Video problems with ATI Mobility HD 3470 Chipset - All Ubuntu-Based Distros, U16.04 and Up

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D Canard
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Video problems with ATI Mobility HD 3470 Chipset - All Ubuntu-Based Distros, U16.04 and Up

Post by D Canard » Sat Dec 01, 2018 11:59 am

Hi,

Video problems with ATI Mobility HD 3470 Chipset - All Ubuntu-Based Distros, U16.04 and Up

I am working on a lovely Windows-Vista-Era Asus Intel Core2-Duo notebook, preparing it for charity donation. It is an Asus X59SL-F5SL, SIS chipset with a 256 Mb ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3470 graphics adaptor. It is in near-perfect condition, except for a weak battery.

I works extremely well with pretty much any Ubuntu or Unbuntu-based distro up to U16.04, up to but not including U16.04 with recent updates. The problem is definitely the Ati Mobility Radeon HD 3470 video chipset.

A fresh installation of any U16.04-based distro will work fine, up until all the updates are done. After the updates, the boot process goes OK, everything normal until after logging in, whereupon there is only a functioning mouse cursor and a black screen. The best option for a U16.04-based distro seems to be Linux Mint 18.03, Sylvia, simply because its logon screen offers a convenient and obvious toggle button between "default" and "software renderingi." Everything works sort of OK, except for anything with video content, with the software rendering option.

Most U18.04-based distros won't even install. Some U18.04 distros, such as LM 19, won't even boot to live media. The best luck I have had so far is with Xfce distros. I can get them to install and boot to a log-in screen, but then I am faced with massive video corruption after logging in.

I know that the issues here can sometimes be resolved to a degree at the XServer level by editing config files - there is an overwhelming abundance of documentation to this effect. But this notebook is not for me, nor is it likely for anyone of any technical inclination. I am looking for a simple, trouble-free solution, one likely to survive future updates, something that will last for a couple of years or more.

The paths of least resistance at this point seem to be Linux Mint 18.03 (moderately acceptable) or Windows 7. Windows 7 will work just fine (and legally, btw), although it does require the use of some Vista drivers to get all the hardware working. I am reluctant to go down the Windows 7 path, though, because of the monetary costs of owning, maintaining, and protecting a non-FOSS loaded device. Whoever gets this notebook is not likely to be wealthy at this point in their life.

Any comments or suggestions?

Thx.


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Re: Video problems with ATI Mobility HD 3470 Chipset - All Ubuntu-Based Distros, U16.04 and Up

Post by Hoser Rob » Sat Dec 01, 2018 12:41 pm

Not surprised you're haing problems with Ubuntu 18.04/Mint 19 on a 10 year old AMD video card. Linux as a rescuer of old hardware has never been quite so true as many think. ANd the kernel developers have been removing support for old hardware a lot lately. This affects all distros that use as new a kernel, not just Mint. Mint 18.3 Xfce or Mate would probably be a decent choice .... Cinnamon wouldn't run well at all.

I'm a bit concerned by your preference for an option to "toggle button between "default" and "software renderingi" ". Does that machine have 3D accelerated video working? Because there's no other Linux drivers for an old AMD card but the included one (radeon).

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Re: Video problems with ATI Mobility HD 3470 Chipset - All Ubuntu-Based Distros, U16.04 and Up

Post by D Canard » Sat Dec 01, 2018 8:58 pm

Thank you for the replies. I did not realise that there had been replies because the post was moved from where I initially placed it. Not until logging in did I find that it had been approved. Sorry for the delay in response.
_____________

OK, this gets really interesting. I have now tried a variety of non-Debian, non-Ubuntu-based distros, including some built from scratch - tried with a variety of desktop shells.

For all the current LTS or rolling releases I have tried, the results are the same, exactly the same as with anything built on Ubuntu 16.04 or 18.04.

So whatever the root cause for a previously extremely Linux-friendly notebook now being a very Linux-unfriendly notebook might be, that cause would seem to be further upstream than Mint, Ubuntu or Debian themselves.

And the problem is with support for the ATI chipset.

