Installing drivers for two separate video cards

Q I use a dual-boot XP and Ubuntu machine at work, which has two monitors. I have two monitors at home and have set up a replica of my workstation. Everything works wonderfully, mostly thanks to the great article you guys did about dual head some months back - except that on my home machine it is desperately slow. At work I have a dual-head graphics card thanks to it being PCIe, so I have applied the Nvidia drivers and it all works great with hardware acceleration. The problem I have at home is that I have an AGP card and a PCI card providing the two video sources. They have different chipsets, and one uses the legacy Nvidia driver set and the other the new Nvidia driver set.

I originally thought this would be quite straightforward to resolve, thinking I would just install both sets of drivers and then specify which one to use in the X Windows config file. Unfortunately both sets are referred to as 'nvidia' which means I have to use a combination of the official drivers for one adapter and the standard open one for the other. Needless to say my desktop is now slow and cumbersome. I need a way to install both drivers and then refer to them within my xorg.conf file so that I can use the right driver for the right adapter and my desktop speeds up. My graphics cards are a GeForce FX 5200 (AGP) and a Riva TNT2 Model 64 Pro (PCI).

A These are not different drivers but versions of the same one, and it is not possible to have two different versions of the same module loaded into the kernel at the same time. This leaves you with a number of alternative choices. You could do as you have already tried to do and use the nv driver for one card, but this is very slow. Yo u could install an older version of the Nvidia driver; one that is compatible with the TNT2. Either the 1.0.6629 or the 1.0.7167 should be suitable here - they are the latest versions that work with legacy cards yet still support the FX5200.

This should work for now, but the older Nvidia drivers have a problem with the latest kernels, so a kernel update could break things later. Or you could look for a cheap non- Nvidia card for the second display, or a newer Nvidia card that uses the latest drivers. The simplest solution, though, would seem to be the one you have already used at work. The FX5200 is a dual-head card. All you need is a DVI-to-VGA adapter (mine came with one) unless you are using a monitor with DVI input. This would enable you to set things up exactly as you did on your work computer. In that case, you could change your xorg.conf file to contain

Section "Device"
Identifier "NVIDIA Corporation NV34 [GeForce FX 5200] (rev a1)-0"
VendorName "NVIDIA"
Driver "nvidia"
BusID "PCI:1:00:0"
Screen 0

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