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Old 08-16-2010, 11:03 PM   #1
PsamtikNerd
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Reproducible flickering problem using ATi proprietary driver


Hello everyone,

I have a 64-bit Debian sid machine with an ATi Radeon HD4850, using the proprietary fglrx driver from the AMD site, version 10.7. Performance-wise it's great, even faster than under Windows on the same machine, but I experience momentary flickering (black horizontal bands that last for a tiny fraction of a second) whenever either the Catalyst Control Centre or a 3D application is loading (the flickering seems to delay the program loading slightly), and immediately after login via gdm. I can reproduce similar flickering by typing "xrandr" in a terminal. The problem only occurs while using the proprietary driver, and while using my VGA monitor; connecting the graphics card to my TV via HDMI causes the problem to go away entirely, as does using an open-source driver (although OpenGL doesn't work very well using anything but fglrx).

Output of lspci | grep VGA:
Code:
02:00.0 VGA compatible controller: ATI Technologies Inc RV770 [Radeon HD 4850]
Output of xrandr (using VGA monitor):
Code:
Screen 0: minimum 320 x 200, current 1280 x 1024, maximum 2048 x 2048
DFP1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
DFP2 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
CRT1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
CRT2 connected 1280x1024+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 338mm x 270mm
   1280x1024      60.0*+   75.0  
   1280x720       60.0 +
   1280x960       75.0     60.0  
   1280x800       75.0     60.0  
   1152x864       75.0     60.0  
   1280x768       74.9     59.9  
   1024x768       75.0     60.0  
   800x600        75.0     60.3  
   720x480        60.0  
   640x480        75.0     60.0  
TV disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
COMPONENT_VIDEO disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
xorg.conf:
Code:
Section "ServerLayout"
	Identifier     "aticonfig Layout"
	Screen      0  "aticonfig-Screen[0]-0" 0 0
EndSection

Section "Module"
EndSection

Section "ServerFlags"
	Option	    "Xinerama" "off"
	Option	    "RandR" "off"
EndSection

Section "Monitor"
	Identifier   "aticonfig-Monitor[0]-0"
	Option	    "VendorName" "ATI Proprietary Driver"
	Option	    "ModelName" "Generic Autodetecting Monitor"
	Option	    "DPMS" "true"
EndSection

Section "Device"
	Identifier  "aticonfig-Device[0]-0"
	Driver      "fglrx"
	BusID       "PCI:2:0:0"
EndSection

Section "Screen"
	Identifier "aticonfig-Screen[0]-0"
	Device     "aticonfig-Device[0]-0"
	Monitor    "aticonfig-Monitor[0]-0"
	DefaultDepth     24
	SubSection "Display"
		Viewport   0 0
		Depth     24
                Virtual   2048 2048
	EndSubSection
EndSection
Any help in resolving this would be great. Thanks guys!
 
Old 08-17-2010, 05:48 AM   #2
adamk75
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Sounds like the video driver has difficulty querying the VGA monitor for it's EDID. I would be surprised if there's anything we could do to resolve it given the closed source nature of the driver. You could check on the phoronix AMD forum (http://www.phoronix.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=19) or open up a bug report (http://ati.cchtml.com/)
 
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Old 08-18-2010, 12:44 AM   #3
PsamtikNerd
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Registered: Sep 2007
Distribution: Arch Linux x64
Posts: 5

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Hmm... I realize that issues involving closed-source software can be nigh-impossible to resolve. I noticed that Windows Update in the Windows 7 partition won't automatically upgrade to anything more recent than version 10.1 of AMD's driver; I might try reverting to an older driver in sid to see if that resolves the problem.

I used to get the same flickering when trying to run Windows apps in WINE, but resolved it by disabling XRandR use in WINE as described here: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1145963 Is there any way to disable XRandR globally?
 
Old 08-18-2010, 02:52 AM   #4
i92guboj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PsamtikNerd View Post
I used to get the same flickering when trying to run Windows apps in WINE, but resolved it by disabling XRandR use in WINE as described here: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1145963 Is there any way to disable XRandR globally?
That's quite driver-dependent. You could try this on the xorg.conf file:

Code:
Section "Extensions"
    Option "RandR" "Disable"
EndSection
I seem to recall that fglrx had a proper way to do this somewhere under /etc/ati-<something>/ but my memory is blurry, and anyway I avoid the fglrx driver like the plague for many reasons.

However note that Xorg is going the hard way towards XRandr, and probably there will be no going back. If all the problem is just a flickering I wouldn't bother too much about it.
 
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Old 08-22-2010, 01:02 AM   #5
PsamtikNerd
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Registered: Sep 2007
Distribution: Arch Linux x64
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The problem occurs in every version of AMD's driver that I could run (10.4 through 10.7). Older releases don't support Xorg 7.5. Upgrading from 10.1 to 10.7 in Windows allowed me to reproduce the same flickering in a few special cases - it seems that it occurs when the driver tries to fetch the monitor's EDID, as adamk75 suggested. If it hasn't already been done, I'll file a bug report with AMD, as it's almost certainly their problem, and hope it's fixed down the road. Thanks to both of you for your help!
 
  


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