The hardware is fine. It all works perfectly with earlier distros and Win 7.

Curious.

______________

I am currently testing the notebook with Win 7 Enterprise Open/Vol using a CAL that I can't let go out into the wild. When this note book ran Win 7 a long time ago, it required the use of Vista drivers. Now it does not. Everything works after the first round of updates.

_______________

@Hoser Rob No,

I do not have any 3D accelerated video working in any Linux distro (well except ones that are going to go out of support in short order). It works great in anything U16.04-based until updates are done, and then nothing. It doesn't matter what the desktop environment is. Linux Mint 18.03 Cinnamon works best because I can actually boot the notebook by choosing "software rendering." A lot of other versions do not offer this choice so easily.

@administrollaattori

I can answer your question when I blow away the Win 7 installation. I just want to test it fully patched, and Windows Update is taking its sweet time. More later.

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Re: Video problems with ATI Mobility HD 3470 Chipset - All Ubuntu-Based Distros, U16.04 and Up

Post by D Canard » Mon Dec 03, 2018 1:38 pm

administrollaattori wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 12:30 pm
What is a result for

Code: Select all

inxi -SMGxtm
Hi,
Three outputs:

1: Logged into fully functional desktop with clean installation of LM 18.03 Cinnamon - no updates
________________________

Code: Select all

System:    Host: user-F5SL Kernel: 4.10.0-38-generic x86_64 (64 bit gcc: 5.4.0)
           Desktop: Cinnamon 3.6.6 (Gtk 3.18.9-1ubuntu3.3)
           Distro: Linux Mint 18.3 Sylvia
Machine:   System: ASUSTeK (portable) product: F5SL v: 1.0
           Mobo: PEGATRON model: F5SL v: 1.0
           Bios: American Megatrends v: 308 date: 07/27/2010
Graphics:  Card: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD/ATI] RV620/M82 [Mobility Radeon HD 3450/3470]
           bus-ID: 01:00.0
           Display Server: X.Org 1.18.4 drivers: ati,radeon (unloaded: fbdev,vesa)
           Resolution: 1280x800@59.97hz
           GLX Renderer: Gallium 0.4 on AMD RV620 (DRM 2.49.0 / 4.10.0-38-generic, LLVM 4.0.0)
           GLX Version: 3.0 Mesa 17.0.7 Direct Rendering: Yes
Processes: Memory: MB / % used - Used/Total: 542.2/3949.7MB - CPU: % used - top 5 active
           1: mem: 133.53MB (3.3%) command: cinnamon pid: 2779 cpu: 7.6%
           2: mem: 53.49MB (1.3%) command: mintUpdate pid: 2989 cpu: 1.2%
           3: mem: 53.05MB (1.3%) command: nemo-desktop pid: 2832 cpu: 1.3%
           4: mem: 51.70MB (1.3%) command: Xorg pid: 1023 cpu: 0.4%
           5: mem: 45.70MB (1.1%) command: cinnamon-screensaver pid: 2876 cpu: 1.0%
2. From console after failed log-in (black screen) on updated system
______________________

Code: Select all

System:    Host: user-F5SL Kernel: 4.10.0-38-generic x86_64 (64 bit gcc: 5.4.0) 
           Console:
           Distro: Linux Mint 18.3 Sylvia
Machine:   System: ASUSTeK (portable) product: F5SL v: 1.0
           Mobo: PEGATRON model: F5SL v: 1.0 
           Bios: American Megatrends v: 308 date: 07/27/2010 
Graphics:  Card: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD/ATI] RV620/M82 [Mobility Radeon HD 3450/3470] 
           Display Server: X.org 1.18.4 drivers: ati,radeon (unloaded: fbdev,vesa) 
           size: 160x50 
           Advanced Data: N/A out of X 
Processes: Memory: MB / % used - Used/Total: 509.2/3949.7MB CPU: % used - top 5 active
           1: mem: 74.89MB (1.8%) command: cinnamon pid: 1655 cpu: 0.5%
           2: mem: 55.61MB (1.4%) command: mintUpdate pid: 1929 cpu: 0.4%
           3: mem: 53.81MB (1.3%) command: mintwelcome.py (started by: python3) pid: 1712 cpu: 0.9%
           4: mem: 52.45MB (1.3%) command: nemo-desktop pid: 1704 cpu: 0.5%
           5: mem: 49.00MB (1.2%) command: Xorg pid: 997 cpu: 0.4%
3. From software rendering desktop login - updated system
____________________________

