nVidia GeForce FX5200

The new nVidia GeForce FX5200 is an AGP 8X, 256MB DDR2, DVI-enabled speed-demon that, when used together with KDE 3.4 translucency effects, gives an incredible, nice-looking, awesome desktop full of window drop shadows, translucent windows and fadding effects.

However, in order to be able to get the last bit of performance out of it, I must use the propietary nVidia drivers.

The propietary nVidia drivers consist of a binary-only blob that implements the video driver that talks to to the graphics board, plus a linux kernel wrapper. The wrapper has it’s source code available, and must get compiled against the running kernel. The process of installing the nVidia driver is painless.

Installing the nVidia propietary driver.

  1. Download the latest Linux IA-32 drivers from http://www.nvidia.com
  2. Make sure the kernel sources used to build the current kernel are available, either in /usr/src/linux or /lib/modules/`uname -r`/build
  3. Run the driver, usually in the form of a self-extracting shell script.
  4. The driver will try to find a suitable, precompiled module for the current kernel or else will compile it by itself.

After the driver is installed successfully, some modifications need to be done to /etc/X11/xorg.conf.

Configuring X.org

  1. I did replace the “nv” X.org’s built-in nVidia driver, which lacks DRM/DRI support, with the “nvidia” propietary driver.
  2. I had to set the “AllowGLXWithComposite” option to “true” in order to get GLX to coexist with the Composite extension. If this option is missing, or set to false, the Composite extension will be disabled and GLX acceleration will prevail.
  3. Also, I had to comment out “Load” “dri” to stop GLX-accelerated applications from crashng.

My full /etc/X11/xorg.conf looks like this:

Section "ServerLayout"
Identifier "Single head configuration"
Screen 0 "Screen0" 0 0
InputDevice "Mouse0" "CorePointer"
InputDevice "Keyboard0" "CoreKeyboard"
Option "StandbyTime" "0"
Option "SuspendTime" "0"
Option "OffTime" "0"
EndSection

Section "Files"
RgbPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/rgb"
FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/misc:unscaled"
FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi:unscaled"
FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/100dpi:unscaled"
FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/Type1"
FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/TTF"
FontPath "/usr/share/fonts/default/Type1"
EndSection

Section "Module"
Load "dbe"
Load "extmod"
Load "fbdevhw"
Load "glx"
Load "record"
Load "freetype"
Load "type1"
# Load "dri"
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Keyboard0"
Driver "kbd"
Option "XkbModel" "pc105"
Option "XkbLayout" "us"
Option "XkbOptions" "altwin:meta_win, ctrl:nocaps"
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Mouse0"
Driver "mouse"
Option "Protocol" "IMPS/2"
Option "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"
Option "Emulate3Buttons" "no"
EndSection

Section "Monitor"
Identifier "Monitor0"
VendorName "BenQ"
ModelName "FP937s+"
HorizSync 31.5 - 67.0
VertRefresh 50.0 - 75.0
Option "DPMS" "false"
EndSection

Section "Device"
# Option "AGPMode" "4"
Identifier "Videocard0"
Driver "nvidia"
VendorName "AOpen"
BoardName "FX5200"
Option "RenderAccel" "true"
Option "AllowGLXWithComposite" "true"
EndSection

Section "Screen"
Identifier "Screen0"
Device "Videocard0"
Monitor "Monitor0"
DefaultDepth 24
SubSection "Display"
Depth 24
Modes "1280x1024"
EndSubSection
EndSection

Section "DRI"
Group 0
Mode 0666
EndSection

Section "Extensions"
Option "Composite" "enable"
EndSection

That’s all.

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