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Trying to get NVIDIA GEorce256 DVI to work

Discussion in 'Nvidia' started by Jim, Aug 16, 2010.

  1. Jim

    Jim Guest


    I just installed Linux on my old PC and I would like to share my new
    monitor between this old PC and my new one (new monitor has a DVI &
    VGA connector). My new PC has only a VGA connector, so that leaves
    DVI for the old one. The old PC has an add on NVIDIA GeForce256 card
    (with a whopping 32 MB of RAM). It has two connectors (VGA & DVI). I
    recall there is also on-board graphics with a VGA connector.

    I connected a spare monitor that has both VGA & DVI connectors to the
    old PC. VGA works fine. When I disconnect VGA cable & connect DVI I
    get no video and can't even tell if Linux booted or not (something is
    running 'cause the caps lock button lights the light).

    I doubt this is related, but...since the old PC essentially has two
    graphics cards, I looked in the bios thinking that could be the
    issue. I found a setting that allowed me to select AGP or PCI as my
    video card. I assumed this was what the BIOS POST would use.
    Interestingly, I tried both settings and POST stuff only came out the
    NVIDIA VGA card.

    Thanks for your help,

    Jim, Aug 16, 2010
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  2. Jim

    Paul Guest

    Old_PC ------ Build_In_Graphics ----- VGA ???
    ------ GeForce256 ------------ VGA (Works)
    AGP ??? ------------ DVI (No video)

    Linux runs XWindows. There is a configuration file. It is pretty
    complicated. You may have to look in there, because I don't recollect
    any fancy GUI for looking into this stuff. (Some Linux distro,
    may have a GUI for it, but not all of them.)

    On some old computers, if you place an AGP video card in the
    computer, that automatically disables the Build_In_Graphics at
    the hardware level. Then, an OS like Linux, is only going to see
    the GeForce256. If the card was plugged into a PCI slot, it
    could be a tossup, as to whether the Build_In_Graphics
    remains detectable and operational.

    The BIOS setting "Primary display" [AGP, PCI, Built_In),
    controls which device is used first. Perhaps the BIOS is
    displayed on the Primary display for example. But then,
    it might be a function of what driver is installed in the
    OS, as to what card or cards are used. But if your AGP
    slot causes the Built_In to be disabled, then there
    aren't very many choices.

    From your description, you also have a total of two monitors,
    and you can connect one of the monitors to the 256_VGA and
    the other monitor to the 256_DVI connector and test. So you have
    more equipment to work with, than a lot of people do when
    they're debugging a situation like this.

    This is probably exactly the wrong article to be giving, but
    may give you some ideas. At least, to test.


    Perhaps between the contents of "dmesg" and running the command
    "lspci", you can get some idea what hardware is being seen by

    I have Ubuntu running in a virtual machine, and it has
    something called "gnome-display-properties", which looks
    like an attempt at a Display control panel. But because
    that virtual machine only has one video device, it can't
    display what would happen with a more complicated setup.



    For the screens to be detected, either the video card has
    impedance sensing (unlikely on a Geforce256), or the
    video card uses DDC serial interface on each connector,
    to probe for a monitor.

    And a Linux newsgroup is more likely to have XWindows
    experts in it.

    Paul, Aug 16, 2010
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  3. Jim

    Jim Guest


    I didn't think you could have VGA and DVI connected at the same time.
    I would assume the graphics card would only use one--probably the
    first one it felt a monitor was connected to it. But, I tried
    connecting both and I got the same symptom--no video and unable to
    tell if it booted.

    NEW INFO: I realized I have an ethernet card in that PC. I connected
    it my hub and tried to ping the PC after waiting long enough for Linux
    to boot. I couldn't, so it looks like Linux isn't booting. I just
    checked /var/log/messages and sure enough there's about 15 minutes
    between shutdown and startup. That deadtime is probably when I tried
    to boot via DVI. So, it's hardware, the BIOS or grub. Any ideas? Is
    there any way to get grub to log something to the hard drive?

    Thanks much,

    Jim, Aug 16, 2010
  4. Jim

    Paul Guest

    I think you're right. The Geforce256 isn't a dual head GPU. In the multi-monitor
    configurations here, it looks like they may only be using one monitor with
    the card.


