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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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For full specifications see the Asus G55VW specifications page.
|Processor||Intel Core i7 3720QM Processor
Intel Core i7 3610QM Processor
Intel Core i5 3210M Processor
Intel Core i7 3630M Processor (G55VW-S1196H)
|Screen||15.6“ 1920×1080 Widescreen
15.6'' 1360×768 3D Widescreen
|RAM||Up to 16GB|
750GB 5200RPM+128GB SSD
|Graphics||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M|
Integrated 802.11 b/g/n
|Screen||Yes||Brightness can be made to work (see below)|
|Optical Drive||Yes||Burned DVD with success|
|Graphics Chip||Yes||Nouveau - No 3D acceleration, Nvidia binary driver 295.53, 304.xx, 310.xx, 313.xx, 319.xx|
|Sound||Yes||Including the internal subwoofer (Ubuntu 13.04)|
|Microphone Jack||Not Tested|
|Bluetooth||Yes||bluez, in Debian needs atheros non-free firmware|
|Keyboard||Yes||Fn keys work out of the box (including screen brightness (Ubuntu 13.04))|
|Suspend/Resume||Yes||Not tested thoroughly|
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.
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
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:
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.
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
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).
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.
Fn keys with the exception of brightness control works. (possibility of remapping lost keys with aur:nvidablctl)
Keyboard backlighting (and adjusting) works.
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 !
Basic functions work correctly, but there are problems with acpi and nonstandard components.
Update: Laptop is almost fully Linux compatible.