Dual Head OpenSUSE 11 on the HP dx5150

One of my favourite workhorse platforms is the Hewlett-Packard HP Compaq dx5150 desktop with the AMD Athlon64 processor and ATI Radeon Xpress 200 chipset. I’ve used this model for many years with a variety of operating systems. I recently installed Novell’s OpenSUSE 11 to one of my dx5150 units to which I have attached two identical Samsung SyncMaster 204B monitors. Getting OpenSUSE to support both monitors at once was a bit problematic and finding the necessary resources was a bit of a problem so I decided to share the solution here to make it easier for other hapless souls to stumble across.

What appears to happen to most people is that they either use the Yast and Sax combination of tools to no effect and become discouraged. Many attempt to load the ATI fglrx drivers and find that after doing so they are unable to get anything but a blank screen. This was my experience as well.

The final solution was actually very simple and painless and was actually described on this site hosted by Novell specifically for OpenSUSE: Multiple Screens Using XRandR.  What is difficult is discovering if this set of information is the correct set for the dx5150.  It is.

The solution was quite easy. First, give up on the fglrx driver. User the radeonxrandr12 driver instead. The added Virtual settings to the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file that include the size of both (or all) of your monitors combined. In my case with two 1600×1200 LCDs that was 3200 1200. So the following line had to be added to each “Display” subsection:

Virtual 3200 1200

And change the “Driver” line to:

Driver “radeonrandr12”

Then restart the X server – easiest thing to do is to log out and back in again.  Once you are back in you can open up the command line and start playing with the simple xrandr command to change your monitor configuration.

You can learn more about the xrandr options with the –help option.  The correct command for me to have my two monitors appear side by side with one large desktop is:

xrandr –auto –output VGA-0 –mode 1600×1200 –right-of DVI-0

With OpenSUSE 11 installed on the dx5150, the two monitor adapters available to you natively off of the ATI Radeon Xpress 200 integrated chipset are VGA-0 and DVI-0.  This makes them very simple to work with.

Novell maintains another document about working with the ATI Radeon Xpress 200 chipset and OpenSUSE 11 but I found, as did many other people, that this documentation did not work for this particular set of hardware.

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  1. Thanks, this worked like a charm for me. I’ve been looking everywhere for an easy way to do this.

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