SiS 671 or 771 video card in Linux Mint 19.2 Xfce


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The infamous SiS graphics cards are difficult to tame in Linux, unfortunately. Luckily there's an acceptable solution now for the SiS 771/671 video card, although it does require a little manual work.

The most common problem with this card is, that the screen resolution is incorrect. Usually far too low. With this how-to you should be able to achieve a resolution of 1280x800. You can expect only minimal performance, though: playing video's won't go smoothly. Even 480p video playback will probably be bad.

Do you have no graphical desktop at all? Then do this first.


Only for Linux Mint 19.2 Xfce

This how-to will only work in Linux Mint 19.2 Xfce (or Xubuntu 18.04.1), because only its kernel and X.org are fit for this particular solution and only its desktop environment is lightweight enough. It probably won't work in newer versions and badly in other desktop environments.

You can get 32-bit Linux Mint 19.2 Xfce here.

You can get 64-bit Linux Mint 19.2 Xfce here.



The actual how-to

1. This how-to differs for 32-bit and 64-bit. So first determine the architecture of your system, in order to find out whether it's 32-bit or 64-bit:

Launch a terminal window.
(You can launch a terminal window like this: *Click*)

Type:
arch

Press Enter.

If the output is i686, your system is 32-bit.

If the output is x86_64, your system is 64-bit.


2. Download the driver:

For a 32-bit operating system, get this compressed file.

For a 64-bit operating system, get this compressed file.

The compressed file contains the files sisimedia_drv.la and sisimedia_drv.so and a modified xorg.conf, in a compressed state.

The first two files are the actual driver, and the last file contains modified settings which force your system to use the new driver.

Note: I provide these files "as is". I downloaded them from a non-official source, namely a mirror server of Mageia Linux. I did not test them myself. The only check I performed on them, was that I had them analyzed by VirusTotal.com (which reported them as clean).


3. Compressed files aren't useful. So unpack the three files in the folder Downloads, like this:

Launch a terminal window.
(You can launch a terminal window like this: *Click*)

Use copy/paste to transfer the following command line to the terminal (it's one line):

cd Downloads && tar -xvzf ~/Downloads/sis.tar.gz

Press Enter.


4. Now you're going to move the two unpacked files of the actual driver, into a system folder:

Launch a terminal window.
(You can launch a terminal window like this: *Click*)

Use copy/paste to transfer the following command line to the terminal (it's one line):

sudo mv -v ~/Downloads/sisimedia_drv.* /usr/lib/xorg/modules/drivers

Press Enter. Your password will remain entirely invisible, not even dots will show, this is normal.


5. a. It's not present by default, but yet you might already have a xorg.conf in place. Make sure it's gone by means of this command:

sudo rm -v /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Press Enter.

b. Also make sure there's no file called monitors.xml in your personal folder, with this command:

rm -v ~/.config/monitors.xml

Press Enter.


6. Now you're going to move the modified settings file xorg.conf into another system folder, which forces the system to use the new driver. Proceed as follows.

Use copy/paste to transfer the following command line to the terminal (it's one line):

sudo mv -v ~/Downloads/xorg.conf /etc/X11

Press Enter.


7. Reboot your computer. A screen resolution of 1280x800 should be possible now.

8. Visual effects are too much for this driver. So in Linux Mint 19.2 Xfce, disable all visual effects like this:
Menu button - Settings - Desktop Settings
Window Manager: set it to plain Xfwm4 (instead of Xfwm4 + Compositing)


Alternative method with more options
You can find an alternative method with more options on axebase.net.


Want more tips?

Do you want more tips and tweaks? There's a lot more of them on this website!

For example:

Speed up your Linux Mint!

Clean your Linux Mint safely

Avoid 10 fatal mistakes


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