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SDB:Configuring graphics cards (old)

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Below is a walkthrough for the Graphic User Interface (GUI) version of the installation and configuration of the graphics card drivers on openSUSE. For more information on configuration settings or on how to install and configure the drivers through the Command Line Interface (CLI), please refer to Further information.

Background information

A driver is one of the most important aspects of communication between hardware peripherals and software. A graphic driver is used for the proper interaction between the graphics card located on the motherboard, openSUSE and the display device, such as a monitor. Improper driver installation or failure to configure a video driver can cause display issues, and in some cases cause the GUI to not load. This lack of a working driver is one of the common issues that can cause X-Server errors, and may allow users only to use the CLI. This process of installing the driver has been made even easier through the creation of 1-Click Installers for ATI and nVidia graphic cards. Once the driver has been installed, the last step is to configure the driver to work properly.

Download & installation

The first step to install your drivers is to find out what type of graphic card are you using. In a terminal, run:

/sbin/lspci | grep VGA

Depending whether you are using ATI or nVidia graphic card, proceed to their respective wiki page below.

Logo-geeko mini.png
Download the Nvidia drivers for openSUSE
Logo-geeko mini.png
Download the ATI drivers for openSUSE

Once you download the 1-Click Install that corresponds to your graphics card, the YaST Meta Package Handler will initialize your installation by default. If this process does not automatically start, open a file browser, such as Nautilus or Konqueror, right-click on the file with the extension .ymp, and then select Open with "YaST Meta Package Handler."

Once the package is opened in the Package Handler, simply complete the following steps:

  • Read the description of the package
  • Click the Next button to continue
  • Click the Customise button
  • Be sure that the repositories in the first list are checked
  • Check the Remain subscribed to these repositories after installation box
  • Be sure that the package(s) in the first list is checked
  • Double check the Proposal page to be sure all the settings are correct
  • Click the Next button
  • Click the Yes button
  • Enter your root password into the prompt
  • Click the Finish button after the installation is complete


As per openSUSE 11.2, the following steps are no longer required
  • Now that the driver is installed, completely reboot your system (logging out will not suffice).
  • If you are presented with the login screen, press ctrl + alt + F1 to switch to the virtual terminal.
  • Enter your login name and password
  • Gain root permissions by running

and enter the root password

  • Once you have the required permissions, enter the following command into your terminal window
init 3
  • Run SaX2 to configure your graphic and visual settings.
sax2 -r

SaX2 will open a window that will present you with the options, such as resolution, 3D Acceleration (which is required to run desktop enhancement programs, such as Compiz-Fusion) and Dual Head Mode required to run multiple monitors on your system. For more information, refer to the Archive:SaX2 page. Once you have configured your settings correctly and to your liking, press the OK button on the bottom-right of the window, and then press the Save button in the exiting prompt. Now that SaX2 is configured, the changes made will take effect the next time the X-Server loads.

  • To return to the login screen, run
init 5

This will change the run-level to 5 and load your X Server.

Further information

For more information, please refer to the following topics: