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  • Lenovo T520 with integrated Intel HD graphics + a NVidia card (Optimus)
  • Ubuntu 11.10 on the computer.
  • I would like to use the built-in screen plus two external screens.
  • This PDF indicates that it is possible to connect up to four external monitors to the laptop. The information is Windows only.
  • I was planning to disable the NVidia card, since I have read that Linux support for Optimus is not good.

Questions:

  • Has anyone set up three monitors on NVidia hardware?
  • Has anyone set up three monitors using Intel HD 3000?
  • Can I expect it to work out of the box, or are there tricks I need to be aware of?
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2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

With Optimus enabled and OS detection on in the BIOS, I've got 2 external DVI connected monitors (docking - Nvidia card) and the laptop LCD (Intel card) to work. I did also get the VGA (Intel card) on the docking working, but was not able to not have it as a clone of the laptop LCD.

Here is my xorg config with Xinerama enabled:

Section "ServerLayout"
    Identifier     "Layout0"

    Screen      0   "ScreenNvidia0" 0 0
    Screen      1   "ScreenNvidia1"  RightOf "ScreenNvidia0"
    Screen      2   "ScreenIntel"    RightOf "ScreenNvidia1"

    InputDevice    "Keyboard0" "CoreKeyboard"
    InputDevice    "Mouse0" "CorePointer"
    Option         "Xinerama" "true"
EndSection

Section "Files"
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"
    # generated from default
    Identifier     "Mouse0"
    Driver         "mouse"
    Option         "Protocol" "auto"
    Option         "Device" "/dev/psaux"
    Option         "Emulate3Buttons" "no"
    Option         "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"
    # generated from default
    Identifier     "Keyboard0"
    Driver         "kbd"
EndSection

Section "Monitor"
    # HorizSync source: edid, VertRefresh source: edid
    Identifier     "MonitorNvidia0"
    VendorName     "Unknown"
    ModelName      "Samsung SyncMaster"
    HorizSync       30.0 - 81.0
    VertRefresh     50.0 - 63.0
    Option         "DPMS"
EndSection
Section "Monitor"
    # HorizSync source: edid, VertRefresh source: edid
    Identifier     "MonitorNvidia1"
    VendorName     "Unknown"
    ModelName      "Samsung SyncMaster"
    HorizSync       30.0 - 81.0
    VertRefresh     50.0 - 63.0
    Option         "DPMS"
EndSection

Section "Monitor"
    # HorizSync source: edid, VertRefresh source: edid
    Identifier     "MonitorIntel"
    VendorName     "Unknown"
    ModelName      "Unknown"
    HorizSync       30.0 - 81.0
    VertRefresh     50.0 - 63.0
    Option         "DPMS"
EndSection
Section "Device"
    Identifier     "DeviceNvidia0"
    Driver         "nvidia"
    VendorName     "NVIDIA Corporation"
    BusID          "1:0:0"
    Option         "RegistryDwords" "EnableBrightnessControl=1"
    Screen         0
EndSection
Section "Device"
    Identifier     "DeviceNvidia1"
    Driver         "nvidia"
    VendorName     "NVIDIA Corporation"
    BusID          "1:0:0"
    Option         "RegistryDwords" "EnableBrightnessControl=1"
    Screen         1
EndSection

Section "Device"
    Identifier     "DeviceIntel"
    Driver         "intel"
    BusID          "0:2:0"

       Option          "monitor-VGA1"  "VGA1"
    Option          "monitor-TV"   "TV"
    Option          "monitor-LVCD1" "LVCD1"
Option "Clone" "off"
EndSection

Section "Monitor"
    Identifier      "VGA1"
EndSection

Section "Monitor"
    Identifier      "LVCD1"
    Option          "DPMS"
EndSection

Section "Monitor"
    Identifier      "TV"
    Option  "Ignore" "false"
EndSection

Section "Screen"
    Identifier  "ScreenNvidia0"
    Device      "DeviceNvidia0"
    Monitor     "MonitorNvidia0"
    DefaultDepth 24
    SubSection "Display"
    Depth 24
    Modes "1920x1200"
    EndSubSection
EndSection

Section "Screen"
    Identifier  "ScreenNvidia1"
    Device      "DeviceNvidia1"
    Monitor     "MonitorNvidia1"
    DefaultDepth 24
    SubSection "Display"
    Depth 24
    Modes "1920x1200"
    EndSubSection
EndSection

Section "Screen"
    Identifier     "ScreenIntel"
    Device         "DeviceIntel"
    Monitor        "MonitorIntel"
    DefaultDepth 24
    SubSection "Display"
    Depth 24
    Modes "1900x1200"
    EndSubSection
    SubSection "Display"
    Depth 24
    Modes "1920x1200"
    EndSubSection

EndSection

In the "DeviceIntel" section is my last attempt to get more than one monitor on the Intel card.

Here is an extract of my "lspci":

$ lspci |grep VGA
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation 2nd Generation Core Processor Family Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 09)
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation Device 1057 (rev a1)
share|improve this answer
    
Great, thanks for sharing. Will try your setup. –  codeape Nov 28 '11 at 6:58
    
I am getting my Thinkpad T420 in about two weeks and I have two questions: 1) if you remove your laptop from the docking station, how would you on the fly change the LCD screen to Nvidia? 2) can you utilize NVidia + Intel on one huge desktop? –  RushPL Dec 1 '11 at 0:43
    
1) When Xinerama is enabled, I'm not able to on-the-fly switch to single monitor. I would very much like to do so. As of now I have another xorg.conf (almost empty file) that I switch to when doing presentations/removing the laptop. To "switch" I switch the files, log out of Ubuntu and then log back in again (this restarts Xorg). 2) With the setup above I use 2 DVI monitors on the Nvidia card (docking) and the laptop screen on the Intel card to make one desktop. I've set it up with this static config since I have the machine in docking most of the time. –  HNygard Dec 1 '11 at 8:31

If you don't use the NVidia card you will only be able to use the single VGA port on your notebook. Even if you connect to a docking station both, dvi and display ports won't be available unless you use the NVidia card.

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Yes, that's correct. So I'll probably go with the NVidia card anyway. Next issue: What driver to use? nvidea? nv? nouveau? –  codeape Nov 8 '11 at 11:42

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