Fix for old Ati cards under PCLinuxOS 2011 with the xorg 1.9.5

Hi all.

I own this card:

[andrzejl@wishmasbell ~]$ lspci | grep VGA
01:05.0 VGA compatible controller: ATI Technologies Inc Radeon XPRESS 200M 5955 (PCIE)
[andrzejl@wishmasbell ~]$

After upgrading to new xorg 1.9.5 the card lost all of it’s 3D power. I searched and tried different options… but to now avail… Today I have joined #radeon channel on Freenode IRC network and after many hours thanks to BioTube and Dresto I have found out few things… Radeon module is loading to late – it’s loading after X is started – hence it’s not used – that’s one. Second – modeset for radeon is set to 0 by default…

Guys from the #radeon channel helped me a lot. Really – without them – there would be no post today. Thanks guys! I had to figure out how to load radeon module before X starts myself ;). I am proud of myself ;).

Ok… Here is what needs to be done in order for the old Ati cards running on “ati” driver to be able to run decent 3D again.

Fair warning. This HowTo is written for advanced users. You may bork Your system if something goes wrong. HowTo is written in the best way it could be. If something will get messed up – it’s more then likely Your deed. Don’t blame me. I will not be responsible.


cat /etc/X11/xorg.conf | grep iver

The output of this command should be Driver “ati”

Now move old xorg.conf somewhere safe:

mv /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.oldie

Now setup Your card using the correct values.


Now edit the /etc/modprobe.preload file as root and add radeon as a last line so it looks something like this:

[andrzejl@wishmasbell ~]$ cat /etc/modprobe.preload
# /etc/modprobe.preload: kernel modules to load at boot time.
# This file should contain the names of kernel modules that are
# to be loaded at boot time, one per line. Comments begin with
# a `#’, and everything on the line after them are ignored.
# this file is for module-init-tools (kernel 2.5 and above) ONLY
# for old kernel use /etc/modules
[andrzejl@wishmasbell ~]$

Now edit /etc/modprobe.conf file as root and add options radeon modeset=1 so it looks something like this:

[andrzejl@wishmasbell ~]$ cat /etc/modprobe.conf
install scsi_hostadapter /sbin/modprobe sata_uli; /sbin/modprobe pata_ali; /bin/true
install ide-controller /sbin/modprobe ide_generic; /bin/true
install usb-interface /sbin/modprobe ehci_hcd; /sbin/modprobe ohci_hcd; /bin/true
options radeon modeset=1
[andrzejl@wishmasbell ~]$

Done editing the files? Ok – reboot. During the reboot You will experience a black screen for a few seconds. DON’T PANIC. Soon after that KDE4 should be loaded. The black screen shows up because the radeon module is being modprobed.

After the reboot glxgears will show values equal to Your screen refresh rate. Don’t mind that. Try playing some 3D game…

I can now play Quake 3 Arena again with FPS around 30. Before I was only getting 2… UH UH Neverwinter Nights and Plants vs Zombies are working fine too.

Hope this helps somebody some day.


EDIT: I have edited the post (which makes the fix much easier to apply) thanks to Texstar who pointed out to me that it’s no longer required to rebuild the initrd file after You add something to the /etc/modeprobe.conf file. I tested it on 2 other of my Ati based laptops. Solution works. Also – I hear from Marcin82 on the PCLinuxOS Forum that upgrading to a new kernel will not break this fix. Now I am fully happy ;). Elder Scrolls Morrowind works again under PCLinuxOS. :D. I also tried the 3D effects like Desktop Cube and Cover Switch. No prob… Seems like this fix is really successful.


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