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Thread: [Howto] Asus Zenbook Prime UX32VD, OpenSuse 12.3, dualboot with Windows 8, UEFI, RAID 0

  1. #1

    Default [Howto] Asus Zenbook Prime UX32VD, OpenSuse 12.3, dualboot with Windows 8, UEFI, RAID 0

    I have just successfully installed OpenSuse 12.3 on my Asus Zenbook Prime UX32VD along with Windows 8 and I have decided to make a post about it because:

    1. Most people use Ubuntu on this laptop. There is very little information about OpenSuse support on this one.
    2. Most people have this laptop with different disk configuration: 32GB SSD + 500GB HDD instead of two 256GB SSD in RAID 0 which is a quite exotic configuration.
    3. Dualboot with Windows 8 using UEFI is still a quite new thing (at least for me it was).


    I will spoil the surprise and tell you that OpenSuse works very well with no extra tweaks (compared to other distros). If you want to install OpenSuse the way I did, consider following these steps:

    1. Go to the BIOS (ehm UEFI) and disable Secure Boot. This step is not exactly required as there is an experimental support for Secure Boot in Open Suse but I decided to take the easy way. You enter BIOS using Delete key but it's not an easy task since this laptop boots really really fast. There is like 0.5-1 second window to enter the BIOS after you hit the power on button.
    2. Boot into Windows and use Disk Manager to shrink Windows partitions. You can find the tool in Control Panel. There are actually many partitions but only the two biggest ones are visible to the user, C: and D:. I completely removed D: partition and shrank the C: partition to around 100GB. This made approximately 320GB large space for OpenSuse. You can probably use a Linux partitioning tool instead but this was the simplest and probably most reliable way to do it (shrinking NTFS with a tool made directly by Microsoft).
    3. Boot from OpenSuse installation media. There is no DVD drive so you have to use USB stick. I created one using SUSE Studio ImageWriter from standard OpenSuse 12.3 installation iso. You can enter the boot menu using the ESC key. The situation is the same like when entering bios, you have to be very quick. Make sure you use the "EFI boot" option when booting from the USB stick (in my case, there wasn't any other option).
    4. Go through the installation as usual and when you reach the part when you configure the disk, go to the expert mode. Right before that, a small dialog window should appear telling you that Intel RAID controller was found and if you want to use it (or something like that). Say yes.
    5. Setup your partitions.
      1. The installer will suggest you a default configuration with swap, /home and /root partition. If you want to go my way, remove all of them and keep only the partitions used by Windows (there are like 5 of them).
      2. Create your own EFI partition. EFI partition is the partition your system boots from. There is one for Windows 8 and the default way is to use this EFI partition for OpenSuse as well meaning that OpenSuse will share it with Windows. I've read this is not the best solution because Windows doesn't play nice on the common playground. So create a new empty partition (mine has around 300 MB) and set the filesystem as FAT. Make sure that the new EFI partition is mounted to /boot/efi instead of the original one.
      3. Create the swap partition. Mine has 10GB. This laptop has memory upgradable up to 10GB and afaik the swap partition should be at least as big as memory (in order to get hibernate properly working).
      4. Create the root partition. Mine has 20GB with Ext4 as OpenSuse orignally suggested.
      5. Create the home prtition. You can use all the space left but I've read that it's generally a good idea to keep around 10% of the disk capacity unallocated. It will extend the SSD's life span. So my home partition has 260GB and I left 50GB free (I can use this place anytime later).
      6. Make sure that both root and home partitions are set up to use proper mount points (in my case the installer did it for me). Altogether you will have 9 partitions spread across the whole 500GB RAID 0 array.
      7. I have read somewhere that OpenSuse installer is not able to work with RAID 0 array managed by Windows and therefore it is necessary to create the RAID array using OpenSuse, then reinstall Windows and then install OpenSuse. This is not the case. The installer reads the RAID array flawlessly. It is possible that the RAID is managed completely on the hardware level but I'm not an expert on this, I don't know.

    6. Finish the setup. I wasn't able to use wifi during the installation and install updates, but it doesn't matter, you can do it later. Besides that, there isn't anything special that would surprise you.


    After that, your laptop should be able to boot OpenSuse without any problems. If you want to boot to Windows, simply enter the boot menu using ESC and select which EFI partition you want to boot from. That means that the dualboot is completely managed on the UEFI (BIOS) level. So you will never experience those situations when you couldn't boot to your OpenSuse because Windows had overwritten MBR or when you couln't boot to Windows because there was a wrong boot entry in the grub menu. You can setup the boot order directly in the BIOS. The GRUB is still present to boot OpenSuse but you don't need to actualy use it. Therefore I set the grub time limit to minimum.

