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I have recently acquired an old 350 MHz computer on which I intended to run Xubuntu, but I have run into a problem. The video card in the machine is a Chromatic Research MPact-2, which as far as I have been able to tell has no Linux drivers, and is unlikely to have them in the future, as the company in question has gone out of business. Now, Xubuntu's autodetection, assigns the generic vesa driver to the video card in XOrg, and it works just fine, but with one hitch. The largest resolution that it will display at is 640x480, which is, needless to say, somewhat annoying. I decided to try VectorLinux on the computer next, with slightly more success. This time, if I used IceWM with VectorLinux, I was still stuck at 640x480, but XFCE4 loaded at 800x600. That was a little bit better, but I would really rather go no lower than 1024x768. Searching these forums, I came up with one reference to this exact problem, and a user stated that Knoppix detected the video card correctly. This appears to be the case. It does indeed allow me to use up to 1024x768 screen resolution.
Now, here is my issue. Knoppix, though it claims to be using XFree86, rather than XOrg at startup, still says that it uses the vesa driver. Is the ability to go beyond 640x480 just a limitation of XOrg's vesa driver compared to XFree86's, or am I doing something incorrectly? In my xorg.conf file in the Xubuntu installation, I even removed 640x480 from the available modes at all depths, and yet when the X server started, it sill loaded in 640x480. Additionally, regardless of what the xorg.conf file says, the XFCE4 display settings list ONLY 640x480 @ 85Hz. I know this has run long, but basically what I am asking is how can I make the vesa driver from Xubuntu or VectorLinux go to 1024x768, if possible. It seems strange that Knoppix can do it without problem, and yet the others cannot.
From my experience it isn't always the driver. I have some old G3 Mac AIO units and they have ATI Rage II graphics with the default ATI driver I get horrible resolution, like 640x480. I had to find specific frequency ranges to specifiy for the conitor, like for instance I had to force the highest refresh rate to be 70 the default of 72 wouldn't let me go higher than 800x600 so....check on that.