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How can I configure multiple monitors in Linux?

The ATI Proprietary Linux driver provides support for a wide variety of monitor configurations. The following fglrxconfig options can be used to configure displays:


       §          Enable TV Out (if one of the displays is a TV)

§           Yes or No

§          Select Monitor configuration

§           See below for available configurations

§           Configure monitor arrangement (if more than one monitor is  connected)

§           Horizontal: select whether screen 1 is left or right of screen 0

§            Vertical: select whether screen 1 is above or below screen 0

§            Set Primary and Secondary monitors

§             Secondary monitor may not have all the features of the Primary monitor

§            Choose available resolutions

§             These should not exceed the capabilities of your monitor



 Simply run fglrxconfig and provide the desired answers at the appropriate prompts. Answer yes when asked to update the XF86Config-4 file. Your new settings should take effect the next time you start X.


Monitor Layout Configurations

The following Monitor configurations are available:














Single Head
Laptop Mode
Clone Mode
Big Desktop
Dual Head








single display only, the second remains dark
toggle between internal or external screen
same content on both screens
one desktop stretched across both screens
separate instances of XFree86 on each screen




For Big Desktop and Dual Head modes, a vertical or horizontal orientation can be selected. In some cases, it is also possible to select which monitor will be Primary and which will be Secondary.

Some of these configurations allow for extremely large desktop resolutions. Please note the maximum resolutions for OpenGL operation are as follows:





















Radeon 9500-9800, FireGL Z1/X1/X2
Radeon 8500-9200, FireGL 8700/8800/E1




3D windows may corrupt or go blank if stretched beyond this limit.

The various monitor layout configurations have the following features and limitations:

Single Head

 §         Single monitor operation only

§         If a second monitor is connected, it remains dark

 §         Only mode available if you have only one monitor connected

 §         Only mode in which Quad Buffer Stereo will work properly

 §         The only mode in which full overlay support will be available



 Clone Mode

§         Contents of primary monitor are duplicated on the second monitor

 §         If one of the monitors cannot display the selected resolution:

 §             A lower resolution is automatically selected for that monitor

 §             It will behave as a virtual desktop at the original resolution

 §             The smaller screen will pan as the mouse moves around

Big Desktop

§         A single desktop is stretched across both monitors

 §         Monitors may overlap by a configurable number of pixels

 §         Both monitors have to operate with the same video mode settings

 §         Both screens use a single framebuffer and only one window manager

 §             The smaller display will NOT autoscroll as in Clone Mode

 §         Big Desktop can be configured for Horizontal or Vertical operation



 Dual Head

§         Independent displays and video modes are possible for each monitor

 §         Each monitor uses a separate framebuffer and separate instance of XFree86

 §             Items CANNOT be dragged from one screen to the other

 §         It is possible to run two separate window managers in this configuration (one on each monitor)

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