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Asus G55VW

Introduction

G55VW seemed to me as the ideal linux power users laptop. The lack of optimus technology is definately a plus, although you need to use the discrete graphics even with battery power, which reduces uptime on battery.

This is a compatibility guide to running Linux with the Asus G55VW laptop. If you have the Asus G55VW and are running Linux on it please consider editing this page or adding a comment below with your compatibility details. By contributing you will help other people running this laptop or trying to make a decision on whether to buy it or not.

This page is just for discussing using Linux on the Asus G55VW. For a general discussion about this laptop you can visit the Asus G55VW page on LapWik.

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Specifications

For full specifications see the Asus G55VW specifications page.

NameAsus G55VW
ProcessorIntel Core i7 3720QM Processor
Intel Core i7 3610QM Processor
Intel Core i5 3210M Processor
Intel Core i7 3630M Processor (G55VW-S1196H)
Screen15.6“ 1920×1080 Widescreen
15.6'' 1360×768 3D Widescreen
RAMUp to 16GB
HDD500GB 7200RPM
750GB 5200RPM+128GB SSD
Optical DriveDVD+-RW
Blu-ray
GraphicsNVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M
Network10/100/1000 Ethernet
Integrated 802.11 b/g/n

Linux Compatibility

DeviceCompatibilityComments
ProcessorYes
ScreenYesBrightness can be made to work (see below)
HDDYes
Optical DriveYesBurned DVD with success
Graphics ChipYesNouveau - No 3D acceleration, Nvidia binary driver 295.53, 304.xx, 310.xx, 313.xx, 319.xx
VGA OutYes
HDMI OutYes
DisplayPortNot Tested
SoundYesIncluding the internal subwoofer (Ubuntu 13.04)
Bulti-in MicrophoneYes
Headphone JackYes
Microphone JackNot Tested
EthernetYes
WirelessYesath9k
BluetoothYesbluez, in Debian needs atheros non-free firmware
ModemNot Tested
USBYes
Card ReaderYes
WebcamYes
Touch PadYesxf86-input-synaptics
KeyboardYesFn keys work out of the box (including screen brightness (Ubuntu 13.04))
Suspend/ResumeYesNot tested thoroughly

Notes on Debian Wheezy 64 bit 

Installation

From beta3 the Debian installer supports UEFI mode. However the rc3 (release candidate 3) or newer is recommended, especially if setting up dual boot. All you need to do is disable “Secure boot” in setup (press del at boot to enter setup, boot menu is esc). Only tested the text mode installation. Some hard drives are not automatically detected (are seen as unformatted). Usually one needs to delete the Recovery partition first (please burn your backup DVD's first). The first DVD or the netinst image of the installer detected the wifi card and configured wpa2 network during install.

After installation

The open-source nouveau drivers don't support 3D acceleration on the GeForce GTX 660M (yet). After install, your first boot will lead you to GNOME's fallback mode or to KDE and XFCE environments with no compositing effects.

For best performance, it's best to use the NVIDIA graphics drivers (if you don't want to, there's a way to enable screen brightness control with nouveau (see other info section below)

Enable contrib and non-free repositories in /etc/apt/sources.list

# nano /etc/apt/sources.list

Add ” contrib non-free“ without quotes after every “main” (for example deb http://ftp.fi.debian.org/debian/ wheezy main contrib non-free). Save with ctrl+o, enter, exit with ctrl+x.

# apt-get update
# apt-get install nvidia-glx nvidia-kernel-dkms xserver-xorg-video-nvidia

Edit xorg configuration

# mkdir /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d
# nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-videocard_nvidia.conf

Add the following text

Section "Device"
        Identifier      "GeForce 660M GTX"
        Driver          "nvidia"
        VendorName      "NVIDIA Corporation"
        Option          "NoLogo" "True"
        Option          "RegistryDwords" "EnableBrightnessControl=1"
EndSection

Screen backlight brightness

The EnableBrightnessControl option in your xorg configuration is very important to get screen backlight brightness to work. The next step is to pass boot parameters to the kernel: acpi_osi=Linux acpi_backlight=legacy

To do this edit the grub configuration file:

# nano /etc/default/grub

Change the line: GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=“quiet”

To: GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=“quiet acpi_osi=Linux acpi_backlight=legacy”

Now we need to apply the changes so we must update grub:

# update-grub2

Finally reboot:

# reboot

Done! After rebooting I got full support for the screen backlight brightness (I only tested KDE). The only issue is that I need to press Fn+f3/f4 twice to change brightness.