    Possible problems

    • If OpenSuse boots very slowly, see this bug which might be the probable reason (wrongly configured swap partition).
    • In my case, hibernate doesn't work (even when the problem described above is fixed). I will look more into it but at this point, it's not a problem because thanks to SSD the system starts really really fast. Suspend to RAM works flawlessly.
    • Sometimes after restart OpenSuse hangs on message "Loading initial ramdisk". I don't know why but all I have to do is to turn off and on the laptop. So not a big deal.


    About other things I would recommend you this page. It's written for Ubuntu but most of the things are the same for OpenSuse. What works in Ubuntu, works in OpenSuse and vice versa. One exception is hibernation which should generally work but I belive it has something do to with RAID 0 involved.

    About SSD alignment

    This is my first laptop with SSDs. I read something about it so I knew that the partitions should be "aligned" with the SSD disk in order to get the best performance. I was quite nervous about it during the installation because there was no clear way how to do it. So I decided to let Yast do his job and I simply set up the partitions the way I wanted. Right after the installation I checked the partitions and first sector of each partition is a multiple of 512. So it seems to me that Yast did all the work for me and the partitions are aligned (please correct me if I'm wrong). Yet still I'm not entiraly sure about how does it work... because in this particular case there is no physical 500GB SSD disk, there is one "virtual" which covers two 256G SSD disk.

    What is it good for

    Why is it a good idea to have two SSDs in RAID 0?

    Code:
    tobik@zenbook:~> dd if=/dev/zero of=output bs=8k count=2024k
    16 978 542 592 bytes (17 GB) copied, 18,4724 s, 919 MB/s
    Yes, I just wrote 17GB in 18.5 seconds This is even faster than what other guys with similar configuration measured around the Internet. So IMHO if the partitions were badly aligned it wouldn't perform so well.

  2. #2

    Default Re: [Howto] Asus Zenbook Prime UX32VD, OpenSuse 12.3, dualboot with Windows 8, UEFI, RAID 0

    Important update

    Well it's not flawless after all. You may experience severe freezes of this system when running on battery. In that case, check this bug for more information: https://bugzilla.novell.com/show_bug.cgi?id=827854. It's caused by a pm-utils script sata_alpm which activates SATA link power management when running on battery. You can disable it (and fix the problem) by creating a new conf file in /etc/pm/config.d/ and putting SATA_ALPM_ENABLE=false in it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Default Re: [Howto] Asus Zenbook Prime UX32VD, OpenSuse 12.3, dualboot with Windows 8, UEFI, RAID 0

    tobice

    Now that you've had a successful installation, can you please enter your laptop in our ASUS hardware knowledge section.

    HCL:Asus laptops - openSUSE
    My Linux Box
    OS:
    openSUSE 42.3 - Plasma 5.8.7
    OS:
    Tumbleweed Plasma 5.14.0
    ASUS P5Q | Intel Quad 6600 @3.02 GHz | 8GB G.SKILL RAM | Nvidia GeForce 750 Ti

  4. #4

    Default Re: [Howto] Asus Zenbook Prime UX32VD, OpenSuse 12.3, dualboot with Windows 8, UEFI, RAID 0

    Done. Generally my experience is similar to what people running different distros are reporting. Only difference is with battery life. Allegedly it is possible to get more than five hours from this laptop on Linux Mint. After applying all tweaks I was able to find I get 3.5 hours browsing, 3 hours of web development and 2.5 hours of multimedia.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: [Howto] Asus Zenbook Prime UX32VD, OpenSuse 12.3, dualboot with Windows 8, UEFI, RAID 0

    As more developers purchase and/or work with this Asus laptop, we will be seeing better support in the next releases of openSUSE.

    Are you able to add or remove the hard drive from this laptop?
    My Linux Box
    OS:
    openSUSE 42.3 - Plasma 5.8.7
    OS:
    Tumbleweed Plasma 5.14.0
    ASUS P5Q | Intel Quad 6600 @3.02 GHz | 8GB G.SKILL RAM | Nvidia GeForce 750 Ti

  6. #6

    Default Re: [Howto] Asus Zenbook Prime UX32VD, OpenSuse 12.3, dualboot with Windows 8, UEFI, RAID 0

    Quote Originally Posted by Romanator View Post
    As more developers purchase and/or work with this Asus laptop, we will be seeing better support in the next releases of openSUSE.

