I'm really surprised, enough that I felt compelled to post about it with a how-to.
I'm running Jaunty 64bit on a Thinkpad T60, which has a Core 2 Duo T7200 (2.0Ghz), 2GB DDR2, and ATI Mobility X1400 128mb (R500).
I made a few specific updates that have COMPLETELY changed the game, and the system runs better than I have ever seen it before... quick desktop performance, fluid scrolling, low GPU temp, low CPU utilization, and totally flicker-free Xv accelerated video under SMplayer/mplayer, even in Compiz. Flicker free even when scaling the window dynamically in the Compiz "scale" window switcher (similar to Expose in OSX). Suspend/resume work without any problems. I'm also getting ~2000 FPS in glxgears!
Here's what I did:
1. Ensure all normal Jaunty updates are done/current, including backports.
This guide assumes that you are already using the latest radeon build from the Jaunty repos and that everything is working normally.
2. Update manually to newer kernel.
The current Jaunty kernel is 2.6.28-11. This is ok, but there have been a number of updates in the newer 2.6.29 branch that are highly relevant to video. The next distro release, Karmic Koala, is on the 2.6.30 branch, so upgrading to a 2.6.29 kernel is an "intermediate" step between Jaunty and Karmic.
Ubuntu pre-packaged (.deb) kernel upgrades can be downloaded directly from the Ubuntu kernel team site here: http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/
The most recent build of the .29 branch (as of this post) is 126.96.36.199
. The two packages needed to do a manual upgrade are the "image" package and the "headers" package. Download the correct linux-image
package for your architecture, ending in _i386
for 32bit, or _amd64
for 64bit. Download the linux-headers
package ending in _all
, rather than the architecture-specific one.
Install both packages manually, and reboot.
NOTE: Manual kernel upgrade *MAY* break your system or disable certain devices if you have kernel modules compiled/loaded for specific devices. Many wireless drivers are like this. IF THE UPGRADED KERNEL BREAKS SOMETHING IMPORTANT, SIMPLY BOOT THE PREVIOUS KERNEL FROM THE GRUB BOOT MENU. No harm, no foul. You can uninstall the new kernel through Synaptic if it didn't work for you.
2nd NOTE: The Jaunty repos will not automatically provide security upgrades/updates for the new kernel. You will need to check the site periodically to see if there have been new kernel packages released in the .29 branch.
3. Add the Ubuntu-X team (stable) repository for automatic updates to latest stable radeon/drm/etc.
The Ubuntu X-SWAT repo is fantastic for new/stable upstream packages of various video drivers, including all of the the open source X video drivers (radeon, radeonhd, nv, intel, etc.), as well as new/stable Ubuntu packages of the proprietary fglrx and nvidia drivers. Updated DRM packages and a few input drivers are also in there.
Since upstream ongoing driver developments and releases (even stable releases) are rarely backported once an Ubuntu distro is released, this is the next best thing!
Ubuntu-X team site: https://launchpad.net/~ubuntu-x-swat
The Ubuntu X-Swat PPA: https://launchpad.net/~ubuntu-x-swat...ive/x-updates/
Add the Jaunty sources and the authentication key to your system, and you can use the Update Manager to upgrade to the newest stable builds.
NOTE: Current builds (as of this post) are radeon 6.12.2 and drm 2.4.9-1.
4. Add the SMPlayer and MPlayer repos that are recommended by the SMPlayer devs for Ubuntu. These are for much newer builds that support explicit (detected) Xv Textured Video outputs.
HD-quality video works great, but I found lower-res (SD) video to be a bit soft when scaled to full-screen, so I added a 3x3 unsharp filter to the MPlayer options within SMPlayer, which helped immensely. Refer to the docs on that one if you want to try it, or post in this thread and I can help.
I hope this assists someone... it worked perfectly for me but your experience may not be as ideal. I have not tried the driver and drm updates on the current .28 kernel, so I don't know if they work well that way or not. Post up and let me know what happens!