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Switching to AMD Catalyst Legacy Driver (12.6)
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BobWya
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 5:21 pm    Post subject: Switching to AMD Catalyst Legacy Driver (12.6) Reply with quote

Hi all,

A bit of a noob here... Finally got my KDE install up and running on my notebook. I had to revert back from using the ati-drivers to the FOSS radeon driver (due to errors starting X with Catalyst). Anyway I was planning to have another crack at getting the ati-drivers (legacy 12.6) to work.

My notebooks Radeon HD 4650M card has 2 power states (low and meltdown). The radeon driver never switches to the GPU to the lower power state - if I force it to then little things like Desktop composition completely break... Just in case anyone thinks it's a good idea to go with RMS solution... 8)

So i was planning to:
  • revert back to kernel 3.3.8 (currently using 3.5.0) - 'cause I know AMD aren't so hot at supporting new kernels :(
  • revert back x11-base/xorg-server-1.12.3 to something like xorg-server-1.10.6-r1

Sound reasonable? I can't find anything recent in the Gentoo wiki or docs about installing the ATI driver (let alone the new legacy driver). So I'm basing my info on the Arch wiki... :)

Thanks
Bob
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jasn
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What you suggest should work, but you can check out the following things too;

The AMD/ATI proprietary driver, fglrx, has an Unofficial Wiki homepage here, as well as the current driver's requirements page here, and finally the Gentoo Installation guide here, which is pretty up to date. Additionally there's this post from the Archlinux forums that points out that the 12.6 drivers should work with kernel 3.5 and xorg-server 1.12, so you may not need to downgrade.

Finally, I've run the open source radeon driver on my 6970M laptop for some time now, using the driver's KMS Power Management Options to force the GPU to use the mid profile, and I've never seen any composition breakdown under either KDE 4.5 or Gnome 3, but maybe there's something new introduced in the latest KDE that I've missed. (I run Gnome 3 and XFCE now..)

Good Luck..
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BobWya
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jasn wrote:
What you suggest should work, but you can check out the following things too;

The AMD/ATI proprietary driver, fglrx, has an Unofficial Wiki homepage here, as well as the current driver's requirements page here, and finally the Gentoo Installation guide here, which is pretty up to date. Additionally there's this post from the Archlinux forums that points out that the 12.6 drivers should work with kernel 3.5 and xorg-server 1.12, so you may not need to downgrade.

Finally, I've run the open source radeon driver on my 6970M laptop for some time now, using the driver's KMS Power Management Options to force the GPU to use the mid profile, and I've never seen any composition breakdown under either KDE 4.5 or Gnome 3, but maybe there's something new introduced in the latest KDE that I've missed. (I run Gnome 3 and XFCE now..)

Good Luck..


Thanks I didn't realise the legacy driver was out of beta now -even better! I am not sure I can trust that Arch thread because they are talking about newer cards (>HD 6xxx) which are serviced by mainline Catalyst not the legacy support version...

The problem with the HD 4650M is (like I mentioned) it only has 2 power profiles (LOW and "MELTDOWN") - the card doesn't support a mid-profile... Using the radeon driver on my notebook results in the heatsink being constantly boiling hot and the fan is constantly on (as though I was playing a 3D game). That is even if I am only logged into a TTY console with no X-Session!! Also much as I am impressed with the development speed of the radeon driver it can't (yet) compete with Catalyst for running D3D games in Wine e.g. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.:SOC runs at 1/6 of the FPS and shadows are just blobs.

Anyway I'll try what I've got and revert back if required!! 8)

Thanks
Bob
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chithanh
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The legacy ati-drivers are in portage, the version is 12.6_beta_pre897.
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BobWya
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

chithanh wrote:
The legacy ati-drivers are in portage, the version is 12.6_beta_pre897.


Yeh I was trying an earlier version of these previously. I'll maybe wait till they stabilise (in Portage) before making the switch... I forgot that the .ebuild specifies the xorg-server version(s) supported by Catalyst (<=xorg-server-1.12.49)...

Bob
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jasn
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It looks like the problem with the open source radeon driver's power management and the 4000HD series is something that's been a source of frustration for others, as described in this Phoronix thread. The good news is that a post from that thread linked to this bugzilla report that seems to provide some hope that this will get addressed in a future version of the driver.

Good Luck..
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BobWya
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jasn wrote:
It looks like the problem with the open source radeon driver's power management and the 4000HD series is something that's been a source of frustration for others, as described in this Phoronix thread. The good news is that a post from that thread linked to this bugzilla report that seems to provide some hope that this will get addressed in a future version of the driver.

Good Luck..


Yeh, actually the issue comes up quite a lot on Phoronix... Poor old Mr Bridgeman seems to catch quite a lot of flack :wink:

There's nothing concrete in the pipeline yet for the FOSS driver. I won't be holding my breath either... Problem is though even if the PM regression is fixed the performance of the driver (for 3D gaming) is less than 20% of Catalyst. That's a big deal for a low-end card like the 4650M...

Bob
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