View Full Version : Two monitors, two graphics cards, two OSs, TV-in/out....

01-04-2002, 04:30 PM

I've had a major tinkering session with my PC, and it now has a whole load of new hardware, here's the situation:

2 Graphics cards : nVidia GF2 MX 32MB & Matrox Mystique with Rainbow runner capture card.

2 monitors, a 15' on the GF2, and a 14' on the Matrox Card.

TV-in/out to my VCR.

Windows and Linux

If I ask bios to load the PCI Card (the matrox one), and I load windows it goes fine, and windows automatically initialises the second monitor.

The only slightly dodgy aspect of this arrangement is that when I turn on the 14' Monitor, it makes the 15' display flicker and wobble... The 15' does this to the 14' too, but to nothing like the extent.

If I could stop the flickering I would be happy with this arrangement, and possible moving the monitors further apart would cure it, I'll give that a go.

The next boot situation is if I want to boot linux. If I boot linux with bios loading the PCI Card, it stops just after LILO, and asks for a video mode. Any set seems to work fine, but when it has finished loading up, it usually brings up the X logon. However, it gives me the nasty-looking text-based logon with tux in four colours in the corner... From here, I log in, and then type:


This runs through all the usual blah-di-blah, and then tells me I don't have a monitor installed. That's a complete load of horse, as I'm reading this text off the allegedly not-installed monitor.

Can someone tell me the commands to use to tell linux that there is a monitor there...?

If I boot the AGP (GF2 MX) Card, linux goes fine, just as happy as larry, and if I look into the graphics settings, it tells me that I can configure my system for two monitors. It asks if I want to configure the GF2 Mx, the Matrox Card, use 'Xinerama Extension' or 'Configure all heads independently'.

If I choose to configure the GF2 MX it works fine, and I can change the resolution etc. If I choose to configure the Matrox Card, it uses the drivers for it on the GF2, and displays on that monitor, trying to force the GF2 to behave as the matrox card would. This ends me in a load of error messages, and just craps out.

If I choose either the 'Xinerama Extension' or 'configure all heads independently', it starts configuring the Matrox Card in the same manner as described above, then gives me all the same error messages, and doesn't attempt to configure the other card.

The only other alternative is to boot with the GF2 MX, which works fine for linux, (only one monitor though, but that's ok, I want the second one for windows)... Trouble is, if I boot windows with the GF2 MX, it doesn't detect the matrox card. It starts up saying that the hardware is not installed, and it isn't there in display properties either... I've tried re-installing it but I cannot make the Mztrox Card work when the GF2 MX is in charge.

So to summarise, Linux only works with the GF2 MX Card as the boot-card. Windows only allows two monitors if the Matrox Card is the booted one.

The solutions would be:

Scrap one card or one OS - Not an option

Go into Bios every boot and choose which card to use - Pain the arse...

Get linux to detect/use the matrox card - This would be the best option, I don't use linux for any hardcore graphics work.

Get the Matrox Card to work in windows with the GF2 MX as the boot-card.

And, while I'm at it, can anyone explain what linux means by 'xinerama extension', and those other options, and is it possible to get linux ticking with two monitors?

Thanks heaps!



01-04-2002, 08:44 PM
What Windows are you using?

I know of some people that haven't been able to get dual cards working in XP but it's worked fine in ME.

Some video cards just don't seem to go well either.


01-04-2002, 10:19 PM
Hi JM,

I'm using 98SE, linux is Mandrake 8.0.

I've now got another problem which is that when I boot linux (using AGP as the primary card - That's the GF2 MX), it does most of it's routine on that monitor, then when X loads, it switches to using the other monitor, and tries to display at 1024x768, which is more than the 14' monitor can handle. I switched the monitors over, so that I could log on, then wne to change the res. under command centre, but it crashes every time, regardless of which monitor I'm using... Help!!!




03-04-2002, 03:35 PM
Patient: 'It hurts when I do this.'
Doctor: 'Don't do that.'

Erin, if you keep going like this the smoke won't escape from your computers, it will escape from your head ...

Anyway. It all looks a bit messy. I was about to say 'you can't do that', but you can. The trick is how to.

I had ideas of making two different installations of the Xwindow server, and changing the PATH to pick the appropriate one. That would probably work. But be very tricky and hard to maintain.

But they say you can manage without that, and I tend to believe 'them', where I would not trust those who 'document' the Other OS. See what you can discover about the kernel compilation option 'CONFIG_VIDEO_GFX_HACK' which is a suspiciously close name for what you want to do.

The LILO vga= option value is 'fairly' critical, for a clean start up. I don't use it because, as a bear of very little brain, I keep things simple. Also my computers are (1) old, (2) cheap because (1). The only expensive stuff I have is network gear, which is 'obsolete' therefore cheap.