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HDMI output possible? #75

matthew85 opened this Issue May 17, 2011 · 42 comments


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matthew85 commented May 17, 2011


im running a dell xps 15 l501x with ubuntu 11.04 and gnome (unity). Ist it anyhow possible with bumblebee to get an output on an external screen like in windows?

komarEX commented May 17, 2011

tho I have bumblebee on asus 1215n I don't know how to get hdmi output working. Ubuntu itself doesn't see external display.

I tried this on an L502x. The problem is that the HDMI output is connected to the nvidia card and the nvidia libraries conflict with the intel libraries if you try to set up a Xinerama screen in xorg.conf. I did get it working using nouveau, but that rules out bumblebee because the nouveau driver won't bind to the nvidia card once the nvidia driver has grabbed it.

The best workaround is to use the mini-displayport, which is connected to the intel chip. I use a mini-displayport-to-HDMI adapater and have both screens working (Ubuntu recognises them both automatically). bumblebee provides nvidia acceleration to both screens.

Great thanks for the tip. I didn't even realise I had the mini-display port.

Also - could you please send me your xorg.conf for the dual screen with nouveau. When I configure the second screen with Xinerama and drag a window into the second screen, the window goes to the background behind the desktop picture and I can't see it. Strange and annoying. How did you extend your desktop twin view or xinerama? If Xinerama did you get it working properly?

Any help, much appreciated. If its easier just to email me your xorg.conf, my email is dmackenz1981@gmail.com.

Thanks x1million.

You're welcome...! My xorg.conf (or what I could remember of it - I deleted it accidentally while experimenting) is at http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1713308&page=6 (comment #51).

The reason you don't see any windows in the nouveau screen is that 3d isn't enabled on the nouveau driver, so compiz can't render to that screen. If you boot into unity2d or ubuntu classic mode without desktop effects it should work. I tried enabling the experimental nouveau 3d by installing what some post suggested from the repos (sorry, can't remember the details!) but wasn't successful and since bumblebee and the display port work so great I haven't bothered to investigate further.


MrMEEE commented May 18, 2011

If using the mini-displayport, u can use this:

xrandr --output HDMI1 --auto
xrandr --output LVDS1 --auto
xrandr --output HDMI1 --right-of LVDS1
xrandr --output HDMI1 --primary

You might need to replace HDMI1 with something else..



to see available outputs...


MrMEEE commented May 19, 2011

could you please try to run:

LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/lib/nvidia-current /usr/lib/nvidia-current/bin/nvidia-xconfig --query-gpu-info


matthew85 commented May 19, 2011

Output is the following:

Number of GPUs: 1

GPU #0:
Name : GeForce GT 420M
PCI BusID : PCI:2:0:0

Number of Display Devices: 1

Display Device 0 (CRT-0):
No EDID information available.

I get the same as matthew85 with no HDMI monitor plugged in. With one plugged in, I get:

Number of GPUs: 1

GPU #0:
Name : GeForce GT 540M
PCI BusID : PCI:1:0:0

Number of Display Devices: 2

Display Device 0 (CRT-0):
No EDID information available.

Display Device 1 (DFP-0):
Minimum HorizSync : 30.000 kHz
Maximum HorizSync : 83.000 kHz
Minimum VertRefresh : 56 Hz
Maximum VertRefresh : 75 Hz
Maximum PixelClock : 140.000 MHz
Maximum Width : 1680 pixels
Maximum Height : 1050 pixels
Preferred Width : 1680 pixels
Preferred Height : 1050 pixels
Preferred VertRefresh : 60 Hz
Physical Width : 470 mm
Physical Height : 300 mm


matthew85 commented May 19, 2011

With connected HDMI I get:

Number of GPUs: 1

GPU #0:
Name : GeForce GT 420M
PCI BusID : PCI:2:0:0

Number of Display Devices: 2

Display Device 0 (CRT-0):
No EDID information available.

