-AGP- graphics card?

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-AGP- graphics card?

Postby SiriusHardware » Fri Oct 19, 2012 1:04 am

Well, my 'new' Debian Box has settled down nicely since I found a wireless PCI card that would work in it. Now I'm working on a different area: The video card.

This box is running on an old (around 2005-2006) motherboard with a 1.6Ghz Duron stuck in it: Ram is PC2700 and I've managed to find another stick of that to bring it up to a respectable 1GB of RAM. The video card is currently an old AGP Radeon 9200 SE, because the video card slot is AGP (up to 8X, according to the blurb printed on the motherboard).

My requirements for a graphics card aren't unreasonable -i t needs to be AGP, which narrows the range down a lot - it needs to have hardware 3D which is supported by Linux -

I'm only looking to run relatively simple software utilising 3D, such as the Elite clone 'Oolite'. On the current setup this runs quite well any time I'm just looking at a star field, but if another ship enters the scene it drops to below 7-8fps and if I am close to a large object like the system's home planet or the space station it plummets to perhaps 2-3 fps.

I'm not actually even sure whether Oolite is using the meagre hardware 3D capability of the Radeon, or whether it is failing to find that capability and just using it as a 2D card, and so rendering everything in software. It certainly looks that way.

How do I find that out - is there a graphics card testing / benchmarking utility around, like '3Dmark' which I remember from DOS days?

Finally, does anyone know of a currently available AGP card which is known to work fully in Linux?

Using Debian Squeeze, by the way.
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Postby lok1950 » Fri Oct 19, 2012 2:55 am

Which driver are you using for the current card and how much memory does it have on board.As for a new one any one you can find that is AGP should work but Radeon and nVidia are the most common and their proprietary drivers are are well supported as that is usually the only way to get full hardware acceleration the manufactures don't like revealing much to their competition :shock:

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Postby Dutch_Master » Fri Oct 19, 2012 5:55 am

Back in my 32 bit AGP days I used an nVidia FX5200 card. nVidia has excellent Linux support, be it in binary form. ATI cards of the day are no good for Linux, there's very little, if at all, support from ATI for Linux. Mind that you'll need the appropriate legacy driver from nVidia, as the current main driver doesn't support older hardware.

http://www.nvidia.com/object/unix.html
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Postby Marrea » Fri Oct 19, 2012 11:18 am

SiriusHardware

Dutch_Master mentions the FX5200. I have one of these cards in my Asus Terminator desktop which is currently running Ubuntu 12.04. I was somewhat dismayed post installation to discover that Ubuntu was not able to install the proprietary graphics driver for this card automatically - as it had always done for previous versions of the distro.

After a bit of googling I ended up going to
http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=182874
and following the link from there to
ftp://download.nvidia.com/XFree86/Linux-x86/173.14.35
to download the NVIDIA-Linux-x86-173.14.35-pkg0.run file

Before installing the driver I had to install the kernel headers and DKMS. The nouveau driver also had to be disabled (which the nvidia installer did for me during installation). The nvidia driver works perfectly on Ubuntu 12.04, but of course the disadvantage is it has to be installed manually on the command line and has to be reinstalled each time the kernel is updated which is less than ideal.

However, even if you could still find an FX5200 I’m not sure how successful you would be getting that driver to work on Debian Squeeze. You might like to have a read through the thread at:

http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=78386

As with all things Linux, what works for one person may not work for another and vice versa. These days it’s a real PITA having a computer with an AGP slot. I bought my Asus in 2005 specifically to use as a Linux box and over the years it has served me well. But unfortunately the hardware is now seriously outdated.
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Postby el chapulín » Fri Oct 19, 2012 3:53 pm

You will obviously be looking at second hand... and you need to consider if the power supply you have is up to the job...?

The Radeon X series are not supported by the latest proprietary (fglrx/catalyst) drivers on the newer xserver releases. The HD2000/3000/4000 are also being moved to legacy support. If you buy an AGP Radeon you will probably be buying an X or early HD series card - so don't rely on the proprietary driver support.

