ATI x300 series video unstable from installer

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ATI x300 series video unstable from installer

Postby m4dsc1 » Tue Nov 02, 2010 21:52

Attempting to install a Sabayon 5.3 or 5.4 KDE release on a Dell Dimension 9150, which has an ATI RV370 graphics card gets to the final stages of initiating the KDE environment and then during the monitor adjustment, the screen cycles through the same resolution setting over and over and the system becomes unresponsive and it never leaves the loop of checking the display options.

I happened to have an old 5.0 KDE disk laying around so i tossed it in and it finally worked to get to a desktop. Any ideas on how to resolve the issues with the newer release versions would be appreciated. I have installed to a Dell Studio 17 release 5.3 with no issues a few months back. Also ATI video card. Not sure the specific version.


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Re: ATI x300 series video unstable from installer

Postby m4dsc1 » Tue Nov 02, 2010 22:01

A major difference between the releases that i can see is that the 5.0 utlizes a 9.x driver from ati whereas the 5.4 utilizes a 10.x.

Attempting to use a text based installation causes a stack trace.
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Re: ATI x300 series video unstable from installer

Postby Fitzcarraldo » Tue Nov 02, 2010 23:52

Have you tried the open-source driver (xf86-video-ati) instead of the closed-source driver (ati-drivers)? At the LiveDVD boot screen press F5 and append the kernel boot parameter xdriver=radeon to see if it works. If it boots to a working Desktop then you can go ahead and install, and it'll install to the HDD with the Radeon (open-source) driver instead of the FGLRX (closed-source) driver.
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Re: ATI x300 series video unstable from installer

Postby m4dsc1 » Wed Nov 03, 2010 14:28

Fitzcarraldo wrote:Have you tried the open-source driver (xf86-video-ati) instead of the closed-source driver (ati-drivers)? At the LiveDVD boot screen press F5 and append the kernel boot parameter xdriver=radeon to see if it works. If it boots to a working Desktop then you can go ahead and install, and it'll install to the HDD with the Radeon (open-source) driver instead of the FGLRX (closed-source) driver.


I did try the xdriver tricks for "nv","fglrx","radeon" and "ati". The "nv" option eventually allowed the system to boot but fail to start X because of just how wrong a choice it was, which in a way was better than what i was getting with it using the normal drivers. That allowed me to run a lspci to identify the video card.
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Re: ATI x300 series video unstable from installer

Postby Fitzcarraldo » Wed Nov 03, 2010 15:22

Looking at AMD's release notes for the Catalyst driver for Linux (a.k.a. FGLRX), AMD dropped support for the ATI Radeon X300 series GPUs in version 9.4 of the AMD Catalyst driver. So there is no way that xdriver=ati, which selects the closed-source FGLRX driver (ati-drivers package), would work. Your only hope would be the open-source Radeon driver (xf86-video-ati). Unfortunately, from what I've read on the Web recently, recent versions of the open-source Radeon driver and X.Org Server are buggy, so that may explain your problem.

If you can get to a virtual console in the LiveDVD environment, you could try a text installation (see SL Wiki for details) and then try installing the open-source driver anyway, just to see if you get any further. After installing to the HDD, get to a virtual console, login as root user and try the following after updating equo as per instructions in the SL Wiki (Fresh Install - What to do?):

Code: Select all
equo install xf86-video-ati
equo conf update
eselect opengl set xorg-x11
aiglx-setup disable

then cross your fingers and reboot. If that does not work, things get messier. You could use Portage to downgrade the X.Org Server to 1.7.6 or 1.7.7-r1 (Entropy does not have older versions) and use Portage to compile the xf86-video-ati package to match the version of the server you installed. That might, or might not, work.

Code: Select all
emerge --sync
layman -S
emerge -1v =xorg-server-1.7.6
emerge -1v =xf86-video-ati-6.12.6 (or whatever)
eselect opengl set xorg-x11
aiglx-setup disable

You'd also need to merge all the other xf86-input-<whatever> and xf86-video-<whatever> packages you need for your PC (Synaptics or whatever hardware you have), because the X.Org drivers must be compiled to match the X.Org Server.

You'd have to try the various versions of xf86-video-ati to see if you can find one that works. If you can be bothered.
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Re: ATI x300 series video unstable from installer

Postby m4dsc1 » Wed Nov 03, 2010 18:33

Thanks for the detailed reply. I had seen the same buggy reports for the X300 and if i had another pci-e card sitting around i'd just replace the thing.

Since text installation was resulting in a stack trace before getting anywhere in the boot process i decided to keep going backwards with install disks. I've found that the older Sabayon 5.0 release is as good a start as i'll be able to get in order for a successful install.

From there i will look to improve packages to more recent versions before i start to push Xorg. I would like to get to a more recent KDE, but have to look into what xorg requirements that might take.


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Re: ATI x300 series video unstable from installer

Postby Fitzcarraldo » Sat Nov 06, 2010 11:36

Actually, I forgot one other possibility: xdriver=vesa. The VESA driver is a 'lowest common denominator' and should work with virtually everything, albeit without all the bells and whistles. If you are content to have a desktop without the ability to have all the 3D OpenGL eye candy, then the VESA driver may well work for you. It may only give a 1024x768 screen resolution, you'd have to try and see what happens.
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