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Old 08-13-2008, 02:52 PM   #1
Keithj
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Display out of alignment - with some Distros


I'm a Linux dilettante, and have 8 different distros on one machine. No Windows - just Linux. Some distros work better than others, but that's a different discussion.

My problem is that the display alignment is out of whack on some of them. Sadly, Linux does not seem to allow for realignment of misaligned displays - I've read in numerous posts that the true Linux user adjusts his monitor with each distro change. This geek is getting bored with that, so I set off to find a solution.

I've got as far as I can without help. Some distros are shifted about a quarter of an inch (half a centimetre or so) to the left or right of the screen, with a black band at the side. Others are spot on central - as, indeed, is the non-GUI screen.

I've traced that the problem seems to be wrong display settings, but I can't find where to change them.

It's like this:

The PC is a "Heinz 57" built out of bits from all sorts of places.
The video card is a nVidia GeForce FX5500, driving a Samsung LCD display.

The distros and alignments go like this:

No GUI (boot-up time) - display is central

Fedora 8 (K): 1024 x 768 60 Hertz - display is central
Fedora 9 (G): 1024 x 768 (no freq shown) - display is central
Debian Stable (K): 1024 x 768 61 Hertz - display off to left
Debian Unstable (G): 800 x 600 56 Hertz - display off to right
Mepis (K): 1024 x 768 60 Hertz - display is central
Kubuntu (K): 1024 x 768 60 Hertz - display is central
Slackware (K): 1024 x 768 61 Hertz - display off to left
SuSe (K): 1024 x 768 60 Hertz - display is central

(K) = KDE desktop
(G) = Gnome desktop

Debian Unstable won't go above 800 x 600, for what it no doubt thinks are good reasons.

It seems the various distros used have come to different conclusions about my graphics card and the frequencies it or the monitor require. In Windows (on the other machine)I can adjust the display frequency very easily - but not with Linux. I reckon 1024 x 768 60 Hertz is the right setting: but how to set it?

I'm sure there's a very simple one-line command that needs to be typed somewhere, but extensive Googling hasn't revealed it. Does anyone here know?
 
Old 08-13-2008, 02:59 PM   #2
keratos
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your DisplaySize and HoriSync and VertRefresh are incorrect.

You need to change these in /etc/X11/xorg.conf

(man xorg.conf)
 
Old 08-13-2008, 04:25 PM   #3
tredegar
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I suspect your Samsung LCD display is reporting the wrong values to the EDID request from X.

X is getting very clever. On modern distros my xorg.conf is essentially bare, and empty. Before, I had to specify everything from refresh rates to display measurements. Now this stuff is automatically asked of your monitor and (if it replies) it will be configured.

If your monitor is old, or not reporting its capabilities correctly via edid, this auto-configuration will not work.

But if you put the right settings into xorg.conf, all will be well, as anything in xorg.conf seems to override the settings read (or not) from your monitor.

The bottom line is that I think your monitor is not reporting its capabilities correctly. So you need to specify them exactly in xorg.conf (read keratos' reply, above), or try another monitor.

There will be useful stuff to read in /var/log/Xorg.0.log : much of it is irrelevant and boring, but there'll be some clues there as to what is going wrong.

HTH
 
Old 08-13-2008, 05:53 PM   #4
Keithj
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Thanks for those!

I've worked my way through the xorg.conf for all the distros, and most of them did not specify vert or horiz speeds. Some don't even mention display resolutions.

I tried editing the offenders to add in the information, and they all ignored it completely when it booted after that.

The additions (or edits where there was such info) went thus for Slackware and similar for the others - I changed as little as possible of what was there:
Quote:
Section "Monitor"
Identifier "My Monitor"
HorizSynch 31.5 -50.0
Vertrefresh 60
EndSection

...

Section "Screen"
Identifier Screen 1"
Device "VESA Framebuffer"
Monitor "My Monitor"
Default Depth 24
Subsection "Display"
Depth 8
Modes "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
EndSubsection
Subsection "Display"
Depth 16
Modes "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
EndSubsection
Subsection "Display"
Depth 24
Modes "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
EndSubsection
Subsection "Display"
Depth 32
Modes "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
EndSubsection
EndSection
(Those were all formatted, but the Forum software seems not to like spaces in text).

