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Thread: Getting 9.3 Legacy to work on newest release

  1. #1
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    Default Getting 9.3 Legacy to work on newest release

    So I could totally be asking in the wrong place, but from all the places that I've looked, this one looks as good as any.

    So- From what I've read, the 9.3 Catalyst is supported up to the 2.6.28 kernel and x-server version 1.52.

    My poor laptop is running an ATI Radeon Xpress 1100 and REALLY REALLY wants to leave windoze for the newest Linux kernel. The open-source drivers for my card are not sufficient for media, so I've been trying to find a way to get the 9.3 Legacy Driver working on the newest releases (kernel 2.6.31? and xserver 1.6?).

    Since Linux and Xorg are open source, I figured that it is not outside the realm of possibility (for me anyways) to compile a version of each that will support both my card and the newer/sexier linux releases. Alternatively, if there was a way to repackage the 9.3 Legacy Driver so that it will utilize the newer versions of junk in an effective way, that would also be fine.

    Unfortunately, I am just now getting into the wonderfully intimate world of Linux and Xorg, so I am not as familiar with it as I would like to be; as such, if anyone has attempted to do something similar or if somebody has some tips on where to start I would love some advice OR discouragement.

  2. #2
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    1. When you say "the open source drivers for your card are not sufficient for media", what do you mean ? If by "media" you mean video playback I would expect the open source drivers to be *better* than Cat 9.3 for video playback.

    2. The Catalyst drivers include a "kernel compatibility layer" (KCL) provided in source code form, which is built against your kernel headers during installation. Simple changes in the kernel can be handled by modifying the code in the KCL, but I'm not sure that would be sufficient to jump from 2.6.28 to the newest kernel versions. I don't know anyone who has done that.

    Anyways, I do think the open source drivers are your best bet. Can you give a bit more info about your concerns with them ?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by bridgman View Post
    1. When you say "the open source drivers for your card are not sufficient for media", what do you mean ? If by "media" you mean video playback I would expect the open source drivers to be *better* than Cat 9.3 for video playback.

    2. The Catalyst drivers include a "kernel compatibility layer" (KCL) provided in source code form, which is built against your kernel headers during installation. Simple changes in the kernel can be handled by modifying the code in the KCL, but I'm not sure that would be sufficient to jump from 2.6.28 to the newest kernel versions. I don't know anyone who has done that.

    Anyways, I do think the open source drivers are your best bet. Can you give a bit more info about your concerns with them ?
    In 32-bit XP I'm getting better video quality with 9.3 legacy drivers than I am in 64-bit 9.10 Ubuntu. In multi-screen displays, about half of the desktop on the secondary monitor (in this case, an HDTV) doesn't clear its buffer (or it isn't buffering). Now, that could just be a problem with Ubuntu, but I had similar problems in XP (laptop came with cat 9.1 I believe) and the 9.3 driver solved all my problems. At the moment, it's just a gut feeling that they aren't working as well, I haven't run any real tests yet. I recall reading that the open source drivers do not provide full support for the card (just 2d rendering or something)- So I wanted to give the cat 9.3 a try.

    I'll see if I can find a decent cross platform benchmarking program and test the difference out.

  4. #4
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    There are some hardware limits in the GPU which show up in a multiscreen environment if the total screen area (all your monitors added together) is bigger than one of those limits. HDTVs tend to push past the total limit (2048 or 2560 IIRC) pretty quickly, but often if you use RandR to put one display "above" the other (rather than beside it) the total area fits within the hardware limits.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by bridgman View Post
    There are some hardware limits in the GPU which show up in a multiscreen environment if the total screen area (all your monitors added together) is bigger than one of those limits. HDTVs tend to push past the total limit (2048 or 2560 IIRC) pretty quickly, but often if you use RandR to put one display "above" the other (rather than beside it) the total area fits within the hardware limits.

    That's strange, because I don't get that problem at all when running in windows.

    After some further comparisons, I've discerned that the 9.3 Catalyst driver running on windows XP is... different. The open-source drivers perform panning operations much more efficiently, but otherwise fail in every other aspect, oftentimes stumbling and blipping here and there. Using the newest MPlayer-rc on both (though I know they're different in their own ways). I fooled around with many of the render strategies and options in mplayer to maximize display efficiency, but no matter how much I smooth out the wrinkles, the differences remain.

    I wanted to get into linux because it is lightweight and has 64 bit support (that I don't need to pay for or steal), thinking that would be enough of a marginal improvement to make up for the marginal incapacities of video playback on XP. But, I'm definitely not seeing a marginal improvement. So, hopefully, I can find a way to make that happen.

    I think I'm going to try booting an older version of Ubuntu and running the 9.3 Legacy Drivers on it, and compare it with the newest release. Though I'm pretty positive that my concern lies with the driver.

  6. #6
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    Windows uses a different screen management model from X - each screen has its own coordinate space and drawing commands are split across them. X and RandR work differently - one big drawing area shared by all screens.

    The fglrx driver has a big heap of code (Multiview) which allows multiple screens to have their own copy of the coordinate space and splits drawing commands across screens as required. The normal X stack doesn't have anything like that yet.

    I'm still surprised that you're finding image quality worse with the open source drivers than with fglrx. AFAIK most people have opposite results. Are you sure you're using -vo xv with mplayer ? Do you have a compositor running ? I believe Ubuntu enables desktop effects (ie Compiz) by default if the driver supports it. If Preferences -> Appearance -> Desktop Effects isn't set to None, try it there.
    Last edited by bridgman; 11-18-2009 at 10:32 PM.

