Re: ATI graphics mobility 5830 - does it work?

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On Sunday 07 February 2010 18:57:27 Kevin Kofler wrote:
> Mail Llists wrote:
> >   Can anyone tell me if the ATI mobility HD 5830 will work in fedora 12
> > - 2-D is sufficient - its on an HP laptop that look sinteresting but
> > I've only used nvidia till now.
> >
> >   So looking for any info on whether this will work in fedora
> 
> Well, it should work with the generic unaccelerated vesa driver…

Feel free to test the vesa driver on whatever is your current hardware, to get 
a feel of what it can/cannot do. Create the xorg.conf file if you don't already 
have one, change the default driver from whatever it is to "vesa" and reboot. 
If it satisfies all your needs, than my guess that this ATI card will perform 
as good as any other. The vesa driver performs pretty much the same on any 
hardware, so you can know in advance what to expect from it.

AFAIK, you can expect the following:

* 3D acceleration will not work (googleearth, compiz, games and similar stuff).
* 2D acceleration will also not work. If you are lucky, the processor will be 
fast enough to take the load for, say, mplayer or vlc to play movies in 
fullscreen without glitches.
* No dual head support.
* No widescreen support --- vesa can deliver only standard  resolutions like 
800x600, 1024x768 and 1280x1024, whereas I believe all modern laptops have 
widescreen displays nowdays --- so the picture will probably be "stretched".
* Plymouth, ie. the graphical boot will not work (though maybe with some 
kernel switches it can be tweaked, I'm not sure).

If the salesman allows you, boot the laptop with a Fedora Live CD. You should 
make sure to test the vesa driver against any and every application you might 
use, just to be sure you don't actually need any 2D or 3D acceleration.

As far as I know, your options seem to be the following:

* you can buy the laptop and live with such graphics for at least a year or so 
(my wild guess), until ATI releases the specs for the card and the radeonhd 
developers implement a working driver.
* you can give up Fedora and install some other distribution which has an 
older version of X, and use closed source Catalyst drivers.
* you can check the technical specs of the laptop to see if the graphics card 
is removable so you can replace it with some older/different model that works.
* you can choose not to buy that laptop.

Btw, if you are familiar with Windows, imagine that upon default install it 
doesn't recognize the video card model, and you have no drivers to provide it. 
The display _will_ work, but surely not performing as you might expect (16-
color 800x600 springs to mind) --- it would look as if you're running Windows 
in safe mode, for example. Fedora's vesa driver can do a better resolution and 
maybe more colors, but that's about it.

HTH, :-)
Marko

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