Code: Select all

System:    Host: user-F5SL Kernel: 4.10.0-38-generic x86_64 (64 bit gcc: 5.4.0)
           Desktop: Cinnamon 3.6.7 (Gtk 3.18.9-1ubuntu3.3)
           Distro: Linux Mint 18.3 Sylvia
Machine:   System: ASUSTeK (portable) product: F5SL v: 1.0
           Mobo: PEGATRON model: F5SL v: 1.0
           Bios: American Megatrends v: 308 date: 07/27/2010
Graphics:  Card: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD/ATI] RV620/M82 [Mobility Radeon HD 3450/3470]
           bus-ID: 01:00.0
           Display Server: X.Org 1.18.4 drivers: ati,radeon (unloaded: fbdev,vesa)
           Resolution: 1280x800@59.97hz
           GLX Renderer: Gallium 0.4 on llvmpipe (LLVM 4.0, 128 bits)
           GLX Version: 3.0 Mesa 17.0.7 Direct Rendering: Yes
Processes: Memory: MB / % used - Used/Total: 637.3/3949.7MB - CPU: % used - top 5 active
           1: mem: 180.42MB (4.5%) command: cinnamon pid: 1650 cpu: 64.0%
           2: mem: 58.84MB (1.4%) command: Untitled (started by: xed) pid: 1849 cpu: 1.1%
           3: mem: 57.89MB (1.4%) command: nemo pid: 2493 cpu: 0.0%
           4: mem: 56.48MB (1.4%) command: Xorg pid: 995 cpu: 8.9%
           5: mem: 55.57MB (1.4%) command: mintUpdate pid: 1821 cpu: 0.0%

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Re: Video problems with ATI Mobility HD 3470 Chipset - All Ubuntu-Based Distros, U16.04 and Up

Post by D Canard » Mon Dec 03, 2018 1:59 pm

Interesting.

This morning I installed all the updates that were available from running update/upgrade from a terminal. Later a few more updates showed up in the update manager, including optional updates for the kernel and mesa. I installed everything, rebooted and tried to log into the default Cinnamon desktop. It didn't work but something quite different happened. The desktop wallpaper was displayed for a few seconds and the Mint welcome sound played before the screen went black.

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Re: Video problems with ATI Mobility HD 3470 Chipset - All Ubuntu-Based Distros, U16.04 and Up

Post by thx-1138 » Mon Dec 03, 2018 3:00 pm

...some (very generic admittedly) notes:

1) ...the Cinnamon 'software rendering' log-in switch is in regards to how itself will behave,
not in regards to how your card / rest of apps will be able to handle / render video.
Mate / XFCE (as suggested above), don't need 3d acceleration to run per se (thereby will 'stress' less the card),
yet, depending on the cards' abilities & driver config, will still be able to handle 'direct' video rendering.
Ie. don't rush to dismiss them...

2) Being an older machine, i'd try the latest kernel from the 4.4.x series, and see if that changes anything.
4.10.x is long time now unsupported after all, while 4.4.x will continue getting fixes for quite a few years.

3) The current Mesa (under Mint 18.x) is 18.0.5. Not sure what got updated in the last step previously,
but your earlier inxi logs showed 17.0.7. Don't withhold it if such is the case.

4) You could also try updating Xorg to 1.19.6, & see if that makes any difference:
apt install xserver-xorg-hwe-16.04 xserver-xorg-video-all-hwe-16.04
Note that this might make situation worse than it is though, so make sure you've taken back-ups first.

