Ubuntu 12.04 with Nvidia Quadro FX card running Nvidia 173 driver is broken...very limited usability!

Asked by Grey Blackbeard on 2012-09-05

Older machine, Soyo motherboard with 2600 AMD processor, 2 gig ram. Nvidia Quadro FX (5 series) video card.
500 gig hard disk upgraded from very good running Lucid Lynx to Precise Pangolin by the standard upgrade process: Broken! The kernel seems to run correctly but the video it horrible and very limited! After upgrade the next boot gave me the black screen of death. Tinkered around with it, finally got it to run KDE safe mode, Gnome safe mode, would not run Unity at all in any mode. Program crashes were frequent, tried mostly with Pan newsreader and internet browsers Chromium and Firefox. They were crashing so frequently that I didn't want to try anything more system intensive figuring it was a guaranteed crash. And the strangest thing was that my wireless keyboard and mouse (Logitech K350 combo) would not work on reboot for 3 to 5 minutes, making login changes or even logging in impossible for several minutes, then it would start working on it's own.
At this point I gave up.....
Installed a 40 gig drive as primary and did a fresh install from a Precise live CD. Aha! The live CD seemed to work well so the install had to be good, right? Wrong!!!! Now Precise boots to the login screen every time, no problem! Keyboard or mouse still do not work, and will not come up on their own. I can unplug the USB dongle after the login screen comes up and the inputs start working but it is still impossible to use recovery or safe mode without actually plugging in a standard, wired (not USB) keyboard. The shift + key will not work either.
After tinkering around with Nvidia drivers I finally got the Nvidia 173 driver to work, sort of. Though login options are listed as Gnome Classic, Gnome without effects, KDE, Unity, and Unity 2d, the only window managers that will work is Gnome without effects and Unity 2d. Of the two Unity 2d seems the most stable but neither work very well. KDE will only come up in a black screen, as does Unity 3d. Gnome Classic opens in a nice screen but without any header bar or any way to do anything. There is no way to log off, change anything, open any files, etc. The only thing that appears is a curser and a beautiful picture on the monitor. Under Unity 2d or Gnome any program that is opened will load just about to the point of loading data, then crash. Firefox and Thunderbird are the most stable, actually staying up about 50% of the time. Chromium or pan will crash at least 4 times out of 5....
I have tried Nvida current= drivers. Really bad news!! They don't work! Problems run from screen opening in 640x480 mode to really wierd resolutions to not working at all. I have had the most consistent luck with the newest Nvidia 173 driver.
If I understand this correctly there is a problem between the newest X11 manager released with Precise and the Nvidia drivers for the older cards. But what I know is that I had a very stable system with Lucid and now I have a system that is pretty much unusable. How can I get the reliability back that I had with Lucid??? Please help!

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Ubuntu xserver-xorg-video-nv Edit question
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actionparsnip (andrew-woodhead666) said :
#1

Can you give the output of:

sudo lshw -C display; lsb_release -a; uname -a; dpkg -l | grep nvidia

Thanks

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Grey Blackbeard (blackbeard2) said :
#2

On 09/05/2012 11:06 AM, actionparsnip wrote:
> sudo lshw -C display; lsb_release -a; uname -a; dpkg -l | grep nvidia

Output from sudo lshw -C display; lsb_release -a; uname -a; dpkg -l |
grep nvidia

[sudo] password for lonnie:

PCI (sysfs)

*-display

description: VGA compatible controller

product: NV34GL [Quadro FX 500/600 PCI]

vendor: NVIDIA Corporation

physical id: 0

bus info: pci@0000:01:00.0

version: a1

width: 32 bits

clock: 66MHz

capabilities: pm agp agp-3.0 vga_controller bus_master cap_list rom

configuration: driver=nvidia latency=248 maxlatency=1 mingnt=5

resources: irq:16 memory:de000000-deffffff memory:d0000000-d7ffffff
memory:dfee0000-dfefffff

No LSB modules are available.