If you go for an Nvidia card, you will probably have less issues. I run a humble 7300GT and it does the job - for demanding games I need the proprietary (nvidia) driver, for compositing effects, etc I can easily get by with the nouveau driver.

I would suggest something like a second hand 7600GT for that system.
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Postby SiriusHardware » Sat Oct 20, 2012 10:44 pm

Just acknowledging the replies so far - I am away from the machine at present and so can't answer the query about what driver I'm using with the Radeon 9200, other than to say that I did not choose it - the driver is whatever Debian 6 chose to use on the basis of what it found.

I gather the consensus is generally in favour of Nvidia for Linux, so I might have to go that way - there are actually still a few new AGP cards available (on Amazon for example), so based on advice so far I'd have to narrow my choice from those few to the still fewer based on Nvidia chipsets.

Re: PSU, although the system currently has a modest PSU fitted I do have an excellent Alienware PSU which I have been holding in reserve - however, the aim isn't to make this machine into a serious gaming PC because, with respect, that kind of power would be better concentrated in a Windows machine where the software base (ie, availability of games) is much greater.

All I'm really trying to do at the moment is get just about any kind of graphics card with hardware 3D fully working in a Linux machine. To that end, I need to establish whether the 3D capability of the Radeon 9200 is even being used by Linux at the moment - I suspect it may only be running it as a basic 2D card.

Several of you have referred to the 'Nouveau' driver - I am a brand new Linux user and have not heard of this.
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Postby lok1950 » Sun Oct 21, 2012 2:35 am

If you let Debian choose the driver then it most likely picked the radeon driver which as you stated is most likely only in 2D mode so you might try the fglx driver which is the proprietary driver for ATI/AMD cards which should be available in the Debian repositories for your card the legacy drive should apply.As for the 'Nouveau' driver it replaces the older nv driver and does add limited 3D capability to the open source driver for nVidia chips.

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Postby nelz » Sun Oct 21, 2012 8:01 am

Run glxgears in a terminal to get an idea of your 3D, or not, performance.

Nouveau is an open source driver for Nvidia cards included with the kernel. |t does not have the performance of the Nvidia drivers but is more convenient as it requires no reinstallation or updating after kernel upgrades.
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Postby Nuke » Sun Oct 21, 2012 9:54 am

lok1950 wrote: you might try the fglx driver which is the proprietary driver for ATI/AMD cards which should be available in the Debian repositories


I am not so sure about that. Debian have ethical objections to proprietory software; don't ask me to explain why though.

I am on Mepis which uses the Debian repositories. I just looked for fglx there and did not find it.
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Postby lok1950 » Sun Oct 21, 2012 2:46 pm

That funny because the nVidia ones are in the non-free repo at least :wink:

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Postby el chapulín » Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:54 am

lok1950 wrote: you might try the fglx driver which is the proprietary driver for ATI/AMD cards which should be available in the Debian repositories

It's available but as I said, does not support anything older than the HD series GPUs.

Nuke wrote:I am not so sure about that. Debian have ethical objections to proprietory software; don't ask me to explain why though.

I am on Mepis which uses the Debian repositories. I just looked for fglx there and did not find it.

Without "ethical objections" to proprietary software, there would be no GNU or Linux... consider that.

fglrx is available in the non-free repo.

http://wiki.debian.org/ATIProprietary

SiriusHardware wrote:To that end, I need to establish whether the 3D capability of the Radeon 9200 is even being used by Linux at the moment - I suspect it may only be running it as a basic 2D card.

To enable 3D acceleration with the xf86-video-radeon driver on Debian you need to install the firmware/microcode

Add the non-free (and contrib) repo, e.g.

edit /etc/apt/sources.list with your favourite text editor (as root)
Code: Select all
deb http://ftp.uk.debian.org/debian squeeze main

and add the contrib and non-free repos to the end of the main repo (you can also add them to the end of the security and volatile repos.
Code: Select all
deb http://ftp.uk.debian.org/debian squeeze main contrib non-free

Code: Select all
# aptitude update


Then install the kernel firmware meta package:
Code: Select all
# aptitude install firmware-linux

As the radeon driver is a kernel mode setting driver, you will have to reboot.

