Jaguar: Portrait of Xena
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Asus VivoBook S15 S532FA (2020)
Subsystem Checkout

Jim Carter, 2020-09-30

When the new machine was received, I checked out these features. In summary, most of the features that the machine was supposed to have, performed with no hassle out of the box.


Box Worked out of the box.
Conf It needed editing a configuration file or running a setup GUI.
Add-On Needed additional or patched software: download it; follow instructions to compile and/or install it; it works.
Fiddle As with Add-On, but it required some workarounds in the procedure, which might seem minor to an experienced user but which might prevent a newbie from making it work.
Hack So you call yourself a guru? This one will challenge your skills. But this guru eventually got it working.
Fail I wasn't able to get this one to work, at least so far.
WIP I'm still working on getting this working.
N.T. Not tested.
* A prerequisite did not qualify for the Box or Conf rating, but once that was set up, the listed component worked with no further hassle.

Checklist of Features

Does it boot at all? Conf
  It boots the network installer and the rescue system off USB sticks, and it boots both Linux and Windows off the Kingston NVMe flash disc. For Linux to use the NVMe disc, the controller has to be switched to AHCI mode in BIOS setup,
UEFI Boot Box
  Both Linux and Windows out of the box are set up for UEFI, including the installers, and boot successfully.
Processor: Intel® Core™ i5-10210U Box
  CPU Family Comet Lake
  Cores 4
  Hyperthread available but disabled Off
  Lithographic technology 14nm
  Nominal clock speed 1.6GHz
  Turbo clock speed (1 core) 4.2GHz
  Minimum clock speed 0.8GHz
  Bogomips 4200
  Jimc's benchmark (Mb/sec) 205286
  MPEG-4 playback (VLC), CPU% 5.7%
Memory Box
  Main memory as delivered: 8Gb
  Per ASUS' tech specs for S532 series, different models have 4Gb or 8Gb soldered in, plus one slot for 4Gb or 8Gb, maximum 16Gb.
  Per, the S532FA has 4Gb memory soldered in, 2 slots, and maximum of 12Gb. The memory is DDR4 PC4-19200 2400MHz Non-ECC SODIMM, 4Gb or 8Gb.
Graphics: Intel GT2 UHD Graphics Box
  Base frequency 300MHz
  Maximum frequency 1.10GHz
  Maximum video RAM 32Gb
  Execution units 24
  Number of displays up to 3
  Output protocols eDP/DP/HDMI/DVI
  Max resolution (60Hz except 24Hz on HDMI) 4096x2304px
  DirectX version 12
  OpenGL version 4.5
  On the 1920x1080px display (1080p), the machine can perform MPEG-4 encoded media with no problems: way more than enough CPU power and no dropped frames. CPU utilization 5.7%; excess power around 1.9W (varies).
Display Box
  Display size is 1920x1080 pixels (1080p). Technology: IPS. Colors are uniform in all directions, ±90°. Brightness is 250nit per spec sheet
Disc Conf
  Kingston OM8PCP3512F-AB, 476.9Gb NVMe/PCIe flash disc. (This is 500Gib in powers of 10.) It works out of the box under Windows. However, the Linux driver reports that it is remapped in RAID mode, and will have to be switched to AHCI mode before the driver can do anything with it. This was easily accomplished in BIOS setup, unlike for the previous Acer Aspire 5, A515-54-51DJ.
LAN Add-on
  The S532FA doesn't have an Ethernet port. I'm using a USB dongle with it (to good effect).
Wi-Fi Box
  Intel Comet Lake PCH-LP CNVi WiFi (apparently part of the SoC). Driver: iwlwifi . PCI ID: 8086:02f0. Protocols: 802.11 b/g/n/ac (and presumably 'a'). Firmware was loaded (intel/ibt-19-0-4.sfi). This device has been operating with no problems on 802.11n (2.4GHz); it communicates well from the usual locations in my house, as much as 20 meters away through walls. Specifically, to a Terow ROW02FD in access point mode (Mediatek mt7612u.ko), it can download at 50.4Mbit/s and upload at 36.8Mbit/s when 14.5 meters from the AP through one wall. This is good (but not peak) performance for 802.11n with a 20MHz channel and one spatial stream. The data rate is higher when closer to the AP. It can connect to a 802.11ac repeater in the 5GHz band, but the repeater has functional limitations preventing a real evaluation.
Bluetooth Conf
  USB ID 8087:0026 by Intel; it is probably part of the Comet Lake family SoC. Uses driver btintel and firmware intel/ibt-19-0-4.sfi (and friends?) Confusingly, the Linux Bluetooth infrastructure promiscuously loads btrtl (Realtek) and btbcm (Broadcom) in addition, with firmware. I can't find any evidence that any of these are actually operational, but the Intel driver is the most plausible. I successfully paired Xena with Selen (cellphone) and sent a file to it.
Keyboard Box
  It has 98 keys (counting the power button). It's backlit. The feel of the keys is fine, with normal negative resistance. Key spacing is standard size, except F1-F12 etc. on the top row are shrunk about 15%. There is a numeric keypad on the right side, normally laid out. The arrow keys are below the right shift key, and Up and Down are split into one key cell. Home, PgUp, PgDn, End are overlaid on the arrow keys; you have to press Fn to get them. It was OK once I got used to it, but some people may complain about these keys. Home, PgUp, PgDn, End are also on the numeric keypad and you need numlock off to use them. There are separate Ins and Del keys, both on the top row and on the keypad. There are many multimedia keys which are multiplexed on the function keys (F1 etc); there is a BIOS option to choose which group of keycodes comes out when you do or don't press the Fn shift key.
Touchpad Conf
  The touchpad is civilized in its feel; speed and acceleration are set adequately out of the box. See Setting Up the Touchpad in the Setup page where I show how to get three buttons. A two finger gesture works for vertical or horizontal scrolling.

