Setting gpu as default display

I recently got a pci verion of an nvidia geforce 210 as part of my visiontek mysterybox splurge. I’m sure this would be a bummer to any normal person, but it was the perfect grab for my old 2006 compaq media center. It currently runs ubuntu 14.04 (with esm). I feel like I’m missing something basic because the computer recognizes the graphics card in lshw and lspci. It even loads the nouvea drivers. But I can’t seem to stop it from using the integrated ATI graphics chip as the primary display.

So far I’ve tried a couple things. In the bios I set pci as the primary display. That seems to have no effect, which is frankly confusing. I tried setting up an xorg.conf but my changes have been unsuccessful. After using sudo X -configure it seems to create a dual monitor setup. Instinctively I just switched the device names for the monitors but that led to a bad boot and I had to go in with a live usb to revert the xorg.conf back. I tried removing the second monitor section and the radeon reference but rebooting dropped me to the tty.

I also tried blacklisting the radeon kernel module through grub. I was able to successfully inhibit the module but it didn’t force the nvidia card to default the way I hoped. Instead I got caught on a black screen.

I tried out a live usb of fedora 35 just to see what would happen, but it defaults to the radeon driver and chipset over the nvidia gpu as well so I’m just dead confused.

I know this is a pretty dated issue, but any nudge in the right direction would be appreciated.

Are you sure the gpu works, have you tested it on another machine?

I haven’t! I assumed that it was working since it was recognized so easily and was triggering the proper drivers to load. I have another PC I can test it on, but its my pfsense box so I have to set aside a second to take my network down.

Turns out it matters which slot a graphics card sits when it comes to pci. I suppose that makes sense, but after slotting it up the card works! Its not how I expect, as the card doesn’t kick in until after grub starts, but Its a fun addition!