Setting up Ubuntu with a modern GPU

I recently acquired a GTX 970 and a couple of SSDs so I thought I'd change my view and try a new work environment. I backed up my data from my old Arch installation and got the 15.04 iso from ubuntu.com, loaded it unto a USB drive and booted.

I was presented with a blank monitor with "Input not support" blinking on the screen. I was using an AOC monitor and thought this might be some problem on that so I turned to the forums and was informed that it was more than likely my display device. I tried different OSes such as Gnome, Linux Mint and Elementary OS and got the same result. Doing a bit more reading, the issue was that the monitor wasn't returning the EDID which in basically the information about the monitor, type, capabilities etc so the nvidia drivers couldn't figure what to do because these new OSes try to use the current video card to render as opposed to default vesa. Most fixes I saw involved editing conf files but I hadn't installed yet so had to find another solution.

To fix, when booting normally. For whatever reason you need UEFI you can select that option but if you dual boot with windows for eg, choose the legacy boot option and not UEFI as this will royally fuck your mbr and is a pain to restore. Next, when the keyboard icon flashes, press any key to get a boot menu. From there you should press F6, choose nomodeset then choose Live or Install. This did not work for me however, instead you can type it at the end of the string of commands listed, after splash and before --- making sure to have a space padding.

Tada, system booted. Installed the proprietary drivers from nvidia's website, to do this you have to kill your X-Server so drop to your root shell with Ctrl Alt F1 and kill your display manager, default on ubuntu should be lightdm so sudo /etc/init.d/lightdm stop should work. The nvidia binary is a .run file so we have to make it exectuable with chmod +x [filename] and execute it as root, run through the menus and then reboot.

Second problem, after the first reboot, not only was I getting a 800x600 resolution, my login screen was stuck in a loop which is apparently caused by the drivers again and some issue with the kernel not being updated (I might have missed an option when doing the driver install.. dunno). I fixed this initially by dropping back to the shell and typing sudo apt-get install linux-generic then rebooted and I was good to go. I do a bit of 3d modeling/rendering so I wanted the latest drivers for my card, I added the ppa and tried getting the latest drivers only to fall into the loop again, linux-generic wasn't available as a fix even with a reinstall so I had to purge all traces of the nvidia drivers sudo apt-get remove --purge nvidia*, boot back using software rendering and to play it safe I just went with the recommended proprietary tested driver that is listed in software sources. So far so good.

Another small issue.. I might have broken several parts of my system as I tried to fix various issues including those with the login manager lightdm and some deleted config files. On reboot or every few minutes an annoying popup would show alerting me there was an system problem. It wouldnt go away even if reported, it turns out there is sometimes a backlog of error messages, simply purge the directory sudo rm /var/crash/* and you should be fine. Enjoy your new ubuntu system. Complimentary image of my desktop.