/11/04 15:01

Well guys, until now the only distro that was installed completely on my m14x is mint 10, but nvidia still doesn't work.

Casey Davis, 2011/11/23 19:40

so Ruden, are you using linux mint 10 still or 11? Are you using Bumblebee? Also Does the screen look clear and usable? Thanks

Ruben, 2011/12/18 18:08

Hi Casey,
I haven't tried yet linux mint; considering my previous experiences I assume that it can run over the m14x (with the latest kernel; I found that the older revisions, <3.0.9 have a lot of problem in configuring even the basic hardware funcions - FastEthernet card first of all).
I heard that Ubuntu 11.10 works too.
With OpenSuse12.1, the intel graphics worked fine, I could deploy it for working purposes during a couple of days (ssh, telnet, internet, e-mail, remote management, word processing, file sharing, graphic editing - everything was very good).
As for bumblebee, I had several difficulties with it (mainly because of the nouveau driver, turning to the original nvidia packages it's a real pain), therefore I couldn't test it; the only thing I can say is that I could launch the optirun command, it worked with no errors in return but I didn't test it properly. So I left Suse because I found other issues (the non-perfectly-working pkgmanager among all)…
Today I managed to run FreeBSD 8.2, and the story is more or less the same: it works, with several issues… lacks of hardware recognization, no wifi, manual configuration of xorg.conf to have a running gnome display manager (in vesa mode), nvidia driver impossible to install (so far) and, most of all, random keyboard freezes.
I guess it would still take a little while to have a 100% working unix distro over the m14x…

ruben, 2012/01/15 22:19

Well guys, just an update: today I tried CentOS 6.2 and everything seems fine, directly out of the box; the system is running very smoothly, I've just to try the nvidia drivers and bumblebee but so far everything is very very good.
I'll give you some other infos as soon as I have the time to try other features.

Gerrit, 2012/02/14 11:08

Ruben, did you get the ethernet connection up and running in your CentOS 6.2 installation?
Except from that networking problem everything really seems fine.

ruben, 2011/10/27 18:26

Finally I managed to run OpenSuse 12.1 RC from the external HDD.
In particular, I had to connect the drive to the left 2.0 USB because from the other ports it won't boot (maybe it's a grub issue that doesn't support 3.0 usb technology).
I also had to edit the grub/menu.lst file because the boot order differs between installation session (which considers the external drive as 2nd drive) and boot session (which consider the external hdd the OS drive so the 1st drive).
Everything seems to run fine now; the only thing I complain about is that I can't use the speed of the 3.0 usb port with the OS drive.
The only thing I still have to install is the nvidia GPU, everything else (including the bluetooth and the wifi card) is working correctly.

ruben, 2011/10/24 13:08

after googlin a little bit, I found all the explanation about the problems I encountered: it's only a Seagate fault. Freeagent GoFlexes are NOT recommended to install linux. Solved by myself :D

ruben, 2011/10/24 06:57

Further update:
neither Ubuntu 11.10 seems to manage the situation; it seems that the m14x + seagate goflex freeagent is an unfortunate combo.
The strange thing about Ubuntu is that I finally manage to perform all the installation process, but it doesn't boot anyway.
Chrooting from a live CD into the external hdd to try reinstalling GRUB returns the same error of the other distros: missing stage1.
At this point, I definitely guess some hardware difficulty, because any other option has been taken under consideration, and every possible action to adjust any possible software issue has been done.

John, 2012/02/06 20:54

So, just to clairfy.
You don't think the m14x can be run under Ubuntu?
My interests are programming (not gaming) and I was really hoping to buy the m14x soon and install Ubuntu on it. Unfortunately, the only references I can find for this are some uninformative Youtube videos.

ruben, 2011/10/23 08:55

on external hdd even opensuse 12.1 rc failed installation; the issues are the same of the other distros. I guess an incompatibility over the chipset / usb controller.
I'm going to try a setup onto the internal hdd after partitioning.
I'm quite disappointed because I needed to divide the OSs on two phyisical hdds for professional purposes…
But that's the story, at this moment installing linux into usb hdd over the m14x is impossible.
Let's wait a little…

ruben, 2011/10/22 16:17

Tested linux installation on external USB3.0 hard drive (Seagate Freeagent GoFlex) with Debian:
- ver. 6 (Squeeze) installation hangs on recognizing the LAN network adapter, so no further setup could be done;
- Debian Testing (updated to Oct 2011) can perform all the pre-installation setup but hangs after installing the base system and it cannot perform anything more, neither installing the bootloader.
- FreeBSD 8.2 installer doesn't recognize all the hardware properly, usb among the other, so no setup could be done.
Moving to OpenSUSE 12.1 RC tonight to give it a shot.

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alienware_m14x.txt · Last modified: 2012/08/16 22:06 by
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