video hardware determination

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video hardware determination

Default User-4
Hello.

I inherited an old '586 computer with built-in graphics (no video card)
and a no-name 17" color monitor. I have no documentation for either. I
am trying to set it up using xorgconfig.  

Is there a utility within OpenBSD 4.0 RELEASE i386 that will
"interrogate" the hardware to determine:

1) video memory amount
2) best driver (ATI generic seems to work best so far)
3) monitor resolutions available
4) VGA, SVGA, interlaced, non-interlaced, etc.
5) horiz and vert frequencies?

What I want is to have it start as 800x600, but be able to switch on
demand to 1024x768, since a number of ignorant software programs insist
on being displayed in 1024x768 (programs with configuration pages with
buttons are notorious for that).  It hard to click the "ok" button when
it is below the bottom edge of the screen.  

So far, I can get it to display either 1024x768 or 800x66, but not
switch between them with ctrl-alt-(-) and ctrl-alt-(+). Note:
ctrl-alt-(bksp) works fine.  

Thanks.

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Re: video hardware determination

Nick Holland
Default User wrote:
> Hello.
>
> I inherited an old '586 computer with built-in graphics (no video card)
> and a no-name 17" color monitor. I have no documentation for either. I
> am trying to set it up using xorgconfig.  

Probably the hard way.  See the new FAQ 11
  http://www.openbsd.org/faq/faq11.html
(and yes, I've been looking for an excuse to post it. :)

If that is really anything legitimately called a "586", be forewarned,
you may end up running XFree86v3.

> Is there a utility within OpenBSD 4.0 RELEASE i386 that will
> "interrogate" the hardware to determine:
>
> 1) video memory amount

start with dmesg, look at X's log file.  Sometimes, though, you have to
google for the chip part numbers and do the math yourself.  And
sometimes when you get a good, solid answer from any of those
sources..it turns out to be wrong.

> 2) best driver (ATI generic seems to work best so far)

dmesg

> 3) monitor resolutions available

google.

> 4) VGA, SVGA, interlaced, non-interlaced, etc.

google.

> 5) horiz and vert frequencies?

google.

That being said, many newer monitors will feed that info back to X.org
via DPMS, and X.org will then use it to configure itself...usually
incorrectly. :)  (that's not entirely fair...sometimes, X gets it right.
 In my experience, however, it is wrong more often than right, but I use
weird stuff).

I've never seen a truly no-name monitor...if you are in the US, there
should be an FCC ID sticker which can be traced back, if nothing else.
If no one is really willing to take credit for it, you probably don't
want to put your eyes on it, anyway.  Good 17" monitors are going for
the price of a couple beers used now...

> What I want is to have it start as 800x600, but be able to switch on
> demand to 1024x768, since a number of ignorant software programs insist
> on being displayed in 1024x768 (programs with configuration pages with
> buttons are notorious for that).  It hard to click the "ok" button when
> it is below the bottom edge of the screen.  
>
> So far, I can get it to display either 1024x768 or 800x66, but not
> switch between them with ctrl-alt-(-) and ctrl-alt-(+). Note:
> ctrl-alt-(bksp) works fine.  

That's just a matter of sticking all the resolutions you want on the
"Modes" line of your xorg.conf file.

I use that feature on my systems at work.  When I'm working on
something, the 17" screen is at 1280x1024, and if you are not sitting
where I am, you won't be casually reading it (in spite of being the Old
Man of The Department, I apparently have better eyes than most :).  If
I'm showing someone something, I can hit CTRL-ALT-+ and pop, I'm at
800x600, and they can see what I'm doing or showing them.

However, if you are that far, the answer to your questions is basically,
"who cares?".  You already have all you need, just tweak the "Modes" line.

Nick.

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Re: video hardware determination

Mike Hernandez-3
On Nov 8, 2006, at 9:38 PM, Nick Holland wrote:

> That being said, many newer monitors will feed that info back to X.org
> via DPMS, and X.org will then use it to configure itself...usually
> incorrectly. :)  (that's not entirely fair...sometimes, X gets it  
> right.
>  In my experience, however, it is wrong more often than right, but  
> I use
> weird stuff).

I actually just installed 4.0 on a compaq evo in my office, which has  
some nvidia card in it.
I knew I had an nvidia card at home, so I ssh'ed into the box to take  
peek a the xorg.conf,
since I knew I was running X at home and I figured the conf would be  
similar. Funny thing is...
I couldn't find an xorg.conf file anywhere on the system!

When I got home... I looked... and low and behold... X was running  
just fine, and there was
no xorg.conf to be found. I looked at the X log and found that X had  
actually configured
itself! What really happened is that I formatted my drive instead of  
upgrading and when I
copied my config files in I completely forgot about X. It just worked  
somehow... and actually
chose what the dell flat panel "feels" is the optimal resolution (it  
tells me so when I click the
menu button on the monitor).

Is that expected behavior? Of course not... and for the record, no it  
doesn't work with the
same automagic goodness on the evo at work (I think it's the card in  
the evo, the monitor
is exactly the same as the one I have at home) but if you haven't  
tried to just run X without
any config file... give it a go! You might get a pleasant surprise!

Mike H

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Re: video hardware determination

Ryan McBride-3
On Wed, Nov 08, 2006 at 10:08:14PM -0500, Michael Hernandez wrote:
> When I got home... I looked... and low and behold... X was running  
> just fine, and there was no xorg.conf to be found.

> Is that expected behavior? Of course not...

Actually, that IS the expected behaviour from X now. It doesn't always
work out that way though.

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Re: video hardware determination

Shane J Pearson
In reply to this post by Mike Hernandez-3
Hi Michael,

On 09/11/2006, at 2:08 PM, Michael Hernandez wrote:

> Is that expected behavior? Of course not... and for the record, no  
> it doesn't work with the
> same automagic goodness on the evo at work (I think it's the card  
> in the evo, the monitor
> is exactly the same as the one I have at home) but if you haven't  
> tried to just run X without
> any config file... give it a go! You might get a pleasant surprise!

For a long time now (many releases ago) I have noticed that often  
after a fresh install of OpenBSD, I can type "startx" as the first  
thing after logging in for the first time... and X just comes up.


Shane J Pearson
shanejp netspace net au

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Re: video hardware determination

Nick Holland
In reply to this post by Mike Hernandez-3
Michael Hernandez wrote:
...
> Is that expected behavior? Of course not... and for the record, no it
>  doesn't work with the same automagic goodness on the evo at work (I
> think it's the card in the evo, the monitor is exactly the same as
> the one I have at home) but if you haven't tried to just run X
> without any config file... give it a go! You might get a pleasant
> surprise!

It is actually desired behavior and a goal of the X.org project to
greatly simplify the hardware detection, including "just working"
without an xorg.conf file.

When it works, it really works well.  And sometimes when it falls flat
on its face, you just got to laugh.

The nv(4) driver (NVidia cards) are a very good example.  Put one in a
computer, you will probably find it Just Works.  Put two in, you will
find that it Almost Just Works.  Amazingly, "X -configure" gives you an
almost functional dual-headed config...EXCEPT, the timing detection that
worked SO PERFECTLY and automatically with a single card is now totally
wrong.  I found it trying to drive my 17" LCD at 2048x1600 (or something
close to that, found that out by plugging my 19" CRT in, which amazingly
actually displayed it Pretty Darned Well for that many dots).  D'oh!

(Put a dual-headed nv(4) card in, you will find it works great with
either head...but not both. D'oh, again!)

Still progress to be made. :)

Nick.