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Asus UL50Vt

Introduction

This is a compatibility guide to running Linux with the Asus UL50Vt laptop.

This page is just for discussing using Linux on the Asus UL50Vt. For a general discussion about this laptop you can visit the Asus UL50Vt page on LapWik.

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Specifications

For full specifications see the Asus UL50Vt specifications page.

NameAsus UL50Vt
ProcessorIntel Core2 Duo Processor SU7300 : 1.3 GHz
Intel Celeron Processor SU2300 : 1.2 GHz
Screen15.6” HD (1366×768) LED backlight
GraphicsNVIDIA GeForce G210M
GraphicsIntel Corporation Mobile 4 Series Chipset
RAMUp to 4GB
HDD250GB to 500GB - 5400rpm
Optical DriveDVD Super Multi
Network10/100/1000
Intel WiFi Link 1000

Linux Compatibility

DeviceCompatibilityComments
ProcessorWorks
ScreenWorksUnable to adjust screen brightness
HDDWorks
Optical DriveWorks
GraphicsWorksIntel Graphics Card Works, see bellow for Nvidia instructions
SoundWorks
EthernetWorksWorks on kernel >= 2.6.32
WirelessWorksWorks on kernel >= 2.6.32
BluetoothWorksWorks on kernel >= 2.3.32 (maybe earlier?)
USBWorks
Card ReaderWorks
WebcamWorks Image is flipped

Notes

Iwlwifi cannot load the firmware with kernel 2.6.31. Works fine in kernel 2.6.32.
Ethernet does not appear to work with kernel 2.6.31. Works fine in kernel 2.6.32.

Switch to the Nvidia graphics card
This will cause you battery life to be drastically shortened, and the display quality leaves much to be desired.

1. download and install nvidia drivers.
2. make sure you got an Xorg.conf that is correct. ( if not, run nvidia-xconfig )
3. reboot into bios (press delete while booting)
4. change the SATA option in the bios from enhanced to compatibility. ( yea, this makes sense? NOT! )
5. Add nomodeset to the grub boot command.
6. boot into linux and smile!

Brightness trick
- Run setpci -s 00:02.0 f4.b=xx from command line, xx can be anywhere from 00 to ff.

If you choose not to use the Nvidia g210m graphics card under Linux, it will still pull power and will dramatically reduce your battery life. Directions for turning the Nvidia card off can be found here.

Summary

Works pretty well, the new Intel graphics drivers work quite well with KDE desktop effect.


Discussion

werd, 2012/04/13 17:31

I just updated to Ubuntu 12.04 Beta 2 and had to change my bios setting back to “enchanced” mode to get it to boot all the way. I though I would share since this wiki has helped so much in the past!

bruno, 2012/04/13 17:56

thanks for the tip!

Peter, 2012/05/24 06:31

Thanks, i had the same problem with Ubuntu 12.04. It works with intel graphics now, but when i try to switch to nvidia the x-server crashes at start.Has anybody running nvidia with 12.04 ? With opensuse 12.01 nvidia is working but the whole system is a lot slower, so it would be nice to get 3D acceleration with ubuntu.

adam, 2012/07/29 06:08

I just got 12.04 the other day. I haven't installed any graphics card drivers from nvidia's website because i knew this was a pain in the butt from having had 10.04 on my UL50VT in the past. I tried getting away with installing the “current” driver from the software center but since it wasn't more tailored to the mobile graphics, i don't think it worked. Nonetheless I noticed 12.04 is waaaay slower to a point where it's difficult and unnecessary to work with on my laptop which means I definitely need to get this driver working. I checked the system info and it seems to be running the processor and memory just fine but no graphics besides intel's. I'm afraid to try what was stated above in this version since booting in compatibility mode apparently crashes the X server. But its the only way, otherwise i'll have to get rid of ubuntu and stick with windows or downgrade to an older version until I see that this issue has been worked out. This is why we do these things first, so that if you mess up, you can just start anew without losing any other software :3. Anyway I'll give it a shot anyway and post what happens for the sake of up-to-date info.

dcunited001, 2012/01/18 15:28

i definitely wish that i had seen this guide when trying to install ubuntu on my ul50vt. i'm not sure why it didn't show up higher in google. the steps above were exactly what was needed to get the nvidia card working.

one issue that i'm having is with the touch pad and it quite honestly almost makes the entire set up unusable. for some reason the track pad is a combination of not sensitive enough and too sensitive. i am constantly accidentally clicking things out of nowhere and just clicking the wrong stuff. it is a very very annoying problem. anyone have suggestions to addressing this?

wes, 2010/05/16 06:35

I just tried to install ubuntu 10.04LTS and everything seemed ok until I tried to boot windows. My laptop has windows 7 by default and the dual boot only showed a windows vista loader. So I tried it and it come with a nice big error message. Also my linux does boot properly. The screen just goes black and sometimes turns off. When I try to get it back on (usually by pressing random buttons) I find the poer button brings the screen back, but then rebots like it should. Not sure of the problem?

