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I am trying to hook up an external monitor to an XPS 14z on ubuntu 11.10. I realize it has an optimus card, but everything I can find says that the displayport is hooked up to the intel card, and HDMI is hooked up to the geForce, and nobody seems to be having any problems with it, even on a 15z which (i would imagine) would be similar hardware.

Anyone have any ideas?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

I have Dell XPS 14z. I have managed to run external monitor connected to the mini DisplayPort over VGA adapter. Unluckily I get at most 640x480 resolution.

15z and 14z are slightly different according to:dell

My solution: I use Ubuntu 10.04 LTS. I have installed bumblebee according to instructions on github I have modified /etc/bumblebee/xorg.conf.nvidia as follows:

Section "DRI"
        Mode 0666

Section "ServerLayout"
    Identifier "Layout0"
    Option "AutoAddDevices" "false"
    Screen    "Screen0"

Section "Module"
        Load  "dbe"
        Load  "extmod"
        Load  "glx"
        Load  "record"
        Load  "freetype"
        Load  "type1"

Section "Files"
    ModulePath "/usr/lib/nvidia-current/xorg,/usr/lib/xorg/modules"

Section "Device"
    Identifier "Device1"
    Driver "nvidia"
    VendorName "NVIDIA Corporation"
    BusID "01:00:0"
    Option "NoLogo" "true"
#    Option "UseEDID" "false"
    Option "UseEDID" "true"
#    Option         "IgnoreEDID"
#    Option "ConnectedMonitor" "DFP"
    Option "ConnectedMonitor" "DFP-1"

Section "Screen"
    Identifier    "Screen0"
    Device    "Device1"
    DefaultDepth    24
    Monitor    "DFP-1"
    SubSection "Display"
    Depth   24
        Modes      "1920x1200" "1920x1080" "1680x1050" "1600x1200" "1440x900" "1280x1024" "1366x768" "1360x768" "1280x800" "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"

Section "Extensions"
        Option "Composite" "Enable"

Section "Monitor"
    Identifier    "DFP-1"
    VendorName    "Unknown"
    ModelName     "Unknown"
    HorizSync   28.0 - 73.0
    VertRefresh 43.0 - 72.0
    Option        "DPMS"
    Modeline       "1920x1200"  193.25  1920 2056 2256 2592  1200 1203 1209 1245 -hsync +vsync
    Modeline       "1920x1080"  173.00  1920 2048 2248 2576  1080 1083 1088 1120 -hsync +vsync
    Modeline       "1680x1050"  146.25  1680 1784 1960 2240  1050 1053 1059 1089 -hsync +vsync
    Modeline       "1600x1200"  161.00  1600 1712 1880 2160  1200 1203 1207 1245 -hsync +vsync
    Modeline       "1440x900"  106.50  1440 1528 1672 1904  900 903 909 934 -hsync +vsync
    Modeline       "1366x768"   85.25  1366 1440 1576 1784  768 771 781 798 -hsync +vsync
    Modeline       "1280x800"   83.50  1280 1352 1480 1680  800 803 809 831 -hsync +vsync
    Modeline       "1280x1024"  109.00  1280 1368 1496 1712  1024 1027 1034 1063 -hsync +vsync

# 1024x768 @ 60Hz (VESA) hsync: 48.4kHz
#ModeLine "1024x768"   65.0 1024 1048 1184 1344    768  771  777  806 -hsync -vsync

# 1024x768 @ 70Hz (VESA) hsync: 56.5kHz
#ModeLine "1024x768"   75.0 1024 1048 1184 1328    768  771  777  806 -hsync -vsync

# 1024x768 @ 75Hz (VESA) hsync: 60.0kHz
#ModeLine "1024x768"   78.8 1024 1040 1136 1312    768  769  772  800 +hsync +vsync

# 1024x768 @ 85Hz (VESA) hsync: 68.7kHz
#ModeLine "1024x768"   94.5 1024 1072 1168 1376    768  769  772  808 +hsync +vsync

You may need to restart "/etc/init.d/bumblebee restart". Unluckily all the mode settings do not work. Then I run:

DISPLAY=:8 optirun glxspheres

and it is there. Of course "glxspheres" here is an sample application - you may run "gedit" or anything else there. The problem is - it is separate display, so you may need window manager there (metacity?). If you need it as single desktop maybe "synergy" will work. I need "overlaping" displays, so I run VNC server for display :8 (and use void mouse/keyboard there) and let vinagre connect to it. This causes a window appear on the main screen displaying content of external monitor. My solution is to create a script with all the clients to be run on external monitor and then run the script with "DISPLAY=:8 optirun" prefix. Powersaving seems to work as well:





with appropriate settings in /etc/bumblebee/bumblebee.conf.

I have noticed some problems running the card after "suspend". My solution is to "/etc/init.d/bumblebee stop" before suspend and "/etc/init.d/bumblebee start" after it.

If you would like to use HDMI port I would try to change DFP-1 to DFP-0 at first.

I hope 12.04 LTS will provide easier solution.


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Thats an awesome post :) I ended up just returning the laptop and getting the model with only the HD 3000, and its working great. There probably isn't a better answer to this question though, and its pretty impressive that you got it working, I spent about 6 hours on it and didn't even get this far – Matt Briggs Jan 18 '12 at 19:42

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