Ubuntu on ASUS UL30VT

So, lately theres been a fair few problems with the UL30VT. This is a post to compile the general solutions to especially the hybrid graphics cards.

This guide is intended to the new Ubuntu release Lucid Lynx(10.04 LTS), but would probably work for the Karmic(9.10) release too.

Hybrid Graphics – The problem
First off, the hybrid drivers found in Windows 7 seems to be developed by Asus themselves. Another problem is that to be able to “hotswitch” between the Nvidia and Intel graphics card it need to be implemented into the Xorg core – and this I would imagine we will not see in a long time. As it stand in Windows, only Windows 7 is able to the “hotswitch”, earlier versions like Vista and XP need to same solution as Xorg – a service restart(re-login).

Hybrid Graphics – Solution
So there are several solutions depending on the outcome you want.

  • Running only Intel
  • Running only Nvidia
  • Running “hotswitch” between Intel and Nvidia

Hybrid Graphics – Solution “Running only Intel”
So – this solution pretty much work out of the box. Since the Lucid install utilize the Intel card by default using the Intel drivers, this is the easiest solution. The only thing you need to do is pretty much install Ubuntu as you would on any other computer.

Running ‘glxgears’ would give you a result of 3 000-4 000 frames per 5.0 seconds.

So , this works if you dont want to run any heavy graphics. BUT, the Nvidia card is still enabled and draining battery! So how do we solve this? Some genius people over at ubuntuforums have posted a kernel-module to disable the nvidia card using the acpi switch. This code is based on a lenovo_acpi kernel-module.

The short version on how to disable the Nvidia card is:

One of the Linux users has found a solution to switch off the nvidia card in the UL30Vt models, which by the looks of the DSDT tables, will also work for the UL50Vt and UL80Vt models with nvidia card.

If you are using Linux on an Asus UL30Vt, or Asus UL50Vt or Asus UL80Vt, keep reading…

For Ubuntu Karmic, download and install this package:


Then once installed, run the following command on a terminal:

sudo modprobe nvidia_g210m_acpi


This method uses the ACPI P0P1.VGA._OFF method, which is the same for all 3 models.

The code file, “asus_nvidia.c” is derived from “lenovo_acpi.c” by Sylvain Joyeux.

Here is the original post and another one that adds hibernation support:

The complete guide on how to disable the Nvidia card can be found here.

So, that was the solution to running on the Intel card only. This will save battery life and make your computer run up until 10 hours.

There was a problem with “glitches” when running X, here is a fix if you have that problem:

Kernel parameter i915.powersave=0 in grub fixes this issue

Hybrid Graphics – Solution “Running only Nvidia”
This pretty much means running Nvidia and Intel, cause the Intel card can’t really be disabled the same way as the Nvidia card can be.

So this is the biggie one, cause I bought the computer to run on the Nvidia mostly because the nvidia linux drivers are way better than the Intel ones. And if you need to run games especially through wine, I’ve always found nvidia to handle this extremely well.

Lets get on with it! The problem is actually a weird one – one that I don’t know the answer to. If anyone know why this solution work, please drop me a line so I can incorporate it here. As far as my knowledge goes, I figured it was maybe an interrupt problem. It seems this tweak frees up an interrupt somehow.

This is how you get g210m to work on Ubuntu 9.10 / 10.04.

1. Download and install nvidia drivers from the repos(nvidia-current).

2. Make sure you got an Xorg.conf that is correct – run nvidia-xconfig.
Run ‘lspci -v | grep VGA’ and you should get something like : 01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation GT218 [GeForce G210M] (rev a2)
Make sure the xorg.conf contains the BusId “PCI:1:0:0″ (should correspond to the 01:00.0 – which becomes PCI:1:0:0)

3. Reboot into bios (press delete while booting)

4. Change the SATA option in the bios from enhanced to
compatibility. ( yea, this makes sense? NOT! )

5. Boot into linux and smile!

If you experience any problems, for example you forgot to set some params in the xorg.conf, you can boot using your Ubuntu USB or CD and mount your root partition and make the changes there.

Hybrid Graphics – Solution “Running hotswitch beteen Nvidia and Intel”
I haven’t tried this solution yet – but I would imagine you could use a combination of the solutions mentioned above. If anyone have tested this, please drop me a line and I’ll add it here. At least it would be possible with a reboot, but who wants that cheap old Windows-trick?!

