March 2021 Update

Hi, fluke here!

Trying to keep a monthly cadence of updates happening here. There's a lot going on.

🔗 Discord

The discord server has a continous stream of people coming in, seems to be an average of 20 new memebers per week. I also boosted the server with nitro to get some perks. There's no chance of the server ever hitting level-2 nitro, that is honestly a very costly level ($525USD per year!!!)

🔗 asus-nb-ctrl

Contributions:

@asere is maintaining a steady stream of small contributions over time, with some big work on AniMe coming up, exciting stuff.

@aqez improved profile management by adding --list and --remove commands, both do exactly as they say on the tin.

Main:

I've been in the process of refactoring the LED control side of things, lots of cleanup and looking at how best to manage per-key LED effects - I think I will try to mimic the Aura control program in windows (which exports to xml).

The BIG feature this month is rebootless graphics-mode switching. Exactly what it sounds like - to switch between integrated, hybrid, and nvidia modes you now need only logout, wait a beat (it's usually instant change), then login. There were quite a few teething problems with this, so if there's more I'm keen to hear about it.

I also added a new graphics mode for people runnning virtual-machines; vfio mode, which turned out to be very easy to add as I'd already done the majority of work required for it when I added rebootless graphics switching. This will yeet the Vvidia devices off of Nvidia and attached them to vfio driver. Switching to/from integrated and vfio mode requires no reboot or display-manager restart.

🔗 Kernel patches

We're starting to see more people with 2021 hardware now - mostly the G14 and G15. Some details on these:

  • backlight: should work without issue
  • keyboard: the patch is now upstreamed to 5.12 kernel. Previous kernels will require the dkms module still
  • sound: 2021 G15 has issues; bass peakers are on incorrect channel/control, and pincfg is incorrect, see below.

I was hoping to have gotten a proper confirmation of fixes using the firmware patching method where you add two files which enable the realtek driver to hotfix some things. If you can try test this:

Create file named: /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf, with contents:

options snd-hda-intel patch=alc-sound-patch.fw

And file named /lib/firmware/alc-sound-patch.fw with contents:

[codec]
0x10ec0289 0x10431e8e 0

[pincfg]
0x19 0x03a19020

[verb]
0x17 0x701 0x0

The above is for 2021 G15 only. On reboot this patch is supposed to apply and enable the master volume to control all 4 (6?) speakers properly, and enable mic-in on the headphone jack. hdajacksensetest in alsa-tools can verify the jack. Please report in #sound-issues in the discord server, once I get a confirmation I can write a patch otherwise if you have the laptop and can build a kernel to test I can help you trial a patch.

🔗 2021 G14 Sound

may be okay. It's possible the Realtek chip is the same one as in the 2020 G14.

🔗 dGPU always on

On both the new 2021 G14 and G15 there is a setting in Armory Crate that can disable the dGPU (whcih carries over boots), or set dGPU permanently on (also carries across boots), or auto (which is what you need for Linux). I haven't seen the method of change for this yet so you must set this in Windows and before you wipe Windows.

🔗 Touchpad issues!

There has been one user report that a 2020 G15 502IU has come with an unusable touchpad unfortunately. I'm unsure what the reason is just yet and have no idea how it would be fixed. The touchpad is ELAN2015, the same as in most other models but the differnece appears to be the i2c bus setup for it. It's possible that a bios update might fix it.

🔗 2020 G14/G15 backlight

It seems that the existing patches to the kernel for these models may be incorrect and they work only because they are forcing some other backlight path to take priority where this isn't the actual intended effect. I solicited a series of reports from users to get data and yeah, haven't had the time to complete it yet.

There's two backlight controls, one works, one doesn't. The one that doesn't gets chosen as the control. I need to finish collating the reports and reply to Hans de Goede at Red Hat for help with the proper solution.

🔗 Donations

There are two donation buttons on the left now if my work has helped you in some way.

All donations are going towards either a G14 or G15 laptop for myself so that I can more accurately fix some of the issues that crop up with them. I have recently managed to sell an older MSI Stealth laptop to contribute a good chunk to this goal.

🔗 Closing

If you think I've missed anything important please ping me (on discord).