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Old 10-31-2006, 08:58 AM   #1
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Linux SuSE 9.1 nVidia Ti4200 Multi Head Xinerama

I do not have a question this time. Just want to share some of my experience with you.

For those who wants to do their business using Linux : Having trouble in getting 2 screens side by side (dual view in Xinerama mode) under Linux SuSE 9.1 using nVidia Ti4200 8xAGP dual screen card ? I found a working solution, quite different from what forums and tweakers say, and you don't need to edit any config file neither to recompile anything.

First of all, make sure you have patched the latest nvidia drivers through the YaST Online Update. Through YaST, let the system automatically probe for your graphics card. Linux SuSE 9.1 recognizes the Ti4200 as 0x0281. That is fine, so just accept the probe and confirm for that one single graphics card.

Then, in YaST, go to the Hardware and select Graphics Card and Monitor. Select Change and proceed with removing all cards (I mean, through the options, not actually removing the electronics hardware, so leave the screwdriver in the box). The 00281 card is most likely shown as (nv), which is wrong, because it has to be (nvidia).

Now there are no cards listed anymore. Good, so you can proceed with Add New Card. Select the nVidia 0x0281 (NOT the Ti4200 !), and do that again, so you have two times the same card, each of them showing (nvidia). For each card you must specifiy through Expert Mode the bus id 1:0:0, NOT the Single bus. Also, you specify for the first card the Screen-id = 0, and for the second card the Screen-id = 1.

In the Expert Mode, you specify for the first card TwinView (keeps the line highlighted) and fill in Twinview Orientation the text (without the quotes) "leftOf Screen1". This means that Screen0, which is the first screen is at the left of Screen1, which is the second screen. Specifiy also for the second card and screen "TwinView" (in Expert Mode).

Also make sure you specify the types of screens that you are using. For TFT's a simple LCD 1024768 60hz definition is good enough, no need to look for the specific manufacturer. You can also specifiy the Virtual Sizes, if you really want to. I personally dislike dragging virtual views around, however, for large graphics or CAD edting this may be handy.

Confirm the settings and Test and Save. The Test will not show Xinerama but will show Screen(0) and Screen(1). That's it. So afterconfirmation restart the computer !

After restart, startup YaST again, go to the Hardware and select Graphics Card and Monitor, and now you can go the Multi Head options and select Xinerama.

Ignore any message concerning 3D acceleration ! Confirm and Test and Save. In the blue test display, on the left screen you should see the Screen0 identifier and on the right screen the Screen(1) indentifier. If they are both Screen(0) then redo all of the above AFTER saving the test settings and restarting the PC.

Now you have a Xinerama view across two screens side by side. If one of the screens, or both, do blurr, use the on-screen hardware buttons to auto tune the screen, or pull out the DC plug for 10 seconds and power on again,.

On the desktop, right click on the taskbar panel, and highlight Main Panel or one of the Child Panels. On the right there is Identify where you can select the Xinerama screen number. For the Main Panel, you can select All Screens in the Xinerama. For the Child Panels (if you have any) you can select a Screen for each one of them.

The taskbar you can now stretch (or it already does automatically) across both screens and the mouse cursor allows you to drag any windows across both screens. The desktop number boxes in the taskbar panel are also stretched because that's the way they show the total width of both screens.

The only drawback is that in dual screen mode the 3D acceleration is not enabled, resulting into slowed down screen display. But, as they always say with Linux : "It works".

Happy dual head multi screen viewing with nvidia Ti4200 under Linux SuSE 9.1 !

The basic trick is to initially abide to the stubborn Linux SuSE probing, i.e. not enforcing ohter drivers or config defs, silly or simple as it may sound. And, after reconfiguring, restart the machine including power down, yes do. Linux needs to make the cold scan again at boot. You may want to make sure you have the latest nvidia patches installed through the Online Update, although this is not necessary, however, do not look for any nvidia driver .rpm installer. If you want to patch, do that through the Online Update in YaST. Do not checkmark Automatic Online Updating, though, because you may end up in getting unwanted updates for your graphics !


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