Spent the weekend getting a new computer broken in. And she is a beauty...
MSI P35 Neo-FR Intel P35 chipset motherboard, comes with
7.1 Surround Sound
CoolerMaster Centurion 534 ATX tower
4 Gb of RAM DDR2
Two video cards:
nVidia GeForce 8600GT PCI-e w/ 256 Mb
nVidia GeForce 7200GS PCI-e w/ 128 Mb
Seagate Barracuda 320 Gb SATA 7200 RPM hard drive
Media card reader (not sure of chipset)
The shop's website: http://www.gameaction.com
Ok, so what's interesting about this setup is that I have two video cards and I run three monitors. The system came bare, so I popped my OpenSuSE 10.3 DVD in the DVD+-RW drive at first power-on, and the system booted obediently from it. The install system appeared on the VGA head of the 7200GS. That was a surprise as I expected the newer, more powerful, 8600 card to grab control... but no matter.
Default install worked fine except I knew the default video driver can't handle multiple monitors - everything was on one monitor. So once the first boot was done and it booted to X11 (on the 7200 GS, again), I interrupted the next stage of the install and jumped to a root shell. At that shell, the command 'init 3' puts the GUI system to sleep and lets me do some surgery on it. Then using the command-line version of YAST (just type YAST at the shell), I added the nvidia software repository 'http://download.nvidia.com/opensuse/10.3' where I know the non-open source nvidia driver hangs out. Then, still in the command-line YAST, download the following two files: the nvidia driver for my CPU (32 bit, so I used the 100 series driver) and the 'nvidia-settings' program (might be in your driver package, but make sure you get it).
Once those two RPMs are installed, close YAST and type 'init 5' at the shell. That will restart the GUI and should continue the installation as normal.
When you get to the point where SAX2 is configuring monitors and such, likely it will still only find one of the adapters. Just continue with the install on the single monitor that is functioning.
When the regular installation is done, then it is time to mess with getting all three screens running. Logout from your user account and log in as Root into the GUI (I'm using KDE, Gnome should be much the same). At a shell, type 'nvidia-settings' - a window will pop up with info on your system. The second item "X Server Display Configuration" should show your three screens with two disabled. Activate the displays and "Save to X Configuration File". Logout and restart X.
If you don't see your three monitors (or the second video card), time to do some configuration file surgery. ('nvidia-xconfig' might also work for you, but I didn't go there.)
Still in the Root GUI, pull up the file '/etc/X11/xorg.conf' . Find a section that looks like this:
BoardName "GeForce 7300 SE/7200 GS"
See if there is a "Device" in there with the BusID "1:0:0". If there isn't, add it manually below the snippet above:
BoardName "GeForce 8600 GT"
Note the new one is "Device" (to differentiate it from the other card) and is on a different bus position "1:0:0". Use the SuSE hardware sniffer if you need to figure out which bus is which.
Save the xorg.conf file and return to the 'nvidia-settings' step above. You should now see both cards and the attached monitors. Activate them. Don't use Xinerama, and set the TwinView on for the card where you are running both video heads. Logout and restart X. Woohoo, you should have three monitors working!
Don't attempt to use Xinerama with this configuration or you'll lose the 3-D capabilities of both cards. That means you have two desktops, one on the first card and other on the second card. Takes a little bit of getting use to, but I'm so happy with this system and not being able to drag windows between the two desktops isn't an issue.
The 3-d works great! My favourite game, http://www.wurmonline.com , runs between 30 and 60 fps with this new box (up from 10 on my old one).
Other than the video, everything else works fine. Sound is operating in full 2-channel stereo (I don't have a 7-1 speaker set so I can't test it that works. Does X even support 7-1 sound?). Networking is fine. SD cards are found just fine. Last task is moving mountains of files from the old SuSE box to the new one and getting MP3s to run.
Just an update that the LG-DVD reader didn't work and would hang any KDE program that tried to access it, like K3B or Konqueror. I unplugged the DVD reader (left the DVD writer plugged in) and worked fine.
Also a note that once you use the NVidia configuration program, you can NEVER use Sax2 or the "Graphic Card and Monitor" entry in YAST to update the Xorg configuration. You have to do all your updates through the NVidia configuration program 'nvidia-settings'.