New ATI drivers – dynamic display switching…

Some days ago ATI released a new version of their drivers. They fixed a lot of bugs and added support for some newer cards – but the most interesting feature is not mentioned because it is a beta feature and is therefore not listed: these drivers support display-switching on the fly without restarting the X server.
This is very important for laptop users: If you now want to switch from internal display to external, or want to view both, you do not have to play around with any kind of editing source files or restarting the server, a simple command is enough!

Phoronix have an article about the new drivers which includes information about this new possibility. Basically you just have to input aticonfig --query-monitor to see what is attached to your card. For a laptop the output looks like this:

Connected monitors: lvds
Enabled monitors: lvds

Add another monitor to your external output, and query again – it could look like this now:

Connected monitors: crt1, lvds
Enabled monitors: lvds

If you know want to change this setup, enter aticonfig --enable-monitor=crt1,lvds. This activates both monitors, which are now displaying the same output – without any source file editing, without even working as root at all. It just works, as it is expecetd, and which is something I really like. 🙂

What is missing though is the option to set different screen resolution or different refreshing rates – I’m not even sure if this can set different in such a setup somehow. But for me it is already enough because I can now add a projector and switch over to it quickly. KRandr gives me the possibility to change the resolution in the fly to set this according to the projector needs – and everything is ready.

Now everything which is missing is that Nvidia also provides such a method and that something like this became as usual as it is already in other operating systems in these days.


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