AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX / ASUS ROG Strix G15 AMD Advantage On Linux

Written by Michael Larabel in Processors on 22 July 2021. Page 2 of 10. 38 Comments

The ASUS ROG Strix G15 on pre ~5.13 kernels is basically junk with one of the immediate showstoppers being anytime a keyboard key press event happens, it's also triggered as a shutdown event. So with Ubuntu 21.04 out-of-the-box, anytime a keyboard button is pressed, the GNOME shutdown screen also appears prompting you to turn off the computer. The actual key event is ultimately reported as well but typing is slow given the interruption. So the easiest way to move forward to a newer kernel is plugging in an external keyboard. From there one can then proceed to build/obtain a newer Linux kernel. When moving to Linux 5.13+, the keyboard was no longer trying to constantly trigger a system shutdown but I did notice occasionally keyboard press events not registering at all but that seemed to be quite rare.

The other immediate showstopper is the WiFi not working out-of-the-box on the likes of Ubuntu 21.04. The ROG Strix G15 features a MediaTek 7961 controller for Bluetooth and WiFi. This ultimately could be made to work when moving to Linux 5.13 and also fetching the latest firmware for it via linux-firmware.git.

So using Linux 5.13 was overall stable but not perfect. One of the issues then noticed is that system suspend was broken on Linux 5.13 for this "AMD Advantage" laptop. The dmesg output indicated the problem to be with the mt7921 network driver. When moving over to Linux 5.14-rc2 Git, system suspend now worked on this laptop. If system suspend is important to you, Linux 5.14 won't be out as stable until around the end of August or there is the possibility of the MediaTek network driver fixes being back-ported to a latter Linux 5.13 point release.

While not critical functionality to most users, another unfortunate shortcoming of the Ryzen 9 5900HX and other Ryzen 5000 series Zen 3 models at the moment is the lack of CPU temperature reporting under Linux. That will be fixed in Linux 5.15 but unfortunate such trivial support didn't make it to the mainline kernel sooner considering the Zen 3 laptops were introduced months ago.

With ASUS ROG Strix G15 trying to appeal to today's gamers, there is an abundance of RGB lighting on this laptop in addition to the keyboard RGB backlighting. That lighting appears by default and there isn't any official ASUS support on Linux. I haven't yet gotten to exploring whether any of the third-party utilities allow turning off that excessive lighting under Linux or otherwise manipulate that functionality... Stay tuned there for follow-up articles on that functionality and other extras.

Long story short, the ASUS ROG Strix G15 AMD Advantage laptop with Ryzen 9 5900HX and Radeon RX 6800M can work on Linux, but you need a very bleeding edge software stack of at least the Linux 5.13 kernel that was made stable earlier this month or Linux 5.14 Git if wanting system suspend/resume. The lack of working WiFi and keyboard issues out-of-the-box on Linux distributions otherwise is unfortunate so interested potential customers must be willing to jump through these initial hoops otherwise will be better off waiting until the autumn Linux distribution releases or the likes of Ubuntu 22.04 LTS next spring for better out-of-the-box support.

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