My xorg.conf(Running nvidia-solution)

# nvidia-xconfig: X configuration file generated by nvidia-xconfig
# nvidia-xconfig: version 1.0 (buildmeister@builder58) Fri Mar 12 02:12:40 PST 2010

Section “ServerLayout”
Identifier “Layout0″
Screen 0 “Screen0″
InputDevice “Keyboard0″ “CoreKeyboard”
InputDevice “Mouse0″ “CorePointer”

Section “Files”

Section “InputDevice”
# generated from default
Identifier “Mouse0″
Driver “mouse”
Option “Protocol” “auto”
Option “Device” “/dev/mouse”
Option “Emulate3Buttons” “no”
Option “ZAxisMapping” “4 5″

Section “InputDevice”
# generated from default
Identifier “Keyboard0″
Driver “kbd”

Section “Monitor”
Identifier “Monitor0″
VendorName “Unknown”
ModelName “Unknown”
HorizSync 28.0 – 33.0
VertRefresh 43.0 – 72.0
Option “DPMS”

Section “Device”
Identifier “Device0″
Driver “nvidia”
VendorName “NVIDIA Corporation”
BusID “PCI:1:0:0″

Section “Screen”
Identifier “Screen0″
Device “Device0″
Monitor “Monitor0″
DefaultDepth 24
SubSection “Display”
Depth 24

If I forgot anything in the guide please let me know!

15 thoughts on “Ubuntu on ASUS UL30VT”

  1. I just got a new Asus UL30Vt. I tried the linked intel solution. The modprobe would hang the laptop if in X… or not. I suspect the source needs tweaked for the current ubuntu lucid. If anyone else gets it working please let me know and I’ll try again.

  2. I’ve gotten it to work under Lucid. I installed it and added it to /etc/modules which makes it load during boot, maybe thats a suggestion that’ll work for you?

  3. Hi,

    Do you think that running the UL30VT with the nvidia card disabled is just as good as running Ubuntu on the UL30A (the version of the laptop without the discrete graphics option), in terms of battery life and stability? I’m trying to choose between the two models, and I’d hate to have to pick the UL30A just because Linux doesn’t play nice with hybrid graphics.



    1. Hi Pascal,

      I would definetly say that running UL30VT on Intel and running UL30A is the same. They almost have the same specs. Depending on what battery you buy with what model, they should run about the same amount of hours. The only thing you have to remember is disabling the Nvidia card on the UL30VT so it doesnt drain battery.

      Running on the Nvidia “only” will def decrease your battery life…dramatically. But I rather prefer some heavy graphics abilities than 10 hours of battery, but of course this is my opinion.

      Essentially UL30VT and UL30A has the same hardware if you disable the Nvidia on the UL30VT. And if you install Ubuntu “the normal way”, all you have to do is download the nvidia-g210m-acpi package and disable to nvidia and you’ve got yourself a UL30A pretty much :)

      Hope this explains.

      Cheers, Kristian

  4. I’m trying to decide as well, but a have one question:
    Will Compiz 3D effects works with the Intel graphics card?
    I have today a HP Lap with NVidea and works perfectly, but I’m evaluating buy this ASUS model.

  5. Compiz and all its 3D effects will work perfectly with the Intel card. What will not work is more advanced opengl games/graphics. But for desktop use it works like a charm :)

  6. Hi!

    Great post, I tried the solution to disable the Nvidia card on my new UL30vt but when I’m trying to modprobe the module I get this error message: FATAL: Error inserting nvidia_g210m_acpi (/lib/modules/2.6.32-21-generic/updates/dkms/nvidia-g210m_acpi.ko): Kernel does not have module support

    I use the default kernel in Ubuntu 10.04 and the kernel seem to support modules as I can unload and load the bluetooth module.
    I posted on the official forums too with a more detailed explaination: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1552248

    If you have any ideas please let me know. :)


  7. Hi rdj,

    my guess is that this is not a kernel-related problem. Have you done any other modification – like bios-settings or something?

    The “Kernel does not have module support” might just be a coding error in the module itself, returning the wrong value(haven’t confirmed this by looking at the source). But my guess is that this is not kernel-related, more module-related, caused by some unknown error. Have you checked your dmes or /var/log/messages for more information?


  8. Hey dude,

    I don’t know who you are but thank you so much for this post. I’ve got a UL50VT and I just scoured the net for literally 7 hours. I tried installing Bumblebee/Ironhide/etc and nothing worked. Your article was the only one well organized enough to extract useful information. I think the biggest source of my problems were the inaptly named BIOS settings. Then again, I did learn about X Server configuration, so i guess the time is not all wasted.

    Thanks man!


  9. hi, i read this guide, and i am wondering if this would make my hdmi output i my asus al 50v? hope this could be the solution

  10. Using NVIDIA this should be fairly easy in the NVIDIA control panel :) Nothing different from the VGA-port.

    The only exception you’ll find is that you have to go to your sound preferences and make sure your output is HDMI, and not internal speakers/headphones.

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