I recently purchased the Asus G74SX-A1. In fact, I'm typing on it right now. I love the machine as it has amazing specs, a very well designed cooling system, fantastic screen, and all the important stuff (not keyboard backlighting) worked with Linux either out of the box or with single steps to install proprietary drivers. I love it with two exceptions.
The first is the keyboard in general. I'm pretty sure this is not a bug, but I am used to keys that I can hit at the edge and get a result, but these keys seem pickier about my finger placement. I'm slowly getting used to it, though the space bar in particular is very picky and seems to be the key I'm most likely to fail to press successfully. (I was worried about missed key strokes but that doesn't seem to be what's going on here.) I'm also having trouble adjusting to the huge touchpad, but that's neither here nor there.
The second is the numerical keypad. The problem is that, well, it's not a numerical keypad. The keys are simply duplicates of the top row number keys, rather than mapping to the normal separate keypad bindings. This is problematic in multiple ways. In some games, these keys can be used for shortcuts. In my case, I use them in Linux for certain global shortcuts that I use a lot, like volume control. With them bound to the top row keys, the keypad keys cannot be reassigned without eliminating the use of the top row keys as well. The other major problem I am aware of is that in Windows, it is impossible to use the Alt+xxx shortcut to insert non-standard symbols. While I'm sure the menu-based functionality can also insert those symbols, it is significantly less convenient. I can imagine gamer college students buying this computer and finding themselves having a very hard time typing for foreign language classes.
I sent in a support e-mail more than 48 hours ago but have heard nothing, so I'm posting here. Is there any chance that a BIOS update might be released to fix this issue? I am fearful that this was implemented in hardware and is thus not fixable without a hardware replacement that I doubt Asus would do. I don't care about the availability of Num Lock, I just need them to be mapped separately so I can use them for shortcuts that I am used to using. I've got another week to decide whether to keep the unit or send it back, and I'm very much on the fence primarily because of the two keyboard issues, of all things.
Thank you for any thoughts. They are much appreciated.