Afterwards, the display was still at 1024 x 768 and 61 Hertz and offset by the usual amount.

Interestingly, Debian Unstable (downloaded and installed yesterday, so pretty current) ignored the 1024x768, too. It offers me 640x480 at 60 Hertz, or 800x600 at 56 Hertz - despite Vertrefresh 60 and 1024x768 being added in.

I'll go and have a browse of the logs now to see if anything emerges there. Until now, I've not touched xorg.conf monitor sections, and most of them are exactly as the install set them to be. I did have to edit one for a wrong interpretation of a 3-button mouse, but that was only in one distro and some time ago.

Last edited by Keithj; 08-13-2008 at 05:55 PM.
 
Old 08-15-2008, 10:01 AM   #5
keratos
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spacing does not matter

it is the syntax that matters

your "SCREEN" section has a default depth 24.

if you look at the "DISPLAY" subsections, where depth is stated as 24, you will see the first mode is "1024x768". Change that to be the mode you want, i.e "1280x1024"
 
Old 08-16-2008, 05:49 PM   #6
Keithj
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Thanks, but 1024 x 768 is the resolution I want. That's not the problem.

The problem as far as I can tell is that the vertical refresh rate is wrong. It should be 60.0 Hertz, and those distros that are using 60.0 Hertz are displaying correctly.

Debian (both version) and Slackware are NOT displaying correctly, and they both indicate the wrong vertical refresh frequency (56 or 61 Hertz). So far, I've not found a way to persuade them to use the correct value.

Putting Vertrefresh 60 in various places hasn't done it.
Adding _60 or @60 or @60Hertz etc etc to the 1024x768 just gives the X-server a headache - it either ignores that value altogether (so no 1024x768) or complains and refuses to start.

I'd have thought there has to be a way to pass the correct value of Vertical Synch frequency to the X-server, but I've not found it yet. Much googling has found many suggestions, none of which (so far) work.
 
Old 08-16-2008, 06:40 PM   #7
Keithj
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I think I've found it.

VertRefresh 60 isn't precise enough. Xorg seems to think that means anything between 59 and 61. I just tweaked the Debian xorg.conf to VertRefresh 60.0 and it displays correctly.

I also added HorizSync 31.5-80.0 and the Debian Unstable went straight to the 1024x768 resolution that I want.

The maximum value for horizontal sync is 80kHz in the LCD monitor manual, so I put that in to give me max flexibility. I suspect 60.0 Hertz vertical refresh isn't correct for other resolutions, but I can deal with that once I've sorted the basic problem.

I'm off now to try the same with Slackware. I'll report back, since I found a lot of folks asking the same question (and getting no answers) as I Googled around.
 
Old 08-16-2008, 07:46 PM   #8
Keithj
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Oh well.

That sorted Debian Unstable, but had no effect on Debian Stable or Slackware.

They just ignore what's in xorg.conf (and the various other similar files in the X11 directory). Both still display 1024x768 at 61 Hertz where all the other distros use 60 Hertz.

I'm convinced the problem is with how the X-server is set up, but I'm blowed if I can find what to change.
 
Old 08-17-2008, 01:06 AM   #9
keratos
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well done mate, almost there

please post output of:

# grep refresh /var/log/Xorg.0.log*
 
Old 08-17-2008, 04:29 PM   #10
Keithj
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The slackware one looks like this:
Quote:
root@Slack:~# grep refresh /var/log/Xorg.0.log
*(II) VESA(0): Not using built-in mode "640x400" (vrefresh out of range)
(II) VESA(0): My Monitor: Using vrefresh value of 60.00 Hz
(II) VESA(0): Attempting to use 60Hz refresh for mode "1024x768" (118)
(II) VESA(0): Attempting to use 60Hz refresh for mode "800x600" (115)
(II) VESA(0): Attempting to use 60Hz refresh for mode "640x480" (112)
root@Slack:~#
If I look at the Control Center under "Display", I see
1024x768 and Refresh rate 61 Hz.

And the display is offset off the left of the screen - just enough to be a problem.

I'll go and switch to Debian Stable and try the same.
 
