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 Forum index » House Training » Users ( For the regulars )
Old Laptop - Black Screen
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jp734

Joined: 29 Mar 2014
Posts: 84

PostPosted: Thu 31 May 2018, 20:21    Post subject:  Old Laptop - Black Screen  

I have a Dell Precision M90 that comes with Intel Centrino dual core 2Ghz, 1GB ram, ATI X300 video card. A 64 bit processor and PAE capable

This is a friend of mine who ask if I can revive it for him. I downloaded the latest lubuntu, I figured puppy linux will be a little to technical for him at this point, but it will not boot at all. Yes, I confirmed the MD5SUM after downloading. So I tried my working flash drive with puppy precise but it gave me a black screen. The only distros that work and was able to install completely at this point are Slitaz 3.0 and Ubuntu 7 but they are really old and wanted a more up to date one. The only thing I can think of is they both have 2.6 kernel versions.

Anyways, after I installed the ubuntu 7, I edited the grub/menu.lst and created entries for puppy linux(es). I tried tahrpup 32 bit, puppy precise 32 bit, xenial 32 bit and xenial 64 bit. They all gave black screen with "nomodeset" added on kernel line. Now I know they booted all the way as I hear the bark/beep but no luck with video. When I press power button, it will beep/bark again and then shutdown

What boot option can I add to the command to get this working?
What distro would you recommend for the laptop?

Thanks
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bigpup


Joined: 11 Oct 2009
Posts: 11016
Location: Charleston S.C. USA

PostPosted: Thu 31 May 2018, 23:39    Post subject:  

If it is ATI graphics hardware.

Any of the Puppy installs boot loader menu entries.

Try this option on the end of the kernel line
Code:
radeon.modeset=0


"nomodeset" is not used in Puppy.

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When I was a kid I wanted to be older.... This is not what I expected Shocked
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jp734

Joined: 29 Mar 2014
Posts: 84

PostPosted: Fri 01 Jun 2018, 06:03    Post subject: Old Laptop - Black Screen [SOLVED]  

Thanks bigpup....that did the trick

So.trying to understand, is it because new distros use "radeon" as the driver by default and what you did was force it to use "ati" instead because of how old the video card is? Would it have given the same result if I added "blacklist=radeon" on the line? Also, if I recall, I also tried "radeon,nomodeset=1" at one point and still got black screen. What's the difference between the two commands?

MORE RESEARCH (LEARNING) Smile

I've only tried it on tahrpup by the way but i don't see why it will not work on the rest.

Thanks again...

[EDIT] Sorry....did not see the last part of your post "nomodeset" not used on puppy
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bigpup


Joined: 11 Oct 2009
Posts: 11016
Location: Charleston S.C. USA

PostPosted: Fri 01 Jun 2018, 12:38    Post subject:  

Radeon is the ATI hardware driver.
Quote:
The brand was previously only known as "ATI Radeon" until August 2010, when it was renamed to increase AMD's brand awareness on a global scale.[2] Products up to and including the HD 5000 series are branded as ATI Radeon, while the HD 6000 series and beyond use the new AMD Radeon branding.[3]


It is all about how well the hardware supports KMS
(kernel mode setting)

modeset=0 (do not use KMS)

modeset=1 (use KMS)

By default Puppy is set to modeset=1

If you want to know more:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mode_setting

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I have found, in trying to help people, that the things they do not tell you, are usually the clue to solving the problem.
When I was a kid I wanted to be older.... This is not what I expected Shocked
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Burn_IT


Joined: 12 Aug 2006
Posts: 3188
Location: Tamworth UK

PostPosted: Fri 01 Jun 2018, 12:53    Post subject:  

I think the Dell Precision uses the internal CPU Intel driver when on battery and just doing standard light graphics work, but switches to an Nvidia card for heavy use and on the mains.
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bigpup


Joined: 11 Oct 2009
Posts: 11016
Location: Charleston S.C. USA

PostPosted: Fri 01 Jun 2018, 13:07    Post subject:  

No Nvidia hardware in the posted specs.
Says it has ATI hardware.

If radeon.modest=0 worked.
That indicates it is using the ATI hardware.

I do not think this processor has internal Intel graphics.
Not seeing any listed in the processor specs at Intel.

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I have found, in trying to help people, that the things they do not tell you, are usually the clue to solving the problem.
When I was a kid I wanted to be older.... This is not what I expected Shocked
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jp734

Joined: 29 Mar 2014
Posts: 84

PostPosted: Fri 01 Jun 2018, 13:21    Post subject:  

Understand the KMS more.

Yes, it is an ATI Mobility X300. Strange coz all the online searched I did resulted on this laptop having an NVidia card. Did not find, not one, having ati card on them. This must be ONE in a million LOL Very Happy
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bigpup


Joined: 11 Oct 2009
Posts: 11016
Location: Charleston S.C. USA

PostPosted: Fri 01 Jun 2018, 13:54    Post subject:  

Probably could not get the Nvidia hardware when it was made. Idea
Someone changed the hardware to ATI. Idea

Dell got a good deal on the ATI hardware. Idea Shocked

OH NO! You got one of those things!!!!! Laughing

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I have found, in trying to help people, that the things they do not tell you, are usually the clue to solving the problem.
When I was a kid I wanted to be older.... This is not what I expected Shocked
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Burn_IT


Joined: 12 Aug 2006
Posts: 3188
Location: Tamworth UK

PostPosted: Fri 01 Jun 2018, 15:16    Post subject:  

I seem to remember you had a choice of which adapter you had - though I may be mistaken.
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jp734

Joined: 29 Mar 2014
Posts: 84

PostPosted: Sat 02 Jun 2018, 08:54    Post subject:  

Another question

Am I stuck with a 1024x768 resolution because of modeset=0?

