ATI X1200 Driver Testing Errors

Hi there,

I have installed openSuse 11.3 KDE, and am loving it so far… Due to my laptop being a bit old I am having difficulty nailing down the best graphics driver to work with…

My Graphics card is an ATI Radon X1200. By default openSuse uses the Radeon driver for 2D, which is sadly not working quite as well as it should with my old graphics card. My basic problem is not that I can’t get 3D (It uses swrast (No 3D Acceleration (7.8.2)), although that would be nice, it is that when I scroll on any page there is lag, and it looks jerky.

I have therefore tested with fbdev, vesa, mach64, ati and radeonhd drivers respectively, and right out the gate the fbdev driver gave the best performance with no lag or jerking - surprising for the weakest driver .

That said, I was unable to test with radeonhd or vesa due to them having errors.

The radeonhd one gave the following:
(EE) FATAL: RadeonHD presently does not work with kernel modesetting (KMS).
Please disable KMS in your kernel.

So my question is, what are the side-affects of disabling KMS, and is it something that I should consider doing, or should I just be happy with using the fbdev driver. As for the vesa driver, I can’t remember the error that it gave, so I will have to check and post it up in a bit.



Ok, So I have tried again and have more details:

(EE) LoadModule: Module vnc does not have a vncModuleData object
(EE) Failed to load module “vnc” (invalid module, 0)
(EE) FATAL: RadeonHD presently does not work with kernel modesetting (KMS).
Please disable KMS in your kernel.

If I change the driver to vesa:
(EE) LoadModule: Module vnc does not have a vncModuleData object
(EE) Failed to load module “vnc” (invalid module, 0)
(EE) VESA(0): Driver can’t support depth 24

Hope that this give you the info you need to suggest a solution.


Realistically, you have 2 choices: radeon and radeonhd. The vesa and fbdev drivers give only basic desktop functionality.

If using radeonhd, you can disable the kernel mode setting (KMS) by adding ‘nomodeset’ to the grub kernel boot parameters as outlined here. This driver is being deprecated, and AFAIU, you should get 3D performance with the radeon driver in the near future.

Hi deano_ferrari,

Thanks for your reply, it was a great source of information, and I have held off replying till I was able to work through the links that you provided me, so that I could implement all the suggestions there, and not waste your, or anybody else’s time…

I have tried all the suggestions listed (Worked through them one by one and learnt quite a bit along the way…), but my findings were this:

In KDE I was able to get around most of the slugishness that I was experiencing by using the fbdev driver. The radeonHD driver won’t load at all (Even with KMS disabled) and just boots me into runlevel 3 after a whole series of flashing screens. The radeon driver which is the one that was installed out of the box works, but gives me an almost unusable experience when browsing the web, or scrolling through anything… And does not let me watch video on full screen, which is a biggie for me. None of the drivers alowed me to connect my laptop to my tv to watch videos there. The screen connects with the radeon driver, but is so jerky I am missing a good couple of frames, and the sound is out of sync…

I Gnome, I am not able to use the fbdev driver to skirt around my problems, as this distorts all the colours on my screen, especially when I play video’s. The radeonHD driver doesn’t work here either, with or without disabling KMS. The browsing experience with the radeon driver is however slightly better, and although it jerks less that in KDE, it still is noticable and makes browsing anything with graphics a pain, and video can only be watched when not maximized. Video on the TV is about the same as in KDE.

I know that you said that the radeon driver is getting better, and will have 3D performance in the near future, so my question is, how do I make sure that I am using the latest build of the radeon driver, so that I can get this fixed up as soon as that becomes a reality? Is there some zypper command that I need to run periodicaly?

And if you were to take a thumb suck, would you say it would be in the next month or so? Reason being is I am trying to decide if I struggle on, or just format and go back to 11.2.




Sent this message to AMD support, probably will dissapear, but I think this is a good idea… Well you gotta ask aint ya!


Could you direct this email to someone within AMD who can make a decision regarding the release of ‘unsupported’ drivers to the OpenSource community. I would like to propose that AMD release source code for legacy graphics card drivers to the community so that drivers can be created to support Linux (OpenSUSE / UBUNTU etc) on equipment sporting ‘Legacy’ graphics hardware (specificallty Radeon x1200 series).

For many Linux user, laptops in particular, are now rendered unuseable for 3D graphic work unless they have very recent VGA chipset.

Many recent laptops still ship with what are now ‘Legacy’ vga cards, and this is causing a real problem (we can’t all just go out and replace laptops because of VGA driver issues).

Your input into the OpenSource community will benefit those with machines barely 2 years old, and also be a real benefit to AMD in terms of customer perception and retention.

I look forward to a response, or at least contact information for someone who can respond. Many Thanks,

Rob Woods (Proprietor / SHOP PC)"

I have different hardware on my wife’s PC, but still, take a look at post#62 here:
workaround fix for Radeon 9200PRO on 11.3

Note that the bug report 608256 I raised on openSUSE was closed and it was recommended I raise a bug report upsteam. I was given a couple of good links: xorg-driver-ati Info Page and which were helpful for me to find a work around solution in the end (after a LOT of surfing).