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Old 07-27-04, 01:13 PM   #1
zorinlynx
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Default Can all three outputs on GeForce FX cards be used at once under Linux?

I'm considering getting an NVidia GeForce FX series card (unsure which as of yet) and want to get one that has DVI, VGA, and S-video out. I'd like to drive all three outputs at the same time as :0.0, :0.1, and :0.2 so that I can send windows to any display directly (IE, play a video by doing mplayer -display :0.2 filename -fs)

Can any of the cards do this? Can you configure three heads by just adding another screen section with the appropriate ConnectedDisplay type?

This would turn my linux system into a wonderful media jukebox!

-Z
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Old 07-28-04, 05:44 AM   #2
otchie1
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Default Re: Can all three outputs on GeForce FX cards be used at once under Linux?

I do just that with a lowly MX4000. VGA, RCA & SVIDEO pumping video at the same time. I only get svideo or composite out of both ports at the same time though.
For sound I use the Hercules GTXP SPDIF & RCA outputs simultaneously as well.

I 'clone' both my displaysusing Twinview but it sounds like you might need to run three X servers - one for each display. Should be interesting :-)
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Old 07-28-04, 07:31 AM   #3
MadEgg
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Default Re: Can all three outputs on GeForce FX cards be used at once under Linux?

I'm not too into these things but I was looking for something like this before and this is what I think that I remember why it is not possible. Correct me if I'm talking BS or just plain wrong

I think it was because the NVidia video cards only have 2 RAMDAC's(whatever that might be), and one is needed for each display that is driven simultanously. Therefore you can never use more than 2 displays at the same time.

If it is possible, let me know how to do this because I've been trying to get it working as well a while ago
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Old 07-28-04, 01:22 PM   #4
ricercar
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Lightbulb Re: Can all three outputs on GeForce FX cards be used at once under Linux?

The best you can do with a normal consumer NVIDIA card--GeForce, not Quadro--is two independent desktops appearing on a CRT and TV ( where TV = SVideo | RCA | SVideo+RCA ). NVIDIA's consumer hardware designs don't support more than two display ports. This is a hardware limitation, not a driver issue.

ANALOG Hardware
A GeForce GPU can drive only two separate analog images. GeForce GPUs implement only two RAMDACs, allowing only two analog displays. The driver configures whether you have two different desktops or have a mirror/clone of the same image on all displays.

The following analog configurations are possible:
- Port1 VGA + Port2 VGA
- Port1 VGA + Port2 TV
- Port1 TV + Port2 VGA

Since NVIDIA GPUs have only one TV encoder, you can't configure them to drive TV + TV to show two separate desktops.

DIGITAL Hardware
I'm a little fuzzy on digital display terminology: single link/dual link, TMDS/LVDS, but all NVIDIA GPUS released after spring 2002 support both TMDS and LVDS, and all have an integrated single link/dual-link decoder.

GeForce and Quadro cards can drive two digital displays (2 independent desktops) with only the integrated decoder. With an external dual-link decoder, Quadros drive four digital displays simultaneously into four desktops.

The following configurations are possible on all GeForce GPUs without requiring an external dual-link decoder.

- Port1 VGA + Port2 VGA
- Port1 VGA + Port2 TV
- Port1 VGA + Port2 DVI
- Port1 DVI + Port2 VGA
- Port1 DVI + Port2 TV
- Port1 DVI + Port2 DVI
- Port1 TV + Port2 VGA
- Port1 TV + Port2 DVI

However, board manufacturers must offer a dual-DVI card with VIVO to get full potential from an NVIDIA GPU.

Caveat: Often board manufacturers tie the TV encoder to a specific port, so you can get TV on only port1 or on only port2 with a particular card. For example, last week I guided a fellow who wanted VGA and TV. He had to drive his VGA display on the DVI port with an adapter, because the manufacturer hardwired TV output to the D-SUB VGA port.
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Last edited by ricercar; 07-28-04 at 01:50 PM.
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Old 07-31-04, 02:18 PM   #5
otchie1
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Default Re: Can all three outputs on GeForce FX cards be used at once under Linux?

Respect to ricecar and his detailed breakdown.

I use all three ports (VGA, TV_Composite & TV_Svideo) at the same time but with cloned desktops so I'm within the capabilities of the GPU. It lets me run a composite o/p when the kids want to watch a film upstairs on their TVs via the UHF modulator OR s-video straight to the distribution amp for a better quality picture from my ISO copies downstairs.

Maybe what you need is an additional PCI video card and then you could use three distinct desktops via three distinct X-servers..........
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Old 08-01-04, 05:57 AM   #6
matthew
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Default Re: Can all three outputs on GeForce FX cards be used at once under Linux?

Quote:
Originally Posted by otchie1
Respect to ricecar and his detailed breakdown.

I use all three ports (VGA, TV_Composite & TV_Svideo) at the same time but with cloned desktops so I'm within the capabilities of the GPU. It lets me run a composite o/p when the kids want to watch a film upstairs on their TVs via the UHF modulator OR s-video straight to the distribution amp for a better quality picture from my ISO copies downstairs.
I consider S-Video and Composite the SAME output - it's not even clone. To get composite the card probably generates S-Video all the time and encodes it to composite, so depending on how the card is wired in the TV signal generating area, both are active at once. It's simple signal splitting. You won't ever have S-Video and Composite putting out different images.

Every thing seems to indicate that the GPU's have two frame buffers. You might have a choice of outputs ( I have DVI/VGA , VGA and TV out), but only two can run at the same time.
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Old 08-01-04, 07:41 AM   #7
otchie1
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Default Re: Can all three outputs on GeForce FX cards be used at once under Linux?

Quiet right.
From my three ports I get either,

VGA, Composite, Composite.

OR

VGA, S-Video, S-Video.

The later two in both cases are a clone of the first VGA o/p although they could be distinct desktops.

I only use the composite format because the modulator that I use does not have a s-video input and o/p's B&W if I try to feed it s-video.

The card has both composite and s-video output ports only for the convenience of people that do not have s-video compatible receiver equipment - although you CAN push a composite signal down a 4-core s-video cable (and de-code it with a suitable receiver set to receive composite on its s-video port), you CAN'T push s-video down a 2-core composite cable without losing colour and sometimes the sync pulses as well depending on how the field mapping is done.

Of course if you really want a top quality picture then it's best to bypass all this nonsense and just use a VGA-to-RGB adapter and feed your RGB compatible receiver directly from the VGA port or, if you've gone digital, use DVI (although the quality of LCD, TFT et al to my mind hasn't yet caught up with CRT).
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Old 08-02-04, 02:11 PM   #8
anduine
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Default Re: Can all three outputs on GeForce FX cards be used at once under Linux?

How do you get seperate displays to launch? I'm running a Dell Inspiron 8200 laptop. Twinview works as one big desktop, but when I setup to run as two devices, however I launch my X server I always get a cloned display.

Any advice?
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