Steve, 2010/05/16 11:44

When you installed Linux did you place grub in the MBR or did you make a separate boot partition?
Sounds like an issue with grub, the boot loader.

When you get the boot menu press e, then highlight the vista entry and the Ubuntu and press e to edit.

Post what is displayed for both entries.

brynstntn, 2010/05/17 16:08

You are booting the asus backup partition. Edit the file /boot/grub/menu.lst with sudo. On the windows part of menu.lst, if it says hd(0,0) change it to hd(0,1). That should fix your problem.

Peter, 2010/05/06 07:04

I just tried that bios nvidia trick. Wow, works perfect for my opens suse 11.2.

Thanks so much :-P

Cyctc, 2010/05/04 10:51

Posted by Dakilla on Ubuntu forum:

ok this is so dame simple, have been locking for a solution for months.

this is how you get g210m to work on ubuntu 9.10 / 10.04.

1. download and install nvidia drivers. (i have only tested the ones in the repos)

2. make sure you got an Xorg.conf that is correct. ( if not, run nvidia-xconfig )

3. reboot into bios (press delete while booting)

4. change the SATA option in the bios from enhanced to compatibility. ( yea, this makes sense? NOT! )

5. boot into linux and smile!

Anyone more then me who want to hit the people who wrote the bios?
running the latest bios. ends with 10.

And at least one user (Dressanderc) on Ubuntu forum comfirmed:

Wow, that works! I can confirm, i'm running 10.04 on a Asus UL50VT. Thank you so much!

I am at work and don't have laptop with me, I will go home and try it tonight.

brynstntn, 2010/05/04 13:17

The Bios options makes sense…Sorta…maybe…not really. The graphics cards are controlled by a multiplexer. The designers of the ul50vt probably had to completely bypass this multiplexer in order for the SATA hard drive to work with older versions of windows.

Steve, 2010/05/04 14:10

Great find!

On F12 it will work without the nVidia drivers, it works with the Nouveau drivers just fine.

If you want to try it you need to rename out your /etc/X11/xorg.conf file.

Reboot and X will find the nVida card and set it up automatically.

Newer drivers when properly written don't need xorg.conf

Any one know what it lost when your in “compatability mode”?

Cyctc, 2010/05/04 20:29

Yes!! Now I can use UL50VT the way it meant to be used :D

I didn't put nomodeset in the grub command line though.

Another thing for me to get to BIOS setups I have to press F2 while booting up not DELETE key. Nvidia X server settings is now show up in my System > Administration menu :D

I am running Ubuntu 10.04.

Steve, 2010/05/05 15:42

If your using Nouveau you need kernel modesetting.

With recent nouveau, KMS is on by default, unless you disable it with modeset=0 option.

http://nouveau.freedesktop.org/wiki/KernelModeSetting

I currently have two issues using nouveau:
Screen stayed black after suspend.
No output on second screen when using DVI, works fine on VGA, It does find the monitor when connected to DVI.

Note: Nouveau is missing 3D support at the moment.

linuxuser, 2010/05/05 16:25

Can you switch between intel and nvidia card during the normal operatrion?

Steve, 2010/05/05 16:40

No, in compatibility mode the G210M is the only interface activated.

Bryce, 2010/05/06 14:01

Sounds great, but I still use windows aswell (Dual Boot). Will I still be able to switch cards in windows if I set the SATA to compatibility mode?

Cyctc, 2010/05/06 15:45

I am running Windows7, Ubuntu 10.04 Gnome and Linux Mint 9 Gnome all work fine. I left the compatibility alone even when booting to Windows 7. It doesn't seem to do anything funny to Windows 7. The only thing is your battery might be running sooner with G210M running.

