Graphics problems - Thinkpad X31 - Mint 8

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Graphics problems - Thinkpad X31 - Mint 8

Postby zettabytesmith on Fri Dec 04, 2009 10:52 am

I have a Thinkpad x31 with 2GB of ram that runs Mint 7 quite well. Compiz doesn't work 100% well. Though I've noticed Knoppix + Compiz works perfectly on it but I don't seem to get the same performance with Mint 7. Consulted www.thinkwiki.com but never got working quite as well as Knoppix...any suggestions?

Tried Mint 8 and with both the Live CD and when installed I get graphics corruption when I used Compiz effects. With Compiz turned off the graphics work 95% of the time without corruption. Just occasionally I get a corrupt looking message that would normally inform me I am connected to a wifi hotspot. Otherwise, the desktop etc render ok.

Any input appreciated please. I believe the intergrated graphics card is an ATI Radeon 7000 with 16MB vram. It doesn't use any system memory....despite having plenty of it.

Please note that Compiz on Knoppix works well and 100% so there is something I am not doing correctly.
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Re: Graphics problems - Thinkpad X31 - Mint 8

Postby Husse on Fri Dec 11, 2009 6:37 am

More facts are needed
- please read these simple rules
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Don't fix it if it ain't broken, don't break it if you can't fix it
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Re: Graphics problems - Thinkpad X31 - Mint 8

Postby ckm on Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:21 am

I have the same problems. Like you, I don't really know where to start (and I've been using Linux for 15 years...).

Unfortunately, the admin's less that helpful comment about RTFM and 'just give us more info' is of practically no use since most new users would not even know what info to give or even where to get it. So much for Mint being 'newbie friendly'.

BTW, you are correct in identifying the chip in your machine, it's an ATI Radeon Mobile M7 (or M6 in my case), 16mb RAM, running on an IBM X31 laptop (1.4Ghz Pentium M, 2 Gig RAM, 160gig HD) with a 1024x768 native resolution.

I believe the problem may actually be in the compositing window manager, but it's really hard to tell since I don't know if/where there is a log file that might shed some light.

There don't seem to be any errors in the Xorg.log, it loads up the video driver just fine. And the only odd thing in the logfile is Nautilus segfaulting (eg. crashing).

Now, if someone could just describe the type of information they would like, I'm sure everyone would be happy to provide it. However, I think the OP has done quite a reasonable job (for a non-techie) of trying to describe a really weird problem... It's so bad on my machine that windows are not drawing or re-drawing properly, making it virtually impossible to use the GUI. Another thread pointed to metacity --replace as a potential workaround, but it only helped slightly in my case (and only temporarily).

Chris.
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Re: Graphics problems - Thinkpad X31 - Mint 8

Postby Husse on Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:48 pm

Unfortunately, the admin's less that helpful comment about RTFM and 'just give us more info' is of practically no use since most new users would not even know what info to give or even where to get it.

If you refer to my request to read and act upon some simple "rules" I think this comment is way out of line
I can't find anything impossible to understand there - lspci and lsusb are explained in the link including how to copy from/to a (gnome) terminal
Of course I wrote it and thus I'm biased, but I should not really begin with telling you how to use a mouse, should I?
I'm more than happy to make changes if you point to something that is unclear
This is about graphics problems, hardware problem and we are left without (a certain) knowledge of the hardware
Don't expect me to look up the hardware for a laptop - it's not uncommon to have even wildly different hardware in laptops called the same - I've seen "brand computers" with the same model number have both AMD and Intel processors ....
So I want and need an exact knowledge before I spend time trying to solve a problem
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Re: Graphics problems - Thinkpad X31 - Mint 8

Postby ckm on Sat Jan 02, 2010 7:31 pm

Hmmm, I was trying to point out that you are advertising a newbie friendly distro and react with RTFM when someone asks about a very complicated problem. The goal is to encourage people to use Linux, not drive them away....

