[kde-linux] KDE 4. Trying to get it working like I need it to.

Duncan 1i5t5.duncan at cox.net
Tue Nov 17 20:47:28 UTC 2009

Dale posted on Tue, 17 Nov 2009 10:07:10 -0600 as excerpted:

> I have been thinking about buying the fastest card I can afford for this
> old rig.  It will have to be plain AGP tho.  I don't have the newer PCI
> express stuff here.  I figure they will be cheap enough.  I have a
> FX-5200 with 128Mbs of ram right now.

I'm in much the same situation, ATM.  FWIW, I'm running an old Radeon 
9200 series card, the 9250 being the latest with full freedomware drivers 
for many years.  As I don't consider proprietaryware an option, Radeons 
remain the best choice for an upgrade.  The current situation with them 
is as follows:

Current xorg and its freedomware ati/radeon driver have the best support 
up thru the Radeon r500 chip series, the best of which (and only 
realistic choice for dual dual-link DVI connectors) was the x1950-pro.  
Unfortunately, that's out of productions and has been for some time.  
It's still possible to buy it on the net if you look, but the going price 
is $150, pretty steep for as old as it is, tho depending on your needs, 
possibly worth it.  The Radeon r600 and r700 chip series are supported 
only in 2D and composite, in released xorg and ati/radeon freedomware 

Development xorg and drivers, with best support just in the 2.6.31 and 
improved in the 2.6.32 Linux kernels, so we're talking VERY new if even 
in a release at all at this point, improves on that dramatically, adding 
decent 3D/OpenGL support for the Radeon r600 and r700 series chips.  
Upstream xorg and kernel releases should be this winter, with the round 
of distribution updates this spring including decent 3D support for the 
first time.

The r600 and r700 series are markedly better than the previous 
generation, markedly cheaper, and yes, still available in AGP using a
PCI-E-to-AGP bridge chip.  These are the hdXYZZ model cards, where X=2/3 
for the r600, 4 for the r700, and 5 for the brand new r800 that looks 
like you'd need to run the proprietary driver to get good support for, 
for awhile, and Y is the target market, 2/3 for budget, 5/6 for midrange, 
7/8/9 for higher end.  ZZ leaves room for updates within the series and 
market segment, and is typically 00/20/30/50/70/90, with 50/70/90 more 
common at the upper end (7-900) and 00/20/30 at the lower end (2-300)

Here's an ASICs list, including the mobility mXX series designations as 
well (that space in the URL is weird, probably UTF something or other, 
but it seems to work, here, if it doesn't there, go to the x.org site and 
search on Radeon):

http://www.x.org/wiki/Radeon ASICs

Also note the kwin row (and footnotes) on this page (this is OpenGL mode 
according to footnote 27, not composite mode):


Since the mesa r600 driver covers both the r600 and r700 (hd 4XXX) series 
and the r700 series is newer, an r700 card should be better.  If like me 
you run dual monitors and want dual DVI output, preferably with DVI dual-
link to both to cover future monitor upgrades, that's higher end in the 
version numbers, so the hd38xx series for the r600, and hd48xx series for 
the r700.  Thus, we're looking at the hd4850, hd4870, and (possibly) 
hd4890, in AGP.  Fortunately these aren't too expensive, but they're fast 
leaving the scene (newegg still had lots of them a couple weeks ago but 
doesn't seem to any more), so it might be wise to snag one while the 
snagging is good, or they'll be about as hard to find (and relatively 
expensive) as the x1950s are these days.

Duncan - List replies preferred.   No HTML msgs.
"Every nonfree program has a lord, a master --
and if you use the program, he is your master."  Richard Stallman

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