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Old 10-28-2004, 10:54 AM   #1
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Registered: Oct 2004
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Question Dell Inspiron 5160 video problems while installing Fedora C2, HELP!

I am a newbie, so please be patient.

I just bought a Dell Inspiron 5160 laptop with WinXP HE preinstalled. The system is :

- Mobile Pentium® 4 Processor 518 w/HT Technology (2.80GHz, 533MHz FSB)
- 15 inch XGA LCD Panel
- 1G RAM
- Video card: 32MB DDR XGI® Volari™ XP5 AGP 4X Graphics
- BIOS: A5 (This is the latest that dell has for this model).

I used Partition Magic to resize the and repartition the 80G drive and installed
Fedora Core 2.

I had problems from the get go: during installation the video was all smudged
and shadowy with a lot of black pixels so I couldn't even read most of the installation
So I went to text installtion and installed successfully and system boots but
with text only. No GUI.
After a lot of struggle and hand editing my "/etc/X11/xorg.conf" file I got
the GUI to come up but still it's very smudgy and impossible to view
like you can read the very large size font with diffucutly and you can
see X-ray like shadows of the icons and images. Cleary this is not what I was
hoping for for my investment.

I tried to go to the XGI website xgitech, for linux drivers but they point
you to the Dell website, which by the way has no information whatsoever about
the systtem, I mean technical stuff like appropriate Vsync and Hsync rates, etc.

So my Questions are:

1) Has any one successfully installed FC2 on Inspiron 5160 with GUI? and if
so please post how you resolved the LCD problem?

2) If Not , can I install another flavor of linux that is known to work on this system?
and which one?

3) If non of the above, does this mean it's money down the drain and I won't be
able to use linux on my laptop ever, or what should I do to to achieve that.?

Below are portions of my xorg.conf (that I thought maybe relevent) if it helps:

I really appreciate any help. ThanX in advance.


Section "ServerLayout"
Identifier "Default Layout"
Screen 0 "Screen0" 0 0
InputDevice "Mouse0" "CorePointer"
InputDevice "Keyboard0" "CoreKeyboard"

Section "Monitor"
Identifier "Monitor0"
VendorName "Monitor Vendor"
# ModelName "CPD-E200"
DisplaySize 330 240
HorizSync 30.0 - 60.0
VertRefresh 48.0 - 60.0
Option "dpms"

Section "Device"
Identifier "Videocard0"
Driver "vesa"
VendorName "Videocard vendor"
BoardName "VESA VBE 2.0"

Section "Screen"
Identifier "Screen0"
Device "Videocard0"
Monitor "Monitor0"
DefaultDepth 24
SubSection "Display"
Viewport 0 0
Depth 24
Modes "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
Old 10-28-2004, 02:24 PM   #2
Registered: Jul 2003
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What is the native resolution of the lcd?

Try system-config-display from a terminal and see if you can set the correct resolution. 1024x768 or whatever is correct for your laptop's lcd.
Old 10-28-2004, 04:54 PM   #3
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Thanx. I tried that but to no avail. It does seem slightly better, i.e. more
pixels are visible in each character/icon but still smudgy.
I don't know the native resolution but I assume it is 1024x768,
Dell website and documentation are pathetic when it comes to
technical specifications.

Old 11-12-2004, 08:07 AM   #4
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Location: Atlanta, GA
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Cool Linux Driver for XGI Volari XP5 (Dell Inspiron 5160)

I found a driver that will work with the XGI Volari XP5 video card that comes with the Dell Inspiron 5160. As you may or may not know, XGI used to be Trident. The Trident CyberBladeXP driver works great with my 5160! I currently have it set at 1024x768 with Millions of Colors. The driver was included in FC3, and probably many other linux distros. I hope this helps someone, because I couldn't find this info anywhere. I just hope google catches this!


It looks like the Trident CyberBladeXP driver does not work correctly as I first thought. If you go to the XGI website and download the linux driver for the Volari V3 (the RPM was for RH9) and install it, THEN you can switch to the CyberBladeXP driver and it will work. I don't know why this is, but trust me it works.

Last edited by AtlanticWorks; 11-13-2004 at 11:43 AM.
Old 11-15-2004, 01:20 PM   #5
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Thumbs up

Thanx Atlantic,

I appreciate the help. Anyways, I had to buy an Nvidia card from Dell
which works just fine now.
I haven't installed FC3 yet but I added most of the related updated
packages, and upgraded to kernel
Now things seem to be stable.

As big a fan of *N*X as I am, I still beleive the biggest hurdle for
Linux to becoming main stream is "INSTALLATION and CONFIGURATION"
is a big pain, but once you have it installed and configured it
properly it is of cours far superior to any windoze.

Old 01-26-2005, 02:33 PM   #6
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you should post your info on
Old 02-22-2005, 11:29 AM   #7
Arjan Kenter
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I am having exactly the same problem, a Dell Inspiron 5160 and Fedora Core (I have version 3). I chose it because of the high-resolution option (1400x1050) but the X display comes up almost unreadable with Fedora. I will follow the advice given by some other poster (i.e., downloading the Linux driver for an older card), but I would still like to know what's going on.

One thing that occurred to me is that the RGB order might be opposite from what the X server expects (endianness...) Would there be any way to tell the X server to stuff things the other way around in video memory? I don't find anything related to that in the posted configuration scripts and I don't have any experience with (I used to use XFree86 on NetBSD).
Old 02-22-2005, 11:38 AM   #8
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Leopard: Which Nvidia card did you use? I cannot find the compatibility options on the Dell website anymore.
Old 10-07-2007, 04:13 PM   #9
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I have the same problem with the video card , but i cant make it run . I have tried all configurations you have paste here. The only thing I have to try is downloading the driver from XGI .

This laptop is old , where is the problem? It should run with vga or vesa... it´s very important form me run linux on this laptop very very soon!


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