Radeon and dual display problem driving me mad on 11.2

Hallo, hoping someone more knowledgeable might be able to help me with a display problem. I recently built a machine that uses an Asus motherboard with an onboard Radeon 4200 chipset, and loaded Opensuse 11.2 and the proprietary ATI graphics module. Everything appears to be fine with the installation, but a couple of very frustrating issues remain getting the displays to work as I want them to, assuming it’s even possible…
It is primarily a desktop PC, and the main monitor is an Asus VW224, connected by DVI, but it also sees occasional use as a media PC through a long VGA cable connecting it to a LCD television in another room (both displays are always connected). What I basically want it to do is display everything from POST onward to the DVI output, and clone the desktop to the VGA output (doesn’t matter if this isn’t until X is started) so that if the television is switched on it will show whatever’s on the desktop. It is important to note that the native resolution of the 2 displays is different, so first prize would be to have the graphics chipset output different resolutions, but otherwise history suggests the television will display the output okay if it’s not at native resolution.
The behaviour I currently get is:
If the television is switched on (even if someone’s watching a broadcast and it’s not using VGA as the input) - no POST, no nothing on the monitor (DVI) until the display modules are loaded.
If the television is off, but the cable still connected, it POSTS through DVI, but vanishes as soon as it starts loading the kernel, and returns once the display modules are loaded.
Under no circumstances (through the ATI control centre at least), can I see any support for mirrored displays running at different resolutions, and to send media content to the television at the moment is a long convoluted process of going into the ATI control centre as root, changing the primary display, and changing the screen resolution, which is just too complicated and dangerous for the intended users.

Is there any way to simply set the DVI monitor as primary in all cases (I couldn’t find anything in the BIOS), and the VGA output as a mirrored secondary with this graphics chipset? It was dead easy to get it to work properly on the Windows / Nvidia machine it replaced. Has anyone tried this with any success with a Nvidia card - I’d just get one if it solved the problem…?