Debian 7 Installation : Part 5 - Graphic Adapter (Nvidia)

Since I have an old legacy Nvidia graphic card that support dual monitors (VGA and DVI port), might as well reuse it again to setup my home development environment. This card will support two DELL E190S LCD monitors, the last of the remaining square size monitor still being manufactured.

Let's follow the wiki instruction to detect, install, and configure this graphic card to the maximum potential output. If you insert the card properly, the original Matrox adapter will be disable, otherwise you'll need to take it out again and reinsert it back.

First, let's find the exact model number. As shown below, the card is GeForce 7300 SE/7200 GS.
$ lspci - nn | grep VGA
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller [0300]: NVIDIA Corporation G72 [GeForce 7300 SE/7200 GS] [10de:01d3] (rev a1)

Alternately, instead of using lspic command, we can use lshw command as well, which show more hardware details.,
$ sudo apt-get install lshw
$ sudo lshw -C display
       description: VGA compatible controller
       product: G72 [GeForce 7300 SE/7200 GS]
       vendor: NVIDIA Corporation
       physical id: 0
       bus info: pci@0000:01:00.0
       version: a1
       width: 64 bits
       clock: 33MHz
       capabilities: pm msi pciexpress vga_controller bus_master cap_list rom
       configuration: driver=nvidia latency=0
       resources: irq:16 memory:d2000000-d2ffffff memory:c0000000-cfffffff memory:d1000000-d1ffffff

Next, we need to detect the Graphic Processing Unit (GPU) to make a recommendation for the matching drivers to be used. I used to set it up on two LCD monitors few years back and driver support should be stable and good enough.
$ sudo apt-get install nvidia-detect
$ nvidia-detect 
Detected NVIDIA GPUs:
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller [0300]: NVIDIA Corporation G72 [GeForce 7300 SE/7200 GS] [10de:01d3] (rev a1)
Your card is supported by the default drivers and version 173.
It is recommended to install the

Following the wiki instruction again, let's install the necessary packages for this graphic card. If you haven't add the non-free repository, type this command to add the non-free repository.
$ cat 'deb wheezy main contrib non-free' \
| sudo tee /etc/apt/source.list.d/wheezy-non-free.list

Note that I don't modified the default repository list file (/etc/apt/sources.list) as it is easier to put every repository details in /etc/apt/source.list.d folder and rename it to something else if want to disable it. This is a matter of preferences.

Finally, we will update the update the package index files and install the necessary packages.
$ sudo aptitude update
$ sudo aptitude r install linux-headers$(uname r|sed 's,[^]*[^**]*-,,') nvidia-kernel-dkms

Again, we don't use the default /etc/X11/xorg.conf file anymore but instead put it as separate file in /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d folder. Is easy to toggle a configuration file using such mechanism. More on this later when we want to setup for dual monitors.
$ sudo mkdir /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d
$ echo -e 'Section "Device"\n\tIdentifier "My GPU"\n\tDriver "nvidia"\nEndSection' \
| sudo tee /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-nvidia.conf

Lastly, before we reboot the machine, we need to install the GUI software to manage the graphic card settings. See the screenshot below.
$ sudo apt-get install nvidia-settings
$ sudo nvidia-settings
$ sudo reboot

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