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Thread: Catalyst 9.10: ATICONFIG powerplay/powerstates? (4870x2 - Ubuntu 9.10 x64)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Default Catalyst 9.10: ATICONFIG powerplay/powerstates? (4870x2 - Ubuntu 9.10 x64)

    Hi all,

    My first post here =)!

    Let me write a brief introduction before I refer to the problem I have:

    I just installed Ubuntu 9.10 x64 on my main build (the one I use for gaming) along with Windows 7 Professional x64 (was already installed).

    I also installed latest Catalyst drivers for Ubuntu x64 (Catalyst 9.10 / fglrx version 8.661) by bulding all the packages with the installer provided by ATI on their website (with the option --buildpkg Ubuntu/karmic). I then ran aticonfig --initial -f and had no problems at all after reboot: 3d accel working, compiz, etc.

    The build's graphics card is a stock ATI 4870x2 reference design with its original reference cooler.

    I have modified and flashed the BIOS of the card (let's better say both bioses MASTER and SLAVE) to get better temps and lower power consumption by editing the 2D powerstate (underclocking): reference BIOS has its 2D settings at 507Mhz Core / 500Mhz Memory at 1.0625 volts for both cores, whereas mine runs in 2D at 200Mhz Core / 200Mhz Memory at 0.9625 volts for both cores. This results in a 10C drop for both cores and about 20W~50W saving while on desktop. 3D powerstate remains the same (reference), at 750Mhz Core / 900 Mhz memory at 1.2625 volts for both cores.

    Now, in Windows (any Windows such as XP, Vista, 7 x86 or x64), with Catalyst 9.10 installed (and no other third party software installed!), POWERPLAY works correctly: the card works in its 2D state while on the desktop (200Mhz core / 200Mhz mem) so the temps are quite low (below 70 on both cores) and the card's fan stays at its lowest setting by default (27% or 1300RPM) and remains unnoticeable/inaudible.
    When running any 3D app, 3D state kicks in (750Mhz core / 900Mhz mem) and the card becomes a lot more noisy as temps reach easily 90-95C on both cores and fan speeds up (above 40 or 50%, reaching 3000RPM or even more, which is noticeable). Once back to desktop, the 2D powerstate is once again active and the card cools down and becomes almost silent again. This 2D/3D behavior is the same for any ATI graphics card (also NVIDIA i think) so the Bios tweak I did shouldn't be a problem, it is just an underclock in 2D mode for power saving.

    Okay, in Ubuntu 9.10 x64, using the display driver fglrx, it seems that the card is always set to stay in 3D state (750 core/900 mem), thus making a lot of noise while on linux desktop, which is quite annoying, and also a complete waste of power. This is what I get with the usual aticonfig commands:

    $aticonfig --list-adapters
    * 0. 03:00.0 ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2
    1. 04:00.0 ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2
    ---
    $aticonfig --adapter=0 --od-getclocks

    Adapter 0 - ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2
    Core (MHz) Memory (MHz)
    Current Clocks : 750 900
    Current Peak : 750 900
    Configurable Peak Range : [200-800] [200-1000]
    GPU load : 0%
    ---
    $ aticonfig --adapter=0 --od-gettemperature

    Adapter 0 - ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2
    Sensor 0: Temperature - 91.00 C
    ---
    $aticonfig --pplib-cmd "get fanspeed 0"
    Fan speed query:
    Query Index: 0, Speed in percent
    Result: Fan Speed: 38% <---- Loud!
    ---
    $ aticonfig --pplib-cmd "get temperature 0"
    Temperature for thermal controller 0 is 91.000000
    ---
    $ aticonfig --pplib-cmd "get activity"
    Current Activity is Core Clock: 750MHZ <---- 3D powerstate!
    Memory Clock: 900MHZ <---- 3D powerstate!
    VDDC: 1250 <---- 3D powerstate!
    Activity: 0 percent
    Performance Level: 0
    Bus Speed: 5000
    Bus Lanes: 16
    Maximum Bus Lanes: 16
    ---

    With the overdrive options of aticonfig I can modify the clocks of the card but not the voltage of the cores (VDDC), so I type:

    $aticonfig --adapter=0 --od-setclocks=200,200
    ---
    $ aticonfig --pplib-cmd "get temperature 0"
    Temperature for thermal controller 0 is 83.50000 <--Should be below 70
    ---
    $aticonfig --pplib-cmd "get fanspeed 0"
    Fan speed query:
    Query Index: 0, Speed in percent
    Result: Fan Speed: 35% <---- STILL Loud!
    ---
    $ aticonfig --pplib-cmd "get activity"
    Current Activity is Core Clock: 200MHZ
    Memory Clock: 200MHZ
    VDDC: 1250 <---- 3D powerstate!
    Activity: 0 percent
    Performance Level: 0
    Bus Speed: 5000
    Bus Lanes: 16
    Maximum Bus Lanes: 16
    ---

    This brings a little down the temps but not the power consumption nor the fan speed, mainly because the voltage stays at 1.25V (the card is still on its 3D powerstate). What I am doing here is changing the clocks but not the POWERPLAY powerstate, which is what I want, just the same way the card behaves under Windows.

    Trying to switch powerstates with aticonfig options (Catalyst 9.10) as I read in many sites (such as Ati unofficial wiki for linux) seems to be useless (deprecated or just gone?):

    $ aticonfig --lsp
    aticonfig: unrecognized option '--lsp'
    aticonfig: parsing the command-line failed.
    ---
    $ aticonfig --list-powerstates
    aticonfig: unrecognized option '--list-powerstates'
    aticonfig: parsing the command-line failed.
    ---
    $ aticonfig --set-powerstate=1
    aticonfig: unrecognized option '--set-powerstate=1'
    aticonfig: parsing the command-line failed.
    ---

    As you can see, I am stuck in 3D state on Linux desktop, which makes the PC very noisy (even at 200/200 BUT 1.25V instead of 0.96V), and also wastes a lot of power.

    So my question is, is there ANY way to make the card behave as in Windows, where POWERPLAY works flawlessly (that is, as SET in the graphics card bios!), I mean 2D clocks while in desktop, 3D clocks while running 3D app?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Merida
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    Default

    This little app works really well as far as changing clocks. Can't test the fan control since my card is under water, but it should work. Last I heard the app. should work fine with X2 cards as well. While it won't give you automatic control for the card, you should be able to control it manually and even confirm if the card switches from low power mode to 3D mode.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Madrid, Spain
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    Thanks for replying so fast!

    I just tested the app (works nice!) and helped to reduce temps a little more as now i can lower the voltage to 1.0V which is great. It's still not exactly what I would like, but it's a great beginning!

    I think the second GPU still runs at it's default 3D speeds but there's no way I can see it (except for the temps), aticonfig won't let manage it's clocks or voltages.

    I'll keep testing it though, hope I can help improving it!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    2

    Default

    hello.. I cant install drivers for my gpu(4870x2)..
    Can you guide me what i have to do?

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