For those people who are looking for an easy way to get more than 2 screens working, here is what I have which works wonderfully on 3 screens 2x HP w2207 side by side and an LG television 22LG 3050 above and to the right.
LG (3 x hdmi, 1x vga)
Each HP (1x dvi, 1x vga)
A map of the world is above and to the left although if I wanted I am sure the Motherboard VGA output could drive a fourth screen here. I will try that when I get the time.
All 3 screens are running at 1680x1050
Operating System: Xubuntu 8.10
Motherboard: Sapphire Pure Hybrid Crossfire PI-AM2RS780G (780G chipset)
CPU: AMD64x2 from an old ASUS board (I will upgrade my CPU possibly later on)
Plug in graphics card: ATI Radeon HD3450
Drivers ati-driver-installer-9-9-x86.x86_64.run which is downloaded as the latest ATI Catalyst Display Driver.
There is a setting in the Sapphire 780G motherboard bios to enable SurroundView.
Get familiar with ATI config in particular the commands posted by the other forum members above.
That gets it working although my console did complain about--adapters=all so I just left it out and used all the other commands.
I had to restart several times and on each step of this process tantalising improvements occured.
I knew that this setup was possible with the hardware I had, mainly because I have stuck with all ATI hardware and the latest ATI Catalyst Display Drivers.
I am not a Gamer and the hardware is all budget range stuff, so I can't vouch for high performance etc etc.
However the 780G Motherboard is given excellent reviews everywhere.
Back on topic.
You can expect 3 screens, (probably 4, I will test this later).
Application windows can be moved across and up and down as you would expect on a multi screen desktop.
I am very pleased and elated at having created an impressive L shaped desktop.
I knew that ATI were developing this and were not ignoring Linux users. Three cheers for the ATI Team.
I have now ordered another 2 780G motherboards.
1) The set-pcs commands are not intended to be used by end-users, and should be considered as no different than hacking the Windows Registry or the gnome gconf config
2) The amdpcsdb is a database, and contains many settings that you should be careful of, again playing with the data is no different than loading up the registry database under windows or gconf config files.
3) Supported (as in should work from release to release) functionality for the driver is exposed via aticonfig, amdcccle and the _standard_ non-driver section settings in xorg.conf
4) Use of xorg.conf options for the fglrx driver section is deprecated and will most likely be ignored in the future.
5) Be aware that the driver is part of the PC system, the HW, the SBIOS, the VBIOS, etc all make up that system. If the BIOS makes the hardware disappear when disabling surround view, the driver is not going to try to be smarter. Some OEMs or mobo manufacturers make a decision independent of AMD that will prevent some modes of operation working.
Subject : Setting up multiple monitors . . . Here be Dragons!!
Thanks for the reply.
Point taken on advanced tinkering, sorry for my 'Scattergun Approach'.
My experimental nature and desire to try all the options available could one day result in irreversible lock out, loss of functionality or hardware damage.
It is best to stick with the Main User Interface.
On that topic the latest ATI Catayst Control Center is very user friendly.
To change relative positioning of all screens with respect to each other is easy.
I connected a fourth screen (1440x900) to my 780G motherboard VGA socket (please see my previous post) and tried an inverted T configuration whereby the new screen is bottom row right on my grid of monitors.
It all works perfectly, the Catalyst Display Manager has a template for positioning monitors, not unlike a Java Jigsaw Puzzle.
I created an ATI Catalyst Launch Icon on my Xubuntu 8.10 panel.
Though could not find a stunning high resolution ATI Catalyst icon anywhere, only a low res. 48 x 48 pixels.
The command for the launcher was gksudo amdcccle.
To get into Display Manager mode you need to uncheck Xinerama.
Go to Display Options and uncheck the box Xinerama.
Restart PC (logout and login is quicker and seems to do the trick).
In Display Manager you can position your main login screen.
It is always on monitor 1, so position that first.
When finished positioning monitors Restart (or logout then login) to check the configuration.
If you have a removable usb drive mounted, or there is a CD in the CD drive, then an icon will appear top left on EVERY monitor screen.
This is nothing to be concerned about, as the mounted removable device icon will revert to appearing on one screen only, when you go back to Xinerama mode.
When you are happy with all the settings and positioning, go to Display Options and check the box Xinerama.
Restart (or logout then login).
You will now be in Xinerama mode.
Except for one little thing.
There is a slight-slight-slight 'choppy snail trail effect' when I drag windows across the screen, but I put this down to my budget choice of basic CPU and only 2GB of memory and possibly my antics with advanced tinkering at the beginning. It really is not an issue at the moment.
I hope this encourages others to try.
A few words of caution though.
A lot of Motherboards switch off their onboard graphics sockets when a graphics card is plugged in (which has always really annoyed me).
Check first that your Motherboard can work in this setup with the Graphics Card you intend using.
My Sapphire Pure Hybrid Crossfire PI-AM2RS780G (780G chipset) works perfectly with an HD3450 in this setup, all sockets are functional, motherboard and plugin card.
The onboard graphics chipset and plugin graphics chipset need to be from the same series - so be sure to check all details from manufacturers of both boards.
Please read my previous 2 posts before continuing.
In the interests of getting the best possible performance out of my system,
to make sure my previous tinkering had not downgraded anything and for learning reinforcement purposes,
I decided to do a clean install of Xubuntu 8.10 and ATI Catalyst.
I am listing the steps so other novices are not unduly alarmed when hitting a show stopper like the $ prompt on reboot.
