For the past several months I've been stuck with 1024x768 resolution on my monitor when using linux. To make matters worse, every time I tried to enable the proprietary Nvidia graphics driver, my maximum resolution would go down to 800x600. Talk about useless! At the resolution I literally can't do anything. So as I saw it at the time, the only options I have were to either buy a new computer and hope for the best, or go back to not using the graphics card and get used to the shitty 1024x768 resolution. Well I decided neither of those options work as
1. Buying a new computer would probably be a waste of money if I can figure this out myself
2. I've been stuck with this crappy resolution for too long, and besides I can't even play n64 roms without my graphics card. Now thats just depressing!
So I decided to invest however long it takes to figure out what was happening.
I went to System->administration->proprietary drivers and enabled the nvidia graphics driver. After resetting my computer I was stuck at the 800x600 resolution. When I looked into the resolution options for the driver I had the choice of either 800x600 or 640x480. Well thats just great...
So I went and checked my /etc/x11/xorg.conf file to see how things are configured. Turns out that it was pretty much a skeleton. It had a screen and monitor section as I recall but didn't specify the type of monitor, horizontal sync and vertical refresh rate, modelines, resolutions, etc. When I checked the /var/log/xorg.0.log I saw that the Extended Display Identification Data (EDID) was not found. This makes sense seeing that my xorg.conf file was pretty much empty. So I decided to research into the specs of my monitor to see if I could set these things manually. I found that the maximum resolution for my monitor is 1280x1024. Not bad! Now to see what it takes to get that resolution. I found the maximum horizontal sync and vertical refresh rates from the manual for the monitor.
The next step was to try using xrandr to change the resolution. When I run xrandr I got that the only option is 800x600. I obviously want to create a mode for 1280x1024 so I typed:
cvt 1280 1024
and got the resulting modeline output for my screen. So I then added the new mode using:
xrandr --newmode <pasted output of cvt command here>
When I checked my output of xrandr it told me the output was named "default". So the next step is to add the mode to the "default" output:
xrandr --addmode <name of output> <name of mode>
Now to set the output resolution:
xrandr --output <output name> --mode<mode name>
Unfortunately this wouldn't work because it said my screen resolution was capped to 800x600. Crap!!
So I now tried something insanely basic: run the command to configure nvidia. I typed:
Lo and behold, this changed my xorg.conf file to have a bunch of useful information. I pasted in the modeline I got earlier and changed the hsync and vertical refresh to the maximum for my monitor. I reset my computer and its in the maximum resolution and looks great! So all in all I found that sometimes the solution to a problem can indeed be much simpler than expected.