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Znupi
January 20th, 2009, 04:00 PM
Hi. I have an Ati Radeon X550 (512MB RAM) graphics card and, as you may or may not know, the official Ati drivers suck (in a metaphorical way). What I'm having most problems with is video: I can't get video acceleration for the life of me. Basically, xvimagesink doesn't work, only ximagesink does. Watching Flash videos on websites uses 100% CPU even though hardware acceleration is enabled in Flash (disabling it makes no difference whatsoever). Watching videos with slightly bigger resolution again uses 100% CPU and is choppy.

So, what I want to try, is to use the Ati community drivers. What I don't know is how to install / activate them. If I simply deactivate the official driver in System -> Administration -> Hardware Drivers? Or do I have to also install the community drivers afterwards?

Thanks :)

Bablefish
January 20th, 2009, 04:41 PM
Call this a warning...BE CAREFUL!!! I have and ATI card on the computer I run Ubuntu on and when I tried to install those drivers...at it did was crash my video drivers. I had no choice but to reinstall my OS. So be warned...

Melcar
January 20th, 2009, 05:31 PM
The open source drivers are installed by default. When you remove fglrx Ubuntu should automatically revert to using those drivers. Keep in mind that while these drivers will offer 2d/3d support for your particular card, they are only opengl1.3 and are on a good day half as fast as fglrx. Movie watching and similar should be fine however.

Znupi
January 20th, 2009, 05:48 PM
I came across this: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/RadeonDriver

So, after removing fglrx and using the opensource drivers, and after tweaking a bit xorg.conf, my first impressions are that it is much faster. Xvimagesink now works, so videos play a bit better (though really hi-res videos are still choppy -- I just downloaded an "HD" trailer from gametrailers.com and played it and after the first 20-30 seconds it became unwatchable). I have a feeling Compiz works faster, too (I didn't use it before because I felt it was too slow).

Flash videos are still horrendously slow. I have Gnash installed, but for some reason the "Manage Content Plug-ins" option in Firefox under Tools is disabled (grayed-out) so I can't try it :(.

Melcar
January 20th, 2009, 06:19 PM
HD videos will chew up your CPU. I think fglrx can accelerate HD content on some cards, but the open source drivers lack this feature. My laptop (2GHz Sempron , 200M IGP w/ radeon driver) can play 720p movies rather well, but the CPU is the one that does all the work.

Znupi
January 20th, 2009, 07:18 PM
I have an Intel Pentium DualCore 2.80 Ghz but it still doesn't cope with the 720p movies from gametrailers.com. Oh well, I can do without those, but the super slow Flash plugin still bugs me. And Gnash doesn't work with anything -- not even YouTube. Damn you Ati for not making proper drivers for my card!

Melcar
January 20th, 2009, 08:03 PM
What player are you using? I always found mplayer the best with its caching feature, specially when viewing large video files online. As for flash, try uninstalling/re-installing the plugin.

steefjeqv
January 20th, 2009, 11:35 PM
Hi,

Tormod Volden packages the most recent xorg-ati drivers for Ubuntu.

http://ppa.launchpad.net/tormodvolden/ubuntu/pool/main/x/xserver-xorg-video-ati/

https://wiki.ubuntu.com/XorgOnTheEdge

Enabling EXA will improve video playback.

Greetings,
Steven

Znupi
January 21st, 2009, 12:10 AM
I'm using Ubuntu's default, Totem. But, I find that Totem (Xine) is a lot better than GStreamer. No idea why, but it just works a lot better, videos aren't choppy at all. Also, I did try reinstalling the flash plugin, still painfully slow.

steefjeqv: thanks for the advice, but I think I'm going to stick with the stable drivers for now. And yes, I did enable EXA :)

Thanks :)

steefjeqv
January 21st, 2009, 07:17 AM
Hi,

Another thing which may improve video performance is using "Textured Video".

You'll have to edit the config file of .xine in your home folder.

# video display method preference
# { Any Overlay Textured Video }, default: 0
video.device.xv_preferred_method:Textured Video

# Xv port number
# numeric, default: 0
video.device.xv_port:yourtexturedportnumber

You can find your Xv port base number by using your terminal with xvinfo.

Greetings,
Steven

Znupi
January 21st, 2009, 01:33 PM
Thank you, but even with those changes I still can't view HD movies. It does feel a bit faster, though.

I guess I'll just have to be careful next time I buy a desktop PC to buy one with an nVidia graphics card. Too bad, Ati.