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Intel Pentium M 1.5 GHz, 640 MB RAM DDR, 60 GB HDD, DVD/CD-RW Combo, 13,3" XGA, 3x USB (2x 1.1, 1x 2.0), Modem (some Intel AC97 stuff), RTL8139 10/100 MBit/s LAN, IEEE 1394 (Firewire), Intel 855GM (shared memory), SigmaTel sound (i810), Intel Pro WLAN 2100. ASUS also packages an USB mouse and a passive PCCard-adapter for SM/MMC/SD/MS-cards.


This system was installed with Debian GNU/Linux 3.0r1 plus some backports for XFree86, KDE3 and GNOME2 and Linux Kernel 2.4.22-pre6. The installation itself was quite easy, but ACPI proved to be a hassle. This is a Centrino notebook, thus if you throttle the CPU a bit by cpufreq, it is really, really quiet.


You may reach the AMI-BIOS with F2. When hitting ESC you can choose between HD, CD-ROM, and a "removable device" to boot. It was not possible to flash the BIOS with the DOS tool provided on ASUS' ftp-server: after loading the ROM with the new BIOS, the program dumps you back to the start-screen. It looks that you have to use Microsoft-Windows for that.


The chipset runs with kernel 2.4.18, but it is natively supported from 2.4.21 on. So use at least that if you want to use DMA.


The drive is external and can be connected via Ai-BOX, a proprietary connector. You have to plug it in at boot-time and then it behaves like an internal drive (hdc). Burning CD-Rs works as usual, designate hdc to ide-scsi by appending "hdc=ide-scsi" to the kernel start and loading the module ide-scsi. Playing DVD was not tested.

Attention: To hear music with the external CD drive you need a connector between audio out of the CD and audio in of the laptop.


Actually, suspend and standby seem to work. But due to problems with interrupt routing, the sound does not work.


ACPI itself works when you download the latest patch from the ACPI site(http://acpi.sf.net/download.html) (ac_adapter, battery, thermal, button, processor, asus_acpi), but you should upgrade asus_acpi to the latest version (> 0.24a) from ACPI4ASUS(http://sf.net/projects/acpi4asus). Then you have access to all kinds of hotkeys: multimedia keys above the keyboard and Fn-keys.
Unfortunately, you have to patch your DSDT to make the notebook work properly. Otherwise your harddisk will creep at an amazing transfer speed of 2 MB/s and keventd yields up to 100% usage of the CPU. See the ACPI DSDT-page(http://acpi.sf.net/dsdt/index.php) for more info about DSDTs and this page(http://acpi.sf.net/dsdt/view.php?id=90) for a fixed DSDT. This seems to be a problem of all ASUS Centrino notebooks currently available.


The current module processor from ACPI does not support Enhanced Speedstep as to be found in the Pentrium M processor. AFAIK, it is not sure, if it ever will due to some changes in the upcoming kernel 2.6. Instead you should take cpufreq(http://www.codemonkey.org.uk/) (link outdated) which works fine, especially together with the cpufreqd(http://cpufreqd.sf.net).


SoftwareSuspend works quite well together with ACPI, get it from here(http://swsusp.sf.net).

Sound (ALSA)

Works like a charm with snd-intel8x0, but only if you have activated ACPI! There is also no wheel to change the volume of the sound output, but you can configure the Fn-buttons (F10-F12) via acpid to control the alsamixer when you have loaded asus_acpi.


The framebuffer support for intelfb works, though you cannot unblank the console when it went into blank mode before. You have to switch over to XFree86 and back to view the console again. I expect there will be some more development in the near future, because the version number of the driver jumped between 2.4.21 and 2.4.22-pre6 from 0.7.5 to 0.7.7.
Also, the colors sometimes become distorted and shifted to red, an effect which vanishes after a couple of seconds. This problem seems to become worse when _not_ using the framebuffer. Besides, the display is heavily flickering in non-framebuffer mode. The shift even persists under usage of the framebuffer for quite some time afterwards, but eventually gets back to "normal".


