Getting S-Video out working with X on an 8800GS

Audio Phile da_audiophile at
Thu Dec 3 11:28:09 PST 2009

Firstly thanks to all who replied. Turns out that the problem isn't with X.  The problem is the damn 8400GS!  It's made by Sparkle and is model number: SFPC84GS512U2LP.

If you want a DVI out, it works fine.  If you want S-Video out, you will be out of luck.  I have two of these actually, and neither card's S-Video out works (the other one uses DVI out and I never tested the S-Video out).  I think it might have something to do with the fact that the S-Video on this card is 9-pin (VIVO) but I don't know for sure. Other video boards have a 7-pin S-Video out.  If you want to learn more about s-video flavors, see this wikipedia article:

Anyway, I just purchased another brand of an 8400GS that has the 7-pin S-Video out and it just worked.  I didn't need to tinker with the xorg.conf at all.

Here is the /etc/X11/xorg.conf that I used successfully with the new 8400GS that works for future reference:

Section "ServerLayout"
    Identifier     "Layout0"
    Screen      0  "Screen0" 0 0
    InputDevice    "Keyboard0" "CoreKeyboard"
    InputDevice    "Mouse0" "CorePointer"

Section "Files"

Section "InputDevice"
    Identifier     "Mouse0"
    Driver         "mouse"
    Option         "Protocol" "auto"
    Option         "Device" "/dev/psaux"
    Option         "Emulate3Buttons" "no"
    Option         "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"

Section "InputDevice"

    # generated from default
    Identifier     "Keyboard0"
    Driver         "kbd"

Section "Monitor"
    Identifier     "Monitor0"
    VendorName     "Unknown"
    ModelName      "Unknown"
    HorizSync       30.0 - 50.0
    VertRefresh    60.0
    Option         "DPMS"

Section "Device"
    Identifier     "Device0"
    Driver         "nvidia"
    VendorName     "NVIDIA Corporation"

Section "Screen"
    Identifier     "Screen0"
    Device         "Device0"
    Monitor        "Monitor0"
    DefaultDepth    24
    SubSection     "Display"
        Depth       24
        Modes "800x600"

I contacted Sparkle's tech support and here was their response:

"Thank you for contacting Sparkle, and we apologize for any confusion.

Unfortunately, our video cards have only been tested and approved Only under Microsoft Operating System by our company. So currently we do not provide support under Linux Operating System. All display outputs on the SFPC84GS512U2LP works automatically under Microsoft Windows, and is only approved to work on Microsoft Windows.

If you have further questions, please email us and we'll be more than happy
to assist you"

--- On Wed, 12/2/09, Audio Phile <da_audiophile at> wrote:

> From: Audio Phile <da_audiophile at>
> Subject: Getting S-Video out working with X on an 8800GS
> To: xorg at
> Date: Wednesday, December 2, 2009, 4:00 AM
> I have an 8400GS that has an S-Video
> out and I want to run it connected to a SDTV only (not to a
> CRT and TV). When I connect the card to my TV via an S-video
> cable without connecting the monitor at all, I can watch
> Linux boot on the TV. Problem for me is when I start X. The
> TV goes blank. If I plug in a CRT monitor, X is being
> displayed there rather than on the TV. If I have the TV
> connected and I also connect a CRT monitor, I can get into X
> just fine. The nvidia-settings program doesn't detect my TV
> at all.
> I should say that if I switch out the 8400GS (PCI) for an
> older 6200 (AGP) everything just works without any
> modifications to the /etc/X11/xorg.conf at all!  I've
> tried adding many of the suggested lines at the following
> wiki page, but still, no output to X:
> Here is the /etc/X11/xorg.conf that works with the 6200
> (AGP) but not with the 8400GS (PCI):
> Section "ServerLayout"
>     Identifier     "Layout0"
>     Screen      0  "Screen0"
> 0 0
>     InputDevice    "Keyboard0"
> "CoreKeyboard"
>     InputDevice    "Mouse0"
> "CorePointer"
> EndSection
> Section "Files"
> EndSection
> Section "InputDevice"
>     Identifier     "Mouse0"
>     Driver     
>    "mouse"
>     Option     
>    "Protocol" "auto"
>     Option     
>    "Device" "/dev/psaux"
>     Option     
>    "Emulate3Buttons" "no"
>     Option     
>    "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"
> EndSection
> Section "InputDevice"
>     # generated from default
>     Identifier 
>    "Keyboard0"
>     Driver     
>    "kbd"
> EndSection
> Section "Monitor"
>     Identifier 
>    "Monitor0"
>     VendorName     "Unknown"
>     ModelName      "Unknown"
>     HorizSync       28.0
> - 33.0
>     VertRefresh     43.0 -
> 72.0
>     Option     
>    "DPMS"
> EndSection
> Section "Device"
>     Identifier     "Device0"
>     Driver     
>    "nvidia"
>     VendorName     "NVIDIA
> Corporation"
> EndSection
> Section "Screen"
>     Identifier     "Screen0"
>     Device     
>    "Device0"
>     Monitor       
> "Monitor0"
>     DefaultDepth    24
>     SubSection     "Display"
>         Depth   
>    24
>         Modes "800x600"
>     EndSubSection
> EndSection
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