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Old 06-12-2010, 01:25 PM   #1
HalfMadDad
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dual head setup. Know good card in stores now?


Hi Everyone

I have been tearing my hair out for a few days trying to install a dual head setup. I tried two graphics cards that seem to have supported drivers in Linux, ATI 128 Rage and Nvidia 8400 GS. I farted around with the xorg.conf file for hours with the rage card and the nvidia one does not show up with lspci.

I am sure that other forum members would be able to install them and would help me to do so too but I don't want to waste your time, I am just going to return them and start again.

Is there a card that can be bought new in stores now that will work for a dual head setup? I only want a super wide screen to view spreadsheets so performance is not very important. I am hoping to find something under $200.

I visited linuxhardware.org first but it seems a bit out of date. The graphics card reviews were from 2004/05 but nothing more current. Is there another site that has more current hardware info so I don't have to bother people here?

Thanks for reading-Patrick
 
Old 06-13-2010, 02:21 AM   #2
Simon Bridge
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Welcome to LQ.
NVidia dual head under twinview is usually a no-brainer. ATI is cheaper, and it has better free-software support. I'd pick any older ATI with dual outputs and a very up to date distro.
The supported cards are identified by chipsets:
http://www.x.org/wiki/radeon

Look for the range of cards that are handily available in your price range and then check their support.

A decent guide to setting up various dual head configurations on new distributions is found at:
http://intellinuxgraphics.org/dualhead.html
... for intel cards but can be generalised to other non-nvidia cards. Will probably help you understand what you were doing wrong before.
 
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Old 06-13-2010, 11:47 AM   #3
HalfMadDad
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Thanks Simon

I am reading through the links you provided, thanks!

I have one nagging fear however. I researched the last two cards and made sure their chipsets were supported before I bought them, yet I still failed. Is it possible that other characteristics of cards in general could also cause trouble?

It's a shame linuxhardware.org does not seem better supported. If people from the Linux community posted their successes and failures by model and not by chipset it might save a lot of grief later.

Have a great day Simon :-)
 
Old 06-13-2010, 12:21 PM   #4
tredegar
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I have always used nvidia graphics with linux, and they have always worked with the nvidia drivers. One, from 2002, is still working.
I admit, sometimes (well, once in 9yrs) a bit of tweaking was needed, but it wasn't too difficult.

If your nvidia card doesn't show up with lspci then either it is broken, or not inserted properly.
Quote:
..but I don't want to waste your time..
You aren't wasting our time, some of us like to fix problems. If we thought you were wasting our time, we'd probably just ignore you

Get yourself an nvidia card that will fit your hardware, and I (or someone else) will gladly help you. I am sure Simon Bridge, or someone else, will also help you with an ATI card, if that is what you choose.

The thing is, not to give up too readily.
 
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Old 06-13-2010, 01:23 PM   #5
johnsfine
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What version of what distribution of Linux?

I've seen a recent version of Fedora support dual head on an nvidia card (internally using the nouveau driver) straight from initial install, without a bit of effort by the user.

But that isn't yet the norm. This is an area where Linux is still weaker than Windows.

I haven't actually seen any other examples of dual head coming up right by itself, though I'm sure some exist.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HalfMadDad View Post
I am sure that other forum members would be able to install them and would help me to do so too but I don't want to waste your time, I am just going to return them and start again.
I doubt that a different card will be any better.

Most versions of most Linux distributions will need some effort to get dual head working.

For the majority of nVidia cards, that effort may be no more than installing the non open source nvidia driver in place of the driver automatically selected by the distribution. Some distributions make installing the non open source nvidia driver very easy (but still not automatic by the initial install).

Quote:
Originally Posted by HalfMadDad View Post
I farted around with the xorg.conf file for hours
I understand why you didn't want to go into details. But because you didn't go into details, we can't estimate whether there was a real issue with the card vs. you just have a fundamental misunderstanding about what to do to xorg.conf. If there was no real issue with the card, the next one will be just as bad.

Last edited by johnsfine; 06-13-2010 at 01:28 PM.
 
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Old 06-13-2010, 02:10 PM   #6
HalfMadDad
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Hi tredegar, Hi johnsfine

Thanks for your posts. Just tell me where to go if this pulls your Sunday down and I will go away :-)

I have literally put 20+ hours into this and tried many set ups without taking proper notes along the way. In order to avoid providing more mis-information I am starting all over again with the Nvidia card. I say mis-information because I said the card was not showing up under lspci and now it is.

I had tried on two computers before but the one I am using now is a Dell Dimension 2350. It was purchased used and after some hair tearing I realized the bios was set up in a strange way. I reset everything to default and I have only changed the boot order and the video card setting from onboard to auto, back and forth again.

With my recent try (ubuntu 10.04 installed with the video set to onboard) failed to boot with the video set to auto, the Nvidia driven screen passes by the the bios boot screen fine but ends up with many, many errors as Ubuntu trys to boot. I would guesstimate 100-500 errors. I read things like:
do_page_fault + 0x/0x3a0
endtrace ed254aleaab57688
and I saw the some errors mentioning corruption scrolling by.

