(SOLVED) ATI - Horrible System Lag + Graphic Anomalies

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(SOLVED) ATI - Horrible System Lag + Graphic Anomalies

Postby Technomancer on Sat Jun 13, 2009 2:24 pm

Hi, I'm a Linux neophyte so please bear with me, while I'm a professional Windows tech I'm afraid I'm still trudging up the steep Windows unlearning curve.

First here is some detail on my system:
Asus M2N-MX-SE Plus motherboard with AMD AM2 Athlon64 X2 5200+ and 2 gigs DDR2
ATI HD 3840 video card
Creative X-Fi Xtrememusic sound card
Linux Mint Gloria 7

I've done a few searches on this but have come up empty so I'm hoping someone may be able to shed some light on this for me. Essentially what's happening is that when I installed Gloria I was presented with a resolution that was within my monitors range but far to high for the size of the monitor (in excess of 1280x1024) I opened up the menu and clicked on "Display" to change the resolution and was presented with a blank window and a series of black bands that flickered at the bottom, middle and then top of my monitor in a cycle.

The computer ground to a snails pace at this point so I poppe open the system monitor to check and see if a process had started consuming my CPU, nothing showed as greater than 10% drain on the CPU. I switched to the processors tab and noticed that my cores were performing an interesting cycle. One core would be at rest (around ~3% usage) and the other would be at 100% usage and then they would swap.

I killed the Display panel to alleviate the CPU usage but it didn't help. Eventually the system stabilized again and began running normally, although I was still unable to change the resolution. A couple of times when I've tried to open the display panel I would see a cycle of the black bands and then they would stop and the Display panel would populate and I would be able to change the resolution which either resulted in the black bands coming back or the option to accept and close being presented.

After some searching I've begun to think that the ATI driver that Gloria recommended I download and install, was not the correct one and I've read on here that other users have had success using the EnvyNG program to install the correct driver. I've yet to try this but will do so when I get home from the office and update this thread with the result.

This is not a critical problem as I have learned I can change the resolution manually through the monitors.xml file. What concerns me is how whatever is causing this issue may impact other applications such as video playback or Wine game performance. I have noticed that I cannot enable the desktop effects, while this isn't a problem perse it does seem to be related and does seem to indicate a graphics driver problem.

If anyone has any input or suggestions that might help me figure this out they would be greatly appreciated. If I manage to solve this I will record my steps here for anyone else with a similar issue.

*EDIT*

*SOLVED*


This issue has been resolved by installing the latest AMD/ATI drivers as per the directions on this page --> http://forum.compiz-fusion.org/showthread.php?t=6794
And disabling Randr1.2 as per the instructions on this page --> http://forum.compiz-fusion.org/showthre ... 94&page=79

The specific code in question is
Code: Select all
sudo aticonfig --set-pcs-str="DDX,EnableRandr12,FALSE"


This alleviated all symptoms and improved all around system performance, including boot time.


I hope this information is useful to someone else.
Last edited by Technomancer on Wed Jun 17, 2009 2:59 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Display Preferences Causing System Lag/Graphical Anomalies

Postby Technomancer on Sun Jun 14, 2009 7:46 am

After installing EnvyNG, having it install the proper driver and then rebooting, the desktop effects began working flawlessly, very smooth and very crisp. Unfortunately my odd problem with the Display Preferences panel still remains. Fortunately I took this as an opportunity to learn how to use xrandr from the CLI and am now running in the resolution I want! :D

I would say that this is now half solved, if anyone has any idea if this Display Preferences panel problem is something wrong with my system or perhaps something I should report as a bug please let me know!
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Re: Display Preferences Causing System Lag/Graphical Anomalies

Postby Technomancer on Sun Jun 14, 2009 8:50 pm

Interestingly I just noticed the same type of system lag and screen flicker when I tried to run the Wine configuration utility. I think I can elaborate on the flicker a little bit, the flicker is reminiscent of when the computer is trying to change screen modes, as if it's switching from the current resolution and then back into the same resolution, it's a little hard to describe.

The really interesting part is that even though the system monitor is showing me that I have 100% CPU usage alternating between my cores the only process consuming an inordinate about of CPU usage is Xorg at 40-50%

I hope this new information is meaningful to someone that's smarter than me!
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Re: Horrible System Lag + Graphic Anomalies

Postby Technomancer on Mon Jun 15, 2009 4:47 am

I've been playing with it some more and I've found that the problem seems to be intermittent, sometimes when I run an app the lag will only persist for a minute or so and then the app will run flawlessly but on other occasions the lag will persist until about a minute after the app has been closed or, in the case the of the Display Preferences panel, until the session has been logged out.

The lag only seems to occur with certain types of applications but I can't seem to find a common thread. Applications like Pidgin, VLC, Open Office and Firefox all seem to be completely unaffected; there is no flickering when they are loading up and no lag, they work great. Applications like Wine apps (inlcuding Notepad!) , Xrandr, and Display Preferences all cause the lag and all cause the flicker. I can't seem to figure out the connection between these three, does anyone have any thoughts?
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Re: Horrible System Lag + Graphic Anomalies

Postby cottfcfan on Tue Jun 16, 2009 7:40 am

Its the usual ATI card problem. I have this with ATI HD2400 card.
To resolve the issue follow the Safe Configuration from this link.

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1130582

Then go to the ATI web site and install the propriety Driver for your card.
Problem should be resolved and your system should speed up as well.

http://support.amd.com/us/gpudownload/Pages/index.aspx

ps. if you have the "fglrx" driver installed, completely uninstall it before installing the ATI driver.
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Re: Horrible System Lag + Graphic Anomalies

Postby Technomancer on Tue Jun 16, 2009 2:21 pm

Thanks for the link! At first glance it doesn't seem to apply to ATI graphics cards specifically and seems to be more addressing an overall driver performance issue than a periodic system lag, but I'll do some more reading and learn what I can from that thread.

The reason this doesn't seem like a performance bug to me is that I'm able to run Linux Quake 4 in it's highest graphics setting at 1024x768 without any lag, not even on startup. The problem seems to be strictly certain types of apps and generally only on startup of the app, although sometimes the lag will persist. I also see the lag and the flicker when Mint begins to load my session.

I might give the greedy heuristics option a try and see if that impacts the system lag at all but I'm a little leary about messing with the kernel just yet, I've only been using Linux for 3 days now and I'm not quite that confident yet.
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Re: Horrible System Lag + Graphic Anomalies

Postby Technomancer on Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:03 pm

I have found a link that may well be the solution to this problem that's been nagging me since switching to Gloria, I'm going to give it a shot and I'll report back on how it goes. In the meantime here is the link for anyone that's interested: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1152121

Hopefully this will be the solution for anyone else that may be experiencing a similar issue either with a single monitor or dual monitors.

*EDIT*
Here's an additional link that has a massive quanitity of information on this issue and many others in relation to ATI cards. Apparently djdoo is a freaking genius :D

http://forum.compiz-fusion.org/showthread.php?t=6794
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