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ATI Readeon HD 4200 IGP + FOSS Radeon driver = very nice!

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hi, all -- I'm new here, but I'm a long-time Linux user. I've always used nvidia cards and proprietary drivers for 2D/3D acceleration, but I'm trading my nvidia card for some RAM, so I started tinkering around with my on-board HD4200 to make sure that I could live with it at least temporarily.

Well, imagine my surprise when it played a 1080p blu-ray rip FLAWLESSLY with the FOSS Radeon driver! And with one small option in xorg.conf it even plays 480p Hulu TEAR-FREE! I was just so tickled about it that I had to come share it with you guys (I do read through this forum every now and then and have picked up on some good info here --ty!).

The board is a MSI 785GT-E63, and it's running a stock OpenSUSE 11.4 install with the Xen kernel. The only things I've done is run updates, disable PulseAudio and add the following option to the xorg device section to take care of the tearing in Flash video:

Code:
Option "EXAVSync" "yes"
Software used:

Firefox 7.0.1
Flash 10.3
XBMC 10.1
KDE 4.6.0


Oh, and ProjectM in XBMC runs perfectly, as well, with XBMC in fullscreen 1080p@60Hz. My only complaint is that some KDE desktop effects like raising and lowering windows and some Flash things are choppy, e.g. the horizontal scrolling on the Hulu main page. I have 256MB RAM allocated to the VGA right now, so increasing that might help -- I haven't tried it yet. Nor have I tried the 64-bit Flash 11 beta yet in this system.

Overall, I'm quite pleased with its performance.
post #2 of 10
Having installed Xubuntu 11.04 on a family member's new AMD notebook with ATI GPU, I was also impressed with the video performance of the default FOSS driver.

However, the biggest disappointment is the 3D graphics performance, which is ridiculously slow for the Google Earth's and openGL/Wine DirectX 3D games of the world.

But, I give ATI props for their very Windows-like driver installer on their Driver Downloads site. Once launched, it looks/acts like a good old fashioned Windows GUI installer wizard, important for Linux noobs and Windows converts, and anyone less techinically inclined.

Last time I tried the Nvidia proprietary driver installer downloaded from nvidia.com, it was a terminal based text-mode installer that required xorg interaction and too many user questions for noobs. But this may have changed in recent releases, which I haven't tried. I just use the Nvidia driver provided by the Hardware Driers applet in System>Administration in recent vintage Ubuntu/Mint releases.

If the ATI FOSS driver ups the 3D performance, and the proprietary driver adds GPU accelerated video playback, we'll be golden

I wonder if the xorg option

Quote:
Option "EXAVSync" "yes"

works in the proprietary driver?
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
I'm fairly certain that option is specific to the FOSS driver, but the proprietary driver's ATI CCC does have a "tear-free" option which, for me, produced perfect desktop effects but still had tearing in Flash video. I had to ditch fglrx to use the Xen kernel, anyway.

And, yeah, the nvidia installer is still text-based, and you have to shut down the display manger to run it.

As an update to my previous post, I have since installed Hulu Desktop in order to test its performance. I haven't changed the video RAM setting, but I had to load up the 64-bit Flash 11b to get it to work (Firefox is still using 10.3). I set it to start up in fullscreen, and aside from some initial flickering on startup due, I'm sure, to the desktop effects it runs very well: the UI is smooth, and the video does not tear at all.

I'll test DVD upscaling next.

EDIT: "perfect desktop effects" really means "ACCEPTABLE desktop effects". I noticed this after comparing it with my nvidia card again.
post #4 of 10
Just out of curiosity, did OpenSUSE 11.4 actually have an xorg.conf file or did you have to create one from scratch?

The reason I'm curious is because every distro I've looked at in the last couple of years has switched to the "configureless" model and not had an xorg.conf file. So if you need to change anything you have to create an xorg.conf file from scratch.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac The Knife View Post

Just out of curiosity, did OpenSUSE 11.4 actually have an xorg.conf file or did you have to create one from scratch?

The reason I'm curious is because every distro I've looked at in the last couple of years has switched to the "configureless" model and not had an xorg.conf file. So if you need to change anything you have to create an xorg.conf file from scratch.

No, it uses xorg.conf.d which is new to me, but I like it:

Code:
xenbox:~ # ls /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d
10-evdev.conf   50-monitor.conf    50-vmmouse.conf
11-mouse.conf   50-screen.conf     50-wacom.conf
50-device.conf  50-synaptics.conf  90-keytable.conf
xenbox:~ # 
xenbox:~ # cat /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-device.conf
Section "Device"
  Identifier "Default Device"

  Driver "radeon"
  #Driver "fglrx"
  Option "EXAVSync" "yes"

  ## Required magic for radeon/radeonhd drivers; output name
  ## (here: "DVI-0") can be figured out via 'xrandr -q'
  #Option "monitor-DVI-0" "Default Monitor"

EndSection
xenbox:~ #
post #6 of 10
From something I wrote elsewhere (with grammar/spelling mistake corrections thrown in as an added bonus!):

Xorg has moved, away from requiring a xorg.conf file, to an automatic configuration of hardware. However, to address cases where "automagic" configuration fails, users can:
  • tailor configurations via the particular .conf files contained in the /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/ directory, or
  • similar as to the case in the past, fall back to the classic/legacy method of using an xorg.conf file to set up their hardware with their X environment
The Xorg configuration precedence is:

xorg.conf file (if specified)

> /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/nn-yyyyy.conf files (if specified) > automatic Xorg configuration
post #7 of 10
How timely this is. I am trying to get my Gateway tablet with an ATI GPU up and running. Also, I just bought a 5770. I was going to use it just for Windows gaming and use my GT240 for everything else. It sounds like I may not need to.
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
@Ericglo: I would be interested to hear how your tablet install goes.

I tested DVD upscaling yesterday (read: SD video post-processing) using the settings available in XBMC. During playback, it defaults to "Bilinear" which works fine, and "Nearest Neighbor" works fine, also. Everything else drops the framerate to 10 FPS: "Bicubic", "Lanczos2", and "Lanczos3 optimized". None of these methods hit my CPU at all, and increasing the amount of video RAM available has no effect, so it's either a limitation in the driver or the GPU itself. I'll eventually test it in XBMC for Windows just to satisfy my own curiosity.

Again, though, these performance results are acceptable to me.
post #9 of 10
It may be awhile. For some reason, the ATI chip isn't recognized. It looks like it is in BIOS, but neither Windows or Linux sees it. It may be a hardware issue, as I bought this mobo off of ebay reseller. I will have a friend take a look at the hardware when he comes down in a week or two.

Right now, I need to settle on a distro. I just bought a new mobo for my desktop (Biostar Z68). I want to get that up and running. When that happens I plan on playing with all three graphics chips.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
UPDATE: tested in Win7x64 using the latest ATI driver. While XBMC doesn't show any framedrops using "Lanczos3 optimized", the playback is still unacceptably choppy. So, I have concluded that the GPU simply can't handle it.
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