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Brad Fitzpatrick

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Rearranged; Xinerama question [Aug. 23rd, 2002|03:33 pm]
Brad Fitzpatrick
I rearranged the computers & monitors in my office.... much better now. Main desktop's off the floor and hidden behind the flat screen. That makes the desktop close enough to plug in my 19" CRT without a VGA extender, which was ghosting the image. The 15" CRT is now plugged into the Windows machine, since it makes a high pitch noise after being on a couple minutes, but I don't use Windows ever more than a couple minutes to test stuff, so they're a good match. That also means I have more room on my left desk for junk.

Now that I'm actually using Xinerama, I notice it's kinda slow.

Matrox G400
XFree86 4.1
Matrox drivers

Can anybody recommend a fast dual-VGA card for Xinerama? Or am I best going with two cards? (it seems like you could get better acceleration with a dual card)

I'll probably stick with what I've got for now, but when it comes time to build a new desktop, I'll want a good video card. My drives are slow & loud, my HSF is becoming whiny, and my PSU could be quieter.
LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: krow
2002-08-23 03:49 pm (UTC)
I am thinking that I have a dual 450 Matrox card right now. I use the Matrox supplied drivers (you might want to look into their drivers too).

I am told that there is now a three headed Matrox card out. I am quite tempted to go pick one up. My extra monitor on my desk is on my OSX box and I just don't use it enough to justify it having a dedicated monitor.
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From: evan
2002-08-23 03:58 pm (UTC)
I think Xinerama is just slow. Matrox is the best-supported card by X, AFAIK, without using commercial servers or binary (nvidia) drivers.
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[User Picture]From: themabbi
2002-08-23 04:03 pm (UTC)
It's not cheap (around $350), but the Matrox Parhelia is the fastest duel card around. This thing can even handle triple displays if you really wanted to get nuts.
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[User Picture]From: themabbi
2002-08-23 04:05 pm (UTC)
Forgot to mention, the linux drivers aren't out yet, so you'd have to wait a bit.
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From: evan
2002-08-23 04:19 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: supersat
2002-08-23 04:52 pm (UTC)
oh... my... god. What marketing retard came up with THAT idea?
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[User Picture]From: brad
2002-08-23 05:22 pm (UTC)
Ignoring the fact that you can't show a screenshot of that, 1) they're highly-compressed JPEGs, and 2) they're small pictures.

Grrrr.

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[User Picture]From: kvance
2002-08-23 05:22 pm (UTC)
Are they the matrox drivers with HAL, or without? HAL is binary only, but it has better support for xinerama. I didn't notice dual screens being any slower on my G450 for the short period of time when I had two monitors...
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From: alanj
2002-08-23 11:46 pm (UTC)
I didn't have any performance problems with my Matrox G550 Dual-DVI, but maybe you're doing more demanding things, or something. It's fanless, which is a quiet-pc bonus.
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[User Picture]From: jwz
2002-08-24 04:57 am (UTC)

xinerama sucks

I believe Xinerama always runs unaccelerated, so you'll never be able to take advantage of you graphics hardware with it. I run two heads without Xinerama; you get acceleration on both, and the only thing missing is being able to have a single window spanning both monitors, which is a dubious feature at best. (And you can't move windows between monitors, but I pretty much never want that: I just launch them on the right monitor in the first place.)
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[User Picture]From: brad
2002-08-24 10:53 am (UTC)

Re: xinerama sucks

How do you get mouse travel between them? xtox? Do they share the copy/paste buffers?
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[User Picture]From: jwz
2002-08-24 03:27 pm (UTC)

Re: xinerama sucks

X already knows how to do the mouse-transit thing, that's what the LeftOf/RightOf directives in ServerLayout are for:

/etc/X11/XF86Config-4:

Section "ServerLayout"
	Identifier     "grendel"
	Screen         "Screen 0"
	Screen         "Screen 1" LeftOf "Screen 0"
	InputDevice    "Mouse0" "CorePointer"
	InputDevice    "Keyboard0" "CoreKeyboard"
EndSection

Section "Screen"
	Identifier "Screen 0"
	Device     "GeForce2"
	Monitor    "Monitor B"
 ...
EndSection

Section "Screen"
	Identifier "Screen 1"
	Device     "Matrox Primary"
	Monitor    "Monitor A"
 ...
EndSection
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[User Picture]From: jwz
2002-08-24 03:33 pm (UTC)

Re: xinerama sucks

Another thing to keep in mind about the G400 (I have a G450) is that both heads are not created equal: head 0 has more capabilities. In particular only head 0 has the ability to do gamma fading, PseudoColor, or DRI. And without DRI, OpenGL runs slow.

I have my system set up to be 24 bit TrueColor on one head and 8 bit PseudoColor on the other (helps debugging xscreensaver a lot) and I ended up getting a second video card, and just not using the second head of the G450 at all, because it was impossible to get the 24/8 thing working with the G450 and have accelerated GL on the 24 head at the same time!

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[User Picture]From: brad
2002-08-24 03:41 pm (UTC)

Re: xinerama sucks

Stupid.

Anyway, I commented out Option Xinerama and things are good now, except a certain web browser refuses to run on two heads at once with the same profile. *sigh*

All's fast now, though, so I'm happy enough.
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