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Asus UL30VT FAQ / Official Owners Lounge redux

Discussion in 'ASUS Reviews and Owners' Lounges' started by belzebutt, Apr 21, 2010.

  1. belzebutt

    belzebutt Notebook Consultant

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    The following are the most frequently asked questions and answers from the huge Official Asus UL30VT-X1 Owners Lounge thread:
    http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?t=439591

    Hopefully this saves you from reading the 324 pages. ;)

    There is also now a Wiki for the UL30 here: http://asus-ul30.wikispaces.com/


    General


    What are the differences between the UL30VT-X1 and UL30VT-A1?

    X1:
    • Initial model
    • Black
    • 4400mAh battery (at least one user reported getting the 5600mAh battery from Amazon)
    • Intel wirless chip with two antennas
    • One year warranty

    A1:
    • Released about a month after the X1, higher price
    • Silver
    • 5600mAh
    • Atheros wireless chip with single antenna (Asus claims it's "optimized for a single antenna", but some users report worse reception)
    • 2 year warranty


    Is there a weight/size difference between the two batteries?

    No, they are the same size and the weight is virtually the same.


    How do I do a clean install of Windows 7?

    Use an external USB CD-ROM drive and use a Windows 7 DVD (preferably 64-bit), or use a different PC to prepare a USB stick to install Widows 7 from it onto the UL30VT:
    http://www.intowindows.com/how-to-install-windows-7vista-from-usb-drive-detailed-100-working-guide/


    What Windows 7 DVD/key should I use?

    You can use any Windows 7 DVD (e.g. one that came with another PC), just pay attention to whether you want 64-bit or 32-bit (only use 32-bit if you specifically need it for some reason). When prompted, enter the key that's printed on the sticker at the bottom of the laptop. You may need to call Microsoft in order to activate, if your internet activation fails.


    What Asus drivers/software should I install after?

    Go to:
    http://support.asus.com/download/download.aspx?SLanguage=en-us
    First you need to install all the ATK drivers (get the most recent version of each only).

    After that, install the nVidia graphics driver, the Power4Gear Hybrid Utility 1.24 or 1.25 (to enable video switching, use version 1.25 or older as later versions have issues; 1.25 can be found at http://support.asus.com, under General Download select "Notebook", "Apps" and "P4GHybrid"), the Realtek audio driver (so you don't have a duplicate microphone device), touchpad, bluetooth and either Intel or Atheros network driver.

    The other utilities can be more or less useful, such as FastBoot (delays certain programs during startup), Fancystart for changing your BIOS screen, or SmartLogon for using the camera to log you in (slower and not as secure as a password but neat).


    Do I need to update my BIOS? How should I do it?

    Not really but it's easy, just copy the latest BIOS file to a USB key, reboot, and update the BIOS from the BIOS menu. There are no known issues with the 210 BIOS.


    Does the UL30VT support 8GB RAM?

    Yes, you will need to buy two sticks of 4GB to replace your existing two sticks of 2GB.


    I don't like how my TouchPad feels, should I try Synaptics drivers?

    Some people have reported better performance with the Synaptics trackpad drivers (rather than the Elan driver), but you lose most customization functionality including as the keyboard Fn key that turns off the TouchPad. If you want to make your TouchPad feel more responsive, set PalmTracking to Minimum, and increase the pointer speed under the Mouse Settings, Pointer Options.


    What's a good case for this laptop?

    The Zeroshock III 13.3" sleeve seems to be the cheapest/favorite out there:
    http://www.amazon.com/Black-ZEROSHO...1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1271869389&sr=8-1


    Can I overclock the CPU?

    Yes, users report up to 1.9 GHz. Here's a CPU overclocking guide:
    http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?t=472668


    Can I run 64-bit virtual machines?

    Yes you can, it's 64-bit and supports Intel VT.


    What kind of spare power adapter can I buy?

    19V, 3.16A, with 5.5x2.5mm connector, like this one:
    http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...617433&ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT#ht_3535wt_939


    What kind of SSD drive should I buy?

    Users have purchased several kinds of SSD drives for the UL30VT and there were no issues reported. Just make sure you have plenty of space for Windows 7 and applications, e.g. a 30 GB drive might be too small.


    Video


    My graphics switching button doesn't work sometimes, or my Power4Gear profile does not switch graphics properly, what's wrong?

    Are you using Power4Gear 1.24 or 1.25 instead of a newer version? Newer versions have a glitch where they may not remember what GPU each profile uses, or the graphics button may stop functioning after a suspend/resume.


    What is the VGA patch for?

    The VGA patch removes some files left over from previous driver installations, so you do not need to install this patch when you're doing a clean install. You might want to run it before re-installing the video driver.