Other info

Keyboard backlight control works out-of-the-box in GNOME and XFCE but not in KDE. This has been fixed in KDE 4.11, but Debian 7 ships with version 4.8.4. However, one can use a script like this one: http://keramida.wordpress.com/2013/03/28/controlling-the-keyboard-backlight-from-cli/ and map the keyboard backlight Fn keys to the appropriate commands. This worked for me.

To get bluetooth to work you need to install the atheros firmware:

apt-get install firmware-atheros

If not using the NVIDIA drivers, there's a way to enable screen backlight brightness control using the non-mainline module 'nvidiabl' - https://github.com/guillaumezin/nvidiabl

First, download and install the module: https://github.com/guillaumezin/nvidiabl/downloads
I recommend usage of 'gdebi' to install the nvidiabl debian package, because it pulls all the necessary dependencies

# apt-get install gdebi

Edit xorg configuration

# mkdir /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d
# nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-screen_backlight.conf
Section "Screen"
        Identifier "lcd_screen"
        Option "RegistryDwords" "EnableBrightnessControl=1"
EndSection

Similarly as explained with the NVIDIA drivers, we need to pass a couple of extra boot parameters to the kernel. Follow the same procedure as above (it may be necessary to use acpi_backlight=vendor instead of acpi_backlight=legacy)

Finally the nvidiabl module will not load automatically, so you will need to force it by adding 'nvidiabl' to /etc/modules

After this restart and try!

For more tips, refer to this thread: https://github.com/guillaumezin/nvidiabl/issues/52

Summary / Issues

The notebook is pretty much 100% linux compatible.
I experienced sporadic freezes using GNOME 3.4 in Debian 7. I couldn't pin point the culprit. Changing to KDE solved this issue (Also upgrade gnome-shell to version 3.8 in Debian experimental). Apparently XFCE also works fine (See http://bugs.debian.org/696360).

Notes on Archlinux, kernel 3.4.4:

Fn keys do not work
keyboard backlight does not work
using Nvidia 302.17 driver results in xserver freeze
tested on Archlinux, kernel 3.4.4, Xorg 7.6/xserver 1.12.2

Update: Tested on Ubuntu 12.04 (3.2.0-30) with better results
Fn keys with the exception of brightness control works.
Keyboard backlighting (and adjusting) works.
Latest Nvidia drivers (304.xx) work, but 295.75 (recommended) seem most stable.
Functionality before the 3.2.0-30 kernel was poor.

Notes on Archlinux, kernel 3.7.9-1 (GNOME3):

Fn keys with the exception of brightness control works. (possibility of remapping lost keys with aur:nvidablctl)
Keyboard backlighting (and adjusting) works.
No fan-control
Latest Nvidia drivers (313.18) work, but framebuffer blocked to 1024×768-75Hz due to nvidia lack of KMS support
Wireless and Ethernet support out of the box
CPU scaling supported (with gouvernors)
Bluetooth not tested
Card reader not tested
Energy setting button can be remapped easily for locking the session !

Summary

Basic functions work correctly, but there are problems with acpi and nonstandard components.

Update: Laptop is almost fully Linux compatible.


Discussion

GuitiosseDoog, 2013/10/03 18:46

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meh, 2012/12/26 15:04

Seems to work wery well on latest debian (wheezy beta4). Only graphical drivers require manual install. Hopefully the free drivers are updated soon.

The latest installer works with UEFI and wifi/WPA2 out of the box. Dunno about dual boot tho

Damien Jade Duff, 2012/12/14 08:30

Installed ubuntu 12.10 onto an ASUS G55VW-S1196H.

This is an EFI system and Ubuntu was installed in EFI mode. Turned off Secure Boot in BIOS to be able to boot from Live USB. I did not need the UEFIBooting instructions from the wiki mentioned in the below post.

Unlike the experience in another post below, the partitions were visible. Though after installing ubuntu I needed to use the boot-repair utility to fix Grub so that Windows could be loaded.

In order to get the live USB to work, added nomodeset to the kernel parameters via the grub menu as it was producing just a black screen otherwise.

