What to do with older nVidia video cards?

After installing Leap 15.5 on two different computers I noticed that mesa-dri-nouveau (22.3.5) no longer works. I’ve never had any problems with previous openSUSE versions.
Both video cards are relatively old:
nVidia GeForce m320 for laptops
nVidia GeForce 8400GS for desktops

With mesa-dri-nouveau 22.3.5 I’m experiencing graphic artifacts and even hard crashes after a few minutes. It seems that these issues affect only plasmoids.
Fortunately (and incredibly), the old mesa-dri-nouveau 21.2.4 from Leap 15.4 works perfectly also on Leap 15.5. Yast2 suggests to downgrade the entire Mesa package, but if you choose “install anyway”, everything goes right.
This workaround works for now, but what will happen with future openSUSE versions?

You can use software rendering - LLVMPipe.
For desktop AMD/ATI GPUs are preferable.

Leap 15.6 is out - try it.

No need to try, as the support for these old architectures got removed with Mesa 21.3 onwards…

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Sorry, both cards should still be supported by Mesa. So you can try Leap 15.6 as suggested by Svyatko…
But 14/17 years old hardware and actual software mostly don’t fit together. Small, lightwight desktop environments with disabled modern graphic feutures are required to run on such museum pieces…

The sad thing is that both of these two “old” video cards perform really well with 3D acceleration enabled.

KDE works badly with Nouveau drivers. I had problems with Nvidia Kepler + Nouveau.
ATI/AMD card with Terascale chip can cost ~ $5 - $10.

What is it telling you this is the case?

I installed another fresh 15.6 on a PCI (not PCIe) 8400 GS today. No fault found in graphics as yet:

# inxi -C
  Info: single core model: Intel Pentium 4 bits: 64 type: MT cache: L2: 2 MiB
  Speed (MHz): avg: 3200 min/max: N/A cores: 1: 3200 2: 3200
# inxi -GSaz --vs --zl --hostname
inxi 3.3.35-00 (2024-06-18)
  Host: g5eas Kernel: 6.4.0-150600.21-default arch: x86_64 bits: 64
    compiler: gcc v: 7.5.0 clocksource: tsc avail: hpet,acpi_pm
    parameters: root=LABEL= ipv6.disable=1 net.ifnames=0 noresume
    consoleblank=0 mitigations=off
  Desktop: TDE (Trinity) v: R14.1.2 tk: Qt v: 3.5.0 wm: Twin v: 3.0
    with: kicker vt: 7 dm: 1: TDM 2: XDM Distro: openSUSE Leap 15.6
  Device-1: NVIDIA G98 [GeForce 8400 GS Rev. 2] vendor: PNY driver: nouveau
    v: kernel non-free: series: 340.xx status: legacy (EOL~2019-12-xx) last:
    release: 340.108 kernel: 5.4 xorg: 1.20 arch: Tesla process: 40-80nm
    built: 2006-2013 pcie: gen: 1 speed: 2.5 GT/s lanes: 1 link-max: lanes: 16
    ports: active: DVI-I-1,VGA-1 empty: none bus-ID: 0b:00.0
    chip-ID: 10de:06e4 class-ID: 0300
  Display: x11 server: X.Org v: compositor: Twin v: 3.0 driver: X:
    loaded: modesetting unloaded: fbdev,vesa alternate: nouveau,nv,nvidia
    dri: nouveau gpu: nouveau display-ID: :0 screens: 1
  Screen-1: 0 s-res: 3600x1200 s-dpi: 120 s-size: 762x254mm (30.00x10.00")
    s-diag: 803mm (31.62")
  Monitor-1: DVI-I-1 pos: primary,left model: NEC EA243WM serial: 
    built: 2011 res: 1920x1200 hz: 60 dpi: 94 gamma: 1.2
    size: 519x324mm (20.43x12.76") diag: 612mm (24.1") ratio: 16:10 modes:
    max: 1920x1200 min: 640x480
  Monitor-2: VGA-1 pos: right model: Dell P2213 serial:  built: 2012
    res: 1680x1050 hz: 60 dpi: 90 gamma: 1.2 size: 473x296mm (18.62x11.65")
    diag: 558mm (22") ratio: 16:10 modes: max: 1680x1050 min: 720x400
  API: EGL v: 1.5 hw: drv: nvidia nouveau platforms: device: 0 egl: 1.4
    drv: nouveau device: 1 drv: swrast gbm: egl: 1.4 drv: nouveau surfaceless:
    egl: 1.4 drv: nouveau x11: egl: 1.4 drv: nouveau inactive: wayland
  API: OpenGL v: 4.5 compat-v: 3.3 vendor: mesa v: 23.3.4 glx-v: 1.4
    direct-render: yes renderer: NV98 device-ID: 10de:06e4 memory: 483.4 MiB
    unified: no
  API: Vulkan v: 1.3.275 layers: 3 device: 0 type: cpu name: llvmpipe (LLVM
    17.0.6 128 bits) driver: N/A device-ID: 10005:0000 surfaces: xcb,xlib

It is a slouch in glmark2: (00)191. I don’t play games and don’t use any of these oldies with Plasma though, only with KDE3, TDE or IceWM, all rather respectable performers on old GPUs and CPUs.

I have two other Teslas, and two Fermis, also showing no apparent problems using nouveau kernel module and Mesa with modesetting (not nouveau) display driver.

It is a known bug that affects newer versions of Mesa.
More details in this topic:

Bug report here:


Screen shot:


So, this bug also affects Leap-15.5, not just Tumbleweed.

@mrmazda If your going to run Tumbleweed on any boxes, look at https://docs.mesa3d.org/amber.html

The amber branch applies to old nVidia video cards from NV04 to NV20.
The GeForce 8400GS is NV98, so it is still supported by mesa-dri-nouveau.

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I have upwards of 40 TW installations. I read the page. How to respond is clear as mud. Is that for users who build their own binaries? Is there going be an Amber repo that various old hardware users will need to enable?

@mrmazda They can co-exist, I guess if someone steps up and packages… 24.1.2 is in the next snapshot, so won’t be log for 24.1.3 to drop… ~10 days https://docs.mesa3d.org/release-calendar.html

Ahh my bad, 21.3… so if working now, all should be good…

The references are about AMD/ATI hardware, so why is it relevant to Nvidia cards?
(BTW, the referenced problem has been fixed meanwhile)

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