After rebooting, start x and
Code: Select all
$ glxinfo | grep render

If all is well, this should show the render string and that direct rendering is enabled.
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Postby SiriusHardware » Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:32 pm

el chapulín wrote:
It's available but as I said, does not support anything older than the HD series GPUs.



That seems to be the case, unfortunately. Having gone the route of installing fglrx-driver, fglrx-control, etc, it looks as though the present version does not support the Radeon 9200SE.

Anyway, some information: From the output of 'lspci'

Code: Select all
01.00.0 VGA compatible controller: Ati Technologies Inc RV280 (Radeon 9200 SE) (rev01)


That's the card.

If I go to system/preferences I see that I now have 'Ati Catalyst Control Center' in the programme list, but when I try to invoke that, it complains that there is a problem with the card or the driver. It suggests running 'aticonfig', so if I go into a root terminal and do that, this is the response.

Code: Select all
aticonfig: No supported adapters detected.


Elsewhere, following another line of enquiry, I typed in these commands and got the responses illustrated:

Code: Select all
grep DRM_RADEON /boot/config-$(uname -r)
CONFIG_DRM_RADEON=m
#CONFIG_DRM_RADEON_KMS is not set


and

Code: Select all
grep AGP /boot/config-$(uname -r)


comes back with a whole host of lines including

Code: Select all
CONFIG_AGP=y
CONFIG_AGP_ATI=y


glxgears comes back with an interesting (if baffling) response - 'segmentation fault'.

le chapulin wrote:To enable 3D acceleration with the xf86-video-radeon driver on Debian you need to install the firmware/microcode...


I followed your steps faithfully (or so I believe) but the response to this:

le chapulin wrote:After re booting, start x and
Code: Select all
$ glxinfo | grep render

If all is well, this should show the render string and that direct rendering is enabled.


...is no response, other than a fresh linux prompt. If I shorten your command to simply 'glxinfo', I get

Code: Select all
name of display: :0.0
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Postby SiriusHardware » Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:53 pm

I forgot to add: Here's the relevant output from 'lsmod'

Code: Select all
radeon                     511776     1
ttm                        33394      1 radeon
drm_kms_helper             18569      1 radeon
drm                        112621     3 radeon,ttm,drm_kms_helper
i2c_algo_bit               9493       1 radeon


This suggests to me that it's still using the default radeon (2D only?) driver. Sorry about the formatting by the way, any attempt to use the TAB key jumps me out of the message editor altogether.
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Postby nelz » Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:59 pm

glxinfo normally produces a huge amount of output. If thast one line is all you get, and glxgears crashes, I'd say you have no 3D acceleration.
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Postby el chapulín » Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:26 pm

You installed fglrx, so now you need to remove it as follows:

Code: Select all
# aptitude purge ~nfglrx


fglrx overwrites some core xserver files, in testing/unstable there are special packages which handle this, I can't remember if this has been implemented in squeeze. To be certain just reinstall the xserver, mesa and drm:

Code: Select all
# apt-get install --reinstall libgl1-mesa-dri libdrm-radeon1 libdrm2


Did you install the firmware? Check
Code: Select all
# apt-cache policy firmware-linux-nonfree

It should say "installed" and show you the version, if it says "(none)", install it.

Create an xorg.conf but first move any existing one to a backup file
Code: Select all
# mv /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.bak


Code: Select all
# nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf


With these contents:

Code: Select all
Section "Device"
    Identifier  "card0"
    Driver      "radeon"
EndSection

Section "DRI"
    Mode 0666
EndSection


That last part will ensure users have permissions to access the DRI.

Reboot and try running glxinfo again (do not run it as root). If you get the same result post the output of the following:
Code: Select all
$ grep 'WW\|EE' /var/log/Xorg.0.log
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