In order to get X windows it was necessary to install the latest kernel headers before installing the nvidia drivers. Otherwise X was not loading. Test by running modprobe nvidia - if it reports no module found, lack of latest kernel headers may be a reason.

I used nvidia-graphics-drivers-experimental-310 because they were closest in number to the recommended drivers - 310.19 and allowed an ubuntu package install. However, the recommended drivers could be downloaded from http://www.nvidia.com/object/linux-display-amd64-310.19-driver.html

Have not yet checked the clock speeds.

This is not an optimus laptop so don't use bumblebee or ironhide.

Sound, wireless, extra monitors not yet tested.

Damien Jade Duff, 2013/01/30 14:34

It turns out that whenever a kernel upgrade happens I lose my graphics and need to run, for example:

sudo apt-get install linux-headers-3.5.0-22-generic

Needed to do this the first time too.

Not sure why.

Damien Jade Duff, 2013/02/11 09:55

Installing linux-headers-generic keeps the headers up to date whenever the kernel changes.

Kristian Robertsen, 2012/08/06 11:48

I've had a hell of a time installing Linux on my Asus G55vw.
I booted into a Live session from a USB pen, but the installation detected no OS or any partitions.
The same thing happened in gparted, it merely showed a blank disk, the disk manager that is shipped with ubuntu by default however did manage to see the partitions, but couldn't do anything to them aside from the NTFS storage partition.

My solution was a long one, but not overly complicated.
I had to install gdisk (GPT fdisk), as it is able to handle GPT partitioned disks, and through that delete the real culprit: The “System Restore” partition.
Once that was done I could use gparted (or whatever else) to resize and so on.
The installer now also detected my Windows 7 installation correctly.

During the install everything went fine until GRUB failed to install, saying it couldn't be installed on the 128mb partition I had assigned it to (it was a 128mb partition not being used for anything, but was between the EFI partition and the Windows partition).
Since the install otherwise seemed fine, I installed Boot Repair, and simply used that to install GRUB , voila, I had a working dual boot.

The latest Nvidia BETA drivers (304.30) work just fine in Kubuntu 12.04.
I am having an issue with the GPU clock speeds though. The GPU is locked at 405mhz in all modes, while the memory ranges correctly between 405 and 2500.
I've tried adding Coolbits to nvidia-settings but to no avail, and nvclock doesn't work either.

A lot of issues with this one, but it is relatively new…

Fahad Yousuf, 2012/06/08 00:11

I eventually got it to work nicely using the Ubuntu UEFI Boot instructions at:

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/UEFIBooting

and then creating a boot entry for Grub from the Laptop's BIOS which has a nice option of adding EFI boot entries. IMO that is a great alternative to having to use an EFI shell or the efimanager from withing Linux.

The only deviation from the guide which I think is necessary is that you should do grub-mkconfig > /mnt/EFISYS/EFI/grub/grub.cfg

instead of

touch /mnt/EFISYS/EFI/grub/grub.cfg (as mentioned in the Ubuntu instructions)

Here is what the EFI entry looked like in the BIOS menu (Assuming you follow the other intructions from the Ubuntu UEFI Boot help page to the letter)

Name: GRUB2 (You can use any here)
Device: Whatever your BIOS menu has pre-configured
Path: \efs\grub\grub.efi (Note that I did not use fs0:\ as mentioned in the example because the Device entry above already specifies the partition)

Fahad Yousuf, 2012/06/06 12:06

Here are the problems I faced with this particular laptop while trying to install Linux Mint 13 Maya.

1. The install completes successfully but tries to install he bootloader into /dev/sdb instaed of /dev/sda. It asks for an alternative when it fails so I selected /dev/sda. But I highly doubt that worked.

2. Here is a very nice post about what exactly the problem might be:

http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-laptop-and-netbook-25/asus-g55vw-dual-booting-linux-64-bit-and-windows-7-home-premium-64-bit-945410/
This person has a similar problem but there are no replies to his post on the official Republic of Gamers (ROG) product forums on the ASUS website:

http://rog.asus.com/forum/showthread.php?16508-G55VW-Linux-DualBoot

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asus_g55vw.txt · Last modified: 2013/05/05 00:26 by 109.247.139.13
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