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Sony VAIO PCG-748 - Using full-screen resolution in Ubuntu 5.1

Several months ago, I had installed Ubuntu 5.1 on a Sony VAIO PCG-748 notebook computer. This is a very old notebook and run very slow. And I haven't had much use for it until the last couple of days. Once I started using it, I noticed that the fonts are very blocky and strange looking. Then I realized that the notebook isn't using the full resolution that the LCD supports. Opening the "Screen Resolution" under "System -> Preferences" revealed that Ubuntu is only taking advantage of 800x600. The LCD supports 1024x768. So I pulled up "/var/log/Xorg.0.log" to see what is going on.

"(II) NEOMAGIC(0): Not using default mode "1024x768" (insufficient memory for mode)"

Ahhhh . . . the old lacking of video RAM problem again. The Sony VAIO notebooks are great performers, except when it comes to the video memory. Too bad they are not upgradeable. So I opened up "/etc/X11/xorg.conf" to find:

"DefaultDepth 24"

Ahh . . . Ubuntu wants to run the monitor at 24-bit color, which requires too much video memory at 1024x768. Interesting that Ubuntu wouldn't let the user change that through the GUI. Instead, I had to change the configuration file to 16-bit. I rebooted the notebook and Ubuntu came up in 1024x768 resolution. Perfect.

Except, I noticed that 1024x768x16 is pushing the video memory a little bit. Sometimes I see image artifacts when using the GUI too quickly. Maybe one day I will try 15-bit.

Chieh Cheng
Wed, 13 Sep 2006 17:35:18 -0700

I tried 15-bits, but it doesn't eliminate the image artifacts (see "Garbled screen running Ubuntu on Sony VAIO PCG-748" in TrackBack below). So I'm going back to 16-bits.

Chieh Cheng
Fri, 08 Dec 2006 15:06:15 -0800

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Title: Garbled screen running Ubuntu on Sony VAIO PCG-748
Weblog: GearHack
Excerpt: I recently installed Ubuntu 5.1 on an old Sony VAIO PCG-748. It's a little slow, but still gets things done. I managed to get the system to run at 1024x768 in 16-bit and 15-bit graphics mode. However, sometimes, the middle of the screen gets garbled when displaying dialog boxes (see photo below). An . . .
Tracked: Tue, 14 Nov 2006 14:34:21 -0800

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