With the bios set back to onboard, ubuntu boots with the onboard driven screen and the Nvida card shows up with lspci.

I am presently using only one port on the card but this card can drive two monitors, one VGA one DVI.

Should I take Gnome down and do xorg -configure to generate a xorg.conf file?

Thanks again guys-Patrick
 
Old 06-13-2010, 02:43 PM   #7
johnsfine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HalfMadDad View Post
Dell Dimension 2350. It was purchased used
What kind of display adapter is onboard? Look in /var/log/Xorg.0.log both for the chipset info and for which driver was used when the onboard video worked.

I assume the onboard video has one connector that would support two monitors if you had the original adapter from Dell, but you bought the computer used, not including that adapter.

The plug in card you tried supports two monitors with two separate connectors on the card?

You could get one monitor working on each of the onboard and the plug in card. But that takes very good understanding and manual edits to xorg.conf. So I expect that is not the way you'll want to go.

Quote:
ubuntu 10.04 installed with the video set to onboard) failed to boot with the video set to auto
You can't really expect it to cover that transition by itself.

Can you get the liveCD to boot up (in "try Ubuntu" rather than "install") mode with video set to auto?

If so, you can look at the xorg.conf file it creates.

If not, you probably need to install the non open source nvidia driver to get the plug in card working.

Quote:
Should I take Gnome down and do xorg -configure to generate a xorg.conf file?
I've tried that many times (various computers, various Linux distributions). I don't recall whether it ever worked. It generally didn't work.

If the liveCD can't make a decent xorg.conf file for itself, other automatic methods probably won't either.

The installer for the non open source nvidia driver is probably the only remaining automated method with a good chance.

I'm not sure of the reasonable sequence: Install that driver while you have a usable GUI with the BIOS set to onboard and the installer may go wrong because the BIOS is set to onboard vs. install the driver with the BIOS set to auto so you don't have usable GUI while installing the driver but the installer sees the right config. If I were doing it myself I'd probably find a way to split the difference and get the best of each. But that's hard to guide you through remotely.

Last edited by johnsfine; 06-13-2010 at 02:45 PM.
 
Old 06-13-2010, 04:31 PM   #8
HalfMadDad
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Hi Johnsfine

I have attached my xorg log(hopefully it's attached). It appears that both the onboard intel and the Nvidia are both found. I could not tell where the driver information was.

One thing about the Nvida card from the log file, it's bios address is incomplete.

The onboard VGA supports only one monitor.

The ubuntu live CD dies with the video set to auto as well, same sort of errors but this time I saw init tainted: G and kernal panic, does not sound good.

Do you think this culd be a conflict with my bios?

Thanks again for your time
Attached Files
File Type: log Xorg.0.log (41.6 KB, 4 views)
 
Old 06-13-2010, 05:07 PM   #9
johnsfine
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For those who don't want to dig through the details of that .log file:
Code:
(--) PCI:*(0:0:2:0) 8086:2562:1028:0147 Intel Corporation 82845G/GL[Brookdale-G]/GE Chipset Integrated Graphics Device rev 3, Mem @ 0xe0000000/134217728, 0xec000000/524288
(--) PCI: (0:2:0:0) 10de:06e4:19f1:0a5e nVidia Corporation G98 [GeForce 8400 GS] rev 161, Mem @ 0xc2000000/16777216, 0xb0000000/268435456, 0xc0000000/33554432, I/O @ 0x0000c000/128, BIOS @ 0x????????/131072
Quote:
Originally Posted by HalfMadDad View Post
I could not tell where the driver information was.
It says:
Code:
(II) intel: Driver for Intel Integrated Graphics Chipsets: i810,
Meaning a driver named intel got loaded, which doesn't unambiguously mean that is the one it s using. But then lots of lines starting with (II) intel(0): mean that is the driver doing the work.

Quote:
One thing about the Nvida card from the log file, it's bios address is incomplete.
That is because video is set to "onboard" in the BIOS. If video were set to "auto" in the BIOS, then the BIOS info for the nVidia in that .log file would be fine. It probably isn't worth the trouble of getting a copy of the log file under those condition.

The lack of that BIOS address probably wouldn't matter anyway. The non open source nvidia driver probably works even with the BIOS set to "onboard".

Quote:
Do you think this culd be a conflict with my bios?
Absolutely not.

I'm pretty sure the problem is a bug in the open source nouveau driver being selected by Ubuntu for control of your card.

I think that installing the non open source nvidia driver will fix the problem.

I just now looked for those instructions on the Ubuntu site. What I found looks very simple:

First
Install the nvidia-glx package from the Restricted repository
Obviously, you should do that with just one monitor with correct GUI working while the BIOS is set to "onboard" and the "intel" driver is in use.

