Blog Entries tagged syncmaster_204b
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Dualhead at home

Published: 2009-02-04 19:27 UTC. Tags: open source hardware linux syncmaster_204b
Dualhead setup

I upgraded my home workstation to Ubuntu 8.10 the other day. I was kind of worried that this would cause trouble with my X Window System setup. I've had major trouble with my Samsung Syncmaster 204b before, with its faulty DVI implementation being the major source of trouble.

My worries were well justified - no image on DVI after reboot. Tried connecting it via VGA, and that kind of worked - a slight fuzziness, which almost went away after pressing the auto-adjust button on the monitor.

I got tired of the monitor and decided to go for a new one - so I ordered a Benq FP241W 24" WIDE TFT. It's using the less common MVA display technology instead of the more common TN. This is supposed to mean that it's colours and viewing angle are superior to standard panel.

Thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that I might be able to stand a slight fuzziness on my 20" samsung if using it as a secondary panel in a dualhead setup. So, when the new panel arrived, I connected the 20" Samsung via VGA, and the new monitor via DVI.

With my usual luck, I got the same problems with the new panel as with the old one - problems syncing the DVI signal, with the result being that the panel went black.

However, after switching from the open source ATI driver to the proprietary fglrx driver, things started working, and using amdcccle, the ATI driver control program, setting up dualhead was really easy.

The result - a resolution of 3840x1200 at home. That's even slightly better than at work, where Opera Software have equipped me with a 19"+24" combo.

I'm not looking forward to the next Ubuntu upgrade, though. Sometimes, I just hate the X window system.


Samsung 204b + ATI Radeon 9250 SE - the saga continues

Published: 2007-11-18 19:21 UTC. Tags: hardware linux review syncmaster_204b

I've previously written about my adventures in getting my Samsung 204b, made in Slovakia, to work properly in 1600x1200 at 60Hz (short story: Can't be done due to bugs in their DVI implementation).

Yesterday, I decided to upgrade my home workstation from Ubuntu 7.04 to 7.10, and of course, the flickering screen syndrome came back.

After lot's of tests with many different options in /etc/X11/xorg.conf, I got some help in a local forum, and came to the conclusion that modifying xorg.conf doesn't help. Using the xrandr command does however offer a way to solve the problem.

I how have the following list of commands in my /etc/kde3/kdm/Xsetup (I use kdm to start my X server, if you use another display manager, adjust the path to one that makes sure the commands are run right after X server startup):

xrandr --newmode "1600x1200@55" 150.0 1600 1804 1996 2160 1200 1201 1204 1250 +hsync +vsync
xrandr --addmode DVI-0 1600x1200@55
xrandr --output DVI-0 --mode 1600x1200@55

Gosh. Seems like there's some kind of bug in the ATI driver in the 7.2 packaged with Ubuntu Gutsy, or perhaps in itself.


Samsung Syncmaster 204B [R] on DVI - don't try that at home!

Published: 2007-01-03 01:08 UTC. Tags: hardware linux syncmaster_204b

Note: This instruction is valid for the ATI driver included with Ubuntu Feisty Fawn (7.04). There's another entry on how to get it working in Ubuntu Gutsy (7.10).

I recently decided that it was time to replace my old trustworthy Nokia Multigraph 446XPro CRT display with a flatscreen. The 446XPro has server me well at various computers at home since 1998 (that's eight years!) but it was time for something less space-consuming on my desk. Also, I like the feeling of not sitting in front of an electron beam several hours a day.

My list of specifications for the replacement was rather short:

  • Must handle a resolution of 1600x1200 (I've been working with this resolution for many hours a day for the past 8 years, so I'm quite used to it)
  • Adjustable height
  • Reasonable price
After some research, I bought a Samsung Syncmaster 204B which seemed to be a reasonable fit given my specifications. As we'll see, the word Syncmaster is somewhat ironic in the name of the product... Also, it turned out that I got a Samsung Syncmaster 204B [R], which turned out to be very significant..

I got the screen just a few days after ordering it, and connected it to my graphics card, a ATI Radeon 9200SE, via analog VGA. After adjusting the vertical refresh to the recommended 60Hz, I got the display working, but with some distortions which made it hard to work with given the high resolution and the small font I use for displaying information. This was a disappointment. Obviously, the VGA decoder in the screen is not good enough to handle the recommended solution.

As a colleague of mine had similar trouble at work and solved them by switching to a graphics card with DVI output, I decided to go the easy way and buy a new graphics card, as the graphics card I had lacked DVI output. It turned out that the 9200SE was the very last card in the series that only had analog VGA output. My usual luck with hardware..

I bought a ATI Radeon 9250 as replacement and installed it. This gave me a sharp image. Yay! Or so I thought, because now, the screen started to go blank now and then with irregular intervals. It went completely black and then came back after half a second or so. Boy, that's irritating!

After many attempts, I managed to find the right words that made Google lead me right. This forum article led me to this forum article which describes the problem - it's a bug in the DVI implementation of Syncmaster 204B [R]. It can't handle the bandwidth. Gah! My usual luck with hardware..

The forum articles says this bug appears only on Syncmaster 204B [R], and only on models made in China. The latter seems not to be true, as mine is made in Slovakia.

There's a workaround - by lowering the vertical refresh to 56Hz, the problem goes away.

I'll do what I can to get a new screen without this bug anyway.

Here's my xorg.conf I use with the Radeon 9250 and the Syncmaster.