On my particular motherboard (see my previous posts) I start here with the Surround View option DISABLED in the BIOS.
You can proceed with a graphics card plugged into the motherboard (check compatibility).
Make sure the BIOS is set to initially enable the plugin card and not the onboard graphics.
Connect two screens to the plugin card.
1. Install Xubuntu 8.10.
2. Download and install ati-driver-installer-9-9-x86.x86_64.run from AMD/ATI.
3. Become Root within the folder containing the .run file (by your favorite method, sudo su or whatever), then execute the file as shown in 4 and 5.
4. # chmod +x ati-driver-installer-9-9-x86.x86_64.run
5. # ./ati-driver-installer-9-9-x86.x86_64.run
6. Alternatively you could simply double click the .run file and see if the Installer starts.
6. A color GUI with a large TUX Penguin will appear. Accept all the defaults and very quickly it will install the file amdcccle in /usr/bin/.
7. Create a launcher shortcut to amdcccle so it is quick and easy to access. In your new launcher (properties) type the command gksudo amdcccle.
8. An icon for this launcher (ccc_large.xpm) can be found in usr/share/icons.
9. Launch the ATI Catalyst application amdcccle.
10. Setup your two screens so they work side by side (or above and below).
11. Use this setup for a while, ie reboot a few times to check all is well.
12. With everything working on TWO screens some people would be content with that.You are not and would like more.
13. With the PC powered off connect one or two more screens (to the motherboard sockets).
14. Boot the PC to BIOS and enable Surround View then continue with the reboot.
15. Here is the show stopper you might encounter: console type messages and a login password prompt, also your serial ps2 keyboard and mouse might not work.
16. Plug in a USB keyboard and mouse if you need to, they can be hotplugged.
17. Get to a $ prompt and type sudo su. Type in your Root password.
18. Then at the # prompt type: aticonfig --initial=dual-head -f --xinerama=on
19. You should be rewarded with 'Uninitialised file found, configuring.'
20. Then wait for 'Using /etc/x11/xorg.conf' then 'saved backup to /etc/x11/xorg.conf.fglrx-1'.
21. When all that is done type 'reboot' and wait 30 seconds for a reboot to occur.
22. Your newly connected 3rd and/or 4th screens will spring to life.
23. Launch ATI Catalyst and from within Catalyst disable Xinerama to get into Display Manager.
24. Position all the screens relative to each other as desired.
25. At this point the mouse cursor will move across all screens freely, although application windows will not do so. You now need to enable Xinerama.
26. Enable Xinerama and reboot (logout login may suffice) now Display Manager will be disabled.
27. Any removable drive icons on the desktop will go from cloned on every screen back to only on one screen.
28. There you have it. What I did from a clean install to multiple monitors.
29. It was worth the trouble as I have found the slight snail trail when dragging windows, I had before, has now disappeared.
30. Dragging sideways is snappy and responsive, scrolling windows never was a problem and is still perfect.
31. All done with very inexpensive hardware (and free software, thanks ATI).
Installing a huge update after installing ATI Catalyst could cause a conflict, resulting in a blank screen at reboot.
Unless of course you are good at spotting and preventing potential conflicts from a list of updates.
1. If you get a blank screen after updates and reboot, go back to the BIOS and disable Surround View.
2. Boot in Low Graphics Mode (ie. boot normally and you should be prompted to choose Low Graphics Mode).
3. Reinstall ATI Catalyst as in my previous post.
4. Back in the BIOS re-enable Surround View and it should all work again.
To avoid all this DO THE UPDATES FIRST before proceeding with the ATI Catalyst install.
Everyday incremental updates using Update Manager should not affect ATI Catalyst, but always check the list of proposed updates first.
Changing the subject slightly, I recently made a Remastersys Live CD (with user data) of Xubuntu 8.10.
Subsequently after reinstalling Xubuntu 8.10 from the Live CD, I then had to reinstall ATI Catalyst (amdcccle) afterwards.
This was to be expected as Remastersys is known to blacklist certain display drivers.
Also, I have built two computers identically from exactly the same hardware (see previous posts for hardware details).
Both computers output to the same 3 screens, using ATI Catalyst.
This is where screens with multiple input sockets (DVI, VGA, HDMI) are useful.
I am able to restore both computers if I need to, from a SINGLE Remastersys Live CD.
Installing a Remastersys Live CD (with User data), on two different computers is a bit of a no no, as there could be unforseen hardware issues.
However with all hardware as identical as possible, I have tested this and so far it shows no problems.
ATI Catalyst obviously has to be installed last of all.
I am building a third PC, which (you guessed it) will also connect to the same 3 screens (via a DVI switch) and be restorable from the same Live CD.
A USB extension lead from the rear of each PC gives me three USB sockets (taped together) that I can use for hotplugging my keyboard and mouse.
A few inexpensive adapters convert my USB mouse and PS2 keyboard to one USB freeplug for easy hotplugging.
With one keyboard, one mouse and three screens all working with 3 different (but identical) computers, integration is seamless.
The hassle of having to do 3 different restores is removed as is worrying about the peculiarities of each PC.
A 4 port ethernet adsl modem gets all 3 computers on the internet.
SATA hard drives for extra storage can be swapped using trays accessible from the front panels.
My setup has evolved from a complicated mess (each computer had different hardware and its own dedicated screen),
into an integrated and easy to use 3 screen system.
ATI hardware and ATI Catalyst smoothed the pathway to this ideal situation.