I have an:
ATI Technologies Inc M24 1P [Radeon Mobility X600]
currently on Jaunty. I tried installing the 9.6 drivers, and I know it's not supported - this laptop is a litle over 3 years old, I figured I didn't have to check if my card was supported. That was my first mistake... So, I got a memory allocation error upon module insertion.
So, I uninstalled it and this is where it started getting weird. The open source Radeon driver wouldn't load by default even when I would specify it... and then X would just hang before the log in screen. I could still SSH into the machine, and top showed Xorg eating 100% CPU. The machine itself (other than SSH) was completely unresponsive to anything.
I figured maybe there were some left over ATI modules/crap in there, checked my xorg.conf, did the dpkg --purge, etc. - couldn't figure it out. The load I had on the machine was old, and alot of other people had been using it... so, I decided it was time for a re-install anyways. But, the problem persisted even after a clean install of Jaunty; which has worked flawlessly in the past. In fact, the livecd exhibited the same issue unless I specified "Safe Graphics Mode". Which of course left me using the VESA module.
I then began trying some more solutions, updated X (to the latest experimental PPA), tried Tormold's Radeon driver... nothing helped. Then I tried to use the LiveCD of Intrepid as a test, which had a version of X that was compatible with the last supported release of Catalyst for my card. However, Intrepid had the same issues. So... to satisfy my own morbid curiosity at this point, I started playing with Hardy. The radeon driver would actually load on Hardy, X started and seemed to be okay... However, the screen was filled with garbage - blocks of pixels would flash red. But, at least it was working... So, I tried to install the Catalyst 9.3 (last supported release) in Hardy... and I got the same garbage filled pixelation on the screen.
I've checked through log files and it showed no errors in loading the radeon module, in fact everything looked exactly as it should... but this all leaves me at a total loss. I'm stuck with the VESA module right now... and I'm starting to think that I somehow fried the card. My only option is to consider a hardware issue - although, then I should have some issues using VESA as well.
I'm totally open to suggestions at this point, because I have no idea... I have some logs and my xorg - pretty standard stuff though...
Has anyone even heard of something like this happening?
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: ATI Technologies Inc M24 1P [Radeon Mobility X600]
Subsystem: Hewlett-Packard Company Device 3082
Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0, IRQ 10
Memory at c0000000 (32-bit, prefetchable) [size=256M]
I/O ports at 4000 [size=256]
Memory at b0100000 (32-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=64K]
[virtual] Expansion ROM at b0120000 [disabled] [size=128K]
Capabilities:  Power Management version 2
Capabilities:  Express Endpoint, MSI 00
Capabilities:  Message Signalled Interrupts: Mask- 64bit+ Queue=0/0 Enable-
Capabilities:  Advanced Error Reporting <?>
Kernel modules: radeonfb