Old 08-17-2008, 04:41 PM   #11
Keithj
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Now for the Debian Stable version:

Quote:
Debian3:/home/keithj# grep refresh /var/log/Xorg.0.log
*(II) VESA(0): Not using built-in mode "640x400" (vrefresh out of range)
(II) VESA(0): Generic Monitor: Using vrefresh value of 60.00 Hz
(II) VESA(0): Attempting to use 60Hz refresh for mode "1024x768" (118)
(II) VESA(0): Attempting to use 60Hz refresh for mode "800x600" (115)
(II) VESA(0): Attempting to use 60Hz refresh for mode "640x480" (112)
Debian3:/home/keithj#
Looks remarkably familiar! Display offset to the left.
And ControlCenter - Display again shows 1024x768 at 61 Hz.

I'll go and take a look at Fedora 8 (the most reliable/stable distro on here).

Last edited by Keithj; 08-17-2008 at 04:43 PM.
 
Old 08-17-2008, 04:52 PM   #12
Keithj
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Fedora 8 knows about a lot more display modes...
Quote:
[root@Fedora-Vin keithj]# grep refresh /var/log/Xorg.0.log
(II) NV(0): Monitor0: Using vrefresh range of 40.00-70.00 Hz
(II) NV(0): Not using default mode "640x350" (vrefresh out of range)
(II) NV(0): Not using default mode "320x175" (vrefresh out of range)
(II) NV(0): Not using default mode "640x400" (vrefresh out of range)
(II) NV(0): Not using default mode "320x200" (vrefresh out of range)
(II) NV(0): Not using default mode "720x400" (vrefresh out of range)
(II) NV(0): Not using default mode "360x200" (vrefresh out of range)
(II) NV(0): Not using default mode "640x480" (vrefresh out of range)
(II) NV(0): Not using default mode "320x240" (vrefresh out of range)
(II) NV(0): Not using default mode "640x480" (vrefresh out of range)
(II) NV(0): Not using default mode "320x240" (vrefresh out of range)
(II) NV(0): Not using default mode "640x480" (vrefresh out of range)
(II) NV(0): Not using default mode "320x240" (vrefresh out of range)
(II) NV(0): Not using default mode "800x600" (vrefresh out of range)
(II) NV(0): Not using default mode "400x300" (vrefresh out of range)
(II) NV(0): Not using default mode "800x600" (vrefresh out of range)
(II) NV(0): Not using default mode "400x300" (vrefresh out of range)
(II) NV(0): Not using default mode "1024x768" (vrefresh out of range)
(II) NV(0): Not using default mode "512x384" (vrefresh out of range)
[root@Fedora-Vin keithj]#
But the display is bang on centre, and ControlCenter says 1024x768 at 60 Hz.

I'm going to try something different.
Using the xorg.conf from one distro on another distro invariably brought up X-server issues and a refusal to start.
I'm going to run Knoppix 5.3.1 off CD and see what that does. If it displays correctly, I'm going to try to save its xorg.conf and see if the others will accept that...
 
Old 08-17-2008, 04:54 PM   #13
Keithj
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Ooh! I just noticed something - the two offending distros are using the Vesa driver, Fedora's using NV. I wonder...

EDIT: No. Knoppix uses Vesa, and offers 60, 70 and 75 Hertz vertical..

Off now to mix some Knoppix xorg.conf display stuff into Slackware...

Last edited by Keithj; 08-17-2008 at 05:11 PM.
 
Old 08-17-2008, 06:08 PM   #14
keratos
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what are the Horizontal Syncs like across the distros.

i.e. ..

# grep hor /var/log/Xorg.0.log
 
Old 08-17-2008, 06:47 PM   #15
Keithj
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Sorted it - in Slackware, at least.

I'm not sure which change fixed it, but I saved a copy of the Knoppix xorg.conf that offered me three different refresh rates at 1024x768. I edited the original Slackware xorg.conf with various bits from that - the video driver "nv" instead of "vesa" and a good selection of ModeLine entries.

That offered me the three speeds at 1024x768 - 60, 70, and 75 Hertz. 60 gives a good centred display.

Slackware previously had another bug - it would crash if I selected 800x600. Now, it doesn't.

I suspect the problem was the Vesa driver. Although Knoppix talked about Vesa, the driver in the xorg.conf was "nv" - which it gave the inspiring name of "Card0".

I'm going to test my theory by changing just the Driver line in Debian Stable's xorg.conf.
Back in a few minutes
 
  


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