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Recipe 15.3. Installing a New Video Adapter

15.3.1 Problem

You are adding a second video adapter to a system, or replacing the old one with a different type of adapter. How do you configure it and get it working?

15.3.2 Solution

The best way is to use the graphical configuration tool that comes with your distribution. Let these excellent tools do the work. SuSE has SaX, Red Hat has redhat-config-xfree, Fedora uses system-config-xfree, and Mandrake's is XFdrake. Every distribution has its own utility; you'll get the best results by using it.

The second-best way is to edit XF86Config manually, changing only the parts that are pertinent to your new adapter. See the next recipe for how to edit XF86Config.

15.3.3 Discussion

You may find these X utilities to be helpful:

  • XFree86 -configure

  • /usr/X11R6/bin/xf86config

  • /usr/sbin/ddcprobe

All of these must be run as root.

XFree86 -configure probes your hardware and automatically generates a new XF86Config file. It thoughtfully stores the file in a separate location, without overwriting your original XF86Config file, so that you can test it first.

xf86config requires that you know configuration data about your mouse, keyboard, video adapter, and monitor. It takes you through the setup line by line, asking questions until you're ready to explode. Most important are the name of your video card, the amount of video RAM, and the horizontal/vertical refresh rates for your monitor.

Run /usr/sbin/ddcprobe to collect the information you need for your video card. It may also probe your monitor, but most likely it won't, so be sure to have your monitor's documentation at hand. If you don't have it, these values are common to modern multisync monitors and will get you up and running so you can Google for the correct figures:

  • Horizontal Sync (kHz): 30-58

  • Vertical Sync (Hz): 50-85

If your new configuration does not work, check /var/log/Xfree86.0.log to see what went wrong. If you get stuck in a bad X session and can't log out, use Ctrl-Alt-Backspace to break free.

15.3.4 See Also

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