14 Aug

hardware acceleration on ATI 9000

this is an old article from a previous blog – it’s useful though, so here it is.

This is something that took me years to finish working out. I’ve been running Linux since the last century, and only just last week finally got hardware acceleration working on my computer.

If you have the ability, do all this from source instead of with binaries. You will end up with a cleaner and faster product, and will spot errors easier.

  1. Install XFree86. Or x.org – your choice. I installed 4.4 for this. 4.3 would have been fine as well (see the next bit).
  2. Install DRI. This compiles its modules and writes them over the native XFree86 ones. They claim to be compiled for XFree86 4.3.99, so it doesn’t matter if your XFree86 is 4.3, and I have no problems with my 4.4.
  3. Install the latest kernel. I’m presently using 2.6.6. The important modules are outlined below. These are the minimum modules needed for Direct Rendering in the ATI 9000 on a VIA chipset motherboard.
    • Device Drivers
      • Character Devices
        • /dev/agpgart M this controls the high speed connection between the video card and motherboard.
          • Via chipset M my motherboard uses a VIA chipset for agpgart. see “cat /proc/pci” for yours.
        • DRM Y controls the direct interaction between the video hardware and the X server.
          • ATI RADEON M my video card is the ATI Radeon 9000. see “cat /proc/pci” for yours.
      • Graphics Support
        • Console Display Driver Support
          • VGA Text Console Y useful!!!!! Never reboot without it.
  4. Comment out your existing Device section in /etc/X11/XF86Config, and replace it with this (adapted as necessary):
    Section "Device"
        Identifier  "radeon"
        Driver      "radeon"
        VideoRam    65536
        BusID       "PCI:1:0:0"
        Option      "AGPMode" "4"
        Option      "EnablePageFlip" "ON"
  5. Reboot and restart X11. If all is well, your GUI should come up.
  6. Open a console in it, and type glxinfo | grep "direct rendering". If everything is correct, the word “Yes” should be shown.
  7. Play Enemy Territory.

2 thoughts on “hardware acceleration on ATI 9000

  1. i imagine this is a very stupid question, but could you please tell me what point nr. 3 means?
    how can i know whether i have or not these modules and what should i do in case i don’t?

    if you could please give me a very simple advice like “type this in the konsole, copy this there” and so on, i’d be very grateful.

  2. Point three details the modules that are required for acceleration to work. In the console, you can type “lsmod” to see what modules are currently running (may require root access). Your default kernel may already have those modules installed. If not, try “modprobe xxx”, where “xxx” is the name of the module. If it gives an error, then you don’t have that module compiled, and may need to compile a kernel yourself.
    Compiling a kernel is relatively simple these days. Grab yourself a copy of the kernel from http://kernel.org/, unzip it, enter there, then type “make menuconfig” to start configuring. The configuration program will figure out most of the needed options by default. After saving that configuration, type “make bzImage && make modules” to build the kernel, then su to root, and type “make modules_install && make install” to install. If you’re using a relatively generic distro, then it will also put the right entries in your boot loader.
    If none of this makes sense, then join your local LUG, and ask them what all this crap means đŸ™‚

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