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Configuring Your Laptop for External VGA Output

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature

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Posted: 11 May 2005

Users of SUSE Linux Professional have experienced problems when trying to forward their graphics output to an external display or a projector. This article shows you how to circumvent the problem and to configure external VGA output on your laptops.

Provided your laptop has an integrated Intel, NVidia, or ATI chipset, run SaX2 in profile mode. SaX2 makes use of profiles to adapt to special situations or challenges. One of these profiles is the laptop profile used to connect to external displays.

So, to enable your laptop to connect to an external display device (including projectors), proceed as follows:

  1. Log out.

  2. Log in to one of the virtual consoles (reached via Ctrl-Alt-F1 to F6) as root.

  3. Type init 3 at the root prompt to bring the system down to runlevel 3 (networking without X).

  4. To enable the laptop profile, enter the following command at the root prompt:

    sax2 -b /usr/X11R6/lib/sax/profile/laptop

    SaX2 will start up as usual and you can adjust the graphics settings if necessary.

  5. After SaX2 has successfully loaded this profile, enter init 5 at the root prompt to bring the graphical environment back up.

    You will now be able to forward the VGA output to any external display device using a frequency of 60Hz and the same screen resolution as your internal display. The resolution can be adjusted using krandr or resapplet in KDE or GNOME, respectively. This profile configuration is done once and will apply to all future sessions.

Those wanting to use 3D graphics with newer Radeon chips will have to rely on the binary driver from ATI. The above procedure applies to these cases as well, except for the sax2 call which now reads:

sax2 -m 0=fglrx -b /usr/X11R6/lib/sax/profile/laptop

Note that suspend and resume of your machine are likely to fail and that you will not be able to switch video modes using randr if you configured your graphical subsystem in this way using the binary ATI drivers.

For GeForce chips you will have to use the binary driver by NVidia. The Open Source driver nv will not work using SaX2 profiles. After you installed this driver using YaST, start the SaX2 configuration as described above, except for using another SaX2 call:

sax2 -m 0=nvidia -b /usr/X11R6/lib/sax/profile/laptop

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