Display Device 1 (DFP-0):
Minimum HorizSync : 26.000 kHz
Maximum HorizSync : 81.000 kHz
Minimum VertRefresh : 24 Hz
Maximum VertRefresh : 75 Hz
Maximum PixelClock : 230.000 MHz
Maximum Width : 1920 pixels
Maximum Height : 1080 pixels
Preferred Width : 1920 pixels
Preferred Height : 1080 pixels
Preferred VertRefresh : 60 Hz
Physical Width : 160 mm
Physical Height : 90 mm

komarEX commented May 20, 2011

For Asus 1215n its:

Number of GPUs: 1

GPU #0:
Name : ION
PCI BusID : PCI:4:0:0

Number of Display Devices: 1

Display Device 0 (DFP-0):
EDID Name : BenQ G2420HDBL
Minimum HorizSync : 24.000 kHz
Maximum HorizSync : 83.000 kHz
Minimum VertRefresh : 50 Hz
Maximum VertRefresh : 76 Hz
Maximum PixelClock : 170.000 MHz
Maximum Width : 1920 pixels
Maximum Height : 1080 pixels
Preferred Width : 1920 pixels
Preferred Height : 1080 pixels
Preferred VertRefresh : 60 Hz
Physical Width : 530 mm
Physical Height : 290 mm

komarEX commented May 21, 2011

With newest bumblebee my hdmi monitor turns on when bumblebee starts and turns off when it is closed. Probably because acpi_call / power management in bumblebee.
Tho it gives only black screen.

komarEX commented May 23, 2011

1 more thing I happend to had.
When I uninstalled bumblebee and rebooted, my hdmi lcd showed me Ubuntu loading logo and froze it on screen. I could normally work on my asus 1215n on his internal monitor. But my xorg froze (coz of openarena) and I clicked ctrl+alt+f1 to enter terminal and wtf I see? Terminal opened on hdmi external LCD O.o
sudo pkill gdm
sudo pkill xorg
sudo startx
but X started on netbook internal lcd, but still all tty would open on hdmi monitor.
After reboot my external LCD haven't showed Ubuntu loading logo again and all tty would open on internal lcd.

@matthew85 matthew85 closed this Jun 3, 2011

shlape commented Jun 3, 2011

"Ist it anyhow possible with bumblebee to get an output on an external screen like in windows?"

I have an XPS L502X and recently discovered that strange looking port at the right-hand-side rear.
I bought a mini-display-to-HDMI dongle, plugged it in and everything just worked. "1080P and stereo" as reported by my TV. No Bumblebee required.


matthew85 commented Jun 4, 2011

Yes, with the minidisplay port it works. The only issue here is that for the output the intel card is used, not the nvidia.

@matthew85 matthew85 reopened this Jun 4, 2011


MrMEEE commented Jun 11, 2011


So what you want to do is run the internal screen on the intel card and the external on the nvidia card???

Any reason???

I would like to be able to use my Asus 1215N HDMI output on Ubuntu too... =/


matthew85 commented Jun 11, 2011

Not at all, i'm sure that it's just fine with the mini display port.
But I'd like to get the hdmi port working, too so that I don't have to buy a mini display port adapter ;)

@matthew85 matthew85 closed this Jun 11, 2011

@matthew85 matthew85 reopened this Jun 11, 2011

and all the other people, who don't have a mini-display port, would also be very happy, if the displayport/HDMI port would work ;)

On my thinkpad w520 with Debian squeeze i can't use external monitor with bumblebee. I had to select discrete in the bios and therefore the Intel integrated card is not used.

i gave it some thought, and the only idea i have is the following..although it doesn't have to do anything with bumblebee..

since bumblebee runs on a second xserver with the nvidia card, it should somehow possible to switch to this server through strg+alt+f9..with the standard configuration, this isn't the case though..
it also should be possible to run a gui (kde, etc) on this server, and therefore getting an output to the hdmi/display port, since the nvidia card is used..

am i wrong? i didn't get it working yet, but i'm not very familiar with xorg settings..

there are some scripts for running kde with optirun, but i don't think this is working very well, nvidia-settings doesn't recognize the nvidia card, desktop effects aren't working, and so on..

I was wondering if a proxy driver would work, ie a driver that forwarded requests to a VirtualGL running on a second X server and specifying the HDMI port as output instead of copying it back to CRT-0 (VirtualGL can be configured to not copy output back, but it probably wouldn't matter since CRT-0 isn't attached to anything). If this could be made to work, perhaps xorg.conf could be configured to use the proxy driver for the second screen on the main X server, ie via the HDMI port.

Spadoof commented Jun 19, 2011

I also have an Asus 1215n and am trying to figure out how to get the hdmi port to work. Any suggestions?

Any advance on this topic? This is really preventing me from working on linux!

is there a way to make it work withiut the mini-display port?

