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Thread: ATi Open drivers are coming of age... :)

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    Join Date
    Nov 2005

    ATi Open drivers are commmming of age... :)

    - deleted redundant data 24-August-10. Added Gallium link 26-October-10. Added Fan Control 15-November-10. Power Management how-to re-added on 22-November-10. Refined the Ubuntu Stuff how-to & updated due to progress on the North Island GPU 13-3-11. Made note of the acceptance of Gallium as the default open-source AMD driver stack, & added link to benchmark & discussion on the topic - 9-June-11. Updated text, added a links which provides detailed Catalyst removal instructions; courtesy of Temüjin - 11-June-11. Over the last couple of months I've picked up about 400fps in (the not a benchmark) glxgears, on my HD2600 Pro, which is nice - 24-August-11.

    For anyone interested in seeing just how the open-source support is coming along for the various ATi cores, this is the easiest way to get the picture:

    The following link is available on the above page but here is the Gallium stuff anyway:

    [edit:] Now that the Gallium driver stack has taken over, the information on the "Classic Mesa" stack is basically redundant for the many.

    Following is a link to a very worthwhile read from the Phoronix site. At the current time of writing, it brings us up to date:

    May 2011: Gallium3D vs. Classic Mesa vs. Catalyst

    I thought that I probably should put the following information out here in a dedicated thread, for those that aren't aware of what is going on with the AMD/ATi open-source drivers:

    Because AMD/ATi's Catalyst drivers have been so unreliable, it has caused & is causing a great deal of work to go into the ATi open-source drivers & associated packages.

    The oft neglected reality, is that AMD have been releasing technical info' on the ATi GPUs, & contributing some code. Without AMD having done this, the open-source ATi drivers would not be developing at the rapid rate that they currently are. So in this regard, gratitude to AMD is most certainly in order.

    The current open-source ATi GPU drivers are giving many people the best 2D performance they have ever had on their ATi GPU's, I can verify this because I'm one of them. At this stage the 3D is working well but still too slow for games with sophisticated 3D graphics & lots of movement. Though the quake engined games play quite well with the open source packages.

    Since AMD released the tech' info' for the Evergreen & now the (current) North Island series of GPUs, work has been moving fast & now at last the open-source support for the current ATi GPUs is starting to manifest.

    Ubuntu 11.4. is using the Gallium driver stack, the classic Mesa is now deprecated.
    For users that want to use later versions of the kernel &/or the Gallium driver stack, there is a simple how-to in the "Ubuntu Stuff:" section further down the page.

    I'll continue to put any links that I find to be useful on this topic here:

    Arch stuff:

    Arch ATi how-to from the wiki, quite informative:

    Ubuntu stuff:
    For Ubuntu users, this is a how-to for upgrading your kernel & the rest of the driver stack so you can use the latest git versions, which usually offer added features & better performance than those supplied in the most current Ubuntu version.

    This how-to is now followed by another for getting Power Management working courtesy of a post in this thread by Untitled_No4:

    Do the following in the order listed:

    1. System -> Hardware Drivers -> Deactivate any ATI drivers and restart. (If you need more detailed instructions on this go here.)

    2. Go to
    & pick the version of the kernel you want to use, (I am on Arch & using the current kernel .**-git & the -git versions of the other required packages with no problems. So keeping an eye on the last parts of this thread should let you know if there are any current problems).

    3. Download and execute the following (in this order, switch to 64 if need be)
    - linux-headers...all.deb
    - linux-headers..generic..i386.deb
    - linux-image....i386.deb

    4. Restart

    5. Add the xorg-edgers PPA (

    6. update & upgrade:

    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
    7. Reboot.

    8. Profit.

    Power Managment:

    With KMS:
    There are two sys-files in /sys/class/drm/card0/device:
    power_method: Here you can switch between dynpm and profile method.
    power_profile: If you have enabled profile method you can choose between default low, high and auto (select between low and high based on ac/dc state)
    For example: echo profile > /sys/class/drm/card0/device/power_method

    Without KMS:

    In your xorg.conf file, add 2 lines to "Device" Section:
    Option "DynamicPM" "on"
    Option "ClockGating" "on"
    If the two options are enabled successfully, you will see following lines in /var/log/Xorg.0.log:
    (**) RADEON(0): Option "ClockGating" "on"
    (**) RADEON(0): Option "DynamicPM" "on"
    Static power management enable success
    (II) RADEON(0): Dynamic Clock Gating Enabled
    (II) RADEON(0): Dynamic Power Management Enabled
    If you desire low power cost, you can add an extra line to "Device" Section of xorg.conf:
    Option "ForceLowPowerMode" "on"

    Thanks to Perry3D at the Arch forum for the above.

    A Free Way to Cool OFF Your Stock ATi/AMD GPU:

    (thanks to tomazzi & olof_ for bringing the above to my attention )

    About/identify your AMD/ATi GPU:

    This page contains information about Radeon chipset naming, and some other, possibly outdated information:
    Last edited by handy; August 23rd, 2011 at 09:32 PM. Reason: Updating links & info'

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