    Can I install a newer nVidia driver than what's on the Asus website?

    Yes, you can install a custom nVidia driver that includes features like PhysX. Follow the instructions here:
    http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?t=474538

    Note that as of today, the newer drivers don't provide any performance benefits at all (but don't seem to break anything either).


    Can I overclock the GeForce 210M on the UL30VT?

    Yes, you can download a tool such as EVGA Precision or nVidia System Tools and overclock it. A good setting to try is 750/935/1655 (that brings up 3DMark 06 from about 3200 to over 3900). Here's a GPU overclocking guide:
    http://www.expertlaptopreview.com/?p=422


    I connected the HDMI to a TV but I don't see anything.

    Make sure you switch to the nVidia graphics, then plug it in.


    Does the GeForce 210M work under Linux?

    No, you can only use the Intel graphics.


    Does the UL30VT support automatic graphics switching (nVidia Optimus)?

    Currently there are no Optimus-enabled drivers for the UL30VT (official or unofficial).


    Audio


    Does the UL30VT support S/PDIF?

    It does not have an optical mini-jack as some vendors reported, but if you plug the HDMI output it into an HDMI 1.3 receiver you will be able to get multichannel digital sound and you can configure AC3 or DTS pass-through.


    Modding


    How do I disassemble the UL30VT?

    Here are some tips on disassembly:
    http://forum.notebookreview.com/showpost.php?p=5979592&postcount=2468


    Can I add a second WiFi antenna to the A1 to improve reception?

    Yes, some A1 users have bought a second antenna but check first if your A1 has a second port for it, as some A1s do not have it. You can check by unscrewing the HD panel.

    If you have the second port, you can buy an antenna like this one:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=250465318826&ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT
    http://www.oxfordtec.com/us/p120/La...eed-to-open-the-Base-or-LCD/product_info.html
    To install it, remove the HD drive, screw it it and route it towards the speakers.


    Can I get a backlit keyboard for the UL30VT?

    Yes, you can buy a keyboard from Asus:
    http://estore.asus.com/shop/item.asp?itemid=5277
    To install it you will need to solder or glue a wire to a 5V source on the board. Instructions are here:
    http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?t=465841

    Be aware that the backlit keyboard is slightly taller than the standard one and may leave marks on the screen, unless you use some kind of protection like a cloth or felt pads.
     
  2. dalamchops

    dalamchops Notebook Evangelist

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    you forgot to add cpu overclocking to 1.9ghz : )

    3dmark hits 4k
     
  3. lotsabs

    lotsabs Notebook Guru

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    For overclocking, you could also use EVGA's Precision. Go to: http://www.evga.com/precision/

    Very nice tool-it's easier to manage and seems to work quite well!
     
  4. hydra

    hydra Breaks Laptops

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    UL30VT HDMI does support DTS and Dolby Digital passthru, no problem. I'm using 1.3 HDMI compatible receiver and display.
     
  5. David

    David NBR Random Reviewer NBR Reviewer

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    Might be useful to have this little disassembly guide. It's intended for replacing the wifi card, but it also pertains to the general disassembly of the laptop.

    http://forum.notebookreview.com/showpost.php?p=5979592&postcount=2468

    In addition, I would recommend putting any extra antennas the proper way, ie behind the screen instead of inside the main chassis. That way, there's going to be less interference.
     
  6. belzebutt

    belzebutt Notebook Consultant

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    Thanks, I added all the feedback. I was too lazy to test the HDMI with my 1.3 receiver before, it does work.
     
  7. Soulsaber

    Soulsaber Notebook Evangelist

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    Awesome! The other lounge should be locked because it's just an endless repeat of all the same questions and no one uses the search feature.
     
  8. telkionish

    telkionish Newbie

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    :( Have to ask my question in this new thread :)

    Question for anyone using Virtual Box.

    I'm about to setup an Ubuntu Guest OS on my UL30VT-A1 and was wondering what sort of results you guys were getting when running a like setup and dedicating say a gig of ram to the guest os?

    Does it run well, or could I dedicate less or should I dedicate more, but does it affect the windows 7 host os? Thanks!
     
  9. Wisse

    Wisse Notebook Geek

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    I did that before. I just forgot to mention it in my last post, sry ;) It didn't change things much.

    I only have one question for all of you and I beg you to reply:
    Which BIOS are you using? Do you have any problems with GraphiX Switch?
    I'm using 210 and I do have problems.

    I'm now getting more and more convinced that BIOS is to blame for my GraphiX problems. I blame BIOS because hybernation is the one that fixes my problem. As far as I know hybernation stores RAM content to HDD and shuts PC down, so when you power up next time everything starts from exactly the same point. Even music starts playing where you left it. The only thing that starts fresh from that kind of boot is BIOS.
    We all know that it can affect power ups from different states (as in sleep, hybernation, fresh boot), since there was a bug with brightness settings in <=208 versions.

