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  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Installing Arch Linux on my G751-JY

    I've been an Arch Linux far for a few years. Here is how I installed in a dual boot configuration with Windows 8.1 on my new G751 laptop. This sounds much more complicated than it is. Much of it comes from the excellent Arch wiki.

    Testing
    • I first downloaded few live CD disks from various distributions to see if this was even possible. I tried, Mint, Ubuntu, Fedora, and Suse. The only one that gave me trouble was Ubuntu.
    • I found that for any distribution that you install, you have to add "nomodeset" to kernal options. This is because modern versions of Linux try to load the nouveau display driver, and that driver doesn't yet support the GTX980m.
    • nomodeset stops the open source graphics driver from installing and instead you will get sofeware rendering graphics. You will get a blank screen if you don't. This is fine for install. The laptop is even fast enough for it to be usable in this mode. After linux is running you can install the Nvidia drivers. (recommended) For now, nouveau isn't an option for this laptop.
    • Conclusion - Linux should work.

    Reinstall Windows
    • This step really isn't necessary.
    • I first reinstalled Windows 8.1 using instructions found elsewhere on the site to do it on the G750. This went fairly well. In fact it was less complicated than doing it as described on the G750. I did this to get rid of the little bit of bloatware and to remove the Windows hidden partitions (if any).
    • Make sure you download the Asus utility to backup the 2 recovery partitions to a USB. There is a driver install process that makes rebuilding Windows very easy if you do this.
    • I first unplugged the 1T drive. This keeps Windows from putting a hidden partition on it when you reinstall.
    • I used the Windows install process to remove the 2 NTFS partitions on the M.2 SSD . I created a new partition for Windows and left the rest of the drive unformatted. As noted above, I didn't touch the EFI, and the two recovery partitions. (they take up little space)
    • The Windows activation code is built into the laptop's firmware. Windows never asked for it and it automatically reactivated.
    • I finished up the windows install and rebooted. On the recovery USB that I created , there is an install process to put all the Asus drivers back on the machine. At this point it is pretty much back to factory conditions except with a clean version of Windows installed. The ROG G751 destop background image is also found on this recovery partiton.
    • Finally I disabled fast boot in Windows and in the UEFI.
    • I preceded to the linux install.

    Partitioning & prep. for Linux
    • I reinstalled the 1T drive.
    • Turn off secure boot.
    • I booted up a Linux rescue disk/usb (there are several out there) so that I could use gparted to partition the remaining disks. This also requires nomodeset in order to get non-accel. graphics to come up.
    • I added two partitions to the M.2 SSD. 100M for /boot and the remainder for /. /boot is formated as ext2, / = ext4.
    • The 1T drive is split between Windows & Linux. I formatted the Windows partition as NTFS. I created a small, 40G partition for /var and formatted it ext4. The remainder of the drive went to /home also ext4.
    • At this point I rebooted. Windows picked up the new partition without issue, but I had to go to disk administrator and reassign it to "D". The optical disk was moved to "E".

    Arch Installation
    • Installed ARCH following the instructions (beginners) in the wiki. It uses 4 partitions from above, /, /boot, /home, /var. The latter two are on the 1T drive.
    • I didn't use grub. I find it overly complicated for a UEFI machine. Instead I used rEFInd. When you boot, rEFInd automatically finds every bootable image, even on removable media, and presents a nice graphical interface for it. It even allows you to go directly to the UEFI/BIOS settings for the laptop. Configuration is with a simple text file.
    • rEFIN\nd gets installed to the EFI partition. The arch install for it worked well. Nothing from linux gets installed onto this partition and you normally will not need to access it again. I did remove the drivers for NTFS & EXT4 so rEFIN\nd won't scan these drives for install images.
    • Changed the laptop boot settings to boot rEFInd first, and the Windows loader 2nd. (you could even delete the Windows loader if you liked)
    • Rebooted laptop. rEFInd boot graphic comes up almost instantly. It showed Windows 8.1 & Arch linux as options to boot. Both worked.

    Graphics & Desktop Environment.
    • To get graphics to work, I had to install nvidia-beta as noted in the wiki. On Arch, this always pulls the latest beta driver from Nvidia. Currenly this is nvidia-beta 346.16-1.
    • As noted in the Nvidia release notes. 346.16-1 is the first release to support the GTX970m/980m mobile GPUs.
    • I installed the gnome3 desktop. I am a XFCE user, but I thought that I'd try this on this new laptop. I had briefly tried the Cinammon desktop from Mint, but I didn't care much for it. Arch doesn't dictate a DE. They officially support numerous options.
    • Rebooted and was happy that graphics came up fine. No issues with either wired or wireless networking.
    • I updated ARCH to current software and rebooted again. From this point he laptop works fine but I have a couple of remaining issues.


