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Okay, solved it. The problem was that it was starting up with the highest available resolution, which happened to be 1600x1200. I simply removed that resolution from xorg.conf and it is now functioning properly. Hope this helps anyone who runs across the same prob.
I don't see anything out of place, but it is better to study /var/log/Xorg.0.log.
The 1600x1200 resulution seems a bit high to me for such an ancient card. Delete all resolutions higher than 1024x768 and try again.
Try to change the video driver name to "nv" instead of "nvidia" in the xorg.conf and restart X.
Both of these statements are wrong and arrogant.
I am still using a 2001 era GeForce 2 MX400, older than this card, which supports resolutions up to 2048 X 1536. I am now using it as 1680 X 1050 with my Samsung widescreen LCD. I previously used it at 1600 X 1200 with 24-bit depth for years with my 19" LG CRT monitor.
Despite complaints from open source fanatics, the binary "nvidia" drivers from Nvidia themselves are better than the provided open source "nv" drivers. I can attest to this. The open source "nv" driver did not support the widescreen 1680 X 1050 mode I needed but the binary "nvidia" drivers I switched to supports this newer mode perfectly as well as providing smoother video performance.
I will soon upgrade this card finally to one with better 2D performance and a DVI link but it has done me well and is doing me well at high resolutions, 1680X1050 currently, and 1600 X 1200 previously. It is two generations older than the geforce 4.
Okay, what's your secret? In general the nvidia proprietary driver gives me better display qualities, but it gives me horrible, jerky video playback performance (that goes for both flash and dvds). If I can fix the video performance issue I'll happily use the nvidia driver.
You're both right to a point, although I fail to see in what way jinkels was arrogant. Both drivers are giving me some problems. The nvidia one is better in general, but the jerky vid playback is a showstopper. Does anyone know of a fix?
Okay, here's the scoop: I experimented some with resolution settings and discovered that the nvidia drivers work fine so long as I keep my resolution down to 1024x768. Not my first choice, but worth it to fix my graphics issues.
I know of no reason why that card shouldn't do 1600x1200; I have the identical card (GeForce4 mx440 AGP8x, currently in the roommates computer as I have upgraded) and it had always worked just great at 1600x1200. It will go higher too, but for me, things got sketchy above that resolution because the monitor I was using had a native res of 1600x1200.
There should be no direct bearing at all because of your OS (Debian?) though I used Slackware.. Hmm.. Well, two ideas: (1) make sure your horiz and vert frequencies are appropriate for your monitor, and (2) in case it helps, have a look at the link I put above; I pasted some of my past xorg.conf files there. Some of them IIRC were from when I had the mx440 card in this machine, so maybe you will see something in there to try out (config options, etc..)
The motherboard, cpu, and ram are all about three days old; a shiny new msi board with an AMD dual-core 2.9 ghz processor. I suspect this is part of the problem; I'm mixing new hardware with some old parts that were around during the Clinton administration. Thanks for the colordepth tip. Unfortunately it didn't work.
If I use the nv driver I have an off-center display. If I use the nvidia driver my video playback sucks.