  7. #7
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    Question Same issue different card

    I have the Xpress 200 and I know exactly what this guy means. I have been using linux about 10 years now so I have tried most of what I know how to do and talk to those who know more.

    The facts of life for the new legacy cards seem to be that we can get 3d and desktop effects working but we can't watch flash or movies because our dropped frame rate is to high. The movie player crash or loose sound and the flash is very pixilated as it plays.

    Also websites are displayed poorly, opensuse's forums which isn't a complex website to display, backgrounds on other sites and gradients just don't work as they should.

    The media play back is almost unusable on both the web and media players.


    List of effected cards
    The following products have been moved to the legacy software support structure (including Mobile and All-in-Wonder Variants):

    * ATI Radeon 9500 Series
    * ATI Radeon 9550 Series
    * ATI Radeon 9600 Series
    * ATI Radeon 9700 Series
    * ATI Radeon 9800 Series
    * ATI Radeon X300 Series
    * ATI Radeon X550 Series
    * ATI Radeon X600 Series
    * ATI Radeon X700 Series
    * ATI Radeon X800 Series
    * ATI Radeon X850 Series
    * ATI Radeon X1050 Series
    * ATI Radeon X1200 Series
    * ATI Radeon X1250 Series
    * ATI Radeon X1300 Series
    * ATI Radeon X1400 Series
    * ATI Radeon X1550 Series
    * ATI Radeon X1600 Series
    * ATI Radeon X1650 Series
    * ATI Radeon X1800 Series
    * ATI Radeon X1900 Series
    * ATI Radeon Xpress Series (Xpress200)
    * ATI Radeon X2100 Series

    Quote:
    source: Catalyst 9.4 - cchtml.com

    In few words: If you have a DirectX9 video card you are screwed up

    I have tried everything that I have found on the opensuse forums for this issue so far no one has a complete fix.

    I have found a way to get 3d, desktop effects, and sound to work at the same time. But that has left me with the media issue.

  8. #8
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    Question Possible problem (don't know yet)

    hp laptop with amd 2ghz cpu, 1g ram, 128mb Ati xpress 200m

    I have had about 5 good years of linux usage out of this laptop and now it seem that maybe over.

    I used Sax2 -r -m 0=ati to get 3d and desktop effects back. Along with my monitors full resolution, before that I was stuck with 1024 by 768.

    The only point of interest on my laptop seem to be the fact that I have two drivers load for the same card.
    hwinfo --gfxcard
    24: PCI 105.0: 0300 VGA compatible controller (VGA)
    [Created at pci.318]
    UDI: /org/freedesktop/Hal/devices/pci_1002_5955
    Unique ID: ul7N.lmNEbt8azKB
    Parent ID: vSkL.dQFUNbiC_g9
    SysFS ID: /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:01.0/0000:01:05.0
    SysFS BusID: 0000:01:05.0
    Hardware Class: graphics card
    Model: "ATI Radeon XPRESS 200M 5955 (PCIE)"
    Vendor: pci 0x1002 "ATI Technologies Inc"
    Device: pci 0x5955 "Radeon XPRESS 200M 5955 (PCIE)"
    SubVendor: pci 0x103c "Hewlett-Packard Company"
    SubDevice: pci 0x30a4
    Memory Range: 0xc0000000-0xcfffffff (rw,prefetchable)
    I/O Ports: 0x9000-0x9fff (rw)
    Memory Range: 0xb0100000-0xb010ffff (rw,non-prefetchable)
    Memory Range: 0xb0120000-0xb013ffff (ro,prefetchable,disabled)
    IRQ: 17 (1293 events)
    I/O Ports: 0x3c0-0x3df (rw)
    Module Alias: "pci:v00001002d00005955sv0000103Csd000030A4bc03sc0 0i00"
    Driver Info #0:
    XFree86 v4 Server Module: radeon
    Driver Info #1:
    XFree86 v4 Server Module: fglrx
    3D Support: yes
    Extensions: dri
    Config Status: cfg=no, avail=yes, need=no, active=unknown
    Attached to: #9 (PCI bridge)

    Primary display adapter: #24
    Run hwinfo --gfxcard in the terminal to find out if this is also happening on xpress 1100. spinsane

  9. #9
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    Default

    Weird. I got a 200M on my laptop running radeon and it works fine. Videos have a high CPU usage, but I guess that's expected from an integrated graphics unit (but even with the CPU at 800MHz I rarely get dropped frames). 3D performance is not that great (last time I bothered to compare it was about 50% that of Windows performance in 3D), but things like Compiz and some open source games (and recently even some 3D games under WINE) run fairly well. 2D performance and video quality are actually much better than fglrx could ever give me, and since 2D rendering and videos are the main uses of this laptop for me the driver is "good enough".

  10. #10
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    Nov 2009
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    Default I new I was forgeting something

    I just upgraded to opensuse 11.2 and the new kernel and xorg leave me without support from ATI. Why because they dumped our card to legacy support it seems. I could be wrong but thats the word on the street.

    What distro and version number are you using, I may have to try another distro for a time. I hope they will open source enough of the legacy cards spec for the open source community to write a drive that will work for our card.

    Quote Originally Posted by Melcar View Post
    Weird. I got a 200M on my laptop running radeon and it works fine. Videos have a high CPU usage, but I guess that's expected from an integrated graphics unit (but even with the CPU at 800MHz I rarely get dropped frames). 3D performance is not that great (last time I bothered to compare it was about 50% that of Windows performance in 3D), but things like Compiz and some open source games (and recently even some 3D games under WINE) run fairly well. 2D performance and video quality are actually much better than fglrx could ever give me, and since 2D rendering and videos are the main uses of this laptop for me the driver is "good enough".

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