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display problems neomagic 2070 on xfree86 3.3.6

Posted on 2003-03-24
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Last Modified: 2010-04-20
I have a dell latitude xpi p133st laptop with 40MB.
The video card is a neomagic 2070 and I have 896K of video memory.
I am using the LCD (internal monitor)

I have the graphical interfacing running fine at 800x600, but it is only running at 8bpp.  I'd like to run at 16bpp or higher.  (From what I've read, 800x600 at 16bpp is about all I'll get.) [1028x768 would be ideal, but I don't think it'll happen.]

I've tried tweaking the xf86config settings many, many times... but nothing.

So I guess I'm wondering...
Is it even possible to get this version of xfree86 working at 800x600 at 16bpp...
and if so, how?
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Question by:johnnydos
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Gns earned 1200 total points
ID: 8202173
No, it cannot be done. Do the math:
800 * 600 pixels * 2 bytes (16 bit per pixel == 2 byte) / 1024 = 937.5 KiB.
Note that 937.5 is more than 896 :-).
You should be able to do 1024x768@8bpp (768 KiB), and 640x480@16bpp (600 KiB), but that's about it.

-- Glenn
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Author Comment

by:johnnydos
ID: 8204345
Thanks Glenn... I didn't know that.  Unfortunately, that makes sense.

Maybe for 50 more points you can help me with this...

I was running ms windows before, (800*600 at 256 colors), and the colors looked fine.  The colors in my graphical linux os, however, look terrible.  Everything is pixilated.  It does not appear to have the quality that my ms windows did.

How do I check what color depth I'm running in my xfree graphical interface (I'm using gnome)?  I wonder if I am even achieving the 8bpp.

Is the xfree interface designed for 16bpp+?
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Author Comment

by:johnnydos
ID: 8207961
never mind... I'm going back to windows.  It is just easier to get everything configured.

j2
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LVL 20

Expert Comment

by:Gns
ID: 8208941
Um, didn't mean to scare you away from linux.

Gnome and KDE are "famous" for looking good at 16bpp and up... and infamous for looking like cr*p on an 8bpp visual.
What you could have done would to have switched to a "low-colour" theme, or perhaps gone with a window manager/desktop environment that isn't as dependent on the availability of "many colors".
When you try displaying more colors than you can represent on the screen, there are limited possibilities. Either the system can "approximate" colors (I think this is in part what you see), have "builtin" theme-switching functions (this is more or less what windows does) or use the "technicolor effect" (change the colormap of the screen to be best adjusted for the focused windows... this has some really strange side effects:-).

XFree86 _can work_ on a black&white display, but it isn't much fun...grayscale isn't much better, 8bpp color can be OK (with a little attention to conserving colors)... but it really shines from 16bpp and up.

If there is any way to increase the video memory for that ol' laptop... 1MiB would do nicely:-).

-- Glenn
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Author Comment

by:johnnydos
ID: 8211820
Thanks for the suggestion.

It was a free laptop from my work... the del, backspace, and right arrow buttons don't work... so I don't want to spend any money on the thing.  The linux display is just unacceptable at 8bpp.

Maybe I'll put the linux on my desktop.

Thanks for all the info.
j2
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