[CentOS] Switch to Nvidia from ATI

Wed Oct 18 18:42:22 UTC 2006
Jay Leafey <jay.leafey at mindless.com>

Alfred von Campe wrote:

> Well, we don't use 3D, but we ended up using the nvidia driver so we 
> could drive the LCD monitor at its native resolution and frequency 
> (1600x1200 @ 60Hz).  I first tried using the onboard video chip (Intel 
> 9XX) on our workstations, but it couldn't drive 1600x1200 at the right 
> frequency.  I then purchased some inexpensive nVidia GeForce 6200 cards, 
> but I had to install the nVidia driver for them to work properly at 
> 1600x1200 using the DVI connector (I forgot exactly what the problem 
> was).  But installing the nVidia driver solved all the problems.

Since you've already gone to the nVidia card it's a little late, I know, but one of my Dell workstations has a similar display chip 
(Intel 915G) and I was able to drive my Dell 2100fp at 1600x1200 at 60Hz by making a couple of changes in the xorg.conf file. 
Specifically, in the "Monitor" section I added a modeline for the that resolution with some different timings:

     ModeLine     "1600x1200" 160.0 1600 1664 1856 2160 1200 1201 1204 1250

Then in the "Screen" section I added 1600x1200 to the "Modes" line:

     Modes    "1600x1200" "1280x1024" "1280x960" "1152x864" "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"

Les filling, tastes great!

> The only issue is that I have to re-install the driver whenever there is 
> a new kernel.  I haven't dug deep enough to figure out how to install 
> the driver in a newly installed but not yet running kernel.  I usually 
> just manually change the runlevel to 3 at boot time, install the driver, 
> and then switch to runlevel 5.  But that requires physical access to 
> each workstation.  Since there is a new kernel waiting to be installed 
> by yum at the moment, maybe I will take the time to figure out how to do 
> this now.  I did manage to hijack the firstboot mechanism, so that after 
> I kickstart a system it automatically installs the driver before going 
> to runlevel 5.

It's not that hard, thankfully.  You can specify the kernel version to the installer script, as well as just installing a new kernel 
module rather than a full reinstall:

     /usr/local/bin/nvidia-installer --kernel-module-only --kernel-name=(kernel version)

For example, when the new kernel (kernel-2.6.9-42.0.3.plus.c4) came out, I just ran this command before rebooting to the new kernel:

     /usr/local/bin/nvidia-installer --kernel-module-only --kernel-name=2.6.9-42.0.3.plus.c4

It does require that the kernel-devel{,-smp} package be installed for the kernel for which you want to rebuild the driver, but 
that's not really a problem for me.  I've been trying to figure out how to make this happen at boot-time before starting X, but 
haven't pursued it too hard.

Hope that helps!
Jay Leafey - Memphis, TN
jay.leafey at mindless.com
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