'ati' video driver and older cards (no RadeonHD), a little question...

Vincent Trouilliez vincent.trouilliez at modulonet.fr
Sun Apr 26 01:15:51 UTC 2009

Hi list,

I am using an nbidia card, for a few years now, running the proprietary
driver, by necessity (to get 3D). The problem I have been having since
day one, is that this driver makes DDC calls fail, meaning my monitor
can not be recognized, I have to work xorg.conf by hand. If I go to
System->Preferences->Screen Resolution, it doesn't list all the
resolutions the monitor can handle, and it offers silly refresh rates:
51, 53, 55, 56, 61.. something like that, instead of 60/75/85 like it
should. This weeks I upgraded to Ubuntu 9.04, and the problem got
worse : the Gnome Display tool now just plain refused to start ! It
redirects me to the nvidia utility tool, which doesn't work (it fails
to read/parse xorg.conf). So this is all starting to get on mly
nerves ! ;-/
Seeing as there is no reason to believe that the situation will ever
improve, I am thinking of going back to an ATI card, since they have
the free 'ati' driver, which, if I remember my old Radeon 9250 I used to
own, worked perfectly, and let my monitor be detected, so the Gnome
tool offered the appropriate resolutions and refresh rates,
automatically. Sadly, although this driver was bug free and "just
works", 3D was so slow that I had to give up on it and move to Nvidia.
But I hear that recently the ati driver saw lots of work, and that 3D
performance has been much improved. So the ati driver and the cards it
supports, now appeal to me again.

I looked at the ati driver projects page:


it says that for all the older card (prior to the modern 'HD' range of
cards), everything just works.
So I am thinking of buying one of these cards. My motherboard doesn't
have an AGP slot though, only PCI Express (1.0), so I guess I am
looking only at the more recent of the old cards, the Radeon 'X'


1) out of the PCI Express X**** cards, do they all really work
perfectly, or are there any specific models that have little glitches
that don't look tidy ? Like flickering, artefact, anything the eye
could notice and that I don't want to see, or any other kind of
problems one would like to avoid, given the choice.
I also remember that the VGA output (what I am using) of the ATI cards,
was better than Nvidia. So if some ATI card is known to be better or
worse than others, in this regards, I am interested in knowing.
I am also looking for a fanless card, if that helps suggestions.

2) Could people confirm (or infirm, hopefully not), that using the
free 'ati' driver (not fglrx), the Gnome Display tool was able to offer
all the expected/appropriate resolutions and refresh rates that the
monitor supports, without having to fiddle manually with xorg.conf ?

Thanks all in advance for your feedback ! :-)



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