    I'm looking forward to see your replays to my question, so I can prove/disprove my theory.

    Ty
     
  10. belzebutt

    belzebutt Notebook Consultant

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    Sorry, forgot to mention: I updated my BIOS to 210 and I have no such issues.
     
  11. bradbarb

    bradbarb Newbie

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    I'm trying to decide between purchasing a UL30VT or a UL30A-A2. The current price difference is about $60.
    This would be my only computer.
    I carry it daily between home and work, so portability is important.
    I prefer not to have to plug in at work, so battery life is important.
    My primary uses are office type programs, internet, email, some Skype and photo editing. The only games are internet poker. I may some day view Hulu or such.
    I am technology challenged.
    Would I benefit from the VT on Turbo or would I just use up battery life with little or no preformance gain?
     
  12. hydra

    hydra Breaks Laptops

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    Go for the UL30A-A2. You will want the nVidia for any stressful video files or gaming, however, you will need to switch between the two on the VT books AND deal with the hybrid video drivers with their idiosyncrasies.

    The Intel GMA 4500MHD chip is OK for light gaming but not sure of video over HDMI. I can play standard DVD and some 720P HD video on laptop. My VT auto switches to the nVidia when I use the HDMI so can't vouch for the Intel GMA 4500MHD for this purpose.

    Photo and Hulu may have you running in turbo mode but not a huge hit on battery, ymmv, use PS-CS3 with no problems in non turbo mode.

    A $50 question on your part...I would ask more questions on the UL30A forum.
     
  13. andrew``

    andrew`` Notebook Enthusiast

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    i just recently setup an Ubuntu 9.10 64bit guest in virtualbox on my ul30vt-x1 and it works very well.

    i dedicated 10GB of hard drive space for it (although it doesnt need nearly that much) and i dedicated 1GB of RAM to it. i also allowed it to see both of my cpu cores and enabled 3d acceleration. i also installed the guest additions. everything has worked fine so far. i havent done anything really stressful with it, so i dont know how much it would slow down in those circumstances, but when i am doing light work in it, i do not experience any noticeable slowdowns.

    the only problems i have had is when i save state, close the vm, and reopen it, the screen will be mostly black, but if you do some stuff, it will redraw the screen and all will be fine. also, virtualbox crashed on me when i tried logging out of my account in ubuntu, so i just dont do that (either save state or shutdown the virtual machine when i am done).

    hope this info helps!
     
  14. bradbarb

    bradbarb Newbie

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    Thank you for your input. I have asked on UL30 forem as you suggested, but that forum seems rather inactive.
     
  15. namezox1

    namezox1 Notebook Enthusiast

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    what is a benchmark software?

    and how do you the OS and DATA drive? is there anyway to combine them into one? I am currently using the OS but i ran out of memory. what can I do?
     
  16. Wisse

    Wisse Notebook Geek

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    Expression "Benchmark" software is used to describe programs that are made for evaluating hardware (or even other software).

    For example CPU benchmark gives you information about your CPU capabilities. Results are usually compared between same benchmark program but different hardware.

    Here's example of extensive benchmark database from Tom's Hardware.


    For combining partitions you have to use software like "Partition Magic" or something similar. I haven't used that in ages so I'm honestly not up to date. You'll have to wait for someone with more experience to answer.

    Edit: Apparently you can do this without 3rd party software in Win7/Vista. Here's tutorial: Resizing partition
     
  17. [toPh]

    [toPh] Notebook Geek

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    Is there anywhere with a comparison chart of all the UL30 models?

    Does anyone care to put one together, I think a lot of people would find it very useful.
     
  18. ckthepilot

    ckthepilot Notebook Deity

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    I just received my ul30vt and was wondering if the switch between intel gpu and nvidia is automatic or not. I can always manually push the button in the upper left corner to switch but that defeats the purpose of auto switching... Any comments in regards to this?
     
  19. namezox1

    namezox1 Notebook Enthusiast

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    I see...what are some good software that can test my GPU benchmarks?
     
  20. Wisse

    Wisse Notebook Geek

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    Auto switching was never advertised with UL30Vt. You have to do it manually.

    nVidia recently announced new auto switching technology called Optimus, which will be part of UL30Jt and other new laptops.
    There are some clever guys on this forum, who're trying to port it, in some extent, to laptops with older hardware tho.

    I personally like manual switching, because it gives me complete control over laptop's power consumption. It's not that big of a deal to switch anyway.

    3DMark is one of them. There are plenty of others which you can google.
     

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