I have a home server that was running 64bit Linux Mint with Core 2 Duo, 4GB ram, nvidia 7950GT, and RAID 0 two 150GB drives. It was running fine til the power supply failed and I had to replace it. When the power supply failed the video card also got fried unfortunately so I had to switch to an ATI card. I've tried an old Radeon X800 as well as a Radeon HD 4600. Both of these video cards have hard problems with X server in 64bit mode. Even trying to run a liveCD version of different distros they fail at 64bit. Is there a work around for getting 64bit to work?

On a side note I've also tried enabling the PAE kernel while still in 32bit OS that also causes X server to crash on startup.

  • "Crash" ? was it a kernel oops or just blank screen, that's caused by Video driver ?
    – daisy
    Commented Sep 5, 2012 at 7:01
  • I assume kernel oops. It showed a blue screen with a popup message saying Xserver has failed to start.
    – Grant
    Commented Sep 5, 2012 at 7:09
  • 2
    That's not oops, it's driver or X config issue, try find some ATI binary driver which should work for you.
    – daisy
    Commented Sep 5, 2012 at 7:19
  • @warl0ck I had the ATI drivers installed before enabling the PAE kernel.
    – Grant
    Commented Sep 5, 2012 at 8:36
  • @Grant: did you try re-install the drivers after switching to a PAE kernel? (I have no idea how your distro handles that, but you need PAE modules for PAE kernels AFAIK.)
    – Mat
    Commented Sep 5, 2012 at 8:42

1 Answer 1


My guess is that your /etc/X11/xorg.conf is configured to load the "nvidia" driver but as there's no longer an nvidia card in the system, X fails to start and you get the standard debian "X failed to start" screen (can't remember the exact text but it does have a blue background).

Unless you need particular options in X, your best bet is just to rename /etc/X11/xorg.conf to xorg.conf.bak or something and restart your display manager (probably gdm, ldm, kdm or xdm). These days X auto-configures itself quite nicely and a manual configuration often isn't needed.

BTW, to help debug problems in X you can find all the warning and error messages in the most-recently started X server with:

egrep '(WW|EE)' /var/log/Xorg.0.log

However, if you're running a 64-bit OS then it's a bad idea to use cards that are known to have problems with 64 bit drivers. I strongly recommend using a different card that doesn't have such problems. Your original 7950GT was a PCI-e card so that means your machine has a PCI-e slot - that's good because PCI-e is the current standard so PCI-e GPU cards are plentiful, and there are many cheap options.

I don't know exact pricing where you are but here in .au you can get a 1GB AMD 5450 card for about $30 new, or an nvidia GT210 for about $28. The 7950 was a good card for its day (2006) and neither the GT210 or the 5450 are quite as fast but they use a lot less power (~82W for the 7950 vs ~31W for GT210 or ~20W for the 5450) and run cooler and quieter. they also suport newer GPU features like video playback acceleration.

If graphics performance is important to you (probably not if you're only doing 2D desktop type stuff) you can get quite decent nvidia or AMD cards for under $50 or $60.

Either AMD or nvidia would work, but a newer nvidia card would almost certainly just work "out of the box" with your existing xorg.conf.

  • Even though I re installed linux after the PSU crash the nvidia driver would still be loaded? I'm thinking I might be looking at a bigger problem unfortunately. As live distros in 64bit mode fail to work as well as 64bit windows 7 also fails to install. I've tried resetting CMOS etc but to no success.
    – Grant
    Commented Sep 6, 2012 at 2:03
  • probably not, but you didn't mention that you'd re-installed linux. re: bigger problem - yes if the power failure fried the graphics card it could quite easily have damaged the motherboard or other components too.
    – cas
    Commented Sep 6, 2012 at 2:49
  • The graphics card actually fried while I was repairing the server (forgot to plug in the power cables and that fried it).
    – Grant
    Commented Sep 6, 2012 at 3:24

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