    Currently the backlight keys don't work. I've done some research on this but haven't hit the right solution yet. The backlight can be controlled using the xbacklight command. Adding "acpi_osi=" to the kernel options causes linux to recognize the brightness keys, but it doesn't change the brightness and it breaks xbacklight. I suspect it might be the beta Nvidia drivers are not handling this properly.

    The touchpad isn't working correctly. I haven't really tried to diagnose this as I've got a gaming mouse installed. I might get back to it. Some of the ASUS gaming keys are not recognized. This isn't surprising, and I haven't really researched it either. Beyond that, the laptop does everything that I need it to do under Linux.

    Hopefully this helps anyone wanting to try it. Please feel free to ask questions.
    Last edited by blackcat77; 12-07-2014 at 05:15 PM.

  2. #2
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    we need people like you in ROG community

  3. #3
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    Thank you for sharing this!

  4. #4
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    I am not sure about Arch Linux but Fedora which I use daily has a very bad heat management system. So if you are running high performance tasks does your machine in Linux heat up more than when in Windows?

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    Does our distro detect the battery correctly? I am using Ubuntu and I am getting battery discharging while the AC/DC is plugged in.

    Thanks,
    Rolando

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    Hi blackcat77, excellent post. I am a long-time user of Arch Linux and have been interested in this laptop intensely. I had a few questions, I was curious if you got the trackpad to work (at all) and if you had experienced any of the USB port issues that some other people reported? Have you seen this under Linux? And maybe you could attach some hardware listings, output from lspci/lsusb or a dmesg log?

    https://rog.asus.com/forum/showthrea...ight=g751+disk

    I was also a bit curious about the screen, I am somewhat scared of IPS screens since people at work have bought Thinkpad Yoga's and X240s with LG IPS panels in them that developed HORRIBLE ghosting after a few months. The panel in the G751 is supposedly a LG LP173WF4-SPD1 (according to this forum post).

    If you are interested in digging into that, here is some information:



    And thanks again for posting your Linux trials of the machine here!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by xarragon View Post
    Hi blackcat77, excellent post. I am a long-time user of Arch Linux and have been interested in this laptop intensely. I had a few questions, I was curious if you got the trackpad to work (at all) and if you had experienced any of the USB port issues that some other people reported? Have you seen this under Linux? And maybe you could attach some hardware listings, output from lspci/lsusb or a dmesg log?

    https://rog.asus.com/forum/showthrea...ight=g751+disk

    I was also a bit curious about the screen, I am somewhat scared of IPS screens since people at work have bought Thinkpad Yoga's and X240s with LG IPS panels in them that developed HORRIBLE ghosting after a few months. The panel in the G751 is supposedly a LG LP173WF4-SPD1 (according to this forum post).

    If you are interested in digging into that, here is some information:



    And thanks again for posting your Linux trials of the machine here!
    Although this was not directed towards me, I thought I'd throw in my $.02 as a G750JM (previous generation) owner. After all, the more information we can regarding Arch Linux on these things, the better.

    Down to business. I purchased mine about 2 months ago (beginning of November 2014) as I preferred the style of the 750s over the 751s and Newegg had some decent sales going on since the new ones were coming out.

    The install went great (I always install over Ethernet because I figure I can screw with wireless after the fact and in the mean time have a fully functional system in *some* way). The only problems I ran into were with Graphics and Wireless connectivity.

