1. You may have noticed things look a little different around here - we've switched to a new platform (XenForo) and have some new forum styles and features. This how-to guide will help you find your way around. If you find anything that looks strange, post it in this thread.

N56VZ-DH71/RH71 Owners Lounge - N56VZ w/Windows 8

Discussion in 'ASUS Reviews and Owners' Lounges' started by CCz_Cataphract, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. CCz_Cataphract

    CCz_Cataphract Notebook Deity

    Reputations:
    110
    Messages:
    1,054
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    56
    My Windows 8 N56VZ has arrived :)

    Setting it up now - excited though to give it a try :)

    P1050402.jpg

    First Impressions

    It was interesting, it took me right into the Windows 8 settings from the BIOS screen without any sort of transition - the 'turning circle' effect started from there.

    The touchpad feels very different from my previous N56VZ - that was a model built in May that I purchased a couple of weeks ago and returned two days ago as defective - it could be just my model, but it is much harder to press and just about impossible to press down on in the upper 1/3. Taps work from anywhere of course. The trackpad is properly depressed into the case.

    Besides that it looks and feels pretty much the same on the outside as the Windows 7 model (N56VZ-DS71 for example).

    It's very fast - it feels like I already installed the OS on my SSD. It's like a clean install - if there is as much bloatware as on the previous model, I don't feel it at all - the system is very responsive right out of the box. Also, the trackpad is well behaved, with the previous, it was jumping around all over the place whenever I typed - with this one, I can type easily without any problems or misclicks.

    The subwoofer is making all sorts of noises, with the system still muted, it's growling continuously now that I've plugged it in. I'll have to investigate if there is some fix besides unplugging it when not in use (my previous N56VZ had an issue with the subwoofer making noise when there was activity, this one is doing it all the time, idle or active). It gets louder when there is on screen activity, such as tiles updating, windows loading, etc..

    On my second boot, I found the subwoofer noise would start 12 seconds after hitting the button to turn on the system (there is no noise while in the BIOS screen, for example) - It took about 42 seconds to get to the Login screen (all with the default hardware). Third boot was much faster - just 14 seconds to login screen. Fourth boot and after, we're down to 10 seconds. This is all with the 7200rpm HDD - I didn't have speeds like that on Windows 7 even with my Vertex4 SSD - looking forward to upgrading to that again when I can (when I can download and install Windows 8 to it via USB and be sure I can grab all the drivers I have installed on this thing).

    P4GearHybrid is now simpler than ever it seems to me - just two options - Performance or Battery Saving, nothing in between.

    Looking forward to playing around with it more and will post some benches and impressions if people are interested.

    Operating System Windows 8 64-bit
    Processor Intel Core i7-3630QM (2.4GHz)
    Chipset Intel® HM76 Express
    Memory 8GB DDR3 1600 MHz SDRAM, 2 x SO-DIMM socket for expansion up to 8 GB SDRAM
    Display 15.6" FHD 1920x1080 Wide View Angle LED Backlight
    Graphics NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 650M with 2GB DDR3 VRAM

    Storage 750GB 7200 RPM (ST9750420AS)
    Optical Drive Blu-Ray DVD Combo
    Card Reader 3 -in-1 card reader ( SD/ MS/ MS Pro/ MMC)

    Camera HD camera
    Wireless LAN 802.11 b/g/n - ATHEROS AR9485WB-EG
    Ethernet 10/100/1000
    Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.0

    Interface 1 x Microphone-in jack
    1 x Headphone-out jack
    1 x VGA port/Mini D-sub 15-pin for external monitor
    4 x USB 3.0 port(s)
    1 x RJ45 LAN Jack for LAN insert
    1 x HDMI
    1 x SPIDIF speaker out
    Audio Built-in Speakers And Microphone

    Battery 6 Cell 5200 (5 Hours)
    Power Adapter 120W AC adapter

    Dimensions 38.0 x 25.5 x 2.73 ~3.40 cm
    Weight 2.7 kg (with 6 cell battery)

    Default Bios version 211
    Default nVidia Driver version 305.46

    Benchmarks (Previous model is just my own (now returned) N56VZ-DS71)

    HyperPi - 1M 19.232s average on 8 cores (vs. 19.399s on previous model)
    HyperPi - 1M 11.908s average on 1 core (vs. 12.910s on previous model)

    3DMark11 - P2402 w/new 306.97 drivers - P2347 with 305.46 (vs. P2323 on previous model)

    Peter
     
  2. Silverfern

    Silverfern Notebook Deity

    Reputations:
    96
    Messages:
    958
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    31
    i was really considering a n56 for my new laptop, because i have owned a few asus laptops and they are very durable, but the DDR3 650m was a complete turn off. also the laptop is really hard to maintain
     
  3. CCz_Cataphract

    CCz_Cataphract Notebook Deity

    Reputations:
    110
    Messages:
    1,054
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    56
    Interesting, I'm curious to know, what do you mean by "the laptop is really hard to maintain"?

