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Lesson 4 Video card specifications
Objective Various methods to obtain video card specifications for XWindows

Video Card Specifications

What are the various methods to obtain video card specifications for XWindows?
Now that you know what information you need to supply to install X, you are ready to find the video card specifications. You can use several different procedures to accomplish this task.

Check the documentation

Although it may seem obvious, the best method to obtain correct video card specifications is to check the documentation that came with the card. This is the most reliable, and therefore by far the most preferred, method.

Check the card

The markings on the card and on the card's chips also provide a way of checking specifications.
The largest square chip on the board is most likely the video processor. Manufacturers often print their logo or trademark either on these chips, or on the card's back. On chips, look for names such as
  1. Trident,
  2. Matrox,
  3. Texas Instruments,
  4. S3,
  5. Trio,
  6. ATI,
  7. SoundBlaster,
  8. Cirrus,
and the like. Alternatively, look for an "FCC ID" and use this information to look up the manufacturer on the Internet.

Use SuperProbe

In the event that no other source is available, Red Hat Linux ships with SuperProbe, a utility that attempts to identify installed video hardware such as the card's chipset and the amount of video memory.
The installation process uses SuperProbe to guess your hardware setup. SuperProbe looks at the contents of registers, or memory elements, on your video card to find the information it needs. To see a list of hardware that SuperProbe can detect, type SuperProbe -info at the command prompt.
Because of the nature of probing hardware ports, you must be the root user to run SuperProbe.

Problems using SuperProbe

Due to the nature of the probing, there is a chance that SuperProbe will hang the system. Redirected output from the -verbose option may tell you where the probe had problems.
For example, use SuperProbe -verbose > /tmp/probe.out , then edit /tmp/probe.out to look for the problems.
To avoid troublesome probes arising from hardware conflicts,
provides a few options for you.
As a result, you can select to either check for or skip certain manufacturers, port addresses, and bus widths. Unlike most commands in Linux, which are all lower case, SuperProbe is typed exactly the way you see it, with the "S" and the "P" capitalized. The next lesson discusses the tools used to configure XFree86.