I have triple boots with OS mendtioned above, no problem. I only have problem installing Linux Mint 9, somehow screen went blank booting from live CD. So I went to BIOS changed back to enchanced installed Linux Mint live CD, installed Nvidia driver from Mint repos. Then shutdown laptop, went back to BIOS changed back to compatibility mode. Boot up laptop and smile.

By the way now the brightness control in Ubuntu 10.04 and Linux Mint 9 work. I can adjust the slide bar and see the brightness changing :D

brynstntn, 2010/04/30 20:49

Hi everyone,

The official nvidia g210m drivers on my ul50vt are working on my Gentoo install. This should work for other linux distros as well. Simply go into the bios and change SATA from enhanced to compatibility. Your Nvidia drivers will be reconized by default.

Blake, 2010/04/28 21:18

Malou,

I used to use Debian. It worked about 5-6 hours about charging. And I had problems with NVidia video adapter.
Yesterday just for fun I installed Ubuntu 9.10… And…What I did discover? Ubuntu installed drivers for Nvidia! I can even play OpenArena(Quake III). So, I think that the reason why laptop discharges so faster. With Ubuntu installed I can't work longer than 3-4 hours.
Probably I will write script to switch video adapters.

Blake, 2010/04/26 20:50

Hmm… Description says tha ethernet doesn't work with 2.6.31.
But I'm using 2.6.31.14 and it works well.

Malou, 2010/04/16 12:00

I just bought an asus UL50VT and installed ubuntu 9.10 and i would like to know how long does work your battery ? Because mine should work 1hour 30minutes as Ubuntu said, but this laptop should have a very long battery life (10hours…). ( sorry i'm not english native speaker and hope you could understand me)

Dan, 2010/04/16 12:07

I honestly don't know- I use mine plugged it most of the time. I didn't intend to, but I just happened to by an eeepc at the same time, so when I want to go wireless I find it convenient to just grab that.

Bruno, 2010/04/17 04:55

Your English is just fine.
Answering your question, I do have the same problem. Under Windows 7 my laptop runs fine for 8 hours… but under ubuntu 9.10 i can`t get more than 2 hours. I really don`t know why.

ctarwater, 2010/04/17 11:42

have you tried disabling the nvidia graphics card? I'm using a different distro, but once I did that my battery life went from 2-3 hours up to 5+ depending on the brightness level and actual work done.

Bruno, 2010/04/17 12:02

in fact my nvidia card is disable (mostly because i could not turn it on and have X working properly), but still, i cant drain more than a couple of hours out of it. sadly.

Malou, 2010/04/18 20:55

How could i turn it off ? I don't see any graphic properties in the bios, and i don't know how do it with ubuntu.
Thanks to everybody for answering me

ctarwater, 2010/04/18 20:58

check this link for instructions (and a .deb file that really makes it a simple process)

Also updated the “comments” section here to include the same info.

Anne-on-a-Mouse, 2010/04/16 01:26

Does anyone know if Asus' express gate is opensource? I know it's a tweaked linux beast and my webcam works by default. So does the mic and the brightness applet. I'm wondering if there is any way we can rip the code for these things from the express gate source and use them for our preferred distros to make this beauty function at nearly 100%

Dan, 2010/04/16 10:53

WP indicates it is proprietary (box on rhs of page)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Splashtop

cbot, 2010/04/03 02:24

I'm running Arch Linux.

I installed the program “volti” which has an option to “enable multimedia keys” and you choose either “hal” or “Xlib”. Choosing hal allows you to control the volume (up/down/mute) with the hotkeys.

This makes me think that we just need some kind of polkit entry or something to get the hotkeys to work.

Peter, 2010/04/02 13:18

I have just found a solution for the flipped image of the webcam for open suse.
There is a patched uvcvideo package on openSUSE build service.
http://software.opensuse.org/search
Search for uvcvideo.
After install and a reboot everthing works fine for me including skype video.

Steve, 2010/03/16 14:16

Looks like we will have a solution on the way for GPU switching in linux.

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Nzk1NQ

Looks like we might see it in F13.

http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Releases/13

Dan, 2010/03/16 14:49

I looked at that phoronix page when I first started having problems to see if there was a package I could get. I was hoping an update would have it- but not so far. I also don't see a reference to it in F13- perhaps I'm missing something.

You can see my thread here (dhimes)
http://forums.fedoraforum.org/showthread.php?t=240396

Steve, 2010/03/16 15:46


Check here it looks like its already in the works.

http://airlied.livejournal.com/71434.html

They are looking for testers for those who what to get their hands dirty.