    Thanks,
    Peter
     
  4. Silverfern

    Silverfern Notebook Deity

    Reputations:
    96
    Messages:
    958
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    31
    there isnt a way to easily access the inside of the computer, i,e, a cover that can be easily unscrewed. to open up the n56 you would have to practically strip it down to the otherboard. I open my laptop up to repaste/upgrade etc. Also the CPU and GPU are soldered on to the board, so no future upgrade is possible

    edit: CPU may be upgradeble, but GPU is not for sure
     
  5. Kourosh

    Kourosh Notebook Enthusiast

    Reputations:
    0
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    15
    Looking forward to following this thread. It was a good idea to start a new one. (I would like to upgrade my DH71 (Scratch that -- DS71) to Win 8 around the turn of the year.)

    Personally, I like the multiple power4gear settings. Performance = gaming. Entertainment = at home. Quiet Office = at library. Battery Mode = on plane, train, or somewhere I need max battery life.

    A curiousity not particular to the N56: I wonder if people will tend to use Start8 or similar ( Start8 for Windows® 8 - Bringing back the Windows Start menu ).

    This isn't that bad for most purposes: http://cdn.mikesquarter.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/bottom.jpg
     
  6. CCz_Cataphract

    CCz_Cataphract Notebook Deity

    Reputations:
    110
    Messages:
    1,054
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    56
    Agreed - I haven't opened mine up yet, but I expect it to be the same. The bottom is actually a bit cleaner than the Win7 model - no license key or other random stickers down there, practically just one that says "Windows 8", the serial # and the support #.

    The only thing I'd worry about is not being able to clean out the dust, but it appears that spaying some compressed air in the vents is enough so I'm not too worried - someday maybe I'll upgrade the CPU but most likely not - by the time I'd want/need to, I'd probably want/need a new laptop (I know, I'm boring :p). This one is close enough to top of the line for me that I'm hoping it'll last a good long while for my purposes :).

    Thank you, I think you probably have a DS71 - the DH is the model that comes with Windows 8 preinstalled (and the slightly faster CPU and 7200rpm HDD). I'll try to take a better pic sometime - I just wanted to grab a quick one to have something for now :).

    I hear you about the multiple P4G settings, I was surprised to see the change. I often would use High Performance, Quiet Office and Battery Saving in different situations - we still have 2 for battery and 2 for AC, but it's not as it was before. There is also no widget anymore (at least not by default).

    I like the idea of Start8 - if it was free it would already be installed on my system right now after you pointed it out. I keep automatically going to use the Start Menu for so many different things - but I did add the Run command right away and at least that gives me some of the functionality free and easy - I may Start8 soon, but for now I'm good. This is my first experience with Win8 (I downloaded a beta but never had time to install it) so I'm giving it a chance. Have to admit having the manual in the box for all the gestures, corner info, etc.. was useful - it was included in all of English, Spanish and French. Kind of wish there was a Win8 install DVD, but I can set it up on my USB stick or SD card and that should work fine - there is still a Drivers CD, so maybe I actually will try re-installing on my SSD before Windows 8 is released using those drivers, since I don't think many of them are online yet until the release.

    Thanks,
    Peter
     
  7. Silverfern

    Silverfern Notebook Deity

    Reputations:
    96
    Messages:
    958
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    31
    also the mSATA slot on the n56 is hidden somewhere, not sure where :S i like to clean out the fan and repaste the CPU/GPU every 4 or 5 month
     
  8. CCz_Cataphract

    CCz_Cataphract Notebook Deity

    Reputations:
    110
    Messages:
    1,054
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    56
    I hear you on the repaste, though with the 2+1 year warranty (since I used Visa) I won't be doing it for some time. Where did you get the idea the N56 had an MSATA slot? The Y580 does, but I don't think the N56 does... I certainly wish it did though and I'd be happy to be corrected.

    Thanks,
    Peter
     
  9. Silverfern

    Silverfern Notebook Deity

    Reputations:
    96
    Messages:
    958
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    31
    i am quite sure the N56 does, its just hidden, i think you would have to lift off the motherboard to find it. When you mention warranty, do you mean you send it to asus to get the repaste done? when i got my laptop i repasted right away because the manufacturers does a bad job most of the time since they have so many laptops to go through. also i dont like to ship my laptop back to manufacturer to have repasting done because its pain in bum, takes forever to ship and i have to worry about damage during shipping

    edit: it might not have msata, but i am sure i saw a pic of the motherboard somewhere and it did have it.
     
