They are an implementation of OpenGL, but they are not allowed to say thatSo basically the flow of code may differ from the official implementation, but it is compatible. Although not licensed officially so they can't claim to be perfect and there is no warranty that it is indeed compatible with the OpenGL spec, but they are doing their best to do so and it is their only goal?
Hi! I'm also an end user that would just like his HP NC8430 laptop with ATI Radeon Mobility X1600 running cool and quiet. That's why I have decided to stick with Debian Lenny whose fglrx still supports my card and keeps the fan at the same running level (55%) as Windows XP. Newer distributions with new radeon drivers can get the fan only at their best at 70% (with correspondingly higher temperatures) and my unfortunate adventure with Fedora 11's KMS kept the fan running at 80% (noticeably loud).
If I only could flash the bios and set the default power state (core/memory clocks plus supposedly something else) I wouldn't have these problems, but ATI (or HP) in its all wisdom decided that the "medium" power state is a good compromise (that it is not in my opinion for a laptop that is supposed to run cool and consume little power). And searching for bios flashing guides made it seem that no-one has ever flashed their Mobility X1600 (I didn't find any evidence if it's even possible, at least not with the "standard" flashing tools but I would guess HP's bios updates also used to update the video bios).
Since I found Phoronix I guess I'll just keep coming back to see when the power management (probably in kernel) is implemented well enough to make the move to open drivers worthwhile. Until then I'm (practically forced to be) happy with my stable and cool Lenny (having low bandwidth makes constant updating of distributions like Arch also tiresome so this decision was anyway the right after having played with the likes of Arch Linux and sidux).
Sorry if this message is too much off topic but I just wanted to share this with you (again).
Nanonyme, I didn't understand what you meant with vendor defaults. Couldn't they be changed? I would be more than happy if the default core/memory frequencies were the lowest possible, then I wouldn't need KMS power management (though I'm sure it is good to have when it's ready to increase performance when needed). Anyway, KMS would still be just for linux. When I want to play with FreeDOS, for example, or just use anything that defaults to "no power management" like fresh windows installation, the computer gets really hot until I install the ATI drivers.
Flashing your video bios is a bad idea for a number of reasons. The video bios stores information specific to that particular card. Things like:
- connector tables (what connectors does your card have an how are they wired up)
- laptop panel mode timings
- board specific memory setup (not all oems use the same type, brand and speed vram; different vram chips require different setup)
- board specific power management information (max supported clocks, safe temperature ranges, board-specific thermal and fan control chip information)
- board specific voltage settings
- board specific asic init routines
- reference clocks and pll limits
The drivers use the information in the video bios information to set up the board dependent parts of the chip. You can see the potential problems with using the wrong bios.
Of course, there's a real possibility that you'll screw up and brick your system and that's not fun. At least on a desktop you can boot with a PCI card and restore a backup. On a laptop you'll have to do this blind (and pray that it works).
Moreover, I'd recommend exploring the capabilities of the GPU *thoroughly* with a modding tool before burning any permanent settings into the bios. Stuff like the lowest stable core/mem speeds for the resolutions you are using (don't forget to test multi-monitor setups, which have much higher requirements!) verified with something like furmark (yes, running furmark on the lowest power state will quickly reveal if you'll have stability problems later on). Also, don't forget to test whether dynamic switching from low->high power states work (and vice versa). Too high a jump in clockspeed will likely cause corruption.
I've successfully modded a X1950Pro and an HD4850 to lower the default clock and fan speed settings. My main concern was fan noise and the bios mod worked wonders for this.
Just note that this can and will brick your system if you are not careful (and sometimes even if you *are* careful), so you'll have to judge for yourself if you are willing to take the risk. If you have any concerns about bricking your system, my advice would be to avoid this. Better safe than sorry!
I'm fully aware of agd5f's concerns but I'm willing to take the risk, after all, my card has 3 official power states and all I want is to have PS1 as default (instead of PS2).