Help: External monitor on modern Acer Nitro 5 laptop

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Help: External monitor on modern Acer Nitro 5 laptop

Sander Marechal-5

Hello all, I am going totally mad trying to get my new laptop working properly under Debian.

I have bought a new Acer Nitro 5 AN517-51-77XR laptop both for work (using Debian) and some gaming (Windows dual-boot). It has both an Intel integrated GPU as well as an Nvidia GTX 1650 mobile GPU. I cannot get an external monitor to work, no matter what I try. I'm going mad here.

My goal: A working gnome desktop across two monitors: the internal monitor and one external monitor connected via HDMI. I don't care about 3D performance. I just want to use two screens.

I have tried using the nouveau drivers, the nvidia-driver package from buster stable and the nvidia drivers from buster-backports. The internal display works fine (using the Intel GPU) but never the external monitor.

If I add "nomodeset" as boot option, the login manager never shows. I just get the last output from the boot process.

Using nouveau, xrandr sees two providers (no idea which is which) but just one monitor:

$ xrandr --listproviders
Providers: number : 2
Provider 0: id: 0xe0 cap: 0xf, Source Output, Sink Output, Source Offload, Sink Offload crtcs: 3 outputs: 1 associated providers: 0 name:modesetting
Provider 1: id: 0x44 cap: 0x2, Sink Output crtcs: 4 outputs: 1 associated providers: 0 name:modesetting

Monitors: 1
0: +*eDP-1 1920/381x1080/214+0+0 eDP-1

My guess is the HDMI is wired to the nvidia card, not the intel card (as in many current laptops). So, I try setting the provider output:

xrandr --setprovideroutputsource 1 0

Now xrandr still sees 1 monitor:

$ xrandr --listmonitors
Monitors: 1
0: +*eDP-1 1920/381x1080/214+0+0 eDP-1

But going to "settings -> display" through Gnome it suddenly sees two monitors. So, I try to setup the joined desktop there.

This is where it gets strange. The external monitor is still blank, but I can move my mouse cursor there and I see it there. But if I move a window to it, it disappears. Only the cursor moves from the internal to the external screen. If I cange another setting on the external monitor (like the refresh rate) the external monitor will shop the desktop background image (blue swirls) and my cursor. Still, windows moved over it will disappear (and reappear when moved back).

Setting the displays to mirrored instead of joined is weirder. It shows my desktop on both monitors and shows my cursor on both, but aside from the cursor, the image on teh external monitor is never updated. It is as if changing the display config in through the settings menu will display one still frame on the external monitor and then only updates the mouse cursor.

Using the proprietary nvidia drivers (either stable or from backports) has even less success. I had to disable secure boot to even load the drivers, if they loaded at all. Some combinations between kernel and driver version (5.5.0-bpo, 5.4.0-bpo and stable 4.19 kernel with both drivers) do not load at all and modprobe gives an error. Even when it does load then xrandr still sees only 1 provider, not 2.

I'm going mad here :-( Can someone please help?

Kind regards,

--
Sander Marechal

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Re: Help: External monitor on modern Acer Nitro 5 laptop

Eric S Fraga
On Monday, 25 May 2020 at 18:54, Sander Marechal wrote:
> Hello all, I am going totally mad trying to get my new laptop working
> properly under Debian.

On my desktop, which has two providers (aka graphics cards), after
asking for help on the 'net, I added this line to my .xsession to get
all my cards & monitors recognized:

    xrandr --setprovideroutputsource 1 0

(and don't ask me to explain what this means; it's a magical incantation
that just worked for me).  I don't know how/where you would this in
gnome, mind you.  I don't use desktop environments.

--
Eric S Fraga via Emacs 28.0.50 & org 9.3.6 on Debian bullseye/sid