The integrated graphics works fine, no complaints about the driver i810, except for 3D-acceleration. agpgart loads fine, but DRI complains that the DRM module i830 is too old. So you might have more luck with an updated DRM driver from dri.sf.net(http://dri.sf.net), but i do not try it yet.


It is a Synaptics touchpad and the scroll buttons work as soon as you install the appropriate driver from TuxMobil.org.


Business as usual, take yenta_socket as driver and off you go.


There are two USB 1.1 ports on the left side of the machine which work with usb-uhci. The port on the backside seems to be the USB 2.0 port which can be put into 2.0-mode with ehci-hcd. BTW: It is possible to boot the laptop from an USB stick using SPB-Linux.


Firewire seems to work ok with the usual modules: ieee1394, ohci1394, sbp2.


The LAN driver to be used is 8139too, so no problems here.

Wireless LAN

Apart from Intel's announcement(http://www.intel.com/support/graphics/sb/cs-006059.htm) to support their Centrino-WLAN-Chip in Linux somewhen next year, a company called Linuxant(http://www.linuxant.com/driverloader) has developed a technology to use the drivers for Windows XP in Linux. Unfortunately, it is deeply non-free, though Linuxant asks the hardware vendors to support them, so that the product will be at least given to the users without charging them. Currently (October 2003), you get, after a registration process, a 30 day trial license which seems to be hardcoded to the MAC-address of your WLAN card. At least, it works _now_ and not _somewhen_ next year. Also checkout the article and discussion at pro-linux.de(http://www.pro-linux.de/news/2003/6057.html) (in German).

The necessary MicroSoft-Windows files (e.g. w70n51.inf are provided by ASUS via FTP ftp://ftp.asuscom.de/pub/NOTEBOOK/M2x00N/INTEL_Calexico/PROW7100.ZIP or on the CD in the directory: /intel_calexico/prow7100/winxp/



The serial driver works via ircomm and irattach, did not try FastIrDA - FIR.


Lorenzo Martignoni wrote: "I tried to get my IrDA working in SIR mode but I didn't succed. Here are the steps I followed to setup it:

* build a Linux Kernel (mine was 2.4.22) with IrDA support and with the support for nsc-ircc:


* set up the serial port using as UART type "none", my IrDA is on ttyS1:

setserial /dev/ttyS1 uart none port 0x02f8 irq 3 baud_base 115200  spd_normal skip_test

* load the nsc-ircc modules with the following parameters:

modprobe nsc-ircc irq=3 dma=3 io=0x2f8 dongle_id=0x09

* attach the IrDA interface:

irattach irda0 -s

* I'm using Debian, it automatically loads the modules and start irattach with the right configuration. You should follow these steps: dpkg-reconfigure setserial and specify manual as the configuration mode, then edit /etc/serial.conf, mine is this:

/dev/ttyS1 uart none port 0x02f8 irq 3 baud_base 115200 spd_normal skip_test

* dpkg-reconfigure irda-common, select "native" as the device type, use "nsc-ircc" as FIR chip, and "irq=3 dma=3 io=0x2f8 dongle_id=0x09" as module options.

* enjoy with your irda :-)


The modem is the only thing that does not work at all. It is an Intel AC97 mdoem controller, but none of the drivers provided by Intel, nor the pctel(http://linmodems.technion.ac.il/pctel-linux/) driver work. I guess that pctel just needs an update.

Multicard Adapter

Unfortunately, the passive multicard adapter does not seem to work. Trying with an SD-card gave this error message:
ide-cs: GetNextTuple: No more items
According to the PCMCIA-HOWTO this could be some IO- or Memory-problem but the solutions offered there did not help. Well, not really a problem worth pondering on any further. Btw, when the SD/PCCard-combo was inserted into another notebook, the following messages appeared:
cs: socket dddca000 voltage interrogation timed out
cs: socket dddca000 voltage interrogation timed out

PortBar III

All components of the port replicator (VGA, 4xUSB 2.0, LAN, parallel) work. To detect the existence of the replicator you may choose the system message: USB hub found.

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