  10. CCz_Cataphract

    CCz_Cataphract Notebook Deity

    Reputations:
    110
    Messages:
    1,054
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    56
    I hear you about it sometimes being a lousy job - but I like having the warranty for that and the other components of the laptop, and almost always you have to void the warranty to do the repaste - that's why I typically would wait until the warranty had expired to do it, but now the warranties are so long the laptop is practically past it's usable life until it's expired so I don't know. If it is especially bad and the system is running too hot or noisy then it could be eligible for warranty coverage and you could get them to redo it - but for me I'm referring to anything with the notebook.

    The nice thing for me is that I live a 12 minute or so drive away from the ASUS Service Center for all of Canada, so I can just drop it off and pick it up from there if it does need servicing (in the past I was able to get it done right away during my lunch hour, I don't know if that's still possible, but even this week I was able to take it in and test other subwoofers on my N56VZ-DS71 so the service is available and they were happy to help).

    I thought maybe you were referring to some variants of the mobo having the slot - I'd be shocked though if no one has picked up on that by now and the fact there are no models that take advantage of it - I'd think it would be in their interest to market it in some cases or else they have it built in such a way it cannot be used or is not included for this series (even if the solder points otherwise exist).

    Thanks,
    Peter
     
  11. Silverfern

    Silverfern Notebook Deity

    Reputations:
    96
    Messages:
    958
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    31
    check out sager, they allow you to do almost every modificatin to your laptop without voiding the warranty
     
  12. freesailor

    freesailor Notebook Geek

    Reputations:
    4
    Messages:
    84
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    15
    Hi CCz_Cataphract, glad to hear about your new laptop!
    Since you previously owned a Windows 7 version you can also compare the two.
    Good! :)

    About the subwoofer sound issue, have you alredy tried these fixes?

    - remove (or at least reconfigure) McAfee trial (ASUSTeK Computer Inc.-Forum- Sound problem)
    - this other fix: http://forum.notebookreview.com/har...k-sound-popping-high-pitched-tone-squeal.html
    - this other fix (it's for a N76 but it could work on a N56 too): http://forum.notebookreview.com/asus/670037-asus-n76vz-5.html#post8804181
     
  13. CCz_Cataphract

    CCz_Cataphract Notebook Deity

    Reputations:
    110
    Messages:
    1,054
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    56
    Thanks for all those suggestions freesailor, I'll give them a try :). I remember looking into it before I bought my first N56, but the last one didn't have McAfee since I did a fresh install onto my SSD - but since I might stick with this install for a few days anyway, I'll disable it as soon as I get home :).

    ASUS has finally introduced the model:
    ASUS N56 Series and You. Incredible Together.

    Though technically it's not the same since they advertise the V version which only has the GT635 - I'm glad this one has the 650 though, DDR3 or not, it can do plenty and with very little heat or noise :).

    It's cool having it so soon, I had thought there was an embargo on selling Windows 8 preinstalled systems until October 26 - but I'm glad to have mine now either way - the out of the box experience has been so much better than my old N56 which would lag like crazy and have all sorts of touchpad issues right away - this one has been fast and solid from the get-go - so far so good :).

    Peter

    P.S. I realized now that my keyboard on the last model was defective, some of the keys in the lower left hand corner would make odd noises, but now having handled this new one I realized the keyboard on my unit of the old model had issues - this new one feels much, much better :)
     
  14. Kourosh

    Kourosh Notebook Enthusiast

    Reputations:
    0
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    15
    @Peter I'm glad to hear you're now a happier N56VZ owner!
     
  15. CCz_Cataphract

    CCz_Cataphract Notebook Deity

    Reputations:
    110
    Messages:
    1,054
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    56
    Thanks for those suggestions, removing McAfee completely got rid of the constant growling noise so thank you :).

    My issue is the same now as this guy:
    That's the exact same issue I had with my previous N56VZ actually - mumbling/growling on computer activity (especially when displayed on screen) but at least now it does stop sometimes so it's an improvement on what it was on day 1.

    If you have any suggestions on fixing the mumbling please let me know - I'd like to give them a try :).

    It was actually cheaper getting this laptop over the previous model - I saved just over $43 in the end - and that's not even counting the $14.99+tax I saved on not having to upgrade to Windows 8 and a faster processor and HDD - so all in all, a good deal :)

    One other thing that is different from the previous model is the PSU - it is just about the same size and weight, but the area around the tip is a little slimmer and it now has a flat square blue LED on it instead of the round green one and the cable management tie was installed on it by default (there was none included in the package). Still 120W though - so no change there.

