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Date:      Tue, 2 Apr 2019 14:24:39 -0700
From:      David Christensen <>
Subject:   Re: FreeBSD desktop "best-fit" Dell platform suggestions?
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <>
References:  <> <> <>

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On 3/31/19 2:33 PM, David Christensen wrote:
> I have a SOHO LAN with a few x86-64 machines.  Over the years, I 
> periodically attempt to build a FreeBSD graphical workstation.  My most 
> recent attempt was FreeBSD 11.2 amd64 and Xfce using a SanDisk
> Ultra Fit 16 GB USB 3.0 flash drive, Intel DQ67SW desktop motherboard,
> Core i7-2600S processor, and 2 @ 4 GB RAM (board supports up to 4 @ 8
> GB).  The keyboard, mouse, graphics, network, and SATA storage all
> worked, but the USB 3.0 ports had issues (must use USB 2.0 port).

> I then tried booting the USB flash drive on two Intel 945G chipset
> desktop boards, a Dell Inspiron E1505 (945GM chipset and over-spec Intel
> Core 2 T7400 processor), and a mid 2015 MacBook Pro (unknown chipset,
> Intel Core i7-4770 processor, and Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200).  X
> windows failed to start on all of them.

I did some trouble-shooting:

1.  The D945GTP workstation does not seem to support booting from a USB 
flash drive partitioned with GPT.  It does boot from a SATA SSD 
partitioned with MBR.  (I seem to recall that it booted from a USB flash 
drive formatted with MBR.)  Once booted, I installed and/or updated the 
xorg and xfce packages.  Both X and Xfce work, but maximum graphics 
resolution seems to be 1600x1200 (monitor is 1920x1080 and this computer 
can do that with Debian).

2.  The Inspiron laptop boots the GPT USB flash drive.  Both X and Xfce 
work.  Maximum graphics resolution seems to be 1024x768 (screen is 
1280x800 and this computer can do that with Debian).  The Fn+F8 
(CRT/LCD) hotkey combination switches video between either the screen or 
the VGA port (also 1024x768 maximum), but does not drive (mirror) both 

3.  The MacBook boots the GPT USB flash drive.  X does not work:

         Fatal server error:
         (EE) Cannot run in framebuffer mode. Please specify busIDs for 
all framebuffer devices


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