@ryuzaki85: Yes. Read comment number 5.

sorry, i meant without

Any update on this topic? On my w520 with debian testing I still cannot use bumblebee because I am prevented to use the external screen (HDMI or VGA).

joha commented Jul 20, 2011

Hey guys,

I tried to run bumblebee on my brandnew Acer 8473TG, and I think I had it working for some time. But since I couldn't get the HDMI port working, I switched my graphics mode in the BIOS back to DISCRETE. I then had some problems logging in. All this is fixed now, but my HDMI ports seems to be broken or not working. I thought it might be some misconfiguration in my Linux setup, since im quiet new to it. So I tried booting windows 7, with the same result - i can select to run the screen on my HDMI port, but nothing happens. Cable and Monitor are ok. Overall it seems that something broke my nvidia card. Any ideas to this? Im quiet frustrated right now :(

Have you uninstalled bumblebee?

joha commented Jul 21, 2011

Yes. But since I also tried it with a different OS, it shouldnt be a software-related problem no more?! Is it possible to break a nVidia card with those acpi calls? For example If you use the wrong ones? I dont think that this could have such dramatic consequences, but something for sure ruined my graphics.

I am no expert but I don't think so. I tried many acpi calls to disable-anable my nvidia untill I fount the right one and everythink is working fine. What I can suggest is to try a fresh install (I know that is timeconsuming).
Let me know if you do some progress.

andaag commented Jul 21, 2011

I seriously doubt acpi_call's have damaged your hardware. What it can have done however, is stick something that lasts past a soft reboot.

Try removing your battery and power, and pushing the power button a few times (to drain completely). (The general rule here is to leave it for half an hour or something, but I've never had a scenario where that was needed). Then put the battery back in, boot it into windows. And try again.

joha commented Jul 21, 2011

Good Idea, but it did not help. Thanks anyway! I had the laptop for a week now, and I'm about to send it in already... haha...

jintxo commented Jul 21, 2011

hi guys, here's a little more information. It may seem obvious once you think about it but since it's not here I thought I'd add my last few attempts at using HDMI output on my asus eeepc 1215N...

  • HDMI output is plugged in the to TV
  • I start a normal X session
  • At this point, "optirun xrandr" sees my samsung tv plugged in to HDMI port and "optirun nvidia-x-config --query-gpu-info" sees the nvidia gpu fine so all is ok so far.
  • I get black screen (but not "No Signal") on the TV while this happens and I can see the nvidia logo instantly when runing the nvidia tool. I get "No Signal" as soon as these apps close.
  • I run some application that doesn't close automatically under optirun in order to start the bumblebee X server, for example "optirun gcalctool" or something like that. I get black screen (not "No Signal") on the TV with a mouse cursor in the middle. The TV tells me resolution is set to 1080. Mouse cursor doesnt move.
  • I open a terminal and "export DISPLAY=:1" to display to the bumblebee server
  • Then I run an application such as firefox from within that terminal in order to display it to bumblebee X server. Firefox opens fullscreen on my TV !!! :-) Mouse doesn't move
  • I CTRL-ALT-F9 in order to exit my normal X session without closing anything and voila, I can now move the mouse within firefox on my TV and open webpages and such. No Keyboard. No Sound.

Sounds promising, no? Maybe this can be worked in to a funtional setup somehow?

What you've got is two separate X servers, which means you need two separate keyboards and mice if you want to send input to both. The problem is that you can't tell X that it has one intel screen and one nvidia screen because their GL libraries clash. I'm hoping that when Wayland becomes more mature it will be able to handle stuff like this.

jintxo commented Jul 22, 2011

Well the mouse works, which is enough for my needs (steaming videos and watching them on the TV) but not the sound which is just as important. Do you think that has anything to do with bumblebee? Could something be done to get sound?


will824 commented Aug 21, 2011

Hi all.
With nvidia-xconfig --query-gpu-info, I can see the information of my HDTV.
Nevertheless it does not appear in xandr.

I did not manage to get the TV show image even with all the tweaks given :(

Is there any official information to be able to enable it?.

I still have to switch to Windows to be able to watch movies...

Still I even read somewhere that sound configuration is more difficult :P

We all love linux and its thanks to people like you that users like us have faith to keep on!


ArchangeGabriel commented Aug 23, 2011

Closing, the discussion is going on in the new tracker: Bumblebee-Project/Bumblebee#40

I connected the Dell ST2310 HD monitor through HDMI (Nvidia GT 525m) and here is what i get with the command nvidia-xconfig :

hanine@L502X:~$ LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/lib/nvidia-current /usr/lib/nvidia-current/bin/nvidia-xconfig --query-gpu-info
Number of GPUs: 1

GPU #0:
Name : GeForce GT 525M
PCI BusID : PCI:1:0:0

Number of Display Devices: 2

Display Device 0 (CRT-0):
No EDID information available.

