Selecting screen resolution

The official FireBee FreeMiNT Setup uses XaAES by default, which is included as a MiNT kernel module. Previously, setting screen resolution under MiNT/XaAES had to be done by manual editing the XaAES configuration file xaaes.cnf. Thanks to Jo Even Skarstein, who created the nice GEM program modes.prg , setting the screen resolution is easy and comfortable now.

The program can be found in folder c:/mint/setup/ (there should be a link on the desktop, too), its options are mostly self-explaining.
The current screen resolution is displayed at the top of the window. With the "Colours" dropdown menu you can select the colour depth. The box "Screen resolution" offers three different options: If your TFT screen supports EDID, its native resolution is automatically sent to the computer and is directly available with the "Best" button. CRT monitors can display more than one resolution in native mode, so this option is not selectable (greyed out) if you use a CRT screen. With the option "All" you can select between all possible resolutions of this monitor.

It's very important to test the chosen resolution before you use it! A click on the button "Test" displays a full-screen test picture with a set of horizontal, coloured lines (or black and white lines, depending to the selected colour depth). If your monitor supports the selected resolution, this picture should be correctly displayed; that means no flickering, strange effects or simply black screen.

With a click on the "Set" button, the chosen screenmode is saved in the configuration file c:/mint/xa_video.cnf. XaAES set the screenmode at boot, so you'll be asked if you want to restart the system then.

The official FireBee FreeMiNT Setup boots by default into a standard VGA resolution, 640 by 480 pixels in 65536 colours. This "secure" resolution can be displayed by any monitor. We recommend to set this resolution before connecting another monitor to your FireBee, otherwise it is possible that the new monitor can't display the resolution of the previous one and so the new screen stays black.

If you by accident save a screenmode that your monitor doesn't support, you can boot to FireTOS or EmuTOS (or insert the CF card in another computer) and delete the file c:/mint/xa_video.cnf. At next start XaAES boots into standard VGA resolution again.

The boot resolution

With the FireTOS control panel "FIRECONF.CPX", selection "Video (boot)", you can set the screen resolution which is used at boot and also the FireTOS working resolution. It's also possible to boot FireTOS in monochrome mode (black and white). This setting will speed up the boot time massively!

These following video options are available:
On the FireBee, option "Video" must be set to "VGA". Setting "TV", in combination with "Mode" PAL/NTSC, is only relevant for TV output on original Falcons. Next, you can select the resolution and colour depth. The monitor layout option below the resolution popup is only used for graphic cards with more than one output (e.g. CTPCI/Radeon9250 on Falcon/CT6*) and must be set to "DEFAULT" for the FireBee.
Button "Replace NVRAM" is also only relevant for original Atari computers which internal NVRAM battery is out of order. It should be unselected for FireBee. This option replaces the NVRAM time with the time from keyboard IKBD chip.

When you have selected your preferred resolution, click on button "Save": In the first alertbox "Save Defaults", click on "YES" button so your configuration will be saved as boot resolution . Now a second alertbox "Do you want also save video mode inside .INF?" appears. This is for saving the FireTOS working resolution in the file c:/desktop.INF. Sure we don't want this for FreeMiNT, so please click on "Cancel" here. Otherwise the low boot resolution would be used as working resolution for FireTOS or it could lead to conflicts with the XaAES resolution settings.

So in most cases it's the best way to set a low boot resolution with the control panel, e.g. 640 x 480 in 2 or 256 colours for a fast FireBee boot. Then, for setting the FreeMiNT/XaAES working resolution, use modes.prg and set your preferred values. After boot sequence, XaAES switches to this resolution.
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