Only 256 MB VRAM available on 1GB VRAM card

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Only 256 MB VRAM available on 1GB VRAM card

Postby jcs224 » Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:47 am

Hi all,

I have an ATI Radeon HD 4890 that I am using with Linux Mint 14. I tried installing the proprietary AMD drivers, but it didn't actually fix the problem, so I reverted back to open-source drivers (Gallium). In the AMD CCC menu, however, it showed the full gig. But in the Administration > System Information > Devices > PCI Devices > VGA Compatible Controller, and attached is an image of what it shows.

And there was something going on (I think I was playing Starcraft II but i can't quite remember) that caused an alert to pop up saying I nearly maxed out my VRAM quota at around 228MB.

Is there some number I need to adjust in some file somewhere? Or am I stuck with a card that is only 1/4 as good as it should be?

Thank you for your help! Cheers to an otherwise very awesome distro. Better than Ubuntu and Windows overall.

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Re: Only 256 MB VRAM available on 1GB VRAM card

Postby alizee » Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:02 am

Hi guys,

I have the exact same problem, though I cannot really check it the way jcs did but rather through Menu > System tools > System profiler and benchmark. It seems to lead to the exact same thing though.
Here is what I get :
Session corresponding to the PCI slot of my graphical card in the "system information".

I am running LMDE 201303 64 bits with Cinnamon. My card is a FirePro V4900 (that I love on Win 7 :-p). I installed the proprietary driver that I am running now (not sure I want to run the aticonfig -uninstall...).
If it may help to localize the problem or see if we have similarities, I have two problems that may have the same cause :
1. I am unable to use the tty provided by ctrl+alt+F(1-6). I get three lines looking like this, and nothing else :
Loading, Please wait....
[ 4.778033] radeon 0000.03.00.0: Invalid ROM contents
[ 4.824784] megasas : INIT adapter done
2. More Minor : On my second screen only, If I drag and move around a small window, the window will be split during the movement.

Would it be a problem with the drivers?
[And why the f*** is it always a pb of drivers when setting up a new linux distro ?]

Thanks in advance! Hope we'll solve this one.

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Re: Only 256 MB VRAM available on 1GB VRAM card

Postby eanfrid » Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:51 am

There is always a problem with proprietary drivers :)

BTW you both make a wrong diagnostic. The 256MB are the amount of embedded RAM the CPU can directly address, not the amount of embedded RAM detected and used by the GPU.

Check with:

Code: Select all

dmesg|grep drm

for instance for my 1GB HD6770, I get:

Code: Select all

[    3.471346] [drm] Initialized drm 1.1.0 20060810
[    3.482523] [drm] radeon kernel modesetting enabled.
[    3.482845] [drm] initializing kernel modesetting (JUNIPER 0x1002:0x68BA 0x1458:0x2543).
[    3.482868] [drm] register mmio base: 0xFBDC0000
[    3.482869] [drm] register mmio size: 131072
[    3.484506] [drm] Detected VRAM RAM=1024M, BAR=256M
[    3.484508] [drm] RAM width 128bits DDR
[    3.485331] [drm] radeon: 1024M of VRAM memory ready
[    3.485332] [drm] radeon: 512M of GTT memory ready.
[    3.485341] [drm] Supports vblank timestamp caching Rev 1 (10.10.2010).
Main desktop: Debian GNU/Linux Jessie 64bit - MATE
(i5 2400@3.7GHz - 16GB DDR3 - HD6770 w/radeon driver - SSD+RAID1)
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Re: Only 256 MB VRAM available on 1GB VRAM card

Postby AlbertP » Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:23 am

The memory's you are seeing in that system information program are indeed address spaces the CPU can access (for sending data to the device), not the real VRAM. This has confused people before. The VRAM is something internal that the CPU has no direct access to (except for integrated graphics devices using only shared system memory, but that's not your card).
The 256MB you are seeing is also called the aperture, probably mentioned as GTT in the dmesg output by eanfrid. It's often configured in the BIOS. You don't need to change this; what you are seeing is fine.
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