Dell Precision 5820 Tower Notes

Notes for running Fedora 29 on the Dell Precision 5820 Tower workstation. The particular model has Intel Xeon W-2155, ie 10 cores at 3.3-4.5 GHz, 32GB RAM, 500GB NVMe drive, Nvidia P400 graphics cards with mDP outs.

BIOS Settings

Linux needs certain BIOS settings flipped:

  • Secure Boot Disabled
  • System Config -> SATA to AHCI (RAID might work but untested)
  • Misc Devices -> Enable SD Card, SD Card boot
  • Boot Sequence -> UEFI, UEFI boot path security off

Install

Used the netinstall ISO image written to a SD card, and then booted the computer off this device (Hold down the function 12 key at startup to get a boot menu.)

There is no getting around the video oddness when installing. Embrace the suck. This is the only tricky part of installing on this hardware (well, the SSD drive can be a bit problematic if not using a very current Fedora version, so don’t do that).

What worked:

Add

inst.text

to the linux boot line, which boots you into text mode (aka init 3). Then,
start the network and install the Nvidia drivers from RPMFusion.

ifup en01;
dnf install -y kmod-nvidia

This should add the nouveau modules to the blacklist on future boots, but to make sure this is how to do it on the linux boot line:

rd.driver.blacklist=nouveau modprobe.blacklist=nouveau

 

Dual Boot, Windows VM, etc.

Let’s be able to run windows 10, either via virtualization or natively.

To extract the windows key from the machine when using linux, try:

sudo cat /sys/firmware/acpi/tables/MSDM | tail -c 32 | xargs -0 echo

Then use that key to install windows 10 from the ISO, or use it in an existing KVM image.

To install natively, shrink your windows install away to a mere sliver so that most space can be used by a linux install via…

Just right click on “My Computer”, choose “Manage”, and you will get a popup window, choose “Disk Management” in the left navigation bar. And then, your hard disk condition will show as follow. Then you need to right click on the partition which you want to shrink, and choose “Shrink Volume”.