Setting the screen resolution and refersh rate on Tru64 UNIX

Another rather obscure post as I have finally figured out how to set the screen resolution and more importantly the refresh rate on my Alpha Server DS10 running Tru64 UNIX 5.1B now that I have a Radeon 7500 graphics card installed.

In common with some other modern screens my new LED monitor only supports a refresh rate of 60Hz, so I had to limit the refresh rate to 60 Hz to avoid getting the message ‘input out of range’. The key was finally finding the guide to adjusting your screen settings on Tru64 UNIX, which was very useful.

However I did find that while the the instructions say that you need to modify ‘/usr/var/X11/Xserver.conf’ on my system this was a symbolic link to ‘/usr/var/cluster/members/{memb}/X11/Xserver.conf’ which was read only.

Before making any changes it is a good idea to save a copy of any original files.

# cp /usr/var/cluster/members/{memb}/X11/Xserver.conf \
> /usr/var/cluster/members/{memb}/X11/Xserver.conf.sav

Then I changed the file permissions and used ‘vi’ to edit the configuration file.

# chmod 755 /usr/var/cluster/members/{memb}/X11/Xserver.conf
# vi /usr/var/cluster/members/{memb}/X11/Xserver.conf

! Default configuration file for extensible X server

! no other sysyem files are needed
! no other core files are needed

! device <
! >

! You can set alternate library search paths here or supplement the
! default path.
! library_path < /newserver/fonts/lib/font:/usr/shlib >

Scroll down until you find the ‘args’ section and add the additional lines below to set the screen resolution, colour depth and refresh rate.

! you specify command line arguments here
args <
        -screen 1600x1200
        -vclass TrueColor -depth 24
        -vsync 60

The refresh rate (vertical sync) can be 60, 70, 72, or 75 Hz, and the colour depth can be set to either 24, 16 or 8 bits, by specifying either TrueColor (for 24 and 16 bit colour) or PsudoColor (for 8 bits colour) and the desired colour depth. The maximum resolution depends on your hardware but possible settings for the screen resolutions include the following:

  • 1920 x 1200 pixels.
    Note – I was unable to use this resolution with an ATI Radeon 7500 even though it is supported (and works under Linux).
  • 1280 x 1024 pixels.
  • 1024 x 768 pixels.
  • 800 x 600 pixels.
  • 640 x 480 pixels.

For any changes to take effect you need to restart the X server.

# /sbin/init.d/xlogin restart
AGP 0.99 on Titan @ 0x00000000 16777216MB
radeon_initialize: Initialized radeon 1.0.0 20010105
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