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Fixing Low Maximum Screen Resolution Issue on Ubuntu 20.04 with Nvidia GPU

Ubuntu 5

In this article, we’ll go through a step-by-step guide on how to fix the low maximum screen resolution issue on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS when using an Nvidia GPU. This issue often presents itself as a limited resolution option, where your monitor’s maximum resolution is not available in the display settings.

Understanding the Issue

The problem arises when your monitor, despite being capable of higher resolutions, is only allowing a maximum resolution lower than its native resolution. For instance, a 16:9 monitor only allowing a maximum resolution of 1600×900 instead of its native resolution of 1920×1080. This issue is often encountered when using an Nvidia GPU, such as the GTX 970.

Prerequisites

Before we begin, ensure that you have administrative access to your Ubuntu system. You should also have the nvidia-settings package installed. If not, you can install it using the following command in your terminal:

sudo apt install nvidia-settings

Step 1: Check NVIDIA Server Settings

First, we need to check if the NVIDIA Server Settings application recognizes your monitor size correctly. Open the NVIDIA Server Settings application either from the terminal by typing nvidia-settings or from the application menu.

If the application does not recognize your monitor size, you will need to manually add the missing EDID information to the Xorg configuration file.

Step 2: Edit the Xorg Configuration File

The Xorg configuration file is where the system stores settings related to your display. We can manually add the correct resolution to this file.

Open your terminal and run the following command to create and edit a new configuration file:

sudo nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/my.conf

Here, sudo is used to run the command with administrative privileges, nano is a command-line text editor, and /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/my.conf is the path where the new configuration file will be created.

In the file, add the following lines, replacing the resolutions with your monitor’s native resolution (1920×1080 in this case):

Section "Monitor"
 Identifier "External DVI"
 Modeline "1920x1080_60.00" 173.00 1920 2048 2248 2576 1080 1083 1088 1120 -hsync +vsync
 Option "PreferredMode" "1920x1080_60.00"
EndSection

In this code block:

  • Identifier is used to name the monitor.
  • Modeline is used to define the detailed timing characteristics of the monitor. The values following the resolution (173.00 1920 2048 2248 2576 1080 1083 1088 1120 -hsync +vsync) are specific to a 1920×1080 resolution at a 60Hz refresh rate.
  • Option "PreferredMode" is used to set the preferred mode for the monitor to the resolution specified.

After adding these lines, save the file and exit the text editor by pressing Ctrl+X, then Y to confirm the save, and finally Enter to exit.

Step 3: Reboot the System

After making the changes, reboot your system to apply the new configuration. You can do this by running the following command in your terminal:

sudo reboot

Conclusion

If the above steps do not resolve the issue, it is possible that your monitor is not sending the correct or complete EDID data to the X server. In such cases, you may need to investigate further or consult the manufacturer’s documentation for any specific instructions.

Remember, modifying system configuration files can have unintended consequences, so it is always recommended to create a backup or make note of any changes made before proceeding.

We hope this article has been helpful in resolving your low maximum screen resolution issue on Ubuntu 20.04 with an Nvidia GPU. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them in the comment section below.

How can I check my monitor’s native resolution?

To check your monitor’s native resolution, you can usually find this information in the monitor’s user manual or by visiting the manufacturer’s website and searching for your specific monitor model.

Can I use a different text editor instead of nano to edit the Xorg configuration file?

Yes, you can use a different text editor if you prefer. Some popular alternatives to nano include vi, vim, and gedit. Just replace "nano" with your preferred text editor in the command mentioned in Step 2.

Will these steps work for other versions of Ubuntu?

While these steps are specifically written for Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, they may also work for other versions of Ubuntu or other Linux distributions. However, there might be slight differences in the specific paths or package names. It’s always a good idea to consult the official documentation or community support for your specific distribution if you encounter any issues.

Can I use these steps for a different GPU brand, such as AMD?

These steps are specifically tailored for Nvidia GPUs. If you have an AMD GPU, the steps to fix the low maximum screen resolution issue may be different. It’s recommended to consult the official documentation or community support for your specific GPU brand if you encounter any issues.

Is it possible to revert the changes made to the Xorg configuration file?

Yes, if you want to revert the changes made to the Xorg configuration file, you can simply delete the file you created in Step 2. Open your terminal and run the following command: sudo rm /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/my.conf. After deleting the file, reboot your system for the changes to take effect.

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