Vaio SA - stamina mode

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Vaio SA - stamina mode

Postby Nicuvëo » Thu Jul 28, 2011 13:23

Hi all! I'm new here. :)
I've been a Gentoo user for a long time, but I switched to Arch a few years ago (that's what everybody is using at work, so...). But I just purchased a brand new Sony Vaio SA, and I decided to try Sabayon, that I discovered on distrowatch, as it seemed great! So far, so good. ^^

But now that it's installed, I have a few questions that are hardware-related. Those new Vaio come with an interesting feature: the possibility to switch, during runtime, between a dedicated ati card and the default intel chipset. The point of it is of course to be able to work with a low-consuming chip and to switch to the powerful one only when needed. Currently, my Sabayon install uses the radeon driver (fglrx driver makes X segfault), so I suppose it uses the dedicated 6630M radeon card at all times, whatever the switch says. This is backed up by the fact it is way hotter than under Windows and by the fact that battery life is half what it is under Windows.

I currently have absolutely no clue about how to get that working, and I can't find any relevant documentation anywhere, mostly (I suppose) because that laptop is brand new. Also, I'm not used to linux on laptops and I'm therefore a noob as far as acpi or temperature questions go. So I'd be happy to have a few pointers about how to start: where can I learn more about that feature, if you konw a tutorial that explains how to get it working... any vaio sa related documentation would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance!(and sorry for my English).
Nicuvëo
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Re: Vaio SA - stamina mode

Postby Nicuvëo » Thu Jul 28, 2011 14:15

Well, sorry to respond to my own post, but I finally managed to find the right keyword to google to find some documentation: "vga_switcheroo". I was trying everything from "stamina mode" to "graphic switch" to no avail.

So now I found http://en.gentoo-wiki.com/wiki/Vga_switcheroo, which answers most of my questions. I'll try that as soon as possible and keep that thread updated with any relevant information I can find about installing sabayon on a vaio sa.
Nicuvëo
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Re: Vaio SA - stamina mode

Postby Fitzcarraldo » Thu Jul 28, 2011 14:28

Nicuvëo wrote:(and sorry for my English).

Well, based on your post, your English is impeccable, and certainly better than the written English of a lot of the native speakers of English who post in these and other forums and blogs.

And... welcome to SL!
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Re: Vaio SA - stamina mode

Postby micia » Thu Jul 28, 2011 15:05

Welcome to the Sabayon Linux Forums and Community.
Your English is certainly better than mine :mrgreen:

I heard that ATI is supporting hybrid configurations on Linux, even if a card switch currently involves an X Server restart (a logout + login).
Obviously, this involves using the fglrx proprietary ATI driver.
I can't test this since I have no laptop with a hybrid configuration.
My guess would be:

1) Generate a:
/etc/X11/xorg.conf
file using aticonfig:
(as root)
Code: Select all
/opt/bin/aticonfig --initial


2) you should now be able (I guess :lol: ) to control the current GPU with the AMD Catalyst Control Center, if it is not already installed, you can do it using entropy:
(as root)
Code: Select all
equo install amdcccle


You can also manage it using /opt/bin/aticonfig, quote from:
Code: Select all
/opt/bin/aticonfig --help | less


PowerXpress options:
--px-list-active-gpu
--pxl
List current activated GPU
--px-dgpu
Activate discrete GPU (High-Performance mode), must re-start X to take effect
--px-igpu
Activate integrated GPU (Power-Saving mode), must re-start X to take effect
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Re: Vaio SA - stamina mode

Postby Nicuvëo » Thu Jul 28, 2011 15:38

Fitzcarraldo wrote:Well, based on your post, your English is impeccable[...].
And... welcome to SL!

Thanks for the kind words!

micia wrote:1) Generate a:
/etc/X11/xorg.conf
file using aticonfig:
(as root)
Code: Select all
/opt/bin/aticonfig --initial


That's the first thing I tried, but aticonfig failed to generate a valid xorg.conf file. It failed with something like "no supported adapters detected" if I recall correctly; my drivers were up-to-date, or at least that's what "equo upgrade" told me. That's why I used the radeon driver... Thanks anyway for the suggestion: if I manage to get fglrx working I'll try that. :)
Nicuvëo
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Re: Vaio SA - stamina mode

Postby Nicuvëo » Thu Jul 28, 2011 15:50

Sorry if I respond to myself once again, I just found something interesting: the new Catalyst drivers were released yesterday. I'll try to see if I can get them to work.
Nicuvëo
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Re: Vaio SA - stamina mode

Postby micia » Thu Jul 28, 2011 16:07

I found out that the GPU switching in the proprietary ATI drivers works only if you have 2 ATI GPUs, this means that if you have a discrete ATI card and an Intel/other vendor integrated card, the proprietary ATI drivers will not be able to switch between them.
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Re: Vaio SA - stamina mode

Postby Nicuvëo » Thu Jul 28, 2011 16:10

micia wrote:I found out that the GPU switching in the proprietary ATI drivers works only if you have 2 ATI GPUs, this means that if you have a discrete ATI card and an Intel/other vendor integrated card, the proprietary ATI drivers will not be able to switch between them.


Oh, thanks! Interesting!
That means I should stick to my radeon driver and look into the aforementioned "vga_switcheroo" method.
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Re: Vaio SA - stamina mode

Postby Nicuvëo » Fri Jul 29, 2011 14:14

So, I haven't yet made a lot of progress : it seems that the required kernel options for vga_switcheroo to work are not currently enabled... I found this bug report which describes exactly my issue: it seems the executable is missing.

So, right now, my laptop is using the dedicated card and running way too hot. :(

I'll try to edit the kernel configuration in order to check that the options are correctly set.
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