I have already installed Linux on 3 laptops, and not surprisingly I had the same problem on two of those.
I am talking about a Toshiba Pro 4600, a Toshiba Pro A10 and a Clevo M761S.
The A10 was the only unit where installation had no display problems. It is suspected that vesa compatibility driver is the common factor. A10 has an nvidia (no problems), 4600 a Trident and the M761S the much feared sis 771/671 chipset.
How did I solved the low-resolution problem on the Clevo and the reduced 4600 display? Simple, editing:
# sudo cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.old
above line just saves your old file in case you want to get back to your previous settings.
# sudo mousepad /etc/X11/xorg.conf
You are free to replace "mousepad" by the editor of your choice, gedit, vi, you name it...
Locate the section "Monitor". It will look like this:
Identifier "Configured Monitor"
Make it look like this:
Identifier "Configured Monitor"
Save and reboot
If something goes wrong, login at the bash (text-mode) prompt and enter:
# sudo cp /etc/X11/xorg.old /etc/X11/xorg.conf
and reboot again, you will be back to the old settings.
To know exactly what is your new resolution range and where you stand, issue the command:
# xrandr -q
Its output will give you something like this:
Screen 0: minimum 640 x 480, current 1280 x 768, maximum 1280 x 768
default connected 1280x768+0+0 0mm x 0mm
Note the little * on the second line, that is where you are.
If we want to change the resolution, just type:
# xrandr -s 1280x768
And the display will change instantly...
For those needing an Ubuntu Intrepid 8.10 SIS 771/671 2d display driver, you may find it here, courtesy of Mr. Barros Lee.
Save it, open a terminal on the directory where you saved it, log in as root with the su command and execute
edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf, adding Driver "sis" in Section "Device"
For Jaunty 9.04 32-bit click here.
For Jaunty 9.04 64-bit click here.
For Karmic 9.10 32-bit click here to get the driver I compiled.
For Karmic 9.10 64-bit click here to get the driver I compiled.
For Lucid 10.04 32-bit click here to get the driver I compiled.
For Lucid 10.04 64-bit click here to get a driver I compiled with the precious help of Jonas Schwabe.
For Maverick 10.10 32-bit click here to get a driver I compiled, untested because of bug #543875.
For Maverick 10.10 64-bit click here to get a driver I compiled.
Lucid and Maverick drivers were modified on 2010-10-29 upon tests on a 1360x768 by Martin Lee, and renewed 1280x800 tests. If your display is garbled at start you may want to try this (#bug 539582)
# sudo echo blacklist vga16fb > /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-vga16fb.conf
# sudo update-initramfs -u -k 'all'
For Natty 11.04 32-bit click here to get a driver I compiled, kindly tested by Frans Kristensen.
For Natty 11.04 64-bit click here to get a driver I compiled, tested on my own system.
Natty drivers were found to work on Oneiric as well.
For Oneiric 11.10 32-bit click here to get a driver I compiled.
For Oneiric 11.10 64-bit click here to get a driver I compiled.
For Precise 12.04 32-bit click here to get a driver I compiled.
For Precise 12.04 64-bit click here to get a driver I compiled.
For Quantal 12.10 currently there is no solution. xorg 1.13 makes a lot of legacy video boards unusable, (e.g. intel and trident cyberblade), so I strongly recommend that you stick to 12.04. I will keep investigting this issue. Several attempts were done to compile the sisimedia driver on 1.13, and indeed after a huge number of patches the driver compiled well but it crashes xorg. Apparently the problem comes drom XAA not being supported any more (only EXA acceleration is supported in 1.13). The latest code I used in my 4th attempt is available here for those willing to try. If you must use 12.10, you may use the standard vesa driver that comes with the system with this xorg.conf. No acceleration and the video output is just usable. In all cases but 12.10 you should add Driver "sis671" in Section "Device" of xorg.conf.
On all systems not having a default xorg.conf, click here to download a xorg.conf that can be copied to /etc/X11 (don't forget it has to be done in su mode).
To install, open a terminal on the directory where you have downloaded the file and (64-bit Maverick example):
#gzip -dc sis_driver_64-bit_10.10.tar.gz | tar -xf -
#sudo cp 64-bit/*.so /usr/lib/xorg/modules/drivers
#sudo cp 64-bit/*.la /usr/lib/xorg/modules/drivers
do the following step only if you don't have a xorg.conf file at /etc/X11:
#sudo cp 64-bit/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf
I put a small script to automate the install process here.
Usage #sudo ./sis (number of bits) (version)
Maverick example ./sis 64 10.10
Unpack it with
#gzip -d sis.gz
It may be necessary to make it executable with:
#chmod +x sis