Chapter 5. Common Problems

This section provides solutions to common problems associated with the NVIDIA FreeBSD x86 Driver.

My X server fails to start, and my X log file contains the error:

(EE) NVIDIA(0): The NVIDIA kernel module does not appear to be receiving
(EE) NVIDIA(0):      interrupts generated by the NVIDIA graphics device.
(EE) NVIDIA(0):      Please see the FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS section in
(EE) NVIDIA(0):      the README for additional information.

This can be caused by a variety of problems, such as PCI IRQ routing errors, I/O APIC problems or conflicts with other devices sharing the IRQ (or their drivers).

If possible, configure your system such that your graphics card does not share its IRQ with other devices (try moving the graphics card to another slot if applicable, unload/disable the driver(s) for the device(s) sharing the card's IRQ, or remove/disable the device(s)).

X starts for me, but OpenGL applications terminate immediately.

If X starts but you have trouble with OpenGL, you most likely have a problem with other libraries in the way, or there are stale symlinks. See Appendix C, Installed Components for details.

You should also check that the correct extensions are present;

    % xdpyinfo

should show the “GLX” and “NV-GLX” extensions present. If these two extensions are not present, then there is most likely a problem loading the glx module, or it is unable to implicitly load GLcore. Check your X config file and make sure that you are loading glx (see Chapter 3, Configuring X for the NVIDIA Driver). If your X config file is correct, then check the X log file for warnings/errors pertaining to GLX. Also check that all of the necessary symlinks are in place (refer to Appendix C, Installed Components).

When Xinerama is enabled, my stereo glasses are shuttering only when the stereo application is displayed on one specific X screen. When the application is displayed on the other X screens, the stereo glasses stop shuttering.

This problem occurs with DDC and "blue line" stereo glasses, that get the stereo signal from one video port of the graphics card. When a X screen does not display any stereo drawable the stereo signal is disabled on the associated video port.

Forcing stereo flipping allows the stereo glasses to shutter continuously. This can be done by enabling the OpenGL control "Force Stereo Flipping" in nvidia-settings, or by setting the X configuration option "ForceStereoFlipping" to "1".

X fails to start, and during bootup time I get error messages

nvidia0: NVRM: NVIDIA REG resource alloc failed.


nvidia0: NVRM: NVIDIA IRQ resource alloc failed.

The system bios has not properly setup your graphics card; FreeBSD can't currently setup PCI devices that the BIOS leaves unconfigured. Please uncheck "PNP-OS" in your system bios.

X fails to start, and during bootup time I get the following error message:

nvidia0: NVRM: NVIDIA MEM resource alloc failed.

On certain FreeBSD kernels, it may be necessary to add the following line to /boot/loader.conf:


This should allow the NVIDIA kernel module to attach.

My X server fails to start, and my X log file contains the error:

(EE) NVIDIA(0): Failed to initialize the NVIDIA kernel module!

Nothing will work if the NVIDIA kernel module does not function properly. If you see anything in the X log file like

(EE) NVIDIA(0): Failed to initialize the NVIDIA kernel module!

then there is most likely a problem with the NVIDIA kernel module.

The NVIDIA kernel module may print error messages indicating a problem -- to view these messages please check the output of dmesg, /var/log/messages, or wherever syslog is directed to place kernel messages. These messages are prepended with "NVRM".

When I attempt to start `nvidia-settings`, I get an error message of the form:

 Shared object "" not found, required by nvidia-settings

Due to differences between the gtk+-2.x ports packages included with different FreeBSD 5.x releases, the prebuilt nvidia-settings binary shipped with the NVIDIA driver may not work with FreeBSD releases more recent than FreeBSD 5.3.

If you have a recent ports package of gtk+-2.x and gmake installed on your system, you can build the nvidia-installer utility from source to solve this problem.

Download nvidia-settings-1.0.tar.gz (or the latest version) from You can then extract, build and install it (to /usr/local/bin) with:

    % gmake install

My system runs, but seems unstable. What is wrong?

Your stability problems may be AGP-related. See Appendix H, Configuring AGP for details.

OpenGL applications are running slowly

The application is probably using a different library still on your system, rather than the NVIDIA supplied OpenGL library. Please see Appendix C, Installed Components for details.

There are problems running Quake2.

Quake2 requires some minor setup to get it going. First, in the Quake2 directory, the install creates a symlink called that points at This symlink should be removed or renamed. Second, in order to run Quake2 in OpenGL mode, you must type

    % quake2 +set vid_ref glx +set gl_driver

Quake2 does not seem to support any kind of full-screen mode, but you can run your X server at the same resolution as Quake2 to emulate full-screen mode.

I am using either nForce of nForce2 internal graphics, and I see warnings like this in my X log file:

Not using mode "1600x1200" (exceeds valid memory bandwidth usage)

Integrated graphics have more strict memory bandwidth limitations that limit the resolution and refresh rate of the modes you request. To work around this, you can reduce the maximum refresh rate by lowering the upper value of the VertRefresh range in the Monitor section of your X config file. Though not recommended, you can disable the memory bandwidth test with the NoBandWidthTest X config file option.

X takes a long time to start (possibly several minutes).

Most of the startx delay problems we have found are caused by incorrect data in video BIOSes about what display devices are possibly connected or what i2c port should be used for detection. You can work around these problems with the X config option IgnoreDisplayDevices (please see the description in Appendix D, X Config Options).

Fonts are incorrectly sized after installing the NVIDIA driver.

Incorrectly sized fonts are generally caused by incorrect DPI (Dots Per Inch) information. You can check what X thinks the physical size of your monitor is, by running:

 % xdpyinfo | grep dimensions

This will report the size in pixels, and in millimeters.

If these numbers are wrong, you can correct them by modifying the X server's DPI setting. See Appendix X, Dots Per Inch for details.

General problems with ALi chipsets

There are some known timing and signal integrity issues on ALi chipsets. The following tips may help stabilize problematic ALI systems:

  • Disable TURBO AGP MODE in the BIOS.

  • When using a P5A upgrade to BIOS Revision 1002 BETA 2.

  • When using 1007, 1007A or 1009 adjust the IO Recovery Time to 4 cycles.

  • AGP is disabled by default on some ALi chipsets (ALi1541, ALi1647) to work around severe system stability problems with these chipsets. See the comments for NVreg_EnableALiAGP in os-registry.c to force AGP on anyway.