You can sign up to get a daily email of our articles, see the Mailing List page!
Support us on Patreon to keep GamingOnLinux alive. This ensures we have no timed articles and no paywalls. Just good, fresh content! Alternatively, you can support us on Paypal and Liberapay!
  Go to:
Linux (with Steam) on GPDWin handheld
Julius commented on 30 May 2017 at 8:40 pm UTC

After some promising posts on the internet about Linux compatibility of the GPDWin handheld, I took the risk and got one. And while it isn't perfect yet it does run pretty well

I got my GPDWin Rev.2 from here: https://www.dragonbox.de/en/571-gpd-win-rev-25-z8750-aluminium-lid-gpd-win-4260416651807.html

It is a small 5.5" clamshell Intel based handheld with a build in Xbox360 compatible gamepad and thus supports Steam games pretty well.
Due to the easy to use mouse emulator and the (not very good) full QWERTY keyboard other PC games can work as well.

It needs some tinkering to get Linux running on it (besides the preinstalled Windows10), but here you can see the current hardware compatibility: https://wiki.gnome.org/AdrienPlazas/GPDWin

Initially I tried installing Manjaro Linux (latest KDE release) due to the pretty detailed entry in the Arch wiki: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/GPD_Win
It was running fine, but had some issues with the rotation of the touch screen and I never bothered compiling the currently needed patched kernel for it when I discovered someone did so already for Ubuntu.

So ultimately I went with Ubuntu GNOME 17.04, as GNOME works great with the build in touch-screen.

First you have to downgrade the BIOS, as Rev2 and newer don't allow vital settings needed for some hardware components to work under Linux. Get it here and install under windows: https://www.reddit.com/r/gpdwin/comments/5c9duk/gpd_win_general_faq/

Then reduce the Win10 partition with the disk manager (right click on windows start icon) to get sufficient space for the Linux install. 10GB at least, I went with 20GB but I am also planning to put most of my Steam games on an external 128GB SDCard.

Then create a bootable 64bit uefi Ubuntu GNOME image on a USB stick.

Before installing it helps to download a few files and note down some BIOS settings from here: http://hansdegoede.livejournal.com/17445.html

You definitely need that WiFi settings file, but just safe it somewhere on your Windows drive to access it from Ubuntu later.

You can also already download the kernel .debs that I found here: http://boards.dingoonity.org/gpd-windows-devices/linux-anyone/

Then plug in the Bootable USB drive and reboot while pressing ESC when starting to access the BIOS.

Change the BIOS settings mentioned above here and then save and exit. You can also probably directly exit through booting from the USB. It should give you an option for that as a one time boot on the exit screen it the USB drive was plugged in before entering the BIOS.

In the GRUB bootloader you can add the "fbcon=rotate:1" parameter for a rotated screen output and then install Ubuntu as usual for a dual boot uefi PC.

When finished reboot into Ubuntu. The login is rotated and I have not found a way to fix that, but inside GNOME you can use the accelerometer to rotate the screen and then lock the rotation (so far it forgets the rotation though on my system on a reboot... needs more tinkering I guess).

Inside gnome copy that .txt file in the firmware folder to fix the WiFi and after a reboot you can install the latest updates. Then install all those kernel .debs and edit the grub boot parameter as explained in the link above. Also apply that sound fix. I didn't have to do the step with the accelerometer etc.
Again after a reboot it mostly works.

I still needed to select the right audio output in the sound settings, and I have not yet managed to get Bluetooth working (seems though that it is possible to activate it somehow). But then you can proceed installing Steam and enjoy some fun games. It is surprising how well even relatively heavy 3D games run on it.

Redface commented on 31 May 2017 at 7:33 pm UTC

Interesting little device, thanks for the write up.
Though I do not like that you have to install an old bios that some user seemingly kept and now share. And that you still need windows around to install it.

Julius commented on 31 May 2017 at 8:01 pm UTC

I agree that's not great. But it seems with their new non gaming device the gpd pocket they are officially supporting Ubuntu and I have heard they plan to backport that Ubuntu to the gpdwin as well as the hardware is very similar. Lets see

Some small unfortunate updates: seems like the Linux support for the SD card reader is not great. It works with a 8GB card here but not a 128GB card that works fine with it under windows. It also does not turn off the speaker when plugging in headphones.
It also seem to run a bit hotter under Linux than under Windows.

Latest Mesa 17.1 works nicely though.

tmp99 commented on 4 June 2017 at 10:40 pm UTC

RedfaceInteresting little device, thanks for the write up.
Though I do not like that you have to install an old bios that some user seemingly kept and now share. And that you still need windows around to install it.

