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Thread: Triple Monitors, Dual nVidia GPU's. HELP!

  1. #1
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    Triple Monitors, Dual nVidia GPU's. HELP!

    Here's some backstory: Dual boot: Windows 10 on it's own drive (working perfectly), Ubuntu 18.04 on it's own drive. (So, dual drive/dual boot config) Grub 2 bootloader working as intended. Fresh install and config/update Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (so no previous crap to sift through).

    3 monitors (40", 2x 23") 1920 x 1080 res. Two nVidia cards: (GeForce GTX 980ti & 660ti) driver ver. 430 (prop). 980ti runs the 40" via HDMI to a reciever. (working properly) 660ti runs the 23" via DVI. (this is where the problem begins)

    This configuration works perfectly on Win 10. Problem only presents in Ubuntu 18.04. Not pointing fingers as I adore this distro and want to resolve this.

    Everything works - surprisingly - except any life from the 660ti (which is detected) or my 23" monitors (which are also detected, but disabled in xServer and WILL NOT display when enabled/applied). This was not an issue with Nouveau drivers, (Ubuntu display handled extended displays and worked as intented), but screen tearing and lag was. I have tried enabling and configuring my displays in xServer, but upon restart, I get a black screen, bootloop and my only fix is to wipe the drive and start again as recovery option does nothing.

    I am reluctant to do much of anything with xServer right now without solid info regarding configuration, since I'm just happy that Ubuntu itself is booting and working. Getting my two other monitors working would be a HUGE plus.

    Thank you in advance for any help and please don't hesitate to ask more questions regarding my rig.

  2. #2
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    Re: Triple Monitors, Dual nVidia GPU's. HELP!

    Where did you get the Nvidia driver from? You should only use the drivers in the repositories.

    After you installed and updated 18.04, the proper driver would have been in the repositories and also available in Settings -> Additional Drivers.

  3. #3
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    Re: Triple Monitors, Dual nVidia GPU's. HELP!

    Quote Originally Posted by xstrada2501 View Post
    I am reluctant to do much of anything with xServer right now without solid info regarding configuration, since I'm just happy that Ubuntu itself is booting and working. Getting my two other monitors working would be a HUGE plus.
    One thing that would make a difference is whether your configuration is static. Setting up an xorg.conf isn't that bad - the settings are pretty straightforward and are documented well in the nvidia readme - but it's clunky in regard to changes. You don't need an xorg.conf these days, so if it all goes pear-shaped you can just delete (or rename) the file to be back where you are now.

    There are a handful of different ways to set up your multimonitor arrangement, each with pros and cons: an X Screen for each monitor, one massive Screen, or TwinView which I can't remember much about. Having two cards rather than one with multiple outputs may limit which methods you can use. It's a long time since I last played with it, so I can't remember all the details, but the documentation is good.

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    Re: Triple Monitors, Dual nVidia GPU's. HELP!

    I did get the driver from the official repository. Main 40" monitor and 980ti works, 23" ones don't. 660ti is seen by xServer and Ubuntu itself, but is not being used and I cannot for the life of me find out how to get it working.

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    Re: Triple Monitors, Dual nVidia GPU's. HELP!

    Quote Originally Posted by CatKiller View Post
    One thing that would make a difference is whether your configuration is static. Setting up an xorg.conf isn't that bad - the settings are pretty straightforward and are documented well in the nvidia readme - but it's clunky in regard to changes. You don't need an xorg.conf these days, so if it all goes pear-shaped you can just delete (or rename) the file to be back where you are now.

    There are a handful of different ways to set up your multimonitor arrangement, each with pros and cons: an X Screen for each monitor, one massive Screen, or TwinView which I can't remember much about. Having two cards rather than one with multiple outputs may limit which methods you can use. It's a long time since I last played with it, so I can't remember all the details, but the documentation is good.
    The set-up I am looking for is an xScreen for each monitor. The main one (40") in the middle controlled by the 980ti, the 23" to the left and right controlled by the 660ti. Again, this configuration is working as intended in win 10, but in Ubuntu and xServer only the main display (40" 980ti) is working and although the 23" and 660ti is present and detected, it's simply not being used and I cannot get it going.

    Messing with xServer and the config files it creates when I try to save configs is what locks up Ubuntu and, as I said, booting into recovery and using the tools there did nothing. THAT is why I'm scared to do anything with xServer untill I find a solid fix because I don't want to have re-install AGAIN. But I will look up the documentation you speak of and see what I can find.

  6. #6
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    Re: Triple Monitors, Dual nVidia GPU's. HELP!

    If it boots to a black screen (which can be scary when you're new) it just means that the display didn't start: you don't need to reinstall.

    By far the easiest way to fix things when it's all gone wrong, particularly if you have no display, is to just boot the install image. It's a fully-fictional Linux environment, with all the file managers, text editors, and (crucially) web browsers that you're used to. The fix is generally editing or removing a file somewhere; it's nicer to not have to do that from a limited shell.

