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I am planning to buy an Asus N56VZ with Windows 8 pre-installed. Will this notebook be able to run Ubuntu without problems?

The specs on the computer are:

  • Part Number: N56VZ-S4278H
  • CPU: i7 3630QM
  • Memory: 8GB 2x4GB
  • Hard drive: 750GB 7200RPM
  • Graphics: GT650 DDR3 4GB
  • DVD: Blu-Ray 6X Leitor
  • Wireless: 802.11bgn 10/100/1000 Mbps
  • Windows 8 64 Bits
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Why is this down voted? This is a almost a yes/no question if someone try it before. – John Siu Dec 25 '12 at 6:01
I'm kind of astonished by this... I mean, I heard people with problems with Nvidia cards and other hardware, and the BIOS thing because of Windows 8. Just wanted to know if the best OS I've haver used would run properly on this computer. I had a bad experience with Ubuntu on my desktop (not my netbook since it is Ubuntu Certified) and wanted to make sure I would have no problems at all with this machine. I've no idea why this was downvoted... Is the community trying to say to me that I shouldn't use Ubuntu? This is kind of frustrating lol – joelalmeidaptg Dec 25 '12 at 17:27
have you even googled on this? Or checked at ubuntu wiki? – Alvar Dec 25 '12 at 17:54
You really should try loading a LiveCD and test it out. – Seth Dec 25 '12 at 18:04
I didn't buy the notebook yet. Just wanted to hear some opinions and "testemonials", and straight answers like "Yes, go for it!"... – joelalmeidaptg Dec 25 '12 at 18:10
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Ubuntu Raring is even more compatible. The only thing that doesn't work is the instant key (the one opposite to the power button), but it even wasn't mentioned by OP.

The only trick required was enabling the subwoofer:

sudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf 

and then adding the line

options snd-hda-intel model=asus-mode4

at the end of that file, and... reboot (I don't know if it is possible to do it without rebooting)

The only note: don't install mainstream kernel; these kernels brake some things (like keyboard backlight)

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Thanks a lot for the info! I bought the computer some months ago and I agree - with Ubuntu 13.04 everything is perfect except for the instant key. Thanks for the tip for making the subwoofer work properly – joelalmeidaptg Aug 5 '13 at 19:21
By "these kernels brake some things", what do you mean by "mainstream kernel" ?! And by "break some things" you mean they won't work or will they damage something ?! – Muhammad Gelbana Oct 20 '13 at 12:21
@MuhammadGelbana I mean no physical, nor permanent harm. When you use a mainstream kernel, you wouldn't get keyboard backlight, and, as I recall, you will also have some unrelated problems with Fn keys. – Adam Ryczkowski Oct 20 '13 at 12:56
I'm not very good with Linux but I'm passionate about becoming using it as my main OS, so please pardon me when I ask what do you mean by a "mainstream kernel" ? When I install Ubuntu, is it possible replace Ubuntu's kernel with the one on ? or any another one ?! – Muhammad Gelbana Oct 20 '13 at 16:15
@MuhammadGelbana In that case, forget about my notice, and simply go for Ubuntu/Mint. The mainstream kernel IS NOT the default kernel, so you will definitely not install it by chance. People install mainstream kernels when e.g. they want to have a more recent kernel than the one provided with the distribution. – Adam Ryczkowski Oct 20 '13 at 20:17

Editing /etc/default/grub worked for me to solve the backlight issue:

use acpi_osi= as a boot parameter in grub. As far as I can see on my model, it fixes all FN keys: add acpi_osi= after splash, it'll look like this:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash acpi_osi="

don't forget sudo update-grub

Source: Asus N56vz brightness setting changes (dims) after reboot or waking

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The short answer is "NO" and "yes". There are some known problems I can`t nicely solve (yes, I have the same N56VZ and Ubuntu on it). So, you should be prepared to:

  • Brightness keys are not workig. There are some rumors about 3.7 kernel, but it`s not my case. I am on standard Ubuntu installation. There is a workaround: install xbacklight and add something like "xbacklight -dec 10" to CTRL+F5. Works fine for me (not perfect).
  • Sometimes after wake up I have other FN keys broken. Not often, but...
  • The screen resolution is too high, and if you`re going to set font size larger - you will have some bad Firefox experience. I have no good solution for Chrome. There are some solutions for FireFox (Default Full Zoom Level + user_chrome.css tuning). Windows is not better here, though.
  • Font size doesn't affect Java applications and Wine. There is a nice zoom in compiz, but... it`s not a perfect workaround for me.
  • Sometimes it's not charging, sometimes it's turned on with fan at maximum speed and says there is no battery (while it's not even plugged in))). Rebooting doesn't fix it, only removing and reinstalling the battery. I am thinking about bios update.
  • It's a EFI system. Not a problem, but plain Ubuntu installation would lead to nothing. Google something about it, it's pretty simple, but I already forget it )))
  • You will not be able to boot Windows from Grub. Only F2 and select different OS to boot. EFI is shining with it`s solid security here )))))
  • There are some sound problems. It's not a problem, if subwoofer is not the thing why you are buying this notebook. Sound is perfect, but you should tune it before, if you're gonna use subwoofer.

But! After that I want to tell you: it's a good machine, and if you have a good eyes - you will be probably satisfied! I like this notebook for it`s power, for the really good screen and for the perfect sound (for notebook).

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This exactly the kind of answer I was looking for. I think I will go for it anyway and hope for Ubuntu guys to fix it. Thanks a lot! – joelalmeidaptg Jan 6 '13 at 0:25
You're welcome! – WhiteWind Jan 6 '13 at 15:22

I'm using Ubuntu 13.04 on an Asus N56 VJ (not VZ) - but had the same issue mentioned by @WhiteWind with the fan sometimes going at maximum speed unnecessarily. Sometimes even in sleep mode. To the point where it was overheating.

It also had poor battery life - no more than 1.5 hrs.

Think I've tracked the issue down to the graphics card - seems it's an NVIDIA Optimus laptop and the unsupported Geforce was causing the fan to go on overdrive (correct me if any of this is wrong!).

Anyway, installed Bumblebee (Basic Setup) - which adds support for Optimus and after a reboot the problem seems to have (so far) gone away. It's certainly a lot cooler and the battery life has also doubled, as it uses the standard Ivybridge most of the time and only the Geforce when you ask it to.

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