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I have a Nvidia card. Binary drivers. No KMS support. For these reasons, I've been used to a fairly awful resolution in my TTYs. I did once try increasing the resolution of the TTYs using a grub hack but that had a huge effect on the performance of the X screen - so I nuked it.

11.10 seems to be applying a high resolution to terminals for me. I feel it might be slowing down my X screen (both 2D and gaming performance is pretty poor) so I want to revert things to when I could only fit three characters on the screen at once </exaggeration>.

I had a look in /etc/default/grub.d/00_header and started to cry. I've no idea what I'm looking for. When I did this before it was using a much simpler format.

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Solution not working? Not what you wanted? I have stolen a laptop and tested it, looks to do what you ask in your question. – Bruno Pereira Dec 12 '11 at 18:08
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Edit /etc/default/grub with your favorite text editor, ie

sudo nano /etc/default/grub

Look for these lines

# The resolution used on graphical terminal
# note that you can use only modes which your graphic card supports via VBE
# you can see them in real GRUB with the command `vbeinfo'

Un-comment the last line and set the resolution you would like your TTYs to be.

After run editing the line with the desired resolution run

sudo update-grub

It will apply on next reboot.

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Sounds like either the binary nvidia drivers in 11.10 finally got KMS working or you don't actually run the binary drivers.

The resolution of the virtual console can not possibly slow down X11 or gaming performance.

I'd recommend to keep the consoles at the monitors native resolution but increase the font size with sudo dpkg-reconfigure console-setup.

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