Dan, 2010/03/16 16:15

Excellent! Thanks for the link.

Steve, 2010/03/14 18:29

I have F12 x64 running finally after about 3 months of waiting.

The latest kernel fixed the i915 driver issue.

I don't have HDMI access Do you?

I'm told that you need to have nVida driver working to use HDMI.

Dan, 2010/03/14 19:33

I haven't worked on the HDMI. Nice that Fedora is availabe, though- thanks for the update. I must say, though, that I'm enjoying Mint alot (except I can't get Gwibber to work properly).

Steve, 2010/03/14 20:05

I tried a live version of Mint and it was nice.
A lot of stuff works out of the box on mint which is also nice.
I've been using Fedora for quite awhile so for now I'm staying with it.

Neither has an answer for the Nvidia issue. Short term fix is having a a Bios option to switch the GPU's, longterm is to have X capable of handling the ability to support two GPU's and switch between them on the fly. They are getting closer with xandr and not having the need for an xconfig file. But that only addresses where the output goes.

Steve, 2010/03/14 17:09

Has anyone downgraded the bios to the version that has the ability to enable and disable the internal graphics? I believe it's version 213

I might try this as I have not found a way to disable the intel driver.

I've done it all removed the nouveau driver, installed nVidia.

I haven't found anyone who with nVidia working on this unit which is a major disappointment.

Dan, 2010/03/14 17:40

I didn't downgrade, but I asked Asus (via their website) to put the switchability back into the new bios. I don't know if they'll do it or not. I agree: being able to use nVidia would be great.

Blake, 2010/03/06 23:28

Hello guys!
I've tried to make NVidia G210M working. I used Debian(squeeze). I downloaded NVidia driver from nvidia web site and installed it. I added BusId “PCI:1:0:0” to xorg.conf.
But when I run X-server a get an error, that device /dev/nvidia0 can't be opened.
Have anybody had success with it?

Matt, 2010/03/12 02:42

Hmm, that's an interesting error. When I start X, my computer crashes. What version of Xorg-server are you running?

ballPointPenguin, 2010/02/24 02:46

regrettably, I have not gotten NVIDIA to work with Mint 8. It recognized that there exists certain non-free drivers that are ready to install, but I was timid and opted out. I am too novice to mess with my kernel much. I'd love if somebody could confirm something that works. I've been watching full screen video, streaming and not, with the intel card just fine. No 3D gaming or anything… but wouldn't you want to run those on the Windows boot anyway? I guess I'm banking on Fedora 13 showing up and resolving this problem for me.

Dan, 2010/02/24 13:11

Did you use the 32 bit build (they said it works with 64 b machines) or the 64 bit build? Thanks.

ballPointPenguin, 2010/02/24 16:27

I used the x64 edition. My process was 1)resize windows partition using windows disk utility, leaving about 300GB free space. 2)burn Linux Mint 8 x64 iso from http://www.linuxmint.com/edition.php?id=46 onto a CD. 3)boot from CD and install, allowing for dual boot per Mint's defaults 4)stay away from the NVIDIA drivers (not included in the default packages) that Mint offers to install at the end.

I know the 32 bit works with x86_64 architecture but I don't know why anyone would prefer to use it. The 64-bit version of this distro is very stable and has given me no headaches thus far, and I am using it every day.

DAn, 2010/02/24 16:45

Thank you ballPointPenguin! I'll give it a spin.

Dan, 2010/03/12 11:42

Belated update: Mint x86_64 is working great on this laptop.

ballPointPenguin, 2010/02/23 09:07

Linux Mint Linux Mint Linux Mint
it is working Sooooo well and was super intuitive to install. I've had none of the problems that Fedora gave me using Mint. Plus Mint is really good at recognizing the Windows7 install and configuring dual boot for you. I prefer Fedora also, but I gotta give it to the Mint folks this time. Fedora 13 is coming soon with better support for NVIDIA among other improvements and I expect that the stable release will do good on this machine.

Also, remember to resize your Windows partition USING Widows. It doesn't seem to like being resized by GParted or anything but its own disk utility.

Dan, 2010/02/23 11:35

Is it using the intel or nvidia chip on Mint? Can you choose? Thanks!

Dan, 2010/02/23 11:57

Also: which edition? main? x64? Thanks!

