Asus F3SA Notebook and Linux

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UofT During Nuit Blanche Toronto 2007 Originally uploaded by Hercules Rockafeller

I got a nice new Asus F3SA-A1 notebook a few weeks ago. I had installed Fedora 7, which had only one major issue - the boot disc kernel didn't support the dvd/cdrom so I had to boot off it then install off the LAN. I moved to Fedora 8 this past week and had no issues. 4-5 years ago I wouldn't buy a notebook because of a lack of Linux or BSD drivers. Strangely enough having done a Vista install and two Linuxes, it was Microsoft Vista that had driver issues. Linux installed, booted and just about everything worked. Vista needed over two dozen third party drivers installed just to get basic functionality.

There are four major issues though on Linux. First is the video driver, you need to get it from ATI for the HD2600 card. On x86-64 the latest 8.42.3 version just doesn't work. Thankfully Livna has a fixed one that installs fine. The next problem is the audio. It's detected properly as an hda-intel model, and appears to work fine but there is no sound. Changing modprobe.conf and adding an options line:

options snd-hda-intel model=lenovo

gets it basically working. I found that on Fedora Forum. There are less mixer devices after doing it hough.

ALSA has an asus-laptop model that is supposed to work on the F3S but it doesn't for me. (Or it's stuck on mute).

The last two issues are devices that I can't figure out at all. Fortunately I didn't really care about the webcam because it doesn't work. And there is 1GB of flash builtin to the machine called Intel Turbo Memory that doesn't seem to be used at all.

Some notes on Vista. The performance is horrendous. I think it's the memory thats the issue. While making several attempts at a dual boot setup I had to do a full Vista install and update, and in the course of using it found it unbearably slow. This isn't a slow machine and Vista was nearly unusable it was so slow. Certainly the old 1.6ghz P4/512MB/GeForceGo-32mb with XP I had been using is dramatically faster at general use than Vista Home Premium on this core2duo T7500/1GB/HD2600-256MB. Due to the smooth repair disc Asus provides, it made dual boot setup impossible. They ship a special Vista CD that does not allow you to install normally, it has only two predefined partition setups that just don't work for dual boot. I ended up allocating the whole disk to Linux and Vista is installed under KVM/QEMU using a disk image file.