For acceleration, slow finger motion bottom to top on the touchpad moves the cursor about halfway across the screen; fastest motion from the bottom to the center moves the cursor all the way across. Due to the pad's skinny aspect ratio, horizontal moves are longer.

The special feature of this pad is, it's a cellphone display turned sideways. Setting Up the Touchpad describes how to turn it into a multi-head display. If you don't explicitly set it up (or disable imaging), when you put the machine to sleep and wake it, it has its creative ideas about how to arrange the pad image, which many people complain about, myself included.

Fingerprint Sensor None
  The S532FA doesn't have one.
Audio WIP
  • Intel Comet Lake PCH-LP cAVS, presumably part of the SoC.
  • Analog stereo (speakers): tested and works, but far from audiophile quality.
  • Analog stereo (wired headphone): tested and works.
  • S/PDIF on HDMI: avaiable but not tested.
  • Microphone: records speech.
  • It has a four-wire jack for a headset including a microphone, but I didn't test the wired mic.
  • **UPDATE do the tests properly again.
Webcam Box
  USB ID 13d3:56cb, IMC Networks USB2.0 HD IR UVC WebCam. It is sensitive to short wave infrared, for use with face recognition in Windows. The cheese selfie software uses it with no setup needed. Saved photos are 640x480px; I don't know if they're compressed to this size, or if that's the sensor dimensions.
USB Ports Box
  It has 4 USB ports: on the left are 2 USB-2 ports (type A), and on the right are USB-3.1 type A and type C ports. They have been used extensively. The machine cannot charge from the type C port.
Special Features
  Random number generator (use rng-tools package) Box
  Virtualization (using qemu) Box
  Wake on LAN N.T.
  Watchdog timer from iTCO N.T.
  PXE (network) boot N.T.
Suspend and Wake Conf
  The machine will suspend on systemctl suspend, GUI logout confirmation box, or closing the lid. While it's in S3 the power button blinks, which you can't see if the lid is closed. It will wake on lid opening, or (if the lid was never closed) on pressing the power button. Times to suspend / to wake, in seconds:
  S3 (suspend to RAM): <1 / < 1
  S4 (hibernate to disc); See here in Setup for some quirks and configuration I had to do. When hibernating it brings back the former screen image for a moment, before finally turning off power. To wake, press the power button; it ignores lid opening. 7 / 18
  S5 (power off / boot to greeter) 7 / 45 sec
  Login: greeter to XFCE desktop 2 sec
  Onboard devices including graphics can suspend and wake successfully.
Power use and battery life OK
  Measurements were done in Linux. Battery lifetimes were calculated from capacity/power, except (*) indicates charging/discharging 9% to 100% and extrapolating to 0% to 100%.
  S3 (suspend to RAM overnight) 0.25W, 135hr
  Idle, screen off (DPMS) 3.56W, 10.8hr
  Idle, screen on with ScreenPad (*) 6.2W, 6.2hr
  Light document editing (*) 7.42W, 5.2hr
  Playing MPEG-4 1080p video (CPU utilization 5.7%) 8.60W, 4.5hr
  Maxed out, 4 cores 21.4W, 1.8hr
  Charging an empty battery (*) 29.8W, 2.20hr
  Battery capacity (when new) 42.1 W-h
  Battery capacity (after 10 mo) 38.4 W-h, 91%
  Power brick provided 45W
Jaguar: Portrait of Xena