[ubuntu-x] Add tag for GPU fan related problems? [was: Tagging Xorg bugs (especially -intel)]

Martin Olsson mnemo at minimum.se
Fri May 8 17:51:50 BST 2009

Someone posted this additional info in the bug btw (apparently there is some
upstream work on -ati power management that didn't make it into jaunty!):

Also there is the old DynamicClocks option in xorg.conf but I don't think
we use it (and I'm not sure it's useful either).


Martin Olsson wrote:
> Thanks for the info unggnu..
> Is there any reason why your modded firmware image can't ship in the
> ubuntu kernel? low 3D perf? does it permanently alter the hw or is it
> one of those firmware blobs that the kernel supplies every time on boot?
> While I don't think a tag can fix bugs it can help us chart out the territory
> where the ubuntu experience is not great yet and it can help us build a better
> case when escalating to upstream.
> In general, are you sure the situation is still that bad? AMD has published a ton of
> nice docs in the last 2 years. Just yesterday they release 3D specs for R600/R700:
> http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=amd_r600_700_guide&num=1
> Why would they publish specs on 3D stuff but then hold back on something as
> trivial as fan control? Also, according to Phoronix, they introduced PowerPlay
> in fglrx in 2005 so at least basic components of that technology is pretty _old_
> given that it was on the market for years before coming to fglrx. This seriously
> limits the ability of people to use their cards after all. It doesn't exactly
> make sense to me, but then again this kind of stuff rarely does I suppose.
> All AMD docs are here in case anyone wants to grep through them:
> http://www.x.org/docs/AMD/
> ---
> I looked around a bit in these docs and found nothing _obviously_ useful.
> Of course I'm royally clueless when it comes to this type of low level stuff.
> None of the docs explicitly mention "fan" (except for "triangle fan" which
> is completed non-related of course) but I assume fan control can be connected
> to general "power state" and there is plenty of references to that if
> you search for "power". Maybe stuff like powering down the DRAM isn't
> what's needed though, that sounds more like for suspend/resume etc.
> Especially since fglrx ships the "aticonfig" tool that has an option called
> --set-power-state, that makes me think the explicit references to POWER_STATE
> in the given AMD docs could be potentially useful here? Also, since there
> is a userspace tool for it, there is probably just some ioctl() or register
> or something you need to poke for setting the power mode?
> Another interesting option here would be to factor out the proprietary
> aticonfig tool into its own package then just run:
> aticonfig --set-powerstate=1
> or similar, before using the free driver. That way we'd get way more users
> on the free driver and more bug reports etc. We can also do this _only_ for
> cards we have confirmed this "full fan" behavior on so we don't risk
> hurting 3D perf on cards where the fan magically work for some reason.
> Finally for reference, here is the bug report about now being able to
> use -ati because fans run at full speed:
> https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/xserver-xorg-video-ati/+bug/373669
> 		Martin
> unggnu wrote:
>> Hi,
>> it has most likely something to do with Powerplay features of the ATI 
>> cards which isn't supported in the free driver and which is still not 
>> documented. So atm there isn't much they can do about it. But I heard 
>> that someone of the Ubuntu devs is working on this but without docs it 
>> will take a long time I guess. Maybe AMD will release them soon.
>> I personally changed my firmware to undervoltage/-clock my GPU to get 
>> rid of the noise and fglrx. Without it you really can't use the free 
>> driver with HD4870 if your aren't deaf but the proprietary driver is so 
>> buggy that this was the only option for me.
>> The tag would be fine of course but wouldn't help much. It is up to 
>> upstream and the graphic company to get rid of the fan problem.
>> unggnu
>> Martin Olsson wrote:
>>> One guy in the fglrx perf bug said the main reason he uses fglrx
>>> and not the open source driver is because the -ati driver is running
>>> his GPU fans on full power _all the time_ which I can imagine is
>>> really annoying. He said it was even higher priority to him than
>>> getting nice 3D perf.
>>> Does ubuntu-x own such bugs or not? I'm asking this in particular
>>> because while googling around I found this on ideastorm which
>>> is a pretty nice idea that suggests that GPU fan control be
>>> moved into the kernel because otherwise the fans usually go
>>> "all in" until you get into X and the X driver can turn them off:
>>> http://brainstorm.ubuntu.com/idea/5852/
>>> (however, I assume the existence of this ideastorm entry means
>>> that the xorg team currently owns all of the bugs, no? I wonder
>>> how that works out in server like scenarios like "home media center"
>>> or whatever.. that must be painful)
>>> As a first step, how about adding a LP tag for bugs relating to fans?
>>> 		Martin

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