Friday, December 07, 2007

Sync out of Range issues with new Fujitsu-Siemens donated computers

Last summer I got word that the German Consulate in Los Angeles might have
some computers to donate to our school. 25 Pentium 4 computers to be exact, and while I didn't know all the specs on the machines, knowing that they had P4 processors was enough for me to know that we needed those machines as soon as possible. Unfortunately the German Government is apparently as bureaucratic as the United States' and it wasn't until this Monday that I was able to drive up to Santa Monica to get them. The good news is that there are indeed 25 P4 Fujitsu-Siemens Scenic N600 computers and better yet they are running at 2 GHz, more than fast enough to power a few thin clients, so that is a plus.

The minus came on Tuesday when I tried to install Edubuntu on them and discovered that nearly every monitor I had gave the "sync out of range" message when edubuntu tried to boot. I'm guessing it is a driver issue with the onboard display adapter, but it was puzzling that certain monitors showed things just fine. Even stranger was the fact that one monitor apparently worked fine, but another of the exact same make and model didn't work at all! It was a very disheartening and frustrating discovery and basically sapped my entire Tuesday trying to solve. Eventually I got so frustrated I wrote an irate plea for help on the Ubuntu Forums. Alas, I received no reply.

That night I had an idea for how to fix my problem. Since Ubuntu has pretty good video card support I would just purchase 25 cheap AVG video cards and use them to show the OS. I tested the theory on Wednesday with some old cards I had and it seemed to work so I started shopping around. Eventually I came across and ordered 26 8MB video cards for about $50. What a deal!

So now I'm waiting for my video cards and RAM to arrive so I can start putting these babies to work! Let's hope my $50 solution works. -joe


Stephen Walder said...

Hi Joeseph,
Glad to hear you had a good wedding! Great to hear you're strugling on!

I don't suppose you've run in to the same problem I was having?

Just like you the monitors refused to display the default install resolution, however, when I tried another monitor the problem went away.


Stephen Walder said...

Hi Joseph,
Hope you had a good xmas and all the best for the new year! (not too sure if you have xmas as such over there?)

I have a small request to ask of you if possible, would it be possible to provide me with your email?

Stephen Walder
stephenwalder at btinternet dott com