    From memory, if you're doing a static config in xorg.conf, you'll want to define each Monitor (only the name is essential, but also anything that doesn't get autoconfigured to your taste), each Device (which would be your two graphics cards), each Screen (which would be a pairing of one named Monitor with one output of a named Device), and a ServerLayout which describes which Screen you want where.

    You get a copy of Nvidia's readme with the driver, plus there are copies online. I'm typing on my phone, otherwise I'd look up the path of it for you.

  7. #7
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    Re: Triple Monitors, Dual nVidia GPU's. HELP!

    Ok, so something of a breakthrough... (Appologies if I came across as a little hostile earlier)

    Just for shits and giggles, I saved a baseline config file from the xServer after creating a disk image for Ubuntu in case something went wrong. File saved in /etc/x11/xorg.conf where it was supposed to. Rebooted and all went well. Had a lookie through the .conf file and discovered no listing for my 660ti. Which means despite it being THERE in xServer, and despite it being in Ubuntu's "Additional Drivers" tab (with the most recent driver installed), Ubuntu is ignoring it and it's essentially catatonic.

    So what do I do now?

  8. #8
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    Re: Triple Monitors, Dual nVidia GPU's. HELP!

    Don't forget that case is important: capital X in /etc/X11/xorg.conf.

    As I mentioned earlier, you don't need an xorg.conf these days; it's generally all automatically detected. One used to have to do all this by hand for every machine.

    The log is at /var/log/Xorg.0.log. You may find that both cards are being initialised even without an entry in xorg.conf for the 660 Ti. Or it might have just initialised the primary card. There is an xorg.conf option to make the log file even more verbose, but I can't remember it off the top of my head.

    In case you didn't find the readme, there's a copy here. man xorg.conf also has good information.

    It's also possible that the nvidia settings application can do some of this stuff without playing around with xorg.conf: the last time I was playing around with multiple graphics cards, manual editing was the only game in town. The nvidia-xconfig method of automatically generating an xorg.conf file produces hideous results: if you generate one for reference you'll still likely want to rewrite it.

  9. #9
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    Re: Triple Monitors, Dual nVidia GPU's. HELP!

    Quote Originally Posted by CatKiller View Post
    Don't forget that case is important: capital X in /etc/X11/xorg.conf.

    As I mentioned earlier, you don't need an xorg.conf these days; it's generally all automatically detected. One used to have to do all this by hand for every machine.

    The log is at /var/log/Xorg.0.log. You may find that both cards are being initialised even without an entry in xorg.conf for the 660 Ti. Or it might have just initialised the primary card. There is an xorg.conf option to make the log file even more verbose, but I can't remember it off the top of my head.

    In case you didn't find the readme, there's a copy here. man xorg.conf also has good information.

    It's also possible that the nvidia settings application can do some of this stuff without playing around with xorg.conf: the last time I was playing around with multiple graphics cards, manual editing was the only game in town. The nvidia-xconfig method of automatically generating an xorg.conf file produces hideous results: if you generate one for reference you'll still likely want to rewrite it.
    Ok, so now that I know where the files and logs are, what am I supposed to be looking for? I have only the barest understanding of lua and html/css code - I can somewhat read this, but I'm not sure what to focus? And what good will it do me if I can't get Ubuntu to pay attention to the card? I have messed about with BIOS settings to see if it's a PCIE issue, my board doesn't have secure boot...
    I have stipped out all traces of Nouveau drivers and they were the only ones that worked - badly - with my 660ti.
    Do I have to try the "nomodset" thing I have seen? I'd rather not. This tinkering is getting hairy and I don't want to keep poking this bear.

    To be clear - the 980ti is working. The 660ti is not. BOTH have the correct and latest driver from Ubuntu repositories installed. Both cards work flawlessly in Windows 10. This is NOT a driver issue - least I don't think it is.

    Open to suggestions.

  10. #10
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    Re: Triple Monitors, Dual nVidia GPU's. HELP!

    Quote Originally Posted by xstrada2501 View Post
    Ok, so now that I know where the files and logs are, what am I supposed to be looking for?
    You'll see a section where your 980 gets initialised and configured. You're interested in whether your 660 also gets initialised, and what the X server chooses to do with it.

    And what good will it do me if I can't get Ubuntu to pay attention to the card?
    It knows about the card, it just doesn't know what you want to do with it. That's why you specify that with your configuration. If you had a headless number-crunching cluster, for example, you wouldn't want an X server started on all of your compute units. It's not just desktop machines that Linux gets used for.

    Do I have to try the "nomodset" thing I have seen? I'd rather not.
    No. nomodeset is because the nouveau driver isn't as good at identifying the available resolutions as the nvidia driver, so it sometimes sets the monitor to the wrong mode; nomodeset tells it not to bother. You aren't using nouveau, and you do want the driver to set the mode.

    This tinkering is getting hairy and I don't want to keep poking this bear.
    The tinkering is fun!

    If it goes wrong, the worst case scenario is that you need to boot from a thumb drive and rename a file, which takes a couple of minutes.

    In going through the process you'll realise how configurable everything is, and at any point you can stop tinkering and be in the same place you are now.

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