Chapter 3. Frequently Asked Questions

This section provides answers to frequently asked questions associated with the NVIDIA SunOS x86 Driver and its installation. Common problem diagnoses can be found in Chapter 4, Common Problems and tips for new users can be found in Chapter 7, Tips for New SunOS Users. Also, detailed information for specific setups is provided in the Appendices.

3.1. NVIDIA Driver

Where should I start when diagnosing display problems?

One of the most useful tools for diagnosing problems is the X log file in /var/log. Lines that begin with (II) are information, (WW) are warnings, and (EE) are errors. You should make sure that the correct config file (i.e. the config file you are editing) is being used; look for the line that begins with:

    (==) Using config file:

Also make sure that the NVIDIA driver is being used, rather than the “nv” or “vesa” driver. Search for

    (II) LoadModule: "nvidia"

Lines from the driver should begin with:

    (II) NVIDIA(0)

How can I increase the amount of data printed in the X log file?

By default, the NVIDIA X driver prints relatively few messages to stderr and the X log file. If you need to troubleshoot, then it may be helpful to enable more verbose output by using the X command line options -verbose and -logverbose, which can be used to set the verbosity level for the stderr and log file messages, respectively. The NVIDIA X driver will output more messages when the verbosity level is at or above 5 (X defaults to verbosity level 1 for stderr and level 3 for the log file). So, to enable verbose messaging from the NVIDIA X driver to both the log file and stderr, you could start X by doing the following

    % startx -- -verbose 5 -logverbose 5

Why does X use so much memory?

When measuring any application's memory usage, you must be careful to distinguish between physical system RAM used and virtual mappings of shared resources. For example, most shared libraries exist only once in physical memory but are mapped into multiple processes. This memory should only be counted once when computing total memory usage. In the same way, the video memory on a graphics card or register memory on any device can be mapped into multiple processes. These mappings do not consume normal system RAM.

The pmap utility is available in the directory /usr/proc/bin, and is a useful tool in distinguishing between types of memory mappings. For example, while prstat may indicate that X is using several hundred MB of memory, the last line of output from pmap -x:

        total Kb  337904  335884   53320       -

reveals that X is really only using roughly 53MB of system RAM (the "anon" value).

Note, also, that X must allocate resources on behalf of X clients (the window manager, your web browser, etc); X's memory usage will increase as more clients request resources such as pixmaps, and decrease as you close X applications.

How do I uninstall the NVIDIA Solaris Graphics driver ?

Two Solaris packages comprise the NVIDIA Solaris Graphics driver files. Both Solaris packages NVDAgraphicsr and NVDAgraphics need to be uninstalled. Remove the package NVDAgraphicsr first, then the package NVDAgraphics: <system> # pkgrm NVDAgraphicsr NVDAgraphics </system>

Why do applications that use DGA graphics fail?

The NVIDIA driver does not support the graphics component of the XFree86-DGA (Direct Graphics Access) extension. Applications can use the XDGASelectInput() function to acquire relative pointer motion, but graphics-related functions such as XDGASetMode() and XDGAOpenFramebuffer() will fail.

The graphics component of XFree86-DGA is not supported because it requires a CPU mapping of framebuffer memory. As graphics boards ship with increasing quantities of video memory, the NVIDIA X driver has had to switch to a more dynamic memory mapping scheme that is incompatible with DGA. Furthermore, DGA does not cooperate with other graphics rendering libraries such as Xlib and OpenGL because it accesses GPU resources directly.

It is recommended that applications use OpenGL or Xlib, rather than DGA, for graphics rendering. Using rendering libraries other than DGA will yield better performance and improve interoperability with other X applications.

My kernel log contains messages that are prefixed with "Xid"; what do these messages mean?

"Xid" messages indicate that a general GPU error occurred, most often due to the driver misprogramming the GPU or to corruption of the commands sent to the GPU. These messages provide diagnostic information that can be used by NVIDIA to aid in debugging reported problems.

On what NVIDIA hardware is the EXT_framebuffer_object OpenGL extension supported?

EXT_framebuffer_object is supported on GeForce FX, Quadro FX, and newer GPUs.