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ATi driver improvement on the horizon!

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man aug 27 2007, 16:54 Vis Udskrift


Oprettet: tor feb 08 2007, 17:58
Indlæg: 1049
ATi driver improvement on the horizon!
Written by davecs
Wednesday, 18 July 2007

After my last blog on 28th June, I was persuaded to try the "unstable" video stuff again on my laptop. I have since discovered that I can get it working with Beryl. There was a bit of trial and error, but the change that worked was one in the control centre to use "EXA". By unchecking it, Beryl runs on my laptop (using the xorg ati driver). Not only that, it runs better.

And there's more: I can suspend to RAM and hibernate to Disk with Beryl running, and the laptop returns correctly when restarted. Let's hope that we can get all the xorg stuff together, and soon.

Indeed the improved drivers being prepared for xorg 7.3 made quite a difference. The "glxgears" fps went from around 1500 fps with the drivers currently used, to around 1900 fps with the updated ones. There is also a new package, dkms-drm, which builds a kernel module which makes the userspace drivers work even better. I'm not technical enough to explain why, but it squeezes the glxgears fps to just over 2000fps. It is reported that the ati driver also includes some cards that were supported neither by the ati proprietary fglrx drivers, nor the xorg ati drivers. So when all this arrives in "stable" for you to update, I would hope that ati users will experience a huge performance lift and some ati users will have 3D performance for the first time!

It remains to be seen whether these drivers will have a positive effect on other cards. It would be nice if we could run SiS630 systems without the workaround outlined in the forum. It's a shame I'm no longer able to test this, I hope maybe that once the new stuff is released that CO can put these new video drivers through their paces. Similarly people with other video chipsets.

I explained last time how I duplicated my main PCLOS partition to create a testing one. Its main purpose was to test those same video drivers and improvements on my desktop. The problem is that it's nVidia and probably doesn't use them. I also installed Gettinther's rpms for Compiz Fusion on that partition. I have to say it's impressive. Getting it up and running can be a pain. On startup of Compiz Fusion, you soon find that the Kicker Pager - Compiz applet sets things out wrongly, and you have to adjust the Desktops and the number of Viewports (and back again) to make the Windows in the pager work correctly. As far as I can tell, the biggest problem with Compiz Fusion is about starting it and exiting from the desktop afterwards. Running it seems solid most of the time, and most of the effects work as expected, and there are some good ones too!

For some reason, there is an occasional freeze (with moving cursor) however. This reminds me of days gone by with the nvidia drivers.

Gettinther wanted me to test the Compiz-Fusion stuff with "ATi" xorg drivers. So I ran the laptop off my USB pen drive that I made in the last blog entry. This boots to an expanded Live PCLinuxOS, and the extras include Partition Image (aka partimage). I was able to archive the disk image on the laptop, so I could later restore it if anything goes wrong. I then carried out his instructions and installed Compiz-Fusion on the laptop. I'm glad to say that it works. Not only that, you are able to exit KDE cleanly by the normal, conventional means. With my particular laptop, I do get errors in Compiz which were also present when I use Beryl. The main one is that "glxgears", and the "screen" in Kaffeine and KMplayer do not rotate with the cube, they stay put and break up, though they work on my Desktop.

At least with the ATi desktop, you can exit normally with Compiz-Fusion running.

We also have a kernel in our unstable area at the moment. Early signes are that it's good. The 2.6.20 series had a fault: if you have the virtualbox module running in the background, laptops do not suspend or hibernate properly. They seem to go in an infinite loop. With the 2.6.22 kernel that problem has been resolved. However, "hibernate" seems to disappear from he KLaptop icon menu. I was able to "force" a hibernation by entering this line in a terminal:

klaptop_acpi_helper --hibernate

and on my laptop it worked. So I don't know why KLaptop won't use it?

Anyway it's late here, and I'm feeling tired...
2007-08-08 00:14:11 ati drivers
2007-07-19 09:17:25 Video Drivers
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