Orzel:Asus W3Z

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Gentoo/linux on the Asus W3Z

This page describes my experience on installing/configuring linux on the Asus W3Z. The distribution is gentoo/amd64

I do maintain this page. I would be happy to incorporate feedback from other users as well.


Summary

What works:

  • Ethernet
  • Sound
  • cdrom
  • IDE Chipset
  • ati/radeon 2D driver (sucks, but i can read divx)
  • Wifi (ndiswrapper ok, bcm43xx.sf.net driver freezes)
  • PC Card / PCMCIA
  • ati/radeon 3D (free) driver, even with kde4, but without googleearth (was hard though)
  • bluetooth
  • SD card reader

Still to investigate:

  • Modem(can't test, dont care)

Unresolved issues:

  • Irda / SIR (seems ok,but can't get any signal)
  • Irda / FIR
  • Boot (when you reboot, grub freezes, you need to stop, and restart the computer physically)

I have no problem booting, with grub or from the cdrom. Press F2 to go to the bios and configure boot order if you want to boot from the cdrom.

Ethernet

The module is skge. I have only tried with 100Mb, as I dont have anything 1Gb related at home (switch, other computer..).

Something strange to be noted, my 10/100Mbs switch light for the cable connected to the laptop doesn't light up. It works but the light is not up. I've tried other ports of the switch of course.

Video/Xorg

It works better and better with time.

Information about the chipset and graphic chip

The xpress 200m is actually a chipset, with integrated graphic. See this page as a start to try to understand where this card is among the numerous names ATI gave to their cards.

The exact information (see the lspci output at the end of this page) is "ATI Radeon XPRESS 200m 5955". According to this page, the codename for the xpress 200m is 'RS480M', and it features a 'Radeon X300 IGP' graphics core. The x300 belongs to the 'R300' serie.

Using KMS + gallium

It now always boot and x starts without problem. As of 2010-12-18, it is almost perfect:

  • 2D ok
  • 3D seems to work as well
  • KDE effects/xrender ok
  • when booting, only a small part of the screen is used (top-left, which i guess is 640x480 or 800x600)
  • glxgears works perfectly. It is impossible to enable desktop effects under kde 4.6beta (it works without gallium)
  • googleearth has glitches (Other people have reported it as seen on freedesktop), but this is using the 32bits mesa as found in emul-linux-x86-opengl.


I use the very latest software by using the kernel mercurial mirror (http://www.kernel.org/hg/linux-2.6) and the 'live' packages from gentoo that do the same for x11 components.

  • latest kernel #(currently 2.6.37-rc6+ from mercurial mirror)
  • x11-libs/libdrm-9999
  • media-libs/mesa-9999
  • x11-base/xorg-server-9999
  • x11-drivers/xf86-video-ati-9999

I have VIDEO_CARDS="ati radeon" configured in /etc/make.conf. The kernel is configured with DRM=yes and :

 farfalla ~ # zgrep RADEON  /proc/config.gz
 CONFIG_DRM_RADEON=y
 CONFIG_DRM_RADEON_KMS=y # (you might need CONFIG_STAGING for this)
 # CONFIG_FB_RADEON is not set

The kernel says

 [drm] Initialized drm 1.1.0 20060810            
 [drm] radeon defaulting to kernel modesetting.  
 [drm] radeon kernel modesetting enabled.                
 [drm] radeon: Initializing kernel modesetting.

Xorg.0.log says

 (II) [KMS] Kernel modesetting enabled.
 (II) RADEON(0): KMS Color Tiling: disabled
 drmOpenDevice: node name is /dev/dri/card0

I do use gallium 3D, as shown by 'glxinfo | grep OpenGL', which displays "Gallium 0.4 on ATI RS480"

The more advanced gallium driver is 'r300', which is the one needed for this graphic card. Be sure that the USE flag "gallium" is set (for example in your /etc/make.conf) before emerging mesa.

You can use 'eselect mesa list' to choose between gallium and classical drivers.

Using proprietary driver

I haven't tried/used this since mid 2009. Free drivers are better now.

It had never worked for months. As of february 2008, it seems to improve, and partially works. I'm testing the package x11-drivers/ati-drivers-8.455.2-r1 as found in gentoo.

Using the fglrx kernel module and the "fglrx" driver in xorg.conf, X starts, and it even seems that OpenGl uses the ATI stuff:

 % fglrxinfo
 display: :0.0  screen: 0
 OpenGL vendor string: ATI Technologies Inc.
 OpenGL renderer string: ATI Radeon Xpress Series
 OpenGL version string: 2.1.7281 Release

Information on Xorg.0.log seems ok :

 (II) Loading extension ATIFGLRXDRI
 (II) fglrx(0): doing DRIScreenInit
 (II) fglrx(0): DRI initialization successfull!
 (II) fglrx(0): Acceleration enabled
 (II) fglrx(0): [DRI] installation complete
 (II) fglrx(0): Direct rendering enabled
 [atiddx] ASYNCIO init succeed!

