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I installed Debian 11 on my desktop, and on first boot, the Noveau drivers worked fine and had the high resolution, though moving windows was slightly laggy as to be expected. I then installed the cuda-toolkit, not through the Nvidia page's instructions, but rather from the Debian repos which is probably a bit older than the one direct from Nvidia.

The installation seemed to go fine, and there was even a screen that said something about "unloading Noveau and needing to reboot", so I rebooted and was surprised to find that my resolution was now 640 x 480. What happened?

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It's because the cuda-toolkit in the debian repo does not depend on an actual Nvidia driver, UNLIKE the cuda-toolkit straight from Nvidia. In particular, here is the apt show for the former:

Package: nvidia-cuda-toolkit
Version: 11.2.2-3+deb11u3
Priority: optional
Section: non-free/devel
Maintainer: Debian NVIDIA Maintainers <[email protected]>
Installed-Size: 125 MB
Depends: nvidia-profiler (= 11.2.152~11.2.2-3+deb11u3), nvidia-cuda-dev (= 11.2.2-3+deb11u3), nvidia-opencl-dev (= 11.2.2-3+deb11u3) | opencl-dev, g++-10 | g++-10 | clang-11 | clang-10 | g++-9 | clang-9 | g++-8 | clang-8 | clang-7 | g++-7 | clang-6.0 | clang (<< 1:12~) | g++-6, gcc-10 | gcc-10 | clang-11 | clang-10 | gcc-9 | clang-9 | gcc-8 | clang-8 | clang-7 | gcc-7 | clang-6.0 | clang (<< 1:12~) | gcc-6, libc6 (>= 2.14), libgcc-s1 (>= 4.2), libstdc++6 (>= 4.4.0)
Recommends: nvidia-cuda-toolkit-doc (= 11.2.2-3+deb11u3), nvidia-cuda-gdb (= 11.2.152~11.2.2-3+deb11u3), nvidia-visual-profiler (= 11.2.152~11.2.2-3+deb11u3), nsight-compute (= 2020.3.1.4~11.2.2-3+deb11u3), nsight-systems (= 2020.4.3.7~11.2.2-3+deb11u3)
Suggests: nvidia-driver (>= 460) | nvidia-tesla-510-driver (>= 460) | nvidia-tesla-470-driver (>= 460) | nvidia-tesla-460-driver (>= 460)
Breaks: nvidia-cuda-doc (<< 10.2.89-3)
Homepage: https://developer.nvidia.com/cuda-zone
Tag: devel::TODO, devel::compiler, role::program

Note the drivers all under "Suggests", not "Depends". This is surprising and unexpected since the cuda-toolkit installation did that thing where it disabled Noveau, though did not even install an Nvidia graphics driver.

I installed nvidia-driver package from the above, then rebooted, and my resolution was fine afterwards.

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