Success with Dell widescreen monitor and X.Org

What a difference a video card makes…

A couple months back I tried getting a Dell 2007WFP working with X, using the Intel graphics controller built into my motherboard. I didn’t have much luck. Well, now I have a new video card, with an nVidia GeForce MX 4400 chipset. And, all I had to do was specify the card, driver and resolution (1680×1050) in my xorg.conf, and it worked right away. Great. Still more work than it was with my Mac (where I just plugged it in and it worked), but not bad at all, especially considering that this is X.

Still a few things to be resolved:

  1. The new card is only working through the VGA port. Need to figure out what magic incantations I need to use DVI.
  2. Apparently I can’t use the onboard graphics controller and the new (AGP) card at the same time. As soon as I plugged the new card in, it was like the onboard controller didn’t exist. So, I’m still stuck using the old Matrox PCI card for my other monitor. The Matrox only has 8mb video memory, which limits me to a 16 bit display depth. The MX 4400 apparently supports multiheading via the DVI port and VGA port, so I’ll have to see if I can do this with X.
  3. The widescreen monitor is vertically smaller than my other standard-resolution flat panels. I’m getting a little squinty-eyed staring at it. I think I may make it the “secondary” display and use a physically larger screen as my “primary” display.

But all in all, I’m really happy to have the 1680×1050 working, and without much extra fiddling or hair-pulling.

On another note, I’ve restored sonata to a new drive (after its old drive crashed). I lost a few files before I backed the dying drive up. The system works fine, but fonts in some applications are screwy (screwy fonts in X is a relative term, of course…). So, I may end up reinstalling the machine anyhow…

Followup… looks like I may need to use nVidia’s driver (instead of the built-in nv driver) to get multihead support. I’ll try that out later this week.