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Re: Video problems with ATI Mobility HD 3470 Chipset - All Ubuntu-Based Distros, U16.04 and Up

Post by D Canard » Mon Dec 03, 2018 3:42 pm

Hi,

Thank you for the reply and the suggestions.
thx-1138 wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 3:00 pm
... the Cinnamon 'software rendering' log-in switch is in regards to how itself will behave,
not in regards to how your card / rest of apps will be able to handle / render video.
Mate / XFCE (as suggested above), don't need 3d acceleration to run per se (thereby will 'stress' less the card),
yet, depending on the cards' abilities & driver config, will still be able to handle 'direct' video rendering.
Ie. don't rush to dismiss them...
I am not wed to the Cinnamon desktop. The problem, as stated above, way above, is common to all current Linux versions I have tried, Debian and forks, and others. If I can resolve the problem in Cinnamon, the problem should be resolved for everything. LM 18.03 Cinnamon is convenient to work in because it has the toggle for "standard" and "software rendering." I can always boot to a GUI. Most other distros seem not to offer this convenience as readily. Xfce versions will log me into to a psychedelic wonderland of video corruption.
thx-1138 wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 3:00 pm
2) Being an older machine, i'd try the latest kernel from the 4.4.x series, and see if that changes anything.
4.10.x is long time now unsupported after all, while 4.4.x will continue getting fixes for quite a few years.
I am wanting to give this notebook away, so I would like it to be set up in a manner that does not require any technical competence. It is not for me. So push the power button and log in is the option I am looking for. LOL Current kernel after update this morning is 4.15.0-39-generic.
thx-1138 wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 3:00 pm
The current Mesa (under Mint 18.x) is 18.0.5. Not sure what got updated in the last step previously,
but your earlier inxi logs showed 17.0.7. Don't withhold it if such is the case.
There was some sort of mesa update this morning, but it appears not to have changed the version number. It is still 18.0.5.
thx-1138 wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 3:00 pm
4) You could also try updating Xorg to 1.19.6, & see if that makes any difference:
apt install xserver-xorg-hwe-16.04 xserver-xorg-video-all-hwe-16.04
Note that this might make situation worse than it is though, so make sure you've taken back-ups first.
Thanks. I will try this.

There is nothing to back up. This is entirely a test machine at this point. It has been loaded and reloaded with everything under the sun in the last couple of days. Win 7 works really well on it, but it took the better part of two days to do all the patches. LOL. In the same length of time I had loaded and reloaded and patched a large number of current LTS and rolling release distros.

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Re: Video problems with ATI Mobility HD 3470 Chipset - All Ubuntu-Based Distros, U16.04 and Up

Post by D Canard » Mon Dec 03, 2018 3:59 pm

thx-1138 wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 3:00 pm
You could also try updating Xorg to 1.19.6, & see if that makes any difference:
apt install xserver-xorg-hwe-16.04 xserver-xorg-video-all-hwe-16.04
Note that this might make situation worse than it is though, so make sure you've taken back-ups first.
Hi,

The only change resulting from updating to 1.19.6 is that I lose the little momentary ray of hope offered by the 4 second or so display of the desktop wallpaper when logging in in "standard" mode. The Mint welcome sound still plays. Logging in in "software rendering" still works just the same.

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Re: Video problems with ATI Mobility HD 3470 Chipset - All Ubuntu-Based Distros, U16.04 and Up

Post by D Canard » Mon Dec 03, 2018 4:16 pm

thx-1138 wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 3:00 pm
the Cinnamon 'software rendering' log-in switch is in regards to how itself will behave,
not in regards to how your card / rest of apps will be able to handle / render video.
Mate / XFCE (as suggested above), don't need 3d acceleration to run per se (thereby will 'stress' less the card),
yet, depending on the cards' abilities & driver config, will still be able to handle 'direct' video rendering.
Ie. don't rush to dismiss them...
Good call, actually.

I just installed Mate with the Software Manager and booted to it successfully. I had not worked any better than Cinnamon previously with a clean installation of LM 18.03 Mate. Now it appears to work. Sweet! I will test this for a bit and see if I can replicate this with a clean installation.

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Re: Video problems with ATI Mobility HD 3470 Chipset - All Ubuntu-Based Distros, U16.04 and Up

Post by D Canard » Mon Dec 03, 2018 5:57 pm

Hi,

So I was bold and tried again with installing Mint 19 Mate.

