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Complete Guide to Asus N550JV-DB72T N550JV-DB71 Laptop

Reasons for buying Asus N550JV-DB72T (touchscreen) or Asus N550JV-DB71 (non-touchscreen) model.Asus N550JV-DB72T

  • 4th generation 2.4 GHz Intel Core i7-4700HQ Haswell (Turbo 3.4GHz)
  • 8GB DDR3L 1600 MHz SDRAM
  • 15.6″ FHD (1920×1080)
  • 3 x USB 3.0 port
  • NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 750M with 2GB/4GB DDR3 VRAM
  • 1TB HDD (upgraded to 240GB SSD)
  • Sub $1000 range (SSD upgrade + 3 years ADP excluded)

Asus N550JV-DB72T vs Lenovo Ideapad Y510P

Nearest competitor was Lenovo Ideapad Y510P. I chose to buy Asus over Lenovo for following reasons.

  • Both do not have full SSD storage and i really need one. Only option is to replace Optical drive with SSD.
  • While Ideapad has 2 x GeForce card using SLI technology, other second graphic card is in place optical drive, so taking it out makes no sense.
  • Also 2 graphics cards = extra heating & less battery life.
  • N550JV-DB71 (non-touchscreen) will save you an additional $75-100

So far (week’s usage) laptop is giving me 4+ hrs of battery life on 40% brightness and web browsing / slides. Now despite the laptops amazing performance, I highly recommend the following upgrades SSD and extra RAM. You can download the N550JV manual for detailed info.

Upgrading SSD replacing DVD / optical drive bay with HDD Caddy

Asus-N550JV-Back

I bought Crucial M500 240GB SSD over Samsung 840 EVO 240GB SSD as being cheap, and their read speeds are comparable with slight difference in write speed. If you are a heavy gamer, go ahead with Samsung 840 EVO or even 840 Pro version. This video tutorial by HDD Caddy is all you need.

In case you want to replace existing HDD with SSD

Clone factory installed Windows 8 to a new empty SSD

Unless you have a fresh Windows license, you do not want to loose OEM version of windows. Hence you need to move your windows from included regular HDD to newly installed SSD. Out of the many guides available on internet, I’ve tried and tested the following.

HDD Caddy’s Guide and LifeHacker’s Guide

 

Upgrading RAM (when 8GB is not enough)

Unless you are into heavy gaming or modelling design, 8GB is more than enough. Task-ManagerUpgrading RAM is relatively easy. Since the laptop has 2 slots and has 2 x 4GB RAM sticks. You need to decide to go for 1x8GB+1x4GB or 2x8GB RAM. Either ways the ram sticks included will be wasted. This video is not exactly for Asus N550JV model, but describes it perfectly.

I did go for a SquareTrade 3-Year Computer Accident Protection Plan, but then its a personal call.

Upgrading Wireless Card

Asus N550JV comes with generic slow wireless card. Thank full you have variety of options now. I upgraded to Intel 7260 dual band wireless card (also has bluetooth 4.0). There are many models such as HMWWB.R or HMWG etc. They just represent bulk packaging or oem part etc. Simply pick the one meant for laptops.

 

Also consider this

Clean Installation (Removing bloatwares)

Preparing Bootable USB Drive

  • Asus laptop comes UEFI instead of regular BIOS, hence windows installation requires additional partitions as compared to traditional installation. The Windows 8 keys are embedded into UEFI and not printed on back of laptop.
  • First you need to extract the keys. Install a software like Belarc which will do a full pc scan and retrieve the embedded key. This is a full suite of utilities. There are other lighter alternatives such as ProduKey and KeyFinder.
  • This key cannot be used to install RTM versions. You must get hold of OEM windows for Asus. Thankfully i found it over the internet. You have either of these versions installed Windows 8.1 Single Language x64 GA ISO or Windows 8.1 core & pro x64 GA ISO. [Both ISOs seems to have been removed, Google alternate links]
  • Alternatively if you have your own original windows key, you can download the iso from Microsoft.
  • Next, traditional Windows 7 USB/DVD download tool wont work, as it does not creates EFI partition on USB drive. Use Rufus instead. While burning, in the partition scheme, choose “GPT partition scheme for UEFI computer” . Select the ISO file. Keep the rest as default.
  • You can now boot from USB, after enabling options as mentioned below.

Windows Setup with EFI partition

  • You will not be able to enter the BIOS or choose an option to boot via USB directly. Restart windows in advanced startup mode. Settings >> Change PC Settings >> (Windows 8: General, Windows 8.1: Update and Recovery >> Recovery) >> Advanced Startup
  • You will get an option to choose a device. Choose USB option there.

windows-setupchoose-option

  • Once laptop boots via USB, screen will look like any other windows installation. Use any of these generic keys for installation. You need original key to activate windows later.

Windows 8.1 Single Language Y9NXP-XT8MV-PT9TG-97CT3-9D6TC
Windows 8.1 Core 334NH-RXG76-64THK-C7CKG-D3VPT
Windows 8.1 Pro XHQ8N-C3MCJ-RQXB6-WCHYG-C9WKB

  • UEFI USB drive should create EFI system partition for you automatically. That is, for an unreserved hdd, it will create 4 partitions: Recovery, System, MSR (Reserved), Primary. Install Windows in the primary partition. You can shrink the volume later to create more partitions.

Fixing EFI Partition

  • Just in case your Windows setup does not creates EFI partition for you, the SSD will not be detected by UEFI. Although your system will still detect the other hdd (if you have one) with windows installed. and that will give you a dual booting option.
  • To fix the EFI partition, either setup a EFI partition manually at the time of windows setup. Press shift+F10 and execute the following UEFI/GPT partition commands from DISKPART.
  • Else if you are done installing new Windows. Your machine will first boot into old hdd and give you dual boot option. Choose that to boot into your new SSD. Finish the installation. Restart machine back into Windows installation via USB. This time we will just create the extra required partitions without reinstalling.
  • Shift + F10 to access terminal. Select the appropriate HDD using the commands below.
$ DISKPART
$ LIST DISK
$ SELECT DISK 0
$ shrink desire=600
$ create partition efi size=260
$ format quick fs=fat32 label="System"
$ create partition msr size = 128

Now select the disk back. List the volumes and select one which is 260MB in size. We need to assign it a label.

$ list vol
$ sel vol 3
$ assign letter=b:
$ bcdboot c:Windows /l en-gb /s b: /f ALL

This should copy all the required EFI system files from Windows drive to the newly created system drive. Few tutorials recommend to run fixmbr, and bcdedit for those who have enabled hyper-v.

$ bootrec /fixboot
$ bcdedit /set {default} hypervisorlaunchtype Auto
$ bcdedit /set {default} nx OptIn
  • Simply reboot your windows. You may still boot into your old hdd once. But you can use advanced startup to access UEFI and change default boot options.
  • Make sure to activate windows, using the product key retrieved above.
  • Install drivers from Asus drivers website.

Which laptop did you buy recently? Let us know in the comments!

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