Having Problems With the ‘nvidia’ X.Org Driver and a Dell Inspiron 8000/8100?

Posted in Linux at 7:52 pm by

Because I needed to hook my laptop up to a beamer, I recently found myself installing the proprietary ‘nvidia’ driver again. Unfortunately, when I restarted X, I was greeted with the following error:

(II) Setting vga for screen 0.
(**) NVIDIA(0): Depth 24, (–) framebuffer bpp 32
(==) NVIDIA(0): RGB weight 888
(==) NVIDIA(0): Default visual is TrueColor
(==) NVIDIA(0): Using gamma correction (1.0, 1.0, 1.0)
(**) NVIDIA(0): Enabling RENDER acceleration
(II) NVIDIA(0): Support for GLX with the Damage and Composite X extensions is
(II) NVIDIA(0): enabled.
(EE) NVIDIA(0): Failure reading maximum pixel clock value for display device
(EE) NVIDIA(0): CRT-0.
(WW) NVIDIA(0): Unable to read EDID for display device CRT-0
(EE) NVIDIA(0): Failure reading maximum pixel clock value for display device
(EE) NVIDIA(0): TV-0.
(EE) NVIDIA(0): Failure to determine the TV encoder.
(II) NVIDIA(0): NVIDIA GPU GeForce2 Go at PCI:1:0:0
(–) NVIDIA(0): VideoRAM: 16384 kBytes
(–) NVIDIA(0): VideoBIOS:
(II) NVIDIA(0): Detected AGP rate: 4X
(–) NVIDIA(0): Interlaced video modes are not supported on this GPU
(–) NVIDIA(0): Connected display device(s) on GeForce2 Go at PCI:1:0:0:
(–) NVIDIA(0): CRT-0
(–) NVIDIA(0): (null) TV Encoder (TV-0)
(–) NVIDIA(0): CRT-0: 100.0 MHz maximum pixel clock
(–) NVIDIA(0): (null) TV Encoder (TV-0): 100.0 MHz maximum pixel clock
(–) NVIDIA(0): TV encoder: (null)
(II) NVIDIA(0): Assigned Display Device: CRT-0
(WW) NVIDIA(0): No valid modes for “1400×1050″; removing.
(WW) NVIDIA(0): Unable to validate any modes; falling back to the default mode
(WW) NVIDIA(0): “nvidia-auto-select”.
(II) NVIDIA(0): Validated modes:
(II) NVIDIA(0): “nvidia-auto-select”
(II) NVIDIA(0): Virtual screen size determined to be 1024 x 768
(WW) NVIDIA(0): Unable to get display device CRT-0′s EDID; cannot compute DPI
(WW) NVIDIA(0): from EDID.
(==) NVIDIA(0): DPI set to (75, 75); computed from built-in default

It’s a very uninformative error as I had neither a CRT monitor nor a TV hooked up to my laptop. The problem, it turns out, is an incompatibility between recent ‘nvidia’ drivers and the Dell Inspiron 8000/8100 BIOS. The solution is to simply upgrade your BIOS. You can download Dell BIOS upgrades here. Use Dell’s BIOSdisk if you’re otherwise unable to boot into DOS.