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ATI's Linux drivers

Discussion in 'Linux / Unix Discussion' started by ffreeloader, Apr 30, 2008.

  1. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    absolutely suck.

    I spent most of the evening fighting with ATI's drivers trying to get even minimal performance out of them along with hardware acceleration. It was impossible.

    Basic graphics performance in Gnome was so bad that to scroll down a page in Firefox, or any other application I tried, was so slow as to be completely unusable. Using the down arrow on the scroll bar in Firefox caused the page to scroll at about 1/8 of an inch every 4-5 seconds. You could watch the refresh line scroll down the screen it was so slow. In Evolution or Thunderbird scrolling down the list of folders in the inbox would cause all the names of the folders to run together.

    Trying to use the mouse wheel for scrolling was impossible. The pages simply wouldn't scroll. After fighting with this for some time I finally found a couple of conversations between Ubuntu developers and it seems that this type of performance is typical of ATI's proprietary drivers for quite a few of ATI's newer GPU's.

    ATI really needs to get it together. It's a major gamble to buy an ATI card if you run Linux as you never really know what performance will be like until you get the card into your system, and when it's bad, it's really, really, really bad.
     
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  2. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    It's just another conspiracy. ATI is actually in bed with Microsoft, keepin' the man down.
     
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  3. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

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    :biggrin man that make me laugh out loud.

    Why would your graphics drivers affect the ability to scroll with the mousewheel?
     
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  4. ThomasMc

    ThomasMc Gigabyte Poster

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    the Via Chipsets aren't all that better, I've just picked up a Inno3D iChill 7600GT DDR3 its a bit OTT but wanted to play it safe lol, @Fergal I dont think its affecting the mouse wheel speed but the GFX card is struggling to make the screen move up and down
     
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  5. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    Wow. Didn't think I'd be having to explain this to anyone.... :eek:

    Uhhhh.... Gui's are all graphics....
     
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  6. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

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    yeah, but whether your mouse scrollwheel moves the page up and down isnt controlled by the Graphics card. How it renders may be, but not the actual function.
     
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  7. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    You'd be surprised. A screen scroll is often programmed as a 'Bit Blit'. You can either do it the hard way and program it yourself, or ask the hardware to do it. If the hardware won't do it then you need to simulate this in software, which can be amazingly slow.

    Harry.
     
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  8. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    That's right. The graphics card's job is to render graphics. Changing from ATI's drivers to the Xorg open source driver returned me to normal functionality. The scroll arrows and scrolling with the mouse wheel now function normally, i.e. it doesn't take several seconds to scroll an 1/8th of an inch of screen real estate. I don't have hardware rendering or 3D acceleration with them, but at least my system is usable again.

    I don't know that I've ever seen such poor graphics rendering by any card, including cards built-in motherboards. This card is a PCI Expressx16 2.0 card in a PCI Expressx16 2.0 slot, has 512 megs of ram, a 600 mhz GPU, and with the drivers the manufacturer writes the performance is so bad the system is unusable.
     
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  9. Suttar

    Suttar Byte Poster

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    In the spirit of the board, just explaining what you meant would be a nicer approach.:rolleyes:
     
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  10. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

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    so... to clarify then, when you said:

    what you actually meant, was:

    Can you see why I misunderstood you? Your initial comment implies that it simply didnt work. not an inch of movement was gained by scrolling.
     
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  11. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    LOL. You mean you misunderstand a sentence which I can't understand myself? And here I thought you were smart.... :biggrin

    I musta been having a brain fart.... :rolleyes:
     
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  12. Gaz 45

    Gaz 45 Kilobyte Poster

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    At least you get a screen!
    Installed Hardy Heron a couple of days ago, booted in, all fine, then enabled the ATI restricted drivers.
    After the mandatory restart, all I get is a blank screen!

    Tempted to dig out my old Green FX5900 XT (current card is a Red X1950 Pro) and see if that's any better.
     
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  13. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

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    no, thats senility im afraid. :biggrin
     
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  14. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    Go take a look at the Xorg logs after a failed xserver start, from a console (CTRL>Alt>F1 to F6). They are in /var/log, and should have a naming convention like Xorg.0.log, at least that's the naming convention in Debian, and the older logs normally have .1, .2.tgz, etc... tacked onto them. Each boot attempt creates a new log. I normally use "less" to view them so I can scroll back and forth through the logs.
     
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  15. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    In my experience ATI drivers are always crap, another vote for NVidia ! :biggrin

    Don't worry freddy I understood you perfectly ! Yeah software bitblt's suck, I remember playing with the software only driver for direct X once, nasty...
     
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  16. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    I have an Express 200M in my HP laptop, and ATI has the kinks pretty much worked out in the 2D drivers. 3D acceleration still sucks and Compiz won't run at all, but at least I don't get black screens and get locked out of alternate consoles now.

    It only took ATI about 3 years to get the drivers for that card to where 2D works....
     
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  17. Gaz 45

    Gaz 45 Kilobyte Poster

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    Not working I'm afraid Freddy, won't go to a console whatever I press :(
    Tried it in both a Wubi install & now a native install, identical behaviour from both.


    Update: I've now loaded up a Live CD version of Hardy, so I can access the files of the proper install. Can't see what's wrong though.
    A few forums I've seen have suggested xorg.conf might be missing the line DefaultDepth 24, but it's present in mine...
     
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  18. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    When Grub loads choose the single user/maintenance option to boot into. That should run the system without the gui starting up causing the video drivers to be loaded, and then you should be able to access the log files.

    In Debian what happens is you're asked for root's password when it reaches the login stage, and then dumped into a console. You can then just "cd" into /var/log/, use "ls | grep Xorg" to find the file names, and then just use "less filename" to view the file.
     
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  19. Gaz 45

    Gaz 45 Kilobyte Poster

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    Cheers Freddy, back on my install proper now.
    Booted into Recovery mode through GRUB, chose the root prompt option, then did

    apt-get remove xorg-driver-fglrx

    then

    dpkg-reconfigure -phigh xserver-xorg

    then reboot.

    All working fine now, running on the built-in Ubuntu drivers rather than the ATI restricted ones. Think I'll keep it that way, looks like no 3D for me though!
     
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  20. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    Not unless you change to a NVidia card anyway. ATI is just a crap shoot with their drivers.
     
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