Vikings X200

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Getting started

GRUB

Boot procedure

The boot procedure on the Vikings X200 works as follows.

  1. GRUB is started off the firmware based on Libreboot
  2. The configuration file from the firmware is read
  3. This configuration file by default will search the filesystems on the internal drive for another GRUB configuration file.
  4. Then this configuration file is fully read and interpreted. Usually a GNU/Linux distribution will provide its own menu items. The original menu items from the Vikings X200 firmware disappear and a new menu appears with the items from the read configuration file. The time-down counter is also reset to the value that was read from the new configuration file.


Booting external media

In many cases you can boot external media directly using the other options provided in the standard menu. If that does not work, you can press 'c' to get a GRUB command line. This command-line allows you to browse around the filesystems on your system. The help command will provide a list and some helpful information. Use ls to list files and cd change the directory as usual. You can also display text files with cat.

Step by step

Using the linux and initrd commands, you can boot almost any system.

  1. Use cd, ls and cat to browse around the file system and look for configuration files from syslinux/isolinux
  2. Look for lines starting with linux, append and initd.
  3. Then use the linux command with the path to the kernel and add append what you see in an append line.
  4. Use the initrd command to provide the path to the initrd.
  5. Finally type boot and everything should work.

More information can be found here: https://libreboot.org/docs/gnulinux/grub_boot_installer.html


Hardware details

Display support

Without the docking station a single D-SUB port is available. I did not test this, but it should be able to output 1920x1080 at 60Hz and higher resolutions with a lower refresh rate (1920x2160 at around 45Hz), similar to the one on the docking station.


Bluetooth support

Even though Bluetooth is not mentioned on the store page, the Vikings X200 I received has working Bluetooth 2.1 out of the box with Parabola. This allowed me to connect my older Logitech mouse straight away. A Jabra Evolve 75 also connects without any issues via Bluetooth (so you don't have to its USB dongle). Newer devices are not detected, likely as they specify that they require a higher Bluetooth revision.


Docking station

The docking station enhances the Vikings X200 with multiple features.

Stereo speakers

Without the docking station, there is only a single speaker available. With the docking station attached, you will have a set of stereo speakers. The stereo speakers also work when the docking station is not powered and power is provided exclusively by the battery.

Display Port

The docking station provides a display port that should be compatible with any modern screen. The notes on the store page regarding the supported resolutions are misleading. The Vikings X200 can actually drive a 4k screen at its native resolution 3840x2160 at 30Hz. It can drive half of a 4k screen 1920x2160 at 60Hz. (And at the same time you can get 1920x2160 out of the D-SUB port as well at around 45Hz, but I haven't managed to get the timings right so it fills the whole screen.) Note that many newer chips are not able to do this. I don't know what happens with both the D-SUB port on the docking station and the one on the X200 itself are connected. The display configuration appears to be aware of only a single port with a VGA prefix (VGA1).

Digital audio support

At this point in time, digital audio should be considered unsupported and an external USB or ExpressCard is necessary.

The docking station might allow digital audio output over the display port connection, but this is still under investigation. This investigation is lead by swiftgeek in #libreboot. The hardware does not allow digital audio with ODM supplied firmware and this was previously assumed to be impossible.

Troubleshooting

Battery

The Vikings X200 suddenly turns off when on battery power.

Make sure the battery is fit tight into place. The battery provided to me needs to be pushed in quite firmly before it fully clicks in place. Sometimes it may come out again a bit after undocking/moving so that it needs to be pushed in place again. I can recommend firmly pushing the battery in place again whenever you undock or move the Vikings X200. A way to keep the battery in place is by keeping the dock attached. This also provides other advantages, see the section on the dock.

Boot firmware

I inserted a USB flash drive to install a new OS, GRUB hangs on ls

When you experience hangs in GRUB accessing your flash drive try using a smaller flash drive. Using a drive with a capacity of 8GB should work.

Source code

The source code of the Vikings X200 firmware can be found here: https://ryf.fsf.org/products/VikingsX200