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Old 19th September 2011
bestron bestron is offline
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Question how's ATI support for freebsd?

I'm planning to install freebsd 8.2 on my Dell Inspiron N5010 laptop which has an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4650 card, and the question is: is there an official driver for ati cards on freebsd so that I can enable desktop effects and so, or as I've heard that the support is only from nvidia folks ?
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Old 19th September 2011
shep shep is offline
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I am not sure that FreeBSD 8.2 will fully support this card. The Xorg version for FreeBSD is 1.7.7 and the ATI driver used is version 8.881. This wikipedia article indicates that cards up to R3XX are supported fully. The article indicates 2D support for R4xx and R5xx
Radeon Wiki
OpenBSD has support
OpenBSD ATI 4650
Distrowatch is helpful as it lists the xorg version and ati drivers that are utilized in the three major BSD variants. Also, each BSD does have a hardware support page

Last edited by shep; 19th September 2011 at 06:11 PM. Reason: distinguish between 2D and 2D+3D
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Old 19th September 2011
BSDfan666 BSDfan666 is offline
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ATI/AMD has no proprietary driver for BSD, but they do release NDA free documentation and have paid developers working on xf86-video-ati for both 2D and 3D acceleration.

The problem with newer cards is the userland Xorg driver lacks support for modesetting and only supports kernel modesetting, at this time only Linux supports that API.

The open source xf86-video-ati can do userland modesetting for Radeon R200 up to Radeon R700, but the kernel needs to support DRM/DRI to get 3D and XVideo acceleration.

The Radeon HD 4650 is part of the R700 family, OpenBSD has some support for that now, sometimes with some manual effort..

I don't know how FreeBSD is doing, but give it a try.

As for nVidia, they have proprietary drivers for FreeBSD only.. if you choose to use them, that's your prerogative.
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Old 19th September 2011
adamk adamk is offline
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2D and 3D acceleration is available for that GPU on FreeBSD 8.2. 3D acceleration is not great, but decent enough to play neverball and openarena, or even enable desktop effects (just don't play games and enable desktop effects at the same time).

xf86-video-ati has bugs that you might be hit with. For example, on one machine if I restart X, the entire computer locks up. Doesn't happen with another machine, though. I also sometimes get visual artifacts. Others, however, have neither of those problems.

Unless FreeBSD acquires support for KMS/TTM on radeon hardware, I only expect things to get worse for currently supported hardware. You should also not expect any newer radeon GPUs to have any acceleration till KMS/TTM is ported over.

Adam
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