The good:

  • googleearth starts and actually work. (february 2008 : first time ever).
  • mplayer works with XVideo ('xv') full screen.

The bad:

  • i've got some random total freeze (hard reboot needed, i can't ssh). I never had this before.
  • enabling desktop effect (compiz-like) in kde 4.0.1 gives a black screen. You can kill X and restart it(with ssh), but the screen remains black and you need to reboot..
  • you can't switch to text mode (everything freeze, you can acces through ssh from another computer, but you can't do anything from the computer itself)
  • glxgears blows up the screen, but a refresh will fix it, and i can use alt-tab to switch between windows.
  • fgl_fglxgears fails miserably:
 % fgl_fglxgears
 Using GLX_SGIX_pbuffer
 X Error of failed request:  GLXUnsupportedPrivateRequest
   Major opcode of failed request:  163 (GLX)
   Minor opcode of failed request:  16 (X_GLXVendorPrivate)
   Serial number of failed request:  40
   Current serial number in output stream:  41

Bluetooth

There's a button on the right of the notebook. If you press it, the blutooth led becomes blue, and you can see the bluetooth device appearing in dmesg as usb, exactly as if some usb device has just been plugged externally. You don't even need a driver for it, and that's cool. Linux kernel handles that perfectly and i can communicate with my phone using kde tools for bluetooth.

Wifi

The wifi chipset is a Broadcom BCM4318 [AirForce One 54g]. I use the driver provided with the kernel, using CONFIG_B43, creating the module b43.ko, which works well with network manager. I can't 'iwlist scan' and such though....

Until 2008, there was no way to make this work, so i was using ndiswrapper and the windows driver, and it worked well... See at the end to download the proper amd64bits windows driver to use with ndiswrapper.

Last thing i want to say : the wifi card is a mini-pci card, easily accesible from behind the laptop. So you can easily change it for another mini pci card if you like.

Internal 56k modem

It's said to work, though I haven't tried. And probably never will, i dont care about modem, as much as i dont care about floppy disks or PATA IDE Cable. All are old rubbish stuff.

Sound

No problem, you just need to configure Intel HD Audio in the kernel configuration (Device Drivers --> Sound --> Advanced Linux Sound Architecture --> pci devices) and modprobe snd-hda-intel. (it took some time to find out this was the one).

Even when i put all levels to 100%, the sound isn't very loud. Even worse when i put a headset. I'm kinda upset by this limitation. Be aware of it before deciding to buy this laptop.

PC Card / PCMCIA and other cards

To configure pcmcia with recent kernels, you need to emerge the package "sys-apps/pcmciautils".

To make use of the (very useful) SD card reader, first make sure pcmcia works ok. You will need the kernel modules "sdhci" and "sdhci-pci" (or build them into the kernel directly, of course). Once inserted, your disks (and partitions) will be available as /dev/mmcblk0*

I also have a pcmcia compact flash reader, which works well too.

Irda

According to the BIOS the irda can only be configured as FIR, not SIR. well..

Following the section Laptop port in SIR mode (using irtty driver) on this link Basically, i emerged net-wireless/irda-utils, added a file /etc/modules.d/irda (see Files section below), changed /etc/conf.d/irda (ttyS2 changed to ttyS1) and it seems to work:

 from syslog 
                 
 farfalla irattach: executing: echo farfalla > /proc/sys/net/irda/devname
 farfalla irattach: executing: echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/irda/discovery
 farfalla irattach: Starting device irda0 


Now.. i've never been able to get any signal with either lirc or various irda utility (obex).

I failed to configure it with SIR driver. (haven't tried a lot, though). There's suppose to be a utility but it doesn't compile on my amd64.

The chipset is a SMsC LPC47N07 Super IO. (according to the bios).

Misc

I configured /etc/conf.d/hdparm with all_args="-d1 -c3 -u1 -m16"


Information

My kernel config

My make.conf

My /etc/modules.autoload.d/kernel-2.6

My /etc/X11/xorg.conf

The dmesg

Xorg.0.log

lspci -v

Windows amd 64 bit driver, the one that works for me.


 cat /proc/cpuinfo
 processor       : 0
 vendor_id       : AuthenticAMD
 cpu family      : 15
 model           : 36
 model name      : AMD Turion(tm) 64 Mobile Technology MT-32
 stepping        : 2
 cpu MHz         : 1800.000
 cache size      : 512 KB
 fpu             : yes
 fpu_exception   : yes
 cpuid level     : 1
 wp              : yes
 flags           : fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat pse36
 clflush mmx fxsr sse   sse2 syscall nx mmxext fxsr_opt lm 3dnowext 3dnow pni lahf_lm
 bogomips        : 3604.19
 TLB size        : 1024 4K pages
 clflush size    : 64
 cache_alignment : 64
 address sizes   : 40 bits physical, 48 bits virtual
 power management: ts fid vid ttp tm stc