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Old 06-19-2011, 09:49 AM   #1
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Question Why do nVida drivers hose suspend/resume or hibernate/resume?

Why I would be interested to know. How to fix would be even better.

For some time now I have suspected that the nVidia driver is the cause of my suspend/resume troubles. On my main PC, a Dell Studio/XPS quad core with an nVidia GeForce 220 card I experience intermittent issues with suspend not working (immediately resumes but with networking broken) or more frequently with resume not working. When the PC resumes I find that my X session has crashed and I am presented with the login screen rather than the locked display screen. (Ubuntu 9.10 64 bit, 10.04 32 or 64 bit)

To do some investigation I installed a GeForce 6200 card in an old Dell Dimension 4600 PC. With the default (vesa?) driver suspend/resume and hibernate/resume work great with Ubuntu 10.04 and 11.04. Hibernate/resume works great with CentOS 5.6 (no suspend option - don't know why).

When I installed the nVidia driver (from the web site) on CentOS it broke hibernate/resume. It hibernates but will not resume. Boots back to a blank, unresponsive screen. Ctrl-Alt-Del not recognized. Must do a hard power off.

When I installed the nVidia drivers on Ubuntu 11.04 from the repositories it again broke suspend/resume and hibernate/resume. When I press the power button to resume I get no video signal to the monitor. Ctrl-Alt-Fn will not bring me to another terminal. The system seems totally unresponsive. However, if I connect to the machine over the network with ssh and run top I find that Xorg is using 99.9% of the cpu.

The work around on the older machine is simply not to install the nVidia driver. I do not want to run Unity and the default driver does the job. However, on the new machine I have dual monitors and wish to run separate X sessions AND the default driver or nouveau will not control the fan on the video card which runs at about 20,000 RPM and can be heard throughout the house.

So I guess I could replace the GeForce 220 with another card with a passive heat sink to eliminate the noise issue and settle for running the two monitors as a single session. Or, I could try a different video card chip set.

Can someone recommend a viable alternative to nVidia? I am not looking for anything special. I am NOT doing any 3D modeling or gaming. I just want to run my two LCD monitors.


Old 06-22-2011, 09:41 PM   #2
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Probably not the answer you seek, or it may be something that you've already tried but didn't mention in your post. Try installing the driver directly from nVidia. I used to have similar issues when I had nVidia based display cards. I was running a different distro though. But my point is that the drivers in the distro repository never gave me the card's full potential and were always problematic (quite the opposite with Radeon drivers). On the other hand, the drivers I downloaded directly from nVidia yielded great performance and did not cause for X to crash or behave erratically when going in/coming out of suspend/hibernate. So if you haven't tried this, you might want to give it a try before changing your hardware. Generally aside from the nVidia proprietary driver, you'll only need to have the kernel headers installed for the driver to compile successfully.

Needless to say, you should make sure you can revert to your existing working status should the driver installation failed and X didn't start.

Last edited by sntnlz; 06-22-2011 at 09:43 PM.
Old 06-23-2011, 05:10 AM   #3
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Thanks sntnlz. I tried that and it seemed to work great. I started keeping count of how many times it did a successful suspend/resume. But it did not get to 10. I have an ATI Radeon card coming in today and will see if it does any better. It can't do much worse.

Old 06-23-2011, 01:09 PM   #4
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Hear yea! Hear yea! I have the ATI card installed and working. Before I forget how I did it I will document it here. Suspend/resume has worked a couple of times - keeping fingers crossed.

1 - deactivated nVida driver under Hardware drivers tool in Ubuntu
2 - pulled Dell nVidia card and installed MSI R5450 ($50 US at
3 - booted PC - got to "Running in low graphics mode" error (had some battles with that and nVidia early on)
4 - chose the option to fix graphics configuration - WRONG - rebooted to black screen
5 - booted from USB flash drive with isolinux and copied backup of nVidia xorg.conf over whatever step 4 had created
6 - booted back to "Running in low graphics mode" error and chose to run in low mode one time
7 - uninstalled nvirdia-current, nvidia-current- modaliases, nvidia-settings with Synaptic
8 - booted back to "Running in low graphics mode" error and chose to run in low mode one time again
9 - installed fglrx and fglrx-amdcccle with Synaptic
10 - booted back to "Running in low graphics mode" error and chose to run in low mode one time again
11 - downloaded and tried to install drivers from ATI web site - it told me that older driver was installed - uninstall it
12 - uninstalled items installed in step 9
13 - booted back to "Running in low graphics mode" error and chose to run in low mode one time again
14 - tried to install the drivers from web site again - same message about old drivers installed (but I noticed a message about running aticonfig --initial after installing drivers. I installed the stuff in step 9 again and ran aticonfig --initial.
15 - rebooted and had both displays working!!! but not to my liking

An slight detour here. I had my monitors setup as follows:

left monitor - Samsung Syncmaster 1280 x 1024 on a DVI cable
right monitor - Acer x223w 1680 x 1050 on an HDMI cable
Under nVidia they were configured as "separate X sessions" I believe it was called. Each monitor had its own panel and I had different launchers on each panel. Left monitor was #0 and the right monitor #1.

The ATI installer set the right monitor to #1 and the left monitor #2. The icons on my desktop were on the left monitor as they had been under nVidia but the only panel displayed was the one from the old right screen which was displayed on the right screen. @#$%^*&*)(^%!

16 - after tweaking with the ATI configuration tool to no success I edited xorg.conf and swapped the 0 and 1 designations for the two displays.
17 - rebooted and got the same thing.
18 - set the configuration to "Single display desktop (Multi-desktop)" whatever that means.
19 - rebooted and now I have my Desktop with a few files on it on the left monitor. The correct panel on the left monitor and the correct panel on the right monitor

I had to shuffle a couple of launchers which repositioned themselves even though they were "lock to panel" but that was an easy task. I have backed up the system, made a copy of xorg.conf for posterity.


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