Tuesday, Nov 23rd, 2010
We recently purchased a new computer for my mother. She wanted nothing to do with Windows, and asked if we could install Linux. An Ubuntu 10.10 install went well, but a few things were missing. Namely, the 10hr+ battery life claimed by the manufacturer. I quickly discovered the LCD brightness was set to 100% and both video cards were enabled.
First problem: The brightness adjustment keys didn't work. That issue was easily fixed by following the steps at: http://wiki.daviddarts.com/Ubuntu_Maverick_on_the_Asus_UL30VT#Scripts_to_Activate_Screen_Brightness_Keys.
Second problem: The laptop includes two video cards: a slow low power-use Intel and a fast high power-use Nvidia. Only one card is enabled at a time in Windows; normally the Nvidia is disabled to save power. The steps listed on http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1366605&page=11 reference steps on http://linux-hybrid-graphics.blogspot.com/2010/07/using-acpicall-module-to-switch-onoff.html. To simplify the solution, I'll document the complete set of steps to simply disable the Nvidia card here:
- Open a Terminal window and enter the following commands
- echo options nouveau modeset=0 | sudo tee -a /etc/modprobe.d/nouveau-kms.conf
- sudo update-initramfs -u
- git clone http://github.com/mkottman/acpi_call.git
- cd acpi_call
- sudo insmod acpi_call.ko
- sudo cp acpi_call.ko /lib/modules/`uname -r`/kernel/
- sudo gedit /etc/modules
- Add acpi_call as the last line in the /etc/modules file. Save and close the file.
- sudo depmod
- sudo modprobe acpi_call
- To run test_off.sh on start up, go to: System > Preferences > Startup Applications > Startup Program > Add.
- Use anything for the name, such as "Turn off Nvidia Video".
- Select test_off.sh as the command.
- Click: Add > Close.
Note: The above procedure simply disables the Nvidia card. If you need to switch between the two cards, the process is documented at: http://asusm51ta-with-linux.blogspot.com/. I'll update this article in the future if I decide to further modify my mother's system.