    It does battery throttle in the same way as the previous model - playing Civ 5 at full HD and scrolling around the map I notice it will be fast, then slow, then fast, then slow in 5 second increments. Reducing the maximum Processor Speed helps, though it is more difficult now since P4GH does not have the shifters included anymore unfortunately. I'm finding myself really hoping ASUS will release a full W8 version of P4G soon - I'm not enjoying the 'simplified interface.'

    Just trying to figure out when to install Windows 8 on the SSD - and I want to be careful because I don't have an external license key and I know I have to have one now with Windows 8 (there not being any OEM ones anymore) - will have to look into that further.

    One difference I noticed between N56VZ and this system is that in the BIOS under Security it has "Key Management" which has a Platform Key and various other security keys which I can get (and which then load to a file system I don't seem to have access to). Could this be my Windows 8 Product Key?

    Thanks,
    Peter

    P.S. One thing to keep in mind is this is Windows 8 only on this computer - it is NOT Windows 8 Pro which is what you would get through the $14.99 Upgrade program.

    Update: I've just spent over an hour and 15 minutes now (and counting) asking ASUS about my Windows 8 Product Key - at first they told me they couldn't help me, that I should use some third party program that Microsoft could tell me about to get the key. Then I let them know that I'd tried many different key programs and none of them returned the correct key (they just returned the key given by Internet Explorer which does not match the key fragment displayed in my PK box). There is no Product key anywhere on the manuals, computer or box that I can see so I'm a bit stuck. ASUS told me I should call Microsoft, but I told them that in order to call Microsoft I need to enter a Product Key - and that's what I don't have! - so they put me on hold and have been talking to Microsoft for the past 30 minutes. Hoping to get this worked out soon - I couldn't be the only one who wants to know my PK for my Win8 system can I?
     
  16. Kourosh

    Kourosh Notebook Enthusiast

    Reputations:
    0
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    15
    Peter, interesting that the battery throttling continues. Hopefully we'll eventually figure out a way to reduce power usage on battery to avoid triggering that limit.

    Regarding the AC adapter/PSU, that's interesting you go the blue-light unit this time. With my first DS71, I got an adapter with a blue light (late Aug '12). With my second DS71 (my current notebook -- Mid Sept '12), I got the green light adapter. I prefer the green light because it's less bright. But with that said, the green-light adapter has a slight high-pitched coil whine noise when I'm plugged into the notebook while the battery is fully charged. That noise is about equally annoying as the blue light. So it's a wash. I love this laptop, but we definitley live in a world of trade-offs.

    That's strange about the Win 8 Product key. They'll get that straightened out for you I'm sure. Too bad they're wasting some of your time on the phone, though. Enthusiasts like us are willing to put in the effort, but the average joe gets pretty peeved about having to call for anything.
     
  17. freesailor

    freesailor Notebook Geek

    Reputations:
    4
    Messages:
    84
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    15
    Have you checked the inside of the laptop (disk/RAM bay, battery bay ...) for a possible PK label?
    I've read that in some cases (on notebooks, not specifically N56) the label is now attached inside and not outside as it was usual.

    Talking about key finder tools, I've read that internal PK (created acter activation) is not the same of PK labels (which should be used for installation), at least for OEM Windows, but I' am not sure if that is true.

    I've used these free tools to check PK on my Windows 7 laptop:
    SterJo Key Finder
    and
    RJL Software - Software - Utility - Windows Product Key Viewer

    Both products (which seem to work in Windows 8 too) returned a Product Key (and Product ID) different from PK in OEM attached label (on the bottom of my laptop).
     
  18. CCz_Cataphract

    CCz_Cataphract Notebook Deity

    Reputations:
    110
    Messages:
    1,054
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    56
    Ok, so a bunch of updates

    ASUS ended up disconnecting me last night after 1 hour and 35 minutes so I never did hear back from them about what Microsoft said.

    What I did find though, when calling back, is that there is a "Create Recovery Drive" function in Windows 8 - the ASUS Tech Rep told me I could not use it to install Windows 8 to my SSD though. I decided to do it anyway, and it worked :).

    I used a 16GB SD card, selected to copy over the Recovery Partition, then put my SSD in the main drive bay. When I tried to boot to the SSD that contained Windows 7 from my previous N56VZ it wouldn't allow me to boot - it said "Signature Error" - and even if disabled Secure Boot it wouldn't boot - but that was ok, when they added the Keys for W8 they must not have included the W7 one in the BIOS - and I wanted Windows 8 on there anyway.