    In this review article on the LeadTek version of the card,
    there is a "selector" box for output options. I gather that
    is how you go about selecting the output device (i.e. not dual
    head, just 1-of-N connectors). The LeadTek has VGA (the default)
    plus S-Video. The S-Video is created by a separate chip, translating
    some digital interface on the GPU, to S-Video. Your card with
    DVI, is using the "flat panel option", and there would be
    an external chip to convert to TMDS (a TMDS transmitter of
    some sort). TMDS is the signaling method used on DVI.
    The "flat panel option" has a limit of 1600x1200 for resolution.


    Perhaps what you need, to add to your Linux, is a tainted MVidia
    driver, assuming one can be found that supports Geforce256. Like
    all drivers these days, it's hard to find something that supports
    them all. Nvidia and ATI, both drop support for older hardware,
    in their latest drivers, so seem to be in no mood to embrace the
    Linux notion of supporting old hardware. If Nvidia and ATI don't support
    it, then you use the default driver that comes with the OS.
    The potential difference might be, that the Nvidia driver would
    know about the selection function, whereas the default driver
    might just use the "primary" connector.

    So somehow, you need the equivalent of that LeadTek custom display
    control panel, with its option to select an alternate connector
    on the faceplate.

    Now, a while back, someone had a video card problem, and I tried to
    investigate what it would take, to set up a good test environment for
    such a purpose. I eventually found a distro (several years old), where
    there was a "single button" in the interface of the distro, to install
    the tainted Nvidia or ATI driver. The purpose of doing so, was to get
    as much acceleration from the video card as possible. The repository
    for that particular distro was shut down, so you couldn't install
    any software from the repository. I was able to use "glxgears" and
    note it was working faster, but I decided that the method I was pursuing,
    was too expensive time-wise, for anyone to care about it. Every
    time I've needed to modify anything involving graphics in Linux,
    it takes bags and bags of time.


    I can barely get grub to behave at the best of times. I wouldn't
    be the right guy to ask about logging from grub :)

    I like some of my older Knoppix CDs for testing, because the
    boot sequence is written to the screen. No covering graphics to
    hide the text output.

    I'd either:

    1) Test with LiveCD discs. Preferably, something verbose, that leaves
    lots of text on the screen. My favorite would be Knoppix 5.3.1 DVD
    version (but that won't boot on a CD drive), while there is a remaster
    done by some people in Japan, that fits 5.3.1 on a CD. On occasion, I've
    used that Knoppix DVD for testing overclocked systems, and you can
    watch the boot sequence crash, if the thing is really unstable. Or
    watch icons disappear from the desktop, seconds after the system has

    2) Boot and bring up to level 2. On Knoppis, that would be
    something like "knoppix 2" and that puts you in text mode.
    That would be handy, if you needed to edit the XWindows configuration
    file by hand. It would also be a test of whether booting part way,
    and not altering the graphics operations, works any better.

    I thought your boot log was effectively "dmesg", but I don't know
    at what point it is flushed. I just looked at the /var/log/dmesg file
    on my Ubuntu virtual machine, and that looks to contain the boot
    messages from the last bootup. There is an executable "dmesg" that
    also echoes the contents of that file to the screen.

    Paul, Aug 17, 2010
  5. Am 17.08.2010 00:31, * Paul:
    Of course it is a dual-head capable GPU. I have used several Geforce256
    cards in dual monitor config.

    Benjamin Gawert, Aug 17, 2010
  6. Jim

    Paul Guest

    So why does that LeadTek software have what looks like
    a 1-of-N selector ? Is this a function of the OS being used
    or something ?



    I can see a reference here to the term "Twinview".


    "Nothing gets displayed on my second monitor; what is wrong?

    Monitors that do not support monitor detection using Display Data Channel
    (DDC) protocols (this includes most older monitors) are not detectable by
    your NVIDIA card. You need to explicitly tell the NVIDIA X driver what
    you have connected using the "ConnectedMonitor" option; e.g.:

    Option "ConnectedMonitor" "CRT, CRT"

    I have a feeling the only way to get this running, is to be
    sitting in front of it.

    Paul, Aug 17, 2010
  7. Am 17.08.2010 07:57, * Paul:
    I don't know, but I never used any of the crap drivers provided by gfx
    card manufacturers but the original drivers from Nvidia.

    Benjamin Gawert, Aug 17, 2010
  8. Benjamin Gawert, Aug 17, 2010
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