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State of free Xpress 200M Drivers

last updated: 02. March 2008 Although formally the Xpress 200M chipset belongs to the r400 family, which is covered by the OSS radeon driver, you could not get any 3D acceleration with it. The reason is that the integrated Xpress 200M does not have its own memory in contrast to the standalone r400 series card and instead uses the main system RAM. The problem was the different addressing of it, which had to be reverse engineered since AMD did not release any specifications for it.

Since working on a slow integrated chipset is not very exciting Ubuntu sponsored a Notebook with a Xpress 200M to Dave Airlie of r300 fame as a small motivation.

As you could read shortly after that in his blog, he made good process...

How to get it working

Besides a recent OSS ATI driver you will also need a new DRM/ Mesa to get the bits needed for 3D. If you use Ubuntu Gutsy/ Hardy, the ATI driver from the repository will do but you will need a newer Mesa, which contains some geometry fixes for the 200m.

You can find the required Mesa Packages in my PPA repository.

Basic Features

EXA is the new X acceleration architecture, and should considerably improve performance. Currently EXA is slower than XAA but when you want to run a 2D compositing manager like the one used by Metacity you simply need EXA.

# to enable EXA add this to your Drivers Section in xorg.conf
Option "AccelMethod" "EXA"

recently a few features of the Render extension were implemented. When fully supported Render can take advantage of EXA and accelerate most of the compositing operations.

Textured Video
Textured Video is needed when you want to accelerate Video rendering in a composited environment or if you simply dont want to care about which head the video should be rendered to.
Basically Textured Video is supported but it does not play well with the patched Mesa library needed for proper 3D.

Dynamic Clocks
if you try to start with the automatic frequency scaling enabled, the Xserver hangs the system immediately and forces you to reset. There is not much done yet regarding this for the 200m, so dont bet that you can use this soon.

# to enable DynamicClocks add this to your Drivers Section in xorg.conf
Option "DynamicClocks"

3D Accelearation

In order to enable 3D Acceleration on the Xpress 200M, you will need the patched mesa from my PPA. Furthermore you will have to explicitly enable it in your xorg.conf, by adding the following to the Drivers Section

# to enable Direct Rendering add this to your Drivers Section in xorg.conf
Option "DRI"

Starting Compiz works, but the textures are distorted.






generally the performance of the OSS driver is only at 50% of the recent fglrx driver (8.41) and about the same as the old fglrx(< 8.41).