28 May 2016

Fixing virtual console resolution with nVidia driver

I tried a number of things to get a laptop with an nVidia GT218M [NVS 3100M] video card to provide decent resolution in virtual consoles. This particular unit needs to run the proprietary video drivers to behave well--the big exception being the big-and-fuzzy virtual terminal text.

What finally worked for me in /etc/default/grub was

# If you change this file, run 'update-grub' afterwards to update
# /boot/grub/grub.cfg.
# For full documentation of the options in this file, see:
#   info -f grub -n 'Simple configuration'

GRUB_DEFAULT=saved
GRUB_SAVEDDEFAULT=true
GRUB_TIMEOUT=5
GRUB_DISTRIBUTOR=`lsb_release -i -s 2> /dev/null || echo Debian`
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet"
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX=""

# Uncomment to enable BadRAM filtering, modify to suit your needs
# This works with Linux (no patch required) and with any kernel that obtains
# the memory map information from GRUB (GNU Mach, kernel of FreeBSD ...)
#GRUB_BADRAM="0x01234567,0xfefefefe,0x89abcdef,0xefefefef"

# Uncomment to disable graphical terminal (grub-pc only)
#GRUB_TERMINAL=console

# The resolution used on graphical terminal
# note that you can use only modes which your graphic card supports via VBE
# you can see them in real GRUB with the command `vbeinfo'
#GRUB_GFXMODE=640x480
GRUB_GFXMODE=1600x900
GRUB_GFXPAYLOAD_LINUX=keep

# Uncomment if you don't want GRUB to pass "root=UUID=xxx" parameter to Linux
#GRUB_DISABLE_LINUX_UUID=true

# Uncomment to disable generation of recovery mode menu entries
#GRUB_DISABLE_RECOVERY="true"

# Uncomment to get a beep at grub start
#GRUB_INIT_TUNE="480 440 1"
The important parts are the GRUB_GFXMODE=1600x900 and GRUB_GFXPAYLOAD_LINUX=keep lines.

Don't forget to
$ update-grub
Credit goes to StackExchange.

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