    I booted to the Recovery Drive SD card and it detected that there was Windows 7 on the drive (which was correct) and I selected to do a full restore with that as the target. It took about 20 minutes, and after that it was as if my computer came with the SSD - I went through the installer just the same way I did on boot 0.

    Now, this is how fast my N56VZ boots:

    [video=youtube;Nqb9bWTdXyQ]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nqb9bWTdXyQ[/video]

    I like :D. About 5-6 seconds to the login screen from power button press :).

    Besides that though, I really dislike the 7200rpm 750GB Seagate drive. It's so loud. I found it was unbearably loud when I had it installed in the ODD bay with my adapter, so I moved it back to the main drive bay and put my SSD back in the ODD and the SSD is just as fast there and the Seagate is a little quieter in the main drive compartment. I really think though I'll probably get a nice quiet 5400rpm 1 or 1.5TB drive at some point and ditch the ST9750420AS - just too noisy. I had thought it was just the magnetic fan settling in, but this N56VZ is definitely louder than my previous one and I blame it entirely on the 7200rpm drive vs. the previous model with the 5400rpm one - with it off or disconnected the laptop itself is just about silent.

    The only other issue I've had is that on one boot my keyboard wasn't working at all - my touchpad was fine but nothing from the KB at all, I couldn't even turn off the backlight. Rebooting though resolved it so I'm not sure what was going on there - possibly something to do with the Keyboard Device Filter in the ATK.

    I had the green light model from my G51JX back in early 2010, I haven't noticed the noises but I meant to mention that might be a factor in the different AC units. I'd much rather the blue light than the noise though - I can just cover the blue light almost entirely with a peice of electrical tape - the noise is harder to deal with.

    If I reduce the CPU max it does remove the slowdowns on battery - but I agree, it'd be nice if we can find a better way.

    Thanks for the suggestion of checking inside for the PK, but no, it was not on the inside of the case, under the battery or the HDD/RAM/Wireless Card compartment. I'll give a try to those tools you mentioned - as it is right now, I don't know the PK and I didn't need it to do the Recovery. Now if I had done an entirely clean install maybe I would have needed it - though even in that case it may have been loaded from the BIOS - I'm ok with it for now, the Recovered copy is pretty clean and good for the next few weeks anyway, until others get this in their hands and it gets sorted out.

    One other thing I have to report is that I told ASUS that this unit also has the grumbling noise on the subwoofer when there is a video playing or activity on the screen, etc... - I actually ended up talking to the exact same tech as last week when I called up - since I saw it on two seperate units and I let him know others were having the same issue, he escalated the issue and assured me I would get a "reasonable" reply within 48 hours from their team - hopefully they can repo it and we can get that fixed too.

    I think that covers it - really liking Win 8 on the SSD - nice and fast :).

    Thanks all,
    Peter
     
  19. freesailor

    freesailor Notebook Geek

    Reputations:
    4
    Messages:
    84
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    15
    Nice! :)

    Your way to install on SSD seems to me very smart but I have some questions, since I'm not sure I've understood all the details:

    1) did you booted from the SD card onto which you copied the Recovery partition?
    How did you managed to make SD card bootable?
    Do you think that booting the Recovery partition from a bootable USB pendrive would have had the same result?

    2) you wrote that the booted installation "detected that there was Windows 7 on the drive".
    I don't know if you have elements of knowledge about this but did you feel that the installation would have been done even if the SSD would have been empty, i.e. is it also good for an installation from scratch? (I suppose yes but I'm not sure)

    Congratulations for your new blazing fast machine! :thumbsup:
     
  20. CCz_Cataphract

    CCz_Cataphract Notebook Deity

    Reputations:
    110
    Messages:
    1,054
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    56
    Thanks :)

    In response:
    1. I actually was using the SD card within a USB card reader - I meant to mention that, I remember having some difficulty getting it to boot to the SD Card directly in the past (that would be a nice feature to have) - the "Create Recovery Drive" made the SD Card (within the reader) bootable, so yes, a USB pendrive of 16GB should do the trick :).

    2. Yes, I think it would work even if there was no Windows 7 on the drive - that would probably be even preferable - but I can't confirm it since I haven't tried sorry (and from all my googling, it feels like no one has - that's the problem with having the final release of the OS over a week early :p).

    Peter

    P.S. I tried all the different Key Finder utilities you recommended and they all gave the same incorrect key that Belarc and other such systems are giving - it's not a valid one. I wonder if there are any that give the correct one - I can confirm the ones it gives does not match the fragment that Windows shows me. Microsoft is making things difficult on me :p.
     

Share This Page