Netbook Screen Resolution Issues on Ubuntu

I have an ASUS T91MT netbook. Windows 7 was a pain (too slow), so I installed Ubuntu on to it to speed things up a little. Ubuntu has come a long way since I first used it on my desktop PC, where I couldn’t even get my wireless card to work. Today most device drivers are supported. With the update to Ubuntu 11, even the touch screen of this laptop worked well. However I was left with my graphics card totally unsupported on the T91MT. The main problem was that the resolution was not native and hence the image would be fuzzy. This is because Ubuntu doesn’t support the Intel GMA 500 graphics processing chip (see below for a list of laptops the have GMA 500).

How to fix the screen resolution in Ubuntu for the netbooks below:

1) Make sure you are on Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal). If you aren’t, you can download the disk image here.

2) Open the terminal and enter each of these commands, one after the other (once each has completed):

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gma500/emgd
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install xorg-emgd emgd-dkms emgd-xorg-conf
sudo emgd-xorg-conf

3) Restart your computer.

Yes, it’s really that simple. It took me a while to find this solution so I thought I would let everyone else know how to do it. You can find more details driver support at the Ubuntu hardware support wiki page.

List of compatible netbooks

This also works with the follow netbooks, as they have the same GMA 500 chip:

Acer Aspire One 751 (Intel Atom Z520, 11.6″)
Advent Altro (Intel Celeron M 723, 13.3″)
Archos 9 (Intel Atom Z510, 8.9″)
Asus Eee PC 1101HA (Intel Atom Z520, 11.6″)
Asus Eee PC 1201HA (Intel Atom Z520, 12.1″)
Asus Eee PC T91 MT (Intel Atom Z520, 8.9″)
Asus R50A (Intel Atom Z520, 5.6″)
Benq Joybook Lite U121 Eco (Intel Atom Z520, 11.6″)
Dell Inspiron Mini 10 (Intel Atom Z530, 10.1″)
Dell Inspiron Mini 10 PP19S (Intel Atom Z530, 10.1″)
Dell Inspiron Mini 10s (Intel Atom Z520, 10.1″)
Dell Inspiron Mini 12 (Intel Atom Z530, 12.1″)
Fujitsu LifeBook UH900 (Intel Atom Z530, 5.6″)
Fujitsu-Siemens Lifebook U2010 (Intel Atom Z530, 5.6″)
MSI Wind U115 (Intel Atom Z530, 10.2″)
MSI WindPad 100W (Intel Atom Z530, 10.1″)
Panasonic Toughbook CF-U1 (Intel Atom Z520, 5.6″)
Sony Vaio VGN-P11Z/G (Intel Atom Z520, 8.0″)
Sony Vaio VGN-P11Z/Q (Intel Atom Z520, 8.0″)
Sony Vaio VGN-P11Z/R (Intel Atom Z520, 8.0″)
Sony Vaio VGN-P11Z/W (Intel Atom Z520, 8.0″)
Sony Vaio VGN-P13GH/Q (Intel Atom Z520, 8.0″)
Sony Vaio VGN-P19VN/Q (Intel Atom Z530, 8.0″)
Sony Vaio VGN-P19WN/Q (Intel Atom Z520, 8.0″)
Sony Vaio VGN-P21Z (Intel Atom Z520, 8.0″)
Sony Vaio VGN-P31ZK (Intel Atom Z540, 8.0″)
Sony Vaio VGN-P35GK/W (Intel Atom Z550, 8.0″)
Sony Vaio VGN-P530H/R (Intel Atom Z520, 8.0″)
Sony Vaio VGN-P588E (Intel Atom Z520, 8.0″)
Sony Vaio VPC-P11S1E/D (Intel Atom Z540, 8.0″)
Sony Vaio VPC-P11S1R/B (Intel Atom Z540, 8.0″)
Sony Vaio VPC-X113KGB (Intel Atom Z540, 11.1″)
Sony Vaio VPC-X115KX/N (Intel Atom Z550, 11.1″)
Sony Vaio VPC-X11S1E/B (Intel Atom Z540, 11.1″)
Sony Vaio VPC-X11Z1E/X (Intel Atom Z550, 11.1″)
Sony Vaio VPC-X13D7E/B (Intel Atom Z550, 11.1″)
Sony Vaio VPCP111KX/G (Intel Atom Z530, 8.0″)
Sony Vaio VPCP113KX (Intel Atom Z530, 8.0″)
Sony Vaio VPCP115KG (Intel Atom Z540, 8.0″)
Sony Vaio VPCP11S1E (Intel Atom Z540, 8.0″)
Sony Vaio VPCP11S1R/G (Intel Atom Z540, 8.0″)
Yukyung Viliv N5 (Intel Atom Z520, 4.8″)
Yukyung Viliv S10 (Intel Atom Z530, 10.1″)
Yukyung Viliv S7 (Intel Atom Z520, 7″)

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