The initial results were the same-old, same-old at logon - black screen and mouse cursor. Switching to the console and doing update/upgrade and then rebooting when it was all finished gets me a working desktop environment.

So I would say that my particular issue here is resolved. I don't see a Resolved button anywhere, so if this is a Mod task, please do it.

Thank you all.

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Re: Video problems with ATI Mobility HD 3470 Chipset - All Ubuntu-Based Distros, U16.04 and Up

Post by D Canard » Mon Dec 03, 2018 7:05 pm

As repeatedly pointed out above, this Asus beast is quite elderly, to put it politely.

:D

Although Mint 19 Mate looks spectacular and has a nice Windows-Explorer-like interface, something good for Linux neophytes, it's performance on this geriatric machine sucks by comparison to 18.3 with Mate. Chrome/Chromium browsers and forks don't run at all well - Firefox does, howerver. VLC,which would play DVDs at quite an acceptable level of quality in 18.3, does not work in 19. Etc. And on and on.

Hmmmm .... I will see if I can Mint 19 Xfce running or go back to 18.03.

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Re: Video problems with ATI Mobility HD 3470 Chipset - All Ubuntu-Based Distros, U16.04 and Up

Post by thx-1138 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 7:33 am

D Canard wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 7:05 pm
.....................................
VLC,which would play DVDs at quite an acceptable level of quality in 18.3, does not work in 19. Etc. And on and on.
...try installing va-driver-all & vdpau-driver-all, then toy around with vlc's video output settings under preferences.
On 18.x, gstreamer1.0-vaapi should help with the native xplayer as well
(it's already included on 19.x variants, ie. no need to install such manually there).

Wouldn't expect miracles on such an older card, but with a bit of error & trial, chances are you'll get something out of it...
Please note that i haven't really paid much attention myself to vlc's hardware decoding abilities / requirements in the latest yrs,
i use smplayer myself (with mpv & the vaapi backend) (which i also would strongly recommend giving it a try).

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Re: Video problems with ATI Mobility HD 3470 Chipset - All Ubuntu-Based Distros, U16.04 and Up

Post by D Canard » Tue Dec 04, 2018 1:12 pm

Hi,
thx-1138 wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 7:33 am
Wouldn't expect miracles on such an older card ...
No such expectations are held.

I have LM 18.3 Xfce working extremely well. I had 18.3 Mate running for a bit, and it is good, too. But Xfce performs better all round on this system.

I am not able to get any U18.4-based Xfce distros installed because the live media won't boot properly - despite various tweaking attempts with the boot settings. LUbuntu 18.04 live media, another option, hangs immediately after partitioning the drive. I might try installing Mint 19 Xfce on another hard drive in another system with a legacy BIOS, patching the installation, and then putting the hard drive in the Asus notebook to see what happens. Once patched, 19 Xfce might work.
thx-1138 wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 7:33 am
i use smplayer myself (with mpv & the vaapi backend) (which i also would strongly recommend giving it a try).
I am not familiar with this app at all. I have always used VLC simply because it has never given me a reason not to. :D I will have to check smplayer out. Thx.

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Re: Video problems with ATI Mobility HD 3470 Chipset - All Ubuntu-Based Distros, U16.04 and Up

Post by D Canard » Tue Dec 04, 2018 8:53 pm

Well ... this thread reaches its end. I have spent way more time on this old note book than it is worth. It was an interesting experience, though.

LM 19 Mate can be made to work with this notebook and its ATI Mobility HD 3470 chipset. The performance, however, is unacceptable poor, this probably the cumulative effect of the ancient video chipset and the old 2.0 GHz Core2 Duo proc.

Don't bother with 19 Cinnamon. Out of reach, I think.

19 Xfce does not work. The live media does not boot properly. I installed it on another legacy system and ported the drive over to the Asus notebook after fully patching it. It gets to a log on screen but then there is massive video corruption, less psychedelic in nature than that of the live media boot. You can get to a console from here, so things might be repairable, but .... time ....

