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Asus N20A


Khashayar Naderehvandi (khashayar [dot] lists [at] gmail [dot] com)


The Asus N20A is a 12“ ultraportable laptop based on the montevina platform.

This guide is intended to provide you details on how well this laptop works with Linux and which modules you need to configure. For details on how to actually install and configure the required modules have a look at our guides section for distribution specific instructions.

This page is just for discussing using Linux on the Asus N20A. For a general discussion about this laptop you can visit the Asus N20A page on LapWik.

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For full specifications see the Asus N20A specifications page.

NameAsus N20A
ProcessorIntel Core 2 Duo Processor P7350 Processor
Screen12.1” Wide active matrix TFT, 1280×800 resolution, LED-backlit
HDDSATA 320GB 5400rpm + TPM
Optical DriveSATA DVD Super Multidrive (DL)
GraphicsIntel Cantiga GM 4500
NetworkEthernet, Intel WiFi Link 5100 802.11abgn,Bluetooth

Linux Compatibility

Optical DriveYes
SoundPartialYou need at least kernel 2.6.28 and alsa 1.0.18. However mic in/line in has very low capture gain
56K ModemNot Tested
Card ReaderYes
ExpressCard SlotYeshotplugging achieved through the “pciehp” module
CameraYesHowever, the image is flipped upside-down
Fingerprint scannerYesWith the binary blob released by upek. The “fingerprintGUI” application uses the blob
eSATA portNot Tested


I've had best results on this laptop with Ubuntu 8.10, although Fedora 10 has been pretty alright too. The notes here will be regarding Ubuntu 8.10, however.

If you want proper sound, the first thing to do is to install the 2.6.28 kernel from Jaunty. I just downloaded it from, and had no conflicts. Make sure you keep your 2.6.27 kernel as well, as the Jaunty kernel might be rather unstable (though, I've encountered no problems so far). After that, you'll need alsa-base 1.0.18. Ubuntu 8.10 comes with 1.0.17, so you can for example backport alsa-base 1.0.18 from Jaunty. Note that you CAN'T go ahead and install the Jaunty version of alsa-base. You rather need to re-compile it for Intrepid. I did it by using “dpkg-buildpackage -rfakeroot -uc -b” on the alsa-base source package from Jaunty.

Another thing you'll notice with the 2.6.28 kernel is that backlight control doesn't behave like it should anymore. I've noticed that a “modprobe -r video && modprobe video” solves that issue.

In conclusion, the only thing that doesn't work on this laptop is the fingerprint scanner. The Fedora team is putting a lot of effort in fingerprint scanning for their next release. So, hopefully they'll manage to code support for this Touchstrip device as well.


All in all, this is a very good linux laptop, but if you don't want to fiddle at all with it in order to fix a few things, you should probably wait for the next wave of distro releases, probably due sometime in the spring -09.


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asus_n20a.txt · Last modified: 2010/10/13 15:21 (external edit)
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