Display Device 1 (DFP-0):
EDID Name : DELL ST2310
Minimum HorizSync : 30.000 kHz
Maximum HorizSync : 83.000 kHz
Minimum VertRefresh : 56 Hz
Maximum VertRefresh : 76 Hz
Maximum PixelClock : 170.000 MHz
Maximum Width : 1920 pixels
Maximum Height : 1080 pixels
Preferred Width : 1920 pixels
Preferred Height : 1080 pixels
Preferred VertRefresh : 60 Hz
Physical Width : 510 mm
Physical Height : 290 mm

Of course the ST2310 is not enabled and is recognized as being disconnected when using : xrandr which is not true.

To activate it: optirun nvidia-settings -c :8
DISPLAY=:8 firefox

firefox will be then displayed in the ST2310 with a resolution of 640X480 (while its native resolution is 1920X1080).
There must be a way to transmit the external monitor EDID information to the NVIDIA SETTINGS through bumblebee (optirun).
But the optimal solution would be to configure it through the GNOME DISPLAYS SETTINGS in order to have an extended Desktop.

I set up a working enviroment on an M1XR3 using Bumblebee... check it out.


I assume it works for other machines too (reading hanynowsky comment I thing it could be adapted to his)

Thanks Camelcase. Great tutorial you have there. I tried to follow it but there are things that are still not fixed :)
I modified the bumblebee xorg config file as suggested and instead of adding a monitor subsection I just set device (nvidia) to read the monitor EDID (true instead of false). So now I get 1920X1080 instead of 640X480. :)
I have an extended desktop now (the mouse moves fine between the right monitor and the left) but with the following edn user regressions:

  • At the top bar of the main screen I have a double network sysTray indicator & double hardware sensors indicator ( I believe OpenBox renders them twice)
  • each time I want to display something in the HDMI screen, i need to use terminal and DISPLAY=:8 someapplication
  • The desktop theme in the HDMI monitor is odd. Openbox theme. The purpose is to have later Unity instead of OpenBox
  • I can not output some applications in the hdmi screen for example: DISPLAY=:8 vlc or DISPLAY=:8 nautilus is vain.
  • I do not have file menus for applications displayed in the HDMI monitor, neither in the main screen nor in the HDMI one. (OpenBox! is it? But the same thing should happen if we use other windows managers)

Probably a tweaking of OpenBox & Synergy is needed to have better results. One should investigate.

I read in omgubuntu.com that Canonical is planning to have a better support for Multi screen Unity desktop in 12.04. I hope this is true.

By the way, I used your script as it is:

#starting openbox on external screen
export DISPLAY=:8.0
optirun openbox-session &
sleep 5
#synergy server
synergys -f -a --display :0 -n child &
sleep 5
#synergy client
synergyc -f -n main --display :8 &
sleep 5
export DISPLAY=:0.0

I will readapt your tutorial to the DELL XPS 15, which I own and post it in my blog.
At least now, the HDMI in optimus laptops comes to life and we're able to export the dsiplay to native resolution.

Let's hope this could give hints for the next version of Bumblebee.
Thanks again man.

That's strange. I run on the standard ubuntu setup (11.04, though I wanna change to linux Mint soon) and I don't have these Problems. I run VLC and Nautilus from within openbox (no display 8 needed anymore) and they run just fine as do all the other apps for me.

The standard openbox theme is rather minimalistic, true. But it is fairly easy to customize openbox to your needs and I think that's exactly what need to be done in your case. Because openbox has it's own indicators and they somehow got installed for you, now you have two. Shouldn't be too hard to get rid of them. The problems you describe make me wonder if you installed a metapackage by any chance (since those install a lot of other packages). Since this is about bumblebee though not about openbox and I wouldn't exactly call myself an openbox expert I recommend looking onto this thread on the ubuntu forum http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=192106. I just mentioned it cause installing a second window manager seems to be the best way to use the external display right now. I do assume it is somehow possible to run a second gnome session on it too (would probably be the best solution), but I lack the knowledge on how to do that without messing up your local configs.

Anyway I am glad it helped you getting a step closer to what you need. If anyone with serious scripting skills reads this - I think this can be simplified by some more complex bash script, though this would have to be customized to the Windowmanager of your choice.

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