Asus G60JX "Republic of Gaming" laptop and Ubuntu Linux

When it became clear my trusty Compaq R3000 laptop was unable to even try to run current games in Wine, I went shopping for one that could (meaning nvidia, gt240 or better). After looking at Gateway, Dell, and others, I settled on a refurbished Asus G60JX from Amazon. It has a gts360m graphics chip and an i5-430m cpu, is just barely light enough to carry, and at $700, cheap.

Installing Ubuntu

At first, I couldn't even get the ubuntu install disc to work.

With Ubuntu 10.10, I had to use the alternate install disc, press F6 and pick nomodeset to install, and at boot had to add it to the kernel commandline.

With Ubuntu 11.04 beta, I had to use the alternate install disc, press F6 and pick *noapic* to install, and at boot had to add *nomodeset* to the kernel commandline.

Once the system came up, I did System / Administration / Additional Drivers and switched to the offered nvidia drivers. Then the system was happy.


Its 3dmark06 score is 10200 in win7, and about 2/3 of that in wine (5725), as expected. That's about the same as a gt 240... I guess the gts360m *is* a gt 240.

It takes 13m49s to build Wine at -j8.

Seems to boot quickly. I'm happy with the performance; an i7 probably would have been twice as fast, but that's ok.

Windows 7 "Not Genuine"

The Windows 7 installed on the hard drive reported that it was not genuine, even after I did a full reinstall from the recovery media. Asus tech support had no useful suggestions. After a bit of googling, the answer turned out to be:
  1. click on Start, right click on Computer, select Properties
  2. at bottom, click "Change Product Key"
  3. type in product key from Microsoft hologram sticker on bottom of computer
See Wikipedia's WPA article for details.

Alternately, on first boot when it complains that Windows is not genuine, just wait 60 or so seconds for Asus's script to kick in and fix things. I didn't even notice this until the third or fourth time I reimaged.

Dual booting was easy... pro tip: install the grub boot record in the mbr, and if you get the "No such disk" grub error at boot time when booting win7, just run prepare-grub2 again in linux.

Good Thing It Had A Warranty

At about four weeks, the display failed. It failed in a funny way: it mimicked a system hang. At first it happened only after an hour of use, then 15 minutes, then it happened even before POST. It had a 3 month warranty, so I got an RMA, shipped it back, and had it working in a week.

Nine Months On

After about nine months, the hard drive failed badly, wouldn't boot at all. Replaced the bad 500GB drive with a WD Scorpio Black 750GB unit ($90 at newegg, I'm a sucker for a 5 year warranty). Installation was a breeze, only hitch was I got a couple screws switched around when putting the cover back on, and it took me ten minutes to sort that out.

Good thing I burned recovery discs when I got the laptop. Ubuntu 11.10 beta 2 installed uneventfully (from the alternat disc); I chose noapic and nomodeset when booting the install disc, but didn't have to do anything special after installing this time.

Total time wasted: 6 hours (shopping for and replacing disk, installing windows and ubuntu, setting up sun java plugin so I can use Juniper's stupid web-based vpn).

If Windows Update doesn't work...

Every now and then, I use the Windows that it came with. This time, I noticed that Windows Update (and Windows Defender) refused to start. The workaround was to download and install a new version of Intel Rapid Storage Technology from Asus... though perhaps not from the support page for the G60JX; I used version from their IRST page.