The only difference between the new and old BIOS is that the new one is more locked down so people can't f*ck up their device, that's all.

Also no, the old BIOS is still officially available on the Chinese file sharing sites where it was officially released in the first place.

It comes with Windows installed so I don't see the problem with needing it to downgrade the BIOS.

Julius commented on 7 June 2017 at 8:41 pm UTC

Freezing due to overheating in heavy games (mainly when charging the battery simultaneous I think) can be improved by installing "termald" (preinstalled on Ubuntu) and "TLP". The latter is in the Ubuntu repos, but I got the latest version from the PPA here: http://linrunner.de/en/tlp/docs/tlp-linux-advanced-power-management.html

Bluetooth also works when manually starting it via:
"sudo hciattach /dev/ttyS4 bcm43xx" (it complaints about a missing firmware but works anyways)

I am using Firefox normally as my preferred browser, but it you want to use the touchscreen then Chromium works better. It is also actually surprising how well Gnome 3.24 works as a pure touchscreen GUI. You could probably use it on a tablet quite well.

When launching Steam in Big-Picture mode, it is actually a really smooth handheld experience. Maybe someone should sell these devices with SteamOS pre-installed

Julius commented on 27 October 2017 at 5:47 pm UTC

Auto-updated to regular Ubuntu 17.10, but still with the custom 4.11 Linux kernel (I guess 4.14 might work also?). Stay clear of Wayland as it causes strange behavior, but when logging in with regular x.org is works fine.

Had some dependency issues updating to Mesa 17.3 with the Padoka stable PPA, but after that was resolved it seems to work fine. But that caused me some to headache, so better stay clear for now (Ubuntu 17.10 comes with Mesa 17.2, so that should be also good). But I want to try some Vulkan games (Dolphin emu, FTEQW) with newer Intel ANV drivers.

Oh, the PPSSPP emulator runs really great with 2x internal resolution on it... who would have thought PSP games can actually look good

As for 3D games: Heart&Slash for example runs excellent, Assault Android Cactus and Geometry Wars 3 also.

Julius commented on 4 November 2017 at 9:11 am UTC

Vulkan with Dolphin Emu runs nice too Most Gamecube games that I tried run quite well with 30+ FPS.

razing32 commented on 5 November 2017 at 8:49 am UTC

What about this toy : https://pyra-handheld.com/boards/pages/pyra/
Comes with Debian.
Had a couple of second hand Pandoras when I still had a dumb phone and they were kinda neat.
Curios about this new iteration.

Julius commented on 5 November 2017 at 9:44 am UTC

The main difference is that the Pyra has a (much slower) ARM chip, which means you can not play any Steam games on it.

Besides that, it isn't released yet and the current expected price will be quite a bit higher than the GPDWin as well.

As much as I like the idea of the Pyra (and Pandora before)... the actual product at the time of delivery is/was not at all competitive even with a lot of positive emotion towards it. Had a GP32 and a GP2X back in the day... so I have been following that community closely.

razing32 commented on 5 November 2017 at 8:09 pm UTC

JuliusThe main difference is that the Pyra has a (much slower) ARM chip, which means you can not play any Steam games on it.

Besides that, it isn't released yet and the current expected price will be quite a bit higher than the GPDWin as well.

As much as I like the idea of the Pyra (and Pandora before)... the actual product at the time of delivery is/was not at all competitive even with a lot of positive emotion towards it. Had a GP32 and a GP2X back in the day... so I have been following that community closely.

Fair enough. I felt the Pandora was a bit outdated when it first came out.
Now that you mention it , that GPD pocket looks nice.

Julius commented on 8 December 2017 at 6:09 pm UTC

Another update:

While not specifically for the GPDWin, the Linux support for the GPD-Pocket is in very good shape and since the hardware is almost the same, I tired the latest Kernel .debs for the GPD-Pocket on my GPDWin and they work great.

I just added the repository as described here:
https://apt.nexus511.net/
(scroll down)
But instead of installing that GPD-Pocket meta-package, I just installed the latest 4.14 Kernel images manually.

After that the last remaining issues with Bluetooth and recognition of the head-phones plug seem to have been resolved, which makes the GPDWin a fully working Linux Handheld gaming console

Edit: ok almost... the MicroSD card reader seems to only recognize cards up to 8GB. And I didn't test the HDMI out yet.

  Go to:

Due to spam you need to Register and Login to comment.


Or login with...

Livestreams & Videos
Community Livestreams
  • RPGoodness: "Dragon Age Origins" (via Wine)
  • Date:
See more!
Popular this week
View by Category
Contact
Latest Forum Posts
Facebook