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japhyr 11-25-2009 07:31 PM

Black screen on Dell Optiplex GX260

I am doing a project with some high school students. We are installing Ubuntu 8.04.3 (latest long-term-release) on some old Dell Optiplex GX260's. After testing with the LiveCD, installing Ubuntu, and running updates, about half the computers work properly. About half the computers boot into a blank screen. We have tried several things to fix this.

Using the grub menu, we can get into a recovery mode. Attempting to fix broken packages, install updates, and reconfigure the xserver worked for a couple computers, but not all. We can run "startx" and the computers finish booting, but as the root user. We have not found a way to boot properly without going through the grub menu.

Is there something else we can try? The graphics card on most or all of these computers is an Intel 82845G/GL [Brookdale-G].

knudfl 11-25-2009 07:58 PM

Yes, that's a general problem with GX 260 :
Will only work with about 50% of a random
selection of monitors.

The intel x driver is a long way from being perfect.
( xserver-xorg-video-intel ). You can try changing
the text in /etc/X11/xorg.conf from intel to i810 .
Thus using xserver-xorg-video-i810 .
This is theory, haven't tried that myself.
But the editing can be done from a live Linux cd.

Else suggest :
Change the monitors causing problems
or plug in small sized boards in the AGP slot.
Doesn't matter, that the agp graphics boards
are older than the GX 260.

japhyr 11-26-2009 12:04 AM

That's pretty interesting! Next week we will try the xorg.conf change, and try swapping some monitors. Is there any way to tell beforehand what monitors are likely to work?

knudfl 11-26-2009 02:47 AM

No, but in a way you already know some
brands / <type numbers> that do work.

The old LCD monitor Compaq FP730A works for me.
The other ones I have don't or provide low quality
( with the ' intel ' x - driver) by most Linux OS's.

japhyr 11-30-2009 06:19 PM

The initial swapping tests did not show anything conclusive. A monitor that has worked for months with several computers did not resolve the problems with one of the GX260's. The computer is fully up to date, but none of the grub recovery boot options resolves the blank screen issue.

I tried editing the xorg.conf file, but there is no mention of an intel card in the conf file. Are there some lines we can add to the xorg.conf file that might get things working? Thanks.

knudfl 12-02-2009 05:55 AM

Two examples of xorg.conf from GX260 are here

And may be other some hints in that thread.

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