Distributor ID: Ubuntu

Description: Ubuntu 12.04.1 LTS

Release: 12.04

Codename: precise

Linux lonnie-K7VKPE 3.2.0-29-generic-pae #46-Ubuntu SMP Fri Jul 27
17:25:43 UTC 2012 i686 athlon i386 GNU/Linux

ii libkwinnvidiahack4 4:4.8.4a-0ubuntu0.1 library used by nvidia cards
for the KDE window manager

ii nvidia-173 173.14.35-0ubuntu0.2 NVIDIA binary Xorg driver, kernel
module and VDPAU library

ii nvidia-173-updates 173.14.35-0ubuntu0.2 NVIDIA binary Xorg driver,
kernel module and VDPAU library

ii nvidia-common 1:0.2.44 Find obsolete NVIDIA drivers

rc nvidia-settings 295.33-0ubuntu1 Tool of configuring the NVIDIA
graphics driver

ii nvidia-settings-updates 295.33-0ubuntu1 Tool of configuring the
NVIDIA graphics driver

lonnie@lonnie-K7VKPE:~$

Revision history for this message
actionparsnip (andrew-woodhead666) said :
#3

Try:

sudo apt-get --purge remove nvidia-173 nvidia-173-updates nvidia-settings-updates
sudo dpkg -P nvidia-settings
sudo apt-get --purge autoremove
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install nvidia-current

HTH

Revision history for this message
Grey Blackbeard (blackbeard2) said :
#4

On 09/05/2012 07:11 PM, actionparsnip wrote:
> Your question #207705 on Ubuntu changed:
> https://answers.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+question/207705
>
> Status: Open => Answered
>
> actionparsnip proposed the following answer:
> Try:
>
> sudo apt-get --purge remove nvidia-173 nvidia-173-updates nvidia-settings-updates
> sudo dpkg -P nvidia-settings
> sudo apt-get --purge autoremove
> sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates
> sudo apt-get update
> sudo apt-get install nvidia-current
>
> HTH
>
I really appreciate your help. You might save this for others too, it
worked good.
All problems are solved except for chromium, and it still crashes like
Danica Patrick's
race car. But I think it is a problem with chromium, not Ubuntu.
Firefox is rock solid.
Ubuntu will now open with Gnome desktop, KDE desktop, and Unity 3d.
I know I had tried the nvidia-current driver but there must have been
something
left over that I was missing. I think you can consider this one closed.

Revision history for this message
Grey Blackbeard (blackbeard2) said :
#5

Ok, this problem is NOT solved! It worked until the next reboot, then the max screen resolution I can get is 1024x768, and I CANNOT get any 16x9 resolutions. And besides all that, Ubuntu decided to change a USB drive that I had plugged in to an EXT drive. It had been an NTFS, and, needless to say, none of the data on the drive is available. I have an NTFS recovery program available and will be able to get my data back but THIS IS INEXCUSIBLE! Is there any way to recover my Lucid Lynx that worked so well? I don't think Precise is quite ready for prime time.

Revision history for this message
actionparsnip (andrew-woodhead666) said :
#6

You will need to reinstall to get back to Lucid. Lucid is EOL in April next year. Precise works fine here on 13 systems so your "Precise is quite ready for prime time." is false.

Revision history for this message
Grey Blackbeard (blackbeard2) said :
#7

Ok, Andrew, maybe I did speak too soon. I have had very good luck with Lucid and with Ubuntu in general. I have 2 machines, both older, running Ubuntu, one still running Lucid and this one running Precise. When I wrote the last note I was more than a little upset. Apparently I had an incident that was really off the wall that I would have never expected. I was using the computer during bad weather and our power went off. I went to bed, not even giving the computer a second thought. I had a 500 gig external drive plugged in to it, and apparently when the power came back on the computer came back on too (normal) and Ubuntu formatted my NTFS drive to EXT... I had a bunch of audio books on it, about 30 gig worth. The format was good....but not the books! It might be worth checking and see why it happened without any prompts. For me, the problem is all fixed now.

The video problem is an ongoing thing with the Nvidia card and drivers to make everything work correctly. I think the best solution is to swap my 22" widescreen monitor for another 19" standard monitor that I have here. That will cut the required resolution that the video card is required to put out and I need the big monitor for another machine anyway. The card has always output correct resolutions for smaller 4x3 monitors, it just doesn't like running 1980x resolution. It did work well at the higher resolution with Lucid. But I have never been one to give up because I have almost always been able to get Ubuntu to do what I wanted it to if I tinkered with it enough.

Thanks for your responses. Let me know if Nvidia actually comes up with better drivers, and let me know if you find out why Ubuntu formatted my drive without giving me any prompts. I realize that it could have given a prompt that timed out, but it should have defaulted to "NO".

Revision history for this message
Eldon R. Brown (eldonb) said :
#8

OK, after may hours invested in trying to get 12.04.1 3D Unity to work, I have done everything suggested by HTH, and it is still not working correctly in 3D. I have also tried installing suggested external Hardware Drivers, now all I have a black screen with ASCII login.

Can anyone suggest another Video Card to replace the Nvidia card, that will work Plug-n-play with 12.04.1?
I would like a solution with multiple displays.

I am ready to bite the bullet and abandon Nvidia for something that just works.

Thanks

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