All 18.03 versions work now. They all worked upon installation but updates killed them. More recent updates seem to have brought them back. Xfce seems to be the best option for the notebook. It has a cool spartan sort of Win 2K look about it, and everything works at a quite reasonable level of performance for such an old piece of hardware. Mate is a reasonable alternative, nicer looking. Cinnamon is a little slow by comparison.

Thanks to all.

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Re: Video problems with ATI Mobility HD 3470 Chipset - All Ubuntu-Based Distros, U16.04 and Up

Post by Hoser Rob » Fri Dec 07, 2018 9:04 am

D Canard wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 3:42 pm
... I am not wed to the Cinnamon desktop. The problem, as stated above, way above, is common to all current Linux versions I have tried, Debian and forks, and others. If I can resolve the problem in Cinnamon, the problem should be resolved for everything. LM 18.03 Cinnamon is convenient to work in because it has the toggle for "standard" and "software rendering." I can always boot to a GUI. Most other distros seem not to offer this convenience as readily. ....
You're continually missng the point, the issues are at kernel level, Cinnamon (or Mint) has NOTHING to do with it, and using that on 10 year old no lobger supported video cards is nuts.

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Re: Video problems with ATI Mobility HD 3470 Chipset - All Ubuntu-Based Distros, U16.04 and Up

Post by D Canard » Sat Dec 08, 2018 2:24 pm

Hoser Rob wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 9:04 am
You're continually missng the point, the issues are at kernel level, Cinnamon (or Mint) has NOTHING to do with it, and using that on 10 year old no lobger supported video cards is nuts.
:D Missing the point. No. I have said above that I found the problem to be common to a wide variety of non-Debian-based distros, as well. So obviously the problem, if it is a problem, is with the generic kernel.

:D :D Nuts? Yes and no. My attempts here are no more nuts than tossing a well-made, working piece of hardware into the garbage. The laptop would still be capable of performing valuable work if there were support for the video chipset. It ran Ubuntu Precise for a number of years. Then it ran various Mint 18.x versions. And it did a spectacular job given its age.

There is an interesting discussion here, but this thread is not the place for it. And I do not have time to start it at the moment. I will come back later and post a link to something in the Linux discussion section here. I would love to hear more of your thoughts. :D Watch this spot.

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Re: Video problems with ATI Mobility HD 3470 Chipset - All Ubuntu-Based Distros, U16.04 and Up

Post by Hoser Rob » Mon Dec 10, 2018 10:45 am

D Canard wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 2:24 pm
Hoser Rob wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 9:04 am
You're continually missng the point, the issues are at kernel level, Cinnamon (or Mint) has NOTHING to do with it, and using that on 10 year old no lobger supported video cards is nuts.
:D Missing the point. No. I have said above that I found the problem to be common to a wide variety of non-Debian-based distros, as well. So obviously the problem, if it is a problem, is with the generic kernel.

:D :D Nuts? Yes and no. My attempts here are no more nuts than tossing a well-made, working piece of hardware into the garbage. The laptop would still be capable of performing valuable work if there were support for the video chipset. It ran Ubuntu Precise for a number of years. Then it ran various Mint 18.x versions. And it did a spectacular job given its age.

There is an interesting discussion here, but this thread is not the place for it. And I do not have time to start it at the moment. I will come back later and post a link to something in the Linux discussion section here. I would love to hear more of your thoughts. :D Watch this spot.
It ran fine until it didn't. That card wasn't supported anymore. This is such old news for Linux AMD users, who have had their graphics break for years after an update. SOmetime while using a long term supporty release. And they weren't as ancient as that one.

Don't use Cinnamon on old video ardware that's not supported properly, you dont have properly working 3D accel, it's just ridiculous. Reinstall 18 oe use a lighter DE and turn off ALL the eye candy. Actually Mint 19, like any other distro as new re the kernel etc, isn't a good choice for old machines.

Whoever said that Linux is great for reviving old hardware wasn't wrong but wasn't right either. The kernel may run fine (technically Linux is just the kernel) but that does NOT mean that modern app software or desktop environments will work. Using Cinnamon on your machine is a prime example.

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