Graphics Card

Sections:

Using the Graphics Card with the ATI fglrx driver

Configuration

You can create new configuration files suitable for the fglrx driver with the fglrxconfig tool, alternatively you can also use aticonfig to change configuration parameters. Better backup /etc/X11/xorg.conf before using either of the two utilities.

Supported modes for multi-monitor setups

Attached at the bottom of the page you can find the xorg.conf files I use for the various multi-monitor modes that the ATI binary driver supports and also TV-out. A few notes:

  • no example for "Mirror" mode, which is pretty useless if you don't happen to have an external monitor matching the notebook's LCD resolution, i.e. 1400x1050, which I don't.
  • the external display I use has a max. resolution of 1280x1200, if your monitor supports less be sure to check the HorizSync, VertRefresh, HSync2 and VRefresh2 options.
  • I'm living in Europe, hence my TV understands PAL (connected via S-Video), so if you need NTSC or something else, check the TVFormat and TVStandard options. aticonfig run without arguments lists all available values.
  • I have configured my input devices (TouchPad, Trackpoint, external mouse) with their special files in /dev/input and not /dev/input/mice. There's a good chance that your file-to-device mapping looks different, so check if you're using the correct device files in /dev/bus/input/devices. Or just use /dev/input/mice in which case you'll lose the ability to configure some settings per device.

Sections:

Using the Graphics Card with the X.org radeon driver

Configuration

You can create new configuration files suitable for the radeon driver with the text-based xorgconfig tool or run

X -configure

to let X.org probe your hardware and write a configuration file, alternatively you can also use the graphic application xorgcfg to change configuration parameters. Better backup /etc/X11/xorg.conf before using either of these utilities.

Supported modes for multi-monitor setups

Attached at the bottom of the page you can find the xorg.conf files I use for the various multi-monitor modes that the radeon driver supports. A few notes:

  • the external display I use has a max. resolution of 1280x1200, if your monitor supports less be sure to check the HorizSync, VertRefresh, HSync2 and VRefresh2 options.
  • I have configured my input devices (TouchPad, Trackpoint, external mouse) with their special files in /dev/input and not /dev/input/mice. There's a good chance that your file-to-device mapping looks different, so check if you're using the correct device files in /dev/bus/input/devices. Or just use /dev/input/mice in which case you'll lose the ability to configure some settings per device.
  • TV-Out is currently not supported by the opensource radeon driver, use the fglrx driver if you need this feature.
  • real dual-head support (as in two seperate independent screens) seems to be broken at the moment, see bug #332548 in the Debian bug tracking system.

Sections:

Easily switching from fglrx to radeon and back

Once you have installed and set up the graphics card with the fglrx and the radeon driver (including multi-monitor setups), it's helpful to make the switch from one setup to another rather easy.

Basically, switching involves exchanging the xorg.conf file and the GL library file. But since the drivers are different in other respects too (suspend/resume, 3D acceleration), it's also convenient to change configuration files
at the same time, for example the xscreensaver configuration file to run different screensavers (radeon: no 3D; fglrx: all the 3D you can find ;)) or the hibernate.conf file for suspending the ThinkPad.

The attached radeonswitch script does exactly that.

You can switch the configuration either at boot time (if you set up GRUB/LILO to do so, see below) or while the system is up and running.

Note: switching while the system is running only work from radeon to fglrx, not the other way around. The fglrx driver seems to do some magic initialization to the graphics card which makes it unusable for the radeon driver. In other words, switching from fglrx to radeon needs a reboot of the system.

Prerequesites

  • Debian unstable running the latest X.org packages (6.9.0).
  • the fglrx driver installed from a Debian package, see the "Problems with fglrx" page in the ThinkWiki if you have troubles. The script will not work if you install the fglrx driver not from a .deb file!

Installation

If you only want switch while the system is running, no special installation is needed. If you want to switch at boot time, as root issue

mv /path/to/downloaded/radeonswitch /etc/init.d
chmod 755 /etc/init.d/radeonswitch
update-rc.d radeonswitch defaults 95

to integrate it into the boot sequence of the Debian system.

Configuration

Put the xorg.conf files for the various configurations you use into /etc/X11, renaming them to xorg.conf.<config>. For <config>, use a word starting with fglrx for the fglrx driver or a word starting with radeon for the radeon driver, e.g. xorg.conf.fglrx.tv is my TV-Out configuration for the fglrx driver. The example configuration files on this site all use this naming convention.

If you want to switch other configuration files, add them to the CONFIGS variable at the beginning of the radeonswitch file (an example can be found as comment inside the script) and provide one version with a .fglrx suffix and one with a .radeon suffix. For example the I created one /home/spiney/.xscreensaver.fglrx file with almost all 3D screensavers active and another /home/spiney/.xscreensaver.radeon with mostly 2D screensavers configured. The file corresponding to the chosen driver will be copied to /home/spiney.xscreensaver when radeonswitch is run.

Usage from the command line

As root issue

/etc/init.d/radeonswitch set <config>

to switch to the corresponding configuration and restart X.

Usage at boot time

You have to configure your boot loader to switch the driver at system startup. For GRUB this means adding

RADEONDRIVER=<config>

to your kernel configuration line in /boot/grub/menu.lst. For LILO (not tested) it should work with adding

append="RADEONDRIVER=<config>"

to your /etc/lilo.conf line and running

/sbin/lilo

to install the new LILO configuration.

Of course you have to provide multiple menu entries for GRUB or LILO, otherwise you can't really switch. Wink If you provide menu entries where RADEONDRIVER is not appended, the graphics card setup will be left as it is.

Disclaimer

Use this script own your own risk! I give no warranty whatsoever that the script works as intended, so if it accidentally deletes your whole harddisk, you're on your own. But I'm using it myself for quite some time now, so that's unlikely. Smile Bug reports or feature requests are very welcome, feel free to use the feedback page.

AttachmentSize
Binary Data radeonswitch1.21 KB

Sections: