Re: Video on Compaq R4000
From: Marek Williams (abc_at_example.com)
Date: Tue, 10 May 2005 07:40:10 -0700
On Tue, 10 May 2005 06:09:30 -0500, Dances With Crows
>> Marek Williams wrote:
>>> A shiny new Compaq R4000US. So I have spent all afternoon installing
>>> Suse Linux 9.3 (64) from a retail box. It found pretty much
>>> everything, including the Radeon Xpress 200, but for video it
>>> installed vesa 1024 x 768
>VESA? Are SuSE on crack? You never want to use the VESA X server
>unless there's no other way. This video card may be new enough that the
>radeon X server doesn't support it yet, but try that anyway. That means
>"make a backup copy of /etc/X11/xorg.conf , then edit that file with
>vim or emacs and change Driver "vesa" to Driver "radeon", then restart
Last night a Linux guru was chatting with me on IRC and wanted me to
find the xorg.conf file. Searched everywhere, but it's not on this
computer. Also wanted me to find XF86Config (I think I remember that
right). Found it, but it was a binary file, not a text file. No other
copies on the machine. He expressed several opinions of Suse as we
went through this. For example, he had me start from a command line by
typing "locate XF86Config" but all I got was "command not found."
Ditto for slocate and a few other commands he had me try. Eventually I
used the GUI file search utility.
>>>instead of 1280 x 800 as I was hoping.
>1280x800 is a weird resolution, not a standard one. You may have to
>create a custom Modeline using
>http://koala.ilog.fr/cgi-bin/nph-colas-modelines and add that to your
>xorg.conf and use that instead of a standard resolution.
While shopping I found that about half the laptops in local computer
stores are running 1280 x 800 on 15.4 inch widescreen laptops, which
is currently in vogue. That's what size my screen is. Some offer even
greater resolutions, but the visible screen area is still 1280 x 800
-- the surplus is "virtual screen" -- as you move your mouse to the
edge it moves to the extra area. Some like the extra virtual screen
but I do not.
>>> Please bear in mind that I know next to nothing about Linux. :(
>Nothing like jumping in at the deep end, eh?
Yeah. And I swim with all the skill of a slab of granite. :(
But heck, I'll get there! I may be stupid, but I'm also pig-headed and
determined to get Linux running on a 64-bit laptop with 15.4 inch
wide-screen video at 1280 x 800. I know it can be done on the Compaq
R3000 series because lots of people have reported they are doing so.
(There is an e-list for the R3000 that I signed up for.) The R4000 is
the brand new successor to the R3000, which is no longer being sold.
The R4000 uses the latest Athlon 64 4000, which isn't just running at
a faster clock speed, but has some internal improvements as well over
previous Athlon 64s. Unfortunately, HP/Compaq switched from the Nvidia
that they used in the R3000 line to the ATI Radeon Xpress 200 in the
R4000. If they were still using the Nvidia video I know there would be
But so far I am pleased with everything else about this machine and
Suse 9.3. I don't have a way to test some things yet -- firewire,
faxmodem, card reader, wireless, but they appear to be configured and
running. And everything else was auto-detected by the Suse 9.3
installation utility and is working fine. During installation I had an
ethernet cable connected to the my hub. Suse found the network, the
cable modem, and when installation was finished I launched Firefox and
went straight out to the internet. I remember it took me all day to
get this Windows 2000 desktop on the internet a year and a half ago
when I switched from dial-up to cable.
Except for the video, my only problems are lack of knowledge. Like, I
can't get the laptop and the desktop to see each other on the ethernet
network. I suspect it's a firewall problem. I have no idea what Suse
installed on the laptop, but I know the desktop uses Sygate personal
firewall. I need to tell Sygate that it's OK to let the laptop in, but
I can't figure out how to do that. Nor can I figure out how to tell
the laptop that it's OK to let the desktop in. But that's my own
>> I'm running FC2 on a box with a Matrox Millennium video card, and I
>> can't get any more than 800x600 (or something like that) out of it.
>> Is there a general approach to "force" FC (or any distro) into a
>> different video mode?
>Matrox Millennium? Isn't that a really, really old card? How much VRAM
>does it have? 800x600 at 24-bit color takes 1.83M, and if that card has
>only 2M of VRAM, it's obvious what the problem is. Drop back to 16-bit
>color and you should be able to get 1024x768 out of this thing. Also,
>people routinely throw out much more featureful video cards, so you
>might want to go dumpster-diving or garage sailing. HTH,
That was from Bruce, not me, but as it happens I have a three-year old
Matrox G550 in this desktop that I'm typing this on. It's running a
21" monitor at 1600 x 1200, 24-bit color. I can't remember how much
RAM it has, but I know Matrox Millennium cards came in all kinds of
configurations over the years. For a long time they were favored by
desktop publishing people because their Windows drivers were legendary
for speed, stability and good color control. My suggestion to Bruce is
to start by determining the model number. Then you can look up how
much RAM it has. Or possibly there is a GUI configuration utility in
FC2 where it will be listed and you can just click on it.
-- Bogus e-mail address, but I read this newsgroup regularly, so reply here.