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external crt on i855 laptop

I want to be able to use an external monitor with an Asus M3N laptop with i855 
chipset and integrated 64MB Intel graphics.  The laptop has a SXGA+ 1400x1050 
lcd, but so I still cannot use that resolution.  I have still been unable to 
get an acceptable display on an external monitor, and I hope someone here can 
help.  Here is what I have tried so far.

1) The FnF8 key is supposed to toggle between lcd, lcd+crt, crt.  For me it 
switches between lcd-only and crt-only but is never usable (even switching 
back: lcd->crt->lcd).  In the best case the desktop is displayed below a band 
of noise at the top of the screen and with its bottom cut off.  Other times 
the whole display is a mess. Switching to another vt and back will restore 
the display to good condition on the lcd.

2) There is a tool called i810switch which writes to a location in /dev/mem.  
This successfully activates the external crt when it is attached.  
Unfortunately the display is out of focus and some monitors report the signal 
as out of range.  The tool can turn off the monitor too, but cannot activate 
the lcd on an i855.

3) The asus_acpi project provides a kernel module and /proc interface.  
Reading from /proc/asus/acpi/disp should give a number related the current 
display state, and writing to the file should change the state.  Remarkably, 
a simple read of the file will distort the lcd by putting the band of noise 
at the top of the display.  Nothing I write to the file has any affect.

4) I thought I might configure XF86 to drive the external display in the 
config file, but the few things I tried failed.

Any ideas how to get this to work?  If #4 has a chance and you want to see my 
config, just ask.  BTW, of course I suffer from the unavailability of 
1400x1050 in the BIOS, so I am using 1280x1024 for now.  I really would like 
to solve that problem too.

Thank you very much,
-- L
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