Second
Code:
sudo cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf_backup 
sudo nvidia-glx-config enable
They are unclear about the rules for that step. Maybe you could even do it from a command window while in GUI mode under the same conditions described for the first step and only afterwards reboot with the BIOS set to "auto".
But if you know how to start Ubuntu in non GUI mode, then the best chance of this step working is if after the first step you reboot and change the BIOS and then do this second step in text only mode on the monitor attached to the nVidia card.

Third
adjust the settings of the new driver by running the application nvidia-settings
Obviously, that should be done after switching the BIOS to "auto" and connecting both monitors to the nVidia card.

Last edited by johnsfine; 06-13-2010 at 05:21 PM.
 
Old 06-13-2010, 05:54 PM   #10
HalfMadDad
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Hi johnsfine

I am not sure if I did not read your post properly the first time but I did not see the bit about the ubuntu nvidia-glx package and I installed the Nvidia proprietary drivers. The first try failed but I found this how-to:
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1467074

The installation ran without errors after but I am stuck at really low resolution. I have not been able to undo the changes from the how-to and I will need to do a re-install, don't worry there was no data on that computer. The only bummer is I won't be able to get back to you until tomorrow.

Thanks again for all your help, hopefully I will have good news tomorrow-Patrick
 
Old 06-13-2010, 07:14 PM   #11
johnsfine
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I didn't realize those instructions varied so widely across versions of Ubuntu. So the instructions I found might not be valid for 10.04

Stuck at low res is a strange result for that change. But usually stuck at low res is a problem that can be resolved by reviewing the contents of Xorg.0.log and editing xorg.conf. You should not need to reinstall Ubuntu.

If the nvidia driver got in at all, the nvidia-settings program should make it easy to resolve any resolution issues.

But low res makes me suspect you failed to install the nvidia driver while blacklisting the nouveau driver, so X fell back on nv or vesa or some other fairly generic driver, resulting in low res. All that would be obvious in Xorg.0.log
 
Old 06-14-2010, 05:39 AM   #12
Simon Bridge
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You should be using the nvidia driver you find in synaptic.
The howtos involving proprietary software can vary a great deal depending on the authors understanding of their system. I've found this one useful:
http://ubuntuguide.org/wiki/

+1 to johnsfine - the low-res is probably just the setup being cautious - use the nvidia config program. That's what makes nvidia a no-brainer. Nvidia also installs its own bits of X.

As to the first attempt - some HW/FW setups won't allow more than one video-card to be recognised - though I usually only see a pci, agp or pci-e card overriding the onboard one. That may be part of why you only saw one. If you hadn't wanted to get a single card I'd have suggested trying each card individually.
 
Old 06-14-2010, 05:46 AM   #13
johnsfine
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I just noticed another thread about low res in Ubuntu

http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...1/#post3981343

There it describes a failure to read the monitor's limits and modes.

I don't know whether you have a similar underlying problem nor whether the nvidia-settings program can override the behavior back to correct after X failed to get limits and modes from the monitor.

You can, as that thread describes, manually edit the monitor's limits plus any modes you like (within those limits) into the monitor section of xorg.conf. This approach to resolution problems generally overrides everything, so it is effective regardless of the underlying cause.

Last edited by johnsfine; 06-14-2010 at 05:53 AM.
 
Old 06-14-2010, 07:20 AM   #14
HalfMadDad
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hey Guys

I seem to be in much more trouble now.

morning johnsfire(or good evening?) I started the reinstall before I saw your post and actually the second and third time I tried to get in I was met with a black screen so I may have had no choice. Anyhow I have now done two reinstalls.

When I tried to install ubuntu before with my nvidia card installed the install seemed to hang at 33% but this time I left it and put my Son to sleep and it eventually it worked fine. Ubuntu noticed my Nvidia card and offered two restricted drivers. I activated them both and I was met with another black screen on restart, video set to auto and then video set to onboard as well. I just did another reinstall and then tried to active the restricted drivers from the repository and my screen went crazy on repository reload and I am totally down again.

I am pretty lost at this point, do I just have a demonic card?

-Patrick
 
Old 06-14-2010, 08:53 AM   #15
johnsfine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HalfMadDad View Post
Ubuntu noticed my Nvidia card and offered two restricted drivers. I activated them both
I don't know that aspect of Ubuntu, but I'd expect it is important to select the correct one rather than activate both.

Quote:
I am pretty lost at this point, do I just have a demonic card?
I'm also lost on this topic. I can't form any good estimate of what you did nor of what state your system is in now. So I can't give you good advice for moving forward. The /var/log/Xorg.0.log and /etc/X11/xorg.conf files are the most helpful tools for determining the state of your video. But I can't tell from your description whether your system is even healthy enough now to grab those.

I still don't think anything is wrong with your nVidia card. I think something is wrong with the nouveau driver and/or with other parts of X as installed in Ubuntu 10.04. (No disrespect intended toward the authors of nouveau nor Ubuntu. They have done better than one should expect subject to lack of chipset documentation from nVidia).
 
  


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