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

Steve Grace sgrace at pobox.com
Sun Apr 26 01:34:22 UTC 2009

Vincent Trouilliez wrote:

> 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:
> http://www.x.org/wiki/radeon
> 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'
> something.
> Questions:
> 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 ?

I'm using an X1650 card with the "ati" driver; it seems to work fine.

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