I've been researching and found a option I can add on the kernel line: video=radeonfb:1440x900. They said you can combine the command with nomodeset but I still get the low res. I've also tried the vga=799 and same result. With ubuntu 7, I have this at the highest res of 1440x900

I just want to get this to the way I want before returning to the owner and have this weekend to try.
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bigpup


Joined: 11 Oct 2009
Posts: 11016
Location: Charleston S.C. USA

PostPosted: Sat 02 Jun 2018, 14:50    Post subject:  

Let us see what driver is being used.
menu>System>Pup-Sysinfo>Devices>Display>Video-Info

What driver is it showing being used?

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I have found, in trying to help people, that the things they do not tell you, are usually the clue to solving the problem.
When I was a kid I wanted to be older.... This is not what I expected Shocked
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jp734

Joined: 29 Mar 2014
Posts: 84

PostPosted: Sat 02 Jun 2018, 15:32    Post subject:  

This is what menu>System>Pup-Sysinfo>Devices>Display>Video-Info says:

Quote:
VIDEO REPORT: xenialpup64, version 7.5

Chip description:
VGA compatible controller: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] RV370/M22 [Mobility Radeon X300]

Requested by /etc/X11/xorg.conf:
Resolution (widthxheight, in pixels): 1440x900
Modules requested to be loaded: synaptics dbe
Drivers requested to be loaded: ati

Probing Xorg startup log file (/var/log/Xorg.0.log):
Driver loaded (and currently in use): ati
Loaded modules: dbe ddc fb fbdevhw glx int10 kbd mouse shadow synaptics vbe vesa

Actual rendering on monitor:
Resolution: 1024x768 pixels (372x232 millimeters)
Depth: 24 planes

...the above also recorded in /tmp/report-video


but I think VESA is being used clearly not 1440x900 res as reported above (from Xorg.0.log):
Quote:
[ 26.031] (**) VESA(0): Built-in mode "1024x768"
[ 26.031] (**) VESA(0): Built-in mode "800x600"
[ 26.031] (**) VESA(0): Built-in mode "640x480"
[ 26.031] (**) VESA(0): Built-in mode "640x400"
[ 26.031] (**) VESA(0): Built-in mode "512x384"
[ 26.031] (**) VESA(0): Display dimensions: (370, 230) mm
[ 26.031] (**) VESA(0): DPI set to (70, 84)
[ 26.031] (II) VESA(0): Attempting to use 75Hz refresh for mode "1024x768" (123)
[ 26.031] (II) VESA(0): Attempting to use 72Hz refresh for mode "800x600" (122)
[ 26.032] (II) VESA(0): Attempting to use 73Hz refresh for mode "640x480" (121)
[ 26.032] (**) VESA(0): Using "Shadow Framebuffer"


There is also an xorg.conf and I can change the driver to ati or radeon. If I run Puppy First Run Settings, it will also say ati or radeon being used, depending on what I typed on xorg.conf, but xorg.0.log still says vesa

xrandr also report max 1024x768
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rcrsn51


Joined: 05 Sep 2006
Posts: 12324
Location: Stratford, Ontario

PostPosted: Sat 02 Jun 2018, 16:00    Post subject:  

Support for these old video cards is disappearing from the kernel and Xorg.

If the radeon modesetting driver doesn't work, I believe that the only alternative is a fall-back to VESA.

So you are limited to the resolutions allowed by VESA, as shown in xrandr.

I have never had any luck trying to force a higher resolution.

However, run "dmesg" and check for any errors that might be associated with the radeon driver, like missing firmware.
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jp734

Joined: 29 Mar 2014
Posts: 84

PostPosted: Sat 02 Jun 2018, 16:43    Post subject:  

Well, I ran dmesg and did not see any error related to radeon driver. At least we got his computer going and usable again. He'll be able to browse web safer, email and use libreoffice.

Thanks all for your help. Really appreciate it!
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bigpup


Joined: 11 Oct 2009
Posts: 11016
Location: Charleston S.C. USA

PostPosted: Sun 03 Jun 2018, 13:27    Post subject:  

If you use Tahrpup 6.0.5

It has a lot of pre-built pet packages for adding different AMD/ATI drivers.
Just make sure to get the correct one for the kernel being used.

On the desktop is an icon for the Quickpet program.
Look in it for the driver.
It should, well maybe should, only offer the correct driver for the kernel in use.

Changing to a different AMD/ATI driver may help.

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I have found, in trying to help people, that the things they do not tell you, are usually the clue to solving the problem.
When I was a kid I wanted to be older.... This is not what I expected Shocked
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