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Thread: Console Resolution Conundrum

  1. #1
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    Console Resolution Conundrum

    When I switch from the X-window-system GUI to the console (by hitting Ctl-Alt-F3), what displays there is a huge, unwieldy fontsize at a very low-rez. For days now I have been searching for a way to change the console resolution to a higher setting to make its font smaller and more clear.

    (Or for a way to at least set the font itself to a smaller size, without trying to change resolution).

    And I don't think, at least in my case, that it's just a matter of changing some of the settings in /etc/default/grub. Because I have tried all manner of settings in that file according to advice from various blogs, tutorials and ask-ubuntu question/answers. (Yes, I update-grub2 && shutdown -r now after every settings change.)

    It may in fact be necessary to make certain changes in /etc/default/grub, but I think some other factor(s) must be involved.

    Here's what gets me: I know that my system is capable of displaying a higher resolution in the console because when I boot from a live-USB, the higher-rez and smaller font immediately display in the console before the hand-off to X.

    Given that a higher rez is clearly possible in my console, what -- or with what combination of settings in which locations -- should I be looking at to try to set it permanently?

    I'm running Ubuntu-MATE 18.04.4 on a desktop workstation. Here is some of my system info from inxi:
    Code:
    System:    Kernel: 5.3.0-51-generic x86_64 bits: 64 compiler: gcc v: 7.5.0 Desktop: MATE 1.20.1 
               Distro: Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS (Bionic Beaver)
     
    Machine:   Type: Desktop System: System76 product: Wild Dog Performance v: wilp6 serial: <filter> 
               Mobo: Intel model: DP45SG v: AAE27733-405 serial: <filter> BIOS: Intel v: SGP4510H.86A.0108.2009.0114.2036 
               date: 01/14/2009 
    
    CPU:       Topology: Quad Core model: Intel Core2 Quad Q9650 bits: 64 type: MCP arch: Penryn rev: A L2 cache: 6144 KiB 
               flags: lm nx pae sse sse2 sse3 sse4_1 ssse3 vmx bogomips: 23999 
               Speed: 2000 MHz min/max: 1998/2997 MHz Core speeds (MHz): 1: 2000 2: 2000 3: 2000 4: 2000
     
    Graphics:  Device-1: NVIDIA GF106 [GeForce GTS 450] driver: nvidia v: 390.132 bus ID: 01:00.0 
               Display: x11 server: X.Org 1.20.5 driver: nvidia unloaded: fbdev,modesetting,nouveau,vesa 
               resolution: 1: 2560x1600~60Hz 2: 2560x1600~60Hz
    Last edited by watchpocket; 6 Days Ago at 07:29 PM.
    Metal: System76 Wild Dog, 64-bit, 4-core Q9650 3GHz, 8 GB ram.
    Graphics: PNY Nvidia GF106 [GeForce GTS 450], driver Nvidia v. 390.132.
    OS:
    Ubuntu Mate 18.04.4. Drives: two 960-GB Sandisk SSDs.
    I use: Vim, not gedit; Zsh, not bash.

  2. #2
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    Re: Console Resolution Conundrum

    Quote Originally Posted by watchpocket View Post
    Here's what gets me: I know that my system is capable of displaying a higher resolution in the console because when I boot from a live-USB, the higher-rez and smaller font immediately displays in the console before the hand-off to X.
    When you're using the live image, you're using nouveau rather than the Nvidia proprietary driver. Because it's open source (like the AMD and Intel drivers) nouveau plays nicely with others, but it doesn't have much performance. The proprietary driver has the performance but doesn't play nicely with others.

    You can use KMS (kernel mode setting) with the proprietary driver if your install is in UEFI mode. If it's in BIOS mode you're limited to old crusty methods that likely won't make all modes available - just whatever's exposed by VBE. KMS support was a work-in-progress for quite a while with the proprietary driver: I don't know where the driver you're using with that old card falls in that process.

    I've got 2560×1600 TTYs with my Nvidia card by having
    Code:
    GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash nvidia-drm.modeset=1"
    
    GRUB_GFXMODE=2560x1600x32,1920x1080x32,auto
    in my /etc/default/grub.
    None but ourselves can free our minds

  3. #3
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    Re: Console Resolution Conundrum

    Quote Originally Posted by CatKiller View Post
    You can use KMS (kernel mode setting) with the proprietary driver if your install is in UEFI mode. If it's in BIOS mode you're limited to old crusty methods that likely won't make all modes available - just whatever's exposed by VBE. KMS support was a work-in-progress for quite a while with the proprietary driver: I don't know where the driver you're using with that old card falls in that process.
    Aha! My Ubuntu-MATE 18.04 install is in fact in BIOS mode (and this is almost certainly the source of the problem), but I am about to install MATE 20.04 on a separate internal SSD, and I plan to do that in UEFI mode, since I just discovered that my BIOS has a setting to enable "UEFI boot," which I enabled.

    However, I've read that both install-modes should be the same: both should be either UEFI or legacy BIOS. (Though I don't know if this is the case if the installs are on separate drives.) So I most likely will plan on changing the 18.04 install from BIOS to UEFI before I install 20.04.

    I think my graphics card was the newest that my box (which dates from 2009) could acommodate. But I may be able to update the card's nvidia driver, and I'll look into that. At that point perhaps, with UEFI OS installs and an updated graphics driver, I can get better console resolution. I had no idea that nouveau was being used with a live-USB, so thanks for clearing that up. Meanwhile freaking damn all proprietary software!
    Metal: System76 Wild Dog, 64-bit, 4-core Q9650 3GHz, 8 GB ram.
    Graphics: PNY Nvidia GF106 [GeForce GTS 450], driver Nvidia v. 390.132.
    OS:
    Ubuntu Mate 18.04.4. Drives: two 960-GB Sandisk SSDs.
    I use: Vim, not gedit; Zsh, not bash.

  4. #4
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    Re: Console Resolution Conundrum

    Quote Originally Posted by watchpocket View Post
    However, I've read that both install-modes should be the same: both should be either UEFI or legacy BIOS. (Though I don't know if this is the case if the installs are on separate drives.) So I most likely will plan on changing the 18.04 install from BIOS to UEFI before I install 20.04.
    Yep, still the case even if they're on separate drives. The whole boot process and how the hardware is accessed is different between the two, as well as the change from MBR to GPT. I haven't tried the changing from one to the other, although I understand that it's possible. My last remaining BIOS install will be getting a fresh UEFI install of 20.04 when I get round to it.
    None but ourselves can free our minds

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