    For reference, this is the output of `lspci` and `lsusb`:
    Code:
    00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation Xeon E3-1200 v3/4th Gen Core Processor DRAM Controller (rev 06)
    00:01.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Xeon E3-1200 v3/4th Gen Core Processor PCI Express x16 Controller (rev 06)
    00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation 4th Gen Core Processor Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 06)
    00:03.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation Xeon E3-1200 v3/4th Gen Core Processor HD Audio Controller (rev 06)
    00:14.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation 8 Series/C220 Series Chipset Family USB xHCI (rev 05)
    00:16.0 Communication controller: Intel Corporation 8 Series/C220 Series Chipset Family MEI Controller #1 (rev 04)
    00:1a.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation 8 Series/C220 Series Chipset Family USB EHCI #2 (rev 05)
    00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 8 Series/C220 Series Chipset High Definition Audio Controller (rev 05)
    00:1c.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 8 Series/C220 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port #1 (rev d5)
    00:1c.2 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 8 Series/C220 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port #3 (rev d5)
    00:1c.3 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 8 Series/C220 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port #4 (rev d5)
    00:1c.4 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 8 Series/C220 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port #5 (rev d5)
    00:1d.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation 8 Series/C220 Series Chipset Family USB EHCI #1 (rev 05)
    00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation HM87 Express LPC Controller (rev 05)
    00:1f.2 SATA controller: Intel Corporation 8 Series/C220 Series Chipset Family 6-port SATA Controller 1 [AHCI mode] (rev 05)
    00:1f.3 SMBus: Intel Corporation 8 Series/C220 Series Chipset Family SMBus Controller (rev 05)
    01:00.0 3D controller: NVIDIA Corporation GM107M [GeForce GTX 860M] (rev a2)
    03:00.0 Network controller: Broadcom Corporation BCM4352 802.11ac Wireless Network Adapter (rev 03)
    04:00.0 Ethernet controller: Qualcomm Atheros QCA8171 Gigabit Ethernet (rev 10)
    Code:
    Bus 002 Device 002: ID 8087:8000 Intel Corp. 
    Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
    Bus 001 Device 002: ID 8087:8008 Intel Corp. 
    Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
    Bus 004 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0003 Linux Foundation 3.0 root hub
    Bus 003 Device 003: ID 04f2:b414 Chicony Electronics Co., Ltd 
    Bus 003 Device 002: ID 13d3:3404 IMC Networks 
    Bus 003 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
    For the wireless, I don't know exactly what fixed it (I was trying a lot at once), but I do know that I grabbed a driver from *somewhere* (I just don't know where I got the one that works from), loaded the driver, and restarted with Wifi capabilities. The PCI-ID on my card is "14e4:43b1" and is not officially supported by the b43 package (http://wireless.kernel.org/en/users/Drivers/b43). It's worth noting, that I'm still trying to make the driver stay permanently loaded since modprobe can't find it, but this is probably the result of something that *I* did. In the mean time, remembering to run `depmod -a broadcom-wl` after each boot up is a perfectly acceptable solution as far as I'm concerned.

    For the graphics, this weekend I plan on installing the NVIDIA drivers so that the system just uses the GPU in a more traditional style, as opposed to Optimus switching. That being said, it seems from my research that the nouveau driver's PRIME functionality (which is essentially open source Optimus) is coming along quite well and will actually work between Intel/Nvidia as well as Intel/AMD. While the Intel/AMD doesn't apply to us, I just think it's great that there's one tool to do both. The only reason I'm not going for the switching style (even bumblebee) is because it just seems like an extra headache that I would like to avoid entirely since I have no need for any kind of substantial battery life as I am always plugged in.

    I have successfully used all of my USB ports, the CD drive, and the headphone jack without any notable issues.

    I don't have the special gaming keys on this model, so I can't speak to those, although along a similar vein it's worth mentioning (also unsurprisingly) that some of the marked keyboard shortcuts don't work, although it was easy enough to set them up in GNOME Shell's keyboard shortcuts menu (e.g. the built-in camera to open cheese, etc.). The media, volume, etc. keys work out of the box.

    Just as the OP pointed out, my brightness keys also do not work. As I mentioned I am not currently using the NVIDIA drivers, but rather the Intel ones, so this may change when I switch over. I have researched some potential fixes for this, but they all see to be quite a hassle, unstable/risky, or just completely non-functional. The few that I've tried haven't done anything, so I've decided that it's not worth my time and I will instead use GNOME's software brightness controls in their top-right corner menu.

    As the OP had mentioned, even without the GPU the Intel chip still has some respectable graphics power behind it. I'm able to play DOTA2 with extremely minimal lag full screen on the highest settings. By "extremely minimal" I mean that I wouldn't notice it if it wasn't for the fact that I tried it out on Windows first with the GPU and it was beautifully fluid. the Intel chip, although less fluid, still runs it quite well. (Another factor that may come into play is that we're not just comparing graphics cards -- we're also comparing Windows and Linux game performance, so who knows what other variables are affecting it.)

  8. #8
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    Hallo guys,

    I found a workaround for backlight control, working fine in Ubuntu 14.10:

    sudo apt-get install xbacklight (in 14.10, xbacklight is in the standart repositories, no need to add ppa).

    Command for backlight up: xbacklight +10

    Command for backlight down: xbacklight -10

    The value (10) can be an individual number.

    Then I bound some keyshortcuts: System-Settings -> Keyboard -> Shortcuts -> Own Shortcuts and added the commands and applied Ctrl+Shift+F5/F6 for upo and down.

    Hope this helps.

    Best regards

    Kitsab

  9. #9
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    I had a similar experience of my own with Debian:

    https://g751jy.wordpress.com/

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    Thanks for the post. It was really usefull to install the bootloader. On my archlinux the backlight works pretty well, but I'm on KDE. The touchpad doesn't work and I cannot make the audio jack work. I don't know why but it's impossible to listen something from an headphone. Does someone have the same issue ?

    P.s. Can someone know a way to make the steam key work under linux ? I receive this error on dmesg when I press :

    Code:
    ........
    [  960.750735] asus_wmi: Unknown key 7f pressed
    Same behaviour with the "rog key"
    Last edited by campo85; 02-22-2015 at 01:29 AM.

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