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Setting up Unsupported Graphics Cards with the Framebuffer Device (GRUB)

Knowledgebase

Symptom

You cannot set up your graphics card during or after the SuSE Linux installation.

Cause

There is probably no driver available for your graphics card (yet) or there are problems between your card and the driver.

Solution

Use the framebuffer device to address your graphics card. To do this, proceed as follows:

  • Enter the following at the boot prompt:

      linux 3 vga=xxx  

    Replace xxx with a value from the table below. This value specifies the resolution and color depth used by the X server later.

                                Resolution in pixels 
    
    Color depth      |   640x480      800x600      1024x768      1280x1024 
    256        (8bit)|     769          771           773           775 
    32000     (15bit)|     784          787           790           793 
    65000     (16bit)|     785          788           791           794 
    16.7 Mill.(24bit)|     786          789           792           795  

    For example, to make an X server run with 16-Bit color depth and a 1024x768 resolution, enter the following value at the boot prompt:

      linux 3 vga=791  

    Especially in the case of notebooks, this value might not be supported. If this is the case, select a lower resolution (800x600 16-bit).

    From SuSE Linux 8.2 on, the specification of the framebuffer modes has changed. To find out the modes supported by your graphics card, execute the command

      hwinfo --framebuffer  

    in the rescue system. This command's output provides you with detailed information about your graphics card and the resolution and color depth values supported by your card in framebuffer mode, for example:

      02: None 00.0: 11001 VESA Framebuffer   
    [Created at bios.387]   
    Unique ID: rdCR.zg2TkC4BwP7   
    Hardware Class: framebuffer  
    Model: "NVidia Riva TNT"   
    Vendor: "NVidia"   
    Device: "Riva TNT"   
    SubVendor: "NVidia"   
    SubDevice:   Revision: "B1"  
    Memory Size: 4 MB   
    Memory Range: 0xe6000000-0xe63fffff (rw)   
    Mode 0x0300: 640x400 (+640), 8 bits  
    Mode 0x0301: 640x480 (+640), 8 bits  
    Mode 0x0303: 800x600 (+800), 8 bits  
    Mode 0x0305: 1024x768 (+1024), 8 bits 
    Mode 0x0307: 1280x1024 (+1280), 8 bits  
    Mode 0x030e: 320x200 (+640), 16 bits  
    Mode 0x030f: 320x200 (+1280), 24 bits 
    Mode 0x0311: 640x480 (+1280), 16 bits 
    Mode 0x0312: 640x480 (+2560), 24 bits  
    Mode 0x0314: 800x600 (+1600), 16 bits  
    Mode 0x0315: 800x600 (+3200), 24 bits 
    Mode 0x0317: 1024x768 (+2048), 16 bits 
    Mode 0x0318: 1024x768 (+4096), 24 bits  
    Mode 0x031a: 1280x1024 (+2560), 16 bits 
    Mode 0x0330: 320x200 (+320), 8 bits 
    Mode 0x0331: 320x400 (+320), 8 bits  
    Mode 0x0332: 320x400 (+640), 16 bits 
    Mode 0x0333: 320x400 (+1280), 24 bits  
    Mode 0x0334: 320x240 (+320), 8 bits  
    Mode 0x0335: 320x240 (+640), 16 bits  
    Mode 0x0336: 320x240 (+1280), 24 bits 
    Mode 0x033d: 640x400 (+1280), 16 bits  
    Mode 0x033e: 640x400 (+2560), 24 bits  
    Mode 0x0345: 1600x1200 (+1600), 8 bits  
    Mode 0x0346: 1600x1200 (+3200), 16 bits  
    Config Status: cfg=no, avail=yes, need=no  

    Select the 0xvalue that best suits your needs. For compatibility reasons, you can continue to use values from the table above, too.

  • Once the system is loaded, log in as root and edit the file /boot/grub/menu.lst with an editor of your choice (e.g., pico, vi, emacs).

      The command with pico reads:  pico /boot/grub/menu.lst  
  • Search for the following entry:

      title linux    kernel (hd0,0)/vmlinuz root=/dev/hda3      initrd (hd0,0)/initrd  
  • Append the entry vga=XXX to the kernel line, replacing, as before, XXX with a numerical value from the table.

      title linux    kernel (hd0,0)/vmlinuz root=/dev/hda3 vga=791    initrd (hd0,0)/initrd  
  • After editing the file, save the changes. The key combination in pico is CTRL+O. Then confirm with Enter and exit the editor with CTRL+X.

  • Then start SaX2 with the options:

    sax2 -m 0=fbdev
  • and proceed to configure your graphics card. For queries concerning the configuration, refer to the article:

    X Server Configuration with SaX2 (8.1 or Higher) ( http://support.novell.com/techcenter/sdb/en/2002/11/wessels_sax247.html )

  • Once the configuration is completed, start the graphical interface with

      startx  

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