Matt, 2010/02/24 01:44

All modern linux distros will choose intel by default, unless xorg.conf is created. I'm not sure about this part, but I think you will have to disable kernel mode setting. The nvidia drivers may or may not work with kms.

Dakota, 2010/02/22 18:03

It takes forever to boot Arch and Ubuntu on this… Goes through a bunch of errors, and eventually boots. I'm giving up on this laptop, be back in like 6 months for a second try.

Dan, 2010/02/18 19:13

I installed fedora 12 on the UL50VT. I've been trying like mad to get the nvidia working. You can see what I've done here http://forums.fedoraforum.org/showthread.php?t=240396. It appeared that nvidia would work if I could just tell the kernel to ignore the onboard Intel chip– but I couldn't figure out how to do that. I have to get back to work, so I've uninstalled all of the nvidia stuff and am hoping that the system will run just fine with the Intel graphics.

Bryce, 2010/02/19 09:36

Unfortunately my luck with SuSE 11.2 was short-lived, after restarting SuSE today it couldn't start the nVidia card so I had to use Sax2 to revert to the onboard graphics. which don't seem to support OpenGL properly, will investigate further…

Bryce, 2010/02/18 10:05

Hi all,

 I installed SuSE 11.2 (KDE) last night on my newly aquired UL50VT-0027 using Grub to dual boot to Win7 Pro. Other than a strange crash when it tried to restart for the first time, everything else went smoothly, the nVidia card was recognised and works perfectly (using the prop. nVidia drivers). Both LAN and W-LAN (WPA-PSK) worked out of the box too. DVD / Touchpad / USB all seem to be working as expected. Ran an Online update without a problem. I haven't tried to switch to the IBM graphics yet, nor checked the Webcams function (it was getting late), but everthing else runs like a dream. I'll report back with further results later (Battery life / Webcam etc).
ballPointPenguin, 2010/02/04 07:13

So, a little update. No luck yet with Nvidia graphics but I guess I'm not very knowledgeable nor trying very hard (yet). I got the blank no x windows thing with Fedora after installing nvidia, and somehow I even screwed up my Windows boot so I started over fresh. I restored Windows 7 with 2 partitions, then I used windows to resize the second “data” partition down to 40 GB or so leaving nearly 300 free (of 500GB total). Then I booted the Linux Mint 8 x64 CD and Mint immediately recognized Windows and installed very cleanly in the free space, putting GRUB in charge of selecting between the two and also added the bonus of syncing my Documents from Windows to Linux for me. It works now very well as a dual boot Windows7/Mint8. That other Express Gate boot works just as it was shipped though I rarely use it. It is not on the hard drive and is not affected by partitioning or by GRUB. I haven't verified if my webcam works, but the wifi and everything else seems fine with Mint defaults. Would really like to install NVidia without getting blank screens though…

gunnar-medial, 2010/02/04 07:05

I tried briefly installing Ubuntu 9.10 on it but it wouldn't boot up to a graphical level of things. Linux complains it cannot connect to a hardware bus and that's it. It's the first laptop I have tried where not even a safe graphics mode work with the default live CD. I haven't had time to look more deeply into this, just ran a quick try with the default 9.10 live CD. The UL50VT runs beautifully on Windows 7, above all a very silent and battery longevity machine with great power mgmt in that environment. I think few of the majority of customers will base their purchase decision on its possible Linux compatibility. I hope to get it up with Ubuntu since it's fantastic hardware to exploit there. I installed an SSD and it's now completely silent and very fast doing ordinary work. But Ubuntu should be harnessing this class of machines which is rapidly increasing in popularity.

ballPointPenguin, 2010/02/01 04:50

OK, got Fedora 12 working side by side with Windows 7. All was running nicely until I tried to update my graphics to enable the NVidia G210M. I'll post again once I work that issue out, but there should be support for that card.

ballPointPenguin, 2010/01/25 02:08

I have just purchased a new UL50VT from BestBuy with every intention of installing linux. I think I will try Arch and Fedora while keeping Windows 7 and the linux-based ExpressGate quick media boot. I'm worried I might screw up that last one if I'm not careful. There are two power buttons, the 2nd one boots straight to ExpressGate. Can I hack that? It would be cool to launch either Fedora 12 or Win7 by touching either power button.

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asus_ul50vt.txt · Last modified: 2010/10/13 15:21 (external edit)
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