Dual Head On CentOS 5 And Ancient Nvidia Quadro NVS280SD Card

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I was just handed a 2nd monitor for my system at work, and using CentOS 5 (latest)
can’t make dual head work. a good bit of googling isn’t being particularly helpful either.

It’s a HP workstation xw4100, with Nvidia Quadro NVS280SD graphics card. Enabling dual head in the “display” app simply configures X so that it
(i.e., X) won’t start. I haven’t found the x log file in /var/log to be helpful, either. This is using the legacy 96.x.x driver from Nvidia.

the NvidiaDetect app (from epel) says it should be using a newer driver than the 96.x.x (forgot which one, exactly) but when attempting to install it I get a msg that the card requires a 96.x.x driver.

browsing to nvidia.com and entering the model numbers into their driver finder app gives another newer version that also gives the same result. So it looks like I’m stuck with the 96.x.x driver.

some googling indicates a few people have made it work, but none of their methods are working for me.

I was beginning to wonder if the hardware even supported dual head, so I
booted up a Fedora 17 LIVE CD. it initializes both monitors with no action from me at all, with a desktop spanning the two screens, just fine. It must be using the Nouveau driver (which, AFAIK, can’t be used on CentOS 5), so still the issue could either be spanning/dual head doesn’t work with the ancient nvidia driver, or we (neither me, nor the tools on CentOS) knows how to configure it.

Clues would be appreciated. thanks in advance!

5 thoughts on - Dual Head On CentOS 5 And Ancient Nvidia Quadro NVS280SD Card

  • Fred Smith wrote:

    Nope, that won’t work.

    Ignore that – that’s the driver it needs.

    Someone (Karanbir?) sent me a link to the CentOS FAQ that responded to that, but I can’t seem to find it, and the “FAQ CentOS General Questions returns a totally blank page (even in view page source). I found this on a quick google:
    < http://www.CentOS.org/docs/5/html/Deployment_Guide-en-US/s1-xconfig-dualhead.html>

    Your other options are kmod-nvidia, or the proprietary drivers – note that in the latter case, every time you get an updated kernel, you need to rebuild (which isn’t a big deal). If you go this route, you’ll find a new menu item, Nvidia control panel. Enable twinview, and you’ll be good.


  • Dual head or dual monitor?

    Dual head typically means running two instances of X, one on each video out, which can only be done with two or more graphic cards from what I can gather.

    In my experience I was able to drive both the DisplayPort and DVI (or HDMI
    and VGA) interfaces off my card to give me dual monitor support.

    To setup the monitor preference I just created a monitors.conf file in
    /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d as such:

    Section “Monitor”
    Identifier “HDMI1”
    Option “Primary” “true”

    Section “Monitor”
    Identifier “VGA1”
    Option “RightOf” “HDMI1”

    Substitute the Identifier for whatever ‘xrandr’ gives you, and use LeftOf if you secondary monitor is left of your primary.


  • hmm. good point.

    This is strange…

    xrandr (on C5) only shows one monitor even though two are connected

    Booting up a Fedora 17 live CD, automatically configures for a single desktop spread across both monitors, AND xrandr shows both monitors. This makes me think that the hardware supports what I was seeking but C5

    So, some more poking around, and I discover that Nvidia supports “Twinview”
    which actually works on C5, giving me a single desktop spread across both displays. According to the Nvidia readme, it fools X into thinking it has only one monitor, and it does seem to work.

    While I think I might like two separate desktops, it doesn’t look like it’s likely to be possible with the system I have, so I’ll manage with what I’ve got, I think.

    thanks for the responses!


  • Sounds good, right? Don’t listen to me though I talk through my wazoo.

    Multi-Head and Multi-Monitor are synonymous (I actually looked it up after posting).

    Sounds like the support for your nvidia in C5 doesn’t include multiple monitors.

    Twinview is going to be your best bet, but spanning desktops instead of independent.

    You can always upgrade to C6 to get independent desktops, composing and all that jazz.