    Are you able to add or remove the hard drive from this laptop?
    That's good to hear


    About the hard drive... I didn't try it myself but it should be possible (see Asus Zenbook UX32VD SSD Upgrade - Samsung SSD Angels - YouTube for example). My version already came with two SSDs on board. But I plan to upgrade memory. Anyway it's definitely possible to open this laptop, it's not the unibody version (UX31).

  7. #7
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    Default Re: [Howto] Asus Zenbook Prime UX32VD, OpenSuse 12.3, dualboot with Windows 8, UEFI, RAID 0

    Quote Originally Posted by tobice View Post
    Done. Generally my experience is similar to what people running different distros are reporting. Only difference is with battery life. Allegedly it is possible to get more than five hours from this laptop on Linux Mint. After applying all tweaks I was able to find I get 3.5 hours browsing, 3 hours of web development and 2.5 hours of multimedia.
    The ubuntu link says it's an Optimus system, you should have a look at bumblebee for better battery life. Knurpht's post #93 in the link below is a good recent summary of how to set it up.

    https://forums.opensuse.org/english/...12-3-a-10.html

  8. #8

    Default Re: [Howto] Asus Zenbook Prime UX32VD, OpenSuse 12.3, dualboot with Windows 8, UEFI, RAID 0

    Quote Originally Posted by hank_se View Post
    The ubuntu link says it's an Optimus system, you should have a look at bumblebee for better battery life. Knurpht's post #93 in the link below is a good recent summary of how to set it up.

    https://forums.opensuse.org/english/...12-3-a-10.html
    I've already installed bumblebee. I didn't mention it explicitly but it's hidden under "all tweaks I was able to find" At this point I'm ok with the battery life. I'll wait for the next OpenSUSE release. The guy earlier in this thread mentioned that this laptop will get extra care as many developers are using it.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: [Howto] Asus Zenbook Prime UX32VD, OpenSuse 12.3, dualboot with Windows 8, UEFI, RAID 0

    Hi Tobice,

    Thank you for the post. am considering the same laptop.

    a) For 5.2 create a new FAT partition for EFI. I assume you have windows 8 pre installed on the laptop? Did the installer detect the already available EFI partition and propose to use it?
    b) After the install, did the laptop still boot direct to win8? Do you need to press some e.g. F9 key to invoke a boot menu? I read that the POST is too quick and may be difficult to interrupt. One may need to boot to windows, and select boot options for coming boot.
    c) What is your screen size? If you have 15.6, do you feel display "cartoon"?

    openSUSE 13.1 KDE, fedora 20 GNOME, win7 triple boot

  10. #10

    Default Re: [Howto] Asus Zenbook Prime UX32VD, OpenSuse 12.3, dualboot with Windows 8, UEFI, RAID 0

    Hi andy0023,

    you can find most of the information you want in my original post but I will repeat it to make it clear:

    a) Yes, you assume right that I had Windows 8 preinstalled. Installer detected the one already available EFI partition and as I wrote in 5.2, it's really the default way to use it. However for explained reasons I decided to create my own EFI partition.

    b) I think that the laptop booted to Windows 8 first right after I finished OpenSUSE installation but I'm really not sure about it. Switching is theoretically simple, just hit ESC when the laptop starts and select proper partition. It might get tricky, because you have to be really fast and sometimes even being fast is not enough. But this is also covered in my original post. I've read some articles about the keyboard not being initialized during boot up which prevents user from accessing the bios. I'm not sure whether this applies to this laptop, but I definitely don't have to select anything in Windows do boot to OpenSUSE. Generally this depends on how you intend to use your laptop. For me, OpenSUSE is the main OS, so I've set it as the default option in the boot menu. I don't switch between system very often. And when I do, sometimes it takes several tries do enter the boot menu. So maybe if you know that you're going to switch system very often, you should go the standard grub way, but for me, the advantages of using UEFI boot menu definitely win.

    c) UX32VD is the 13.3" version. There is also a 15.6" version, UX51 I believe. I'm not sure what you mean by "cartoon", but the display is definitely amazing. IPS colors are pleasure to look at. It's not an AMOLED display, so the color are natural and vivid but not extremely vivid. You can find definitely better displays on Macs with retina or on tablets, but if you want a standard x86-64 laptop to run Linux, this is the best screen you can buy at this moment. Some people may not like small letters on this display (after all, it's Full HD on 13.3") but once you get used to it, you don't want to go back. For longer texts, you can always zoom.

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