No need to continue being difficult, I thought that Mint was supposed to be a friendly distro, which is why I am interested in using it. Besides, it's not like I don't about anything Linux: http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Linux-and-Open ... ards-Base/

The user gave you every bit of information they had, the output from LSPCI would have told you nothing more of use (I know you probably think so, but really, it wouldn't, there is only ONE driver for radeon cards). And, besides, you know all about the problems with ATI cards (as seen by this comment - viewtopic.php?f=59&t=31845&p=184377&hilit=ati+problems+questions#p184377 "so you have got all the questions about ATI that I thought I'd get"), the least you could have done is pointed them to threads describing the scope of the problems. Never mind the fact that it's really hard for newbies to do anything when your display doesn't even work well enough to display a usable terminal window....

Back to being actually helpful. Here's what I have found:

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=246746&page=38 - that will get you a working display but no acceleration

http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-t-45 ... ight-.html - shows some other options but nothing really works for 3d accel

http://www.mail-archive.com/misc@openbs ... 84349.html - apparently there are problems with the Radeon DRM kernel module loading at boot

I've tried loading the radeon DRM module but it just blanks out my screen on xserver restart. Bottom line, 3d accel on both Karmic and Mint 8 is deeply broken for radeon-based (and probably other ATI) video chips. Bummer. And the new dynamic configuration in X doesn't help anything as it basically obscures configuration options.... There is a tool named driconfig that will do some configuration IF you have 3d running, but that's about it afaik.

One quick tip which no one will tell you and is not clearly explained is that any dynamic configuration by Xorg can be overridden by creating a configuration file name xorg.conf in /etc/X11

That file will allow you to modify the default configuration so that the GUI at least works without artifacts.

Here's my xorg.conf which works OK:

Code: Select all
##########################################
## xorg.conf (xorg X Window System server configuration file)
#
# This file was generated by failsafeDexconf, using
# values from the debconf database and some overrides to use vesa mode.
#
# You should use dexconf or another such tool for creating a "real" xorg.conf
# For example:
# sudo dpkg-reconfigure -phigh xserver-xorg
Section "Module"
        Load "dri"
        Load "glx"
        Load "i2c"
        Load "ddc"
        Load "extmod"
        Load "ini10"
        Load "vbe"
        Load "radeon"
        Load "drm"
        Load "dbe"
        Load "speedo"
EndSection

Section "Device"
        Identifier "ATI M6 LY"
        Busid "PCI:1:0:0"
        Driver "radeon"
        Option "AGPSize" "32"
        Option "AGPMode" "4"
        Option "AGPFastWrite" "false"
        Option "DRI" "true"
        Option "AccelMethod" "EXA"
        Option "RenderAccel" "true"
        Option "EnableDepthMoves" "false"
        Option "SWcursor" "true"
###
        Option "DCCMode"
        Option "SubPixelOrder" "none"
        Option "BufferSize" "2"
        Option "RingSize" "4"
        Option "ColorTiling" "false"
EndSection

Section "Monitor"
        Identifier      "Configured Monitor"
EndSection

Section "Screen"
        Identifier "Default Screen"
        Device "ATI M6 LY"
        Monitor "Configured Monitor"
EndSection
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Re: Graphics problems - Thinkpad X31 - Mint 8

Postby ckm on Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:42 pm

After further investigation, it seems that the easiest way to get rid of the rendering/screen problems is to disable visual effects.

Go to Menu > Control Center > Appearance > Visual Effects and click on None. Might be hard to do if your whole screen is screwed up, but this will make things 'normal' and you still have 3d acceleration, just no compositing.

The solution might be to use either Metacity or Compiz-fusion

HTH,

Chris.
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Re: Graphics problems - Thinkpad X31 - Mint 8

Postby Husse on Sun Jan 03, 2010 7:58 am

Well what you refer to as an unfriendly RTFM is unfortunately one of my most common answers - I can't solve problems based on guesswork and when I see it is Radeon I believe - for all I know it might be Intel and my answer could be worthless
This post and my immediately following answer shows how important details are (it's not about graphics I know that)
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