Posts Tagged ‘bit depth’

How to configure Matrox Graphics MGA G200 AGP on Debian and Ubuntu Linux

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Reading Time: 2minutes

I just had to configure a Matrox Graphics MGA G200 AGP on a very old computer installed with Xubuntu 12.04. The Graphic card is not automatically detected and Xorg Linux server automatically runs X without generating any config in /etc/X11/xorg.conf after Xubuntu install. By default Linux uses the VESA driver for running X, the problem with VESA is it is very slow in videos and is only good for text reading and simple browsing. For watching video and Youtube, one needs to install the custom Video card driver on this host the Video card was identifying in lpsci as:

user@oldhost:~$ lspci |grep -i matrox
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: Matrox Graphics, Inc. MGA G200 AGP (rev 03)

In deb package repositories, there is a special xorg MGA driver suited to run MGA cards, thus to use it I had to first install it with:


user@oldhost:~# apt-get install --yes xserver-xorg-video-mga

For allowing card to normally watch movies – you have to have installed a special video driver which is to be lated built from source:

user@oldhost:~#  apt-get -b source mga-vid-source
user@oldhost:~# dpkg -i /usr/src/modules/mga-vid/debian/mga-vid-source_2.6.32-1_i386.deb

There is also special program to test if MGA video driver is installed and work correctly mga_vid_test. To have it installed and use it you have to be running on 2.6.x Linux kernel cause it is a bit of old software plus it is necessary to have installed mga-vid-common i.e.:

user@oldhost:~# apt-get install --yes mga-vid-common

I did a quick research online for other people who faced similar problem and found in Ubuntu Forums the following MGA G200 recommended xorg.conf
Below config was little modified by me as by default it was configured to run in 1280×1024 in 24 bit depth color. Usually 24 bit color is high for old cards, plus the resolution of 1280 seemed quite high for this piece of old iron, so I decided to use the better suiting old computers 1024×768 in 16 bit color depth.