Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ubuntu Juanty Jackalope vs. ATI Radeon Mobility 9600

Okay - After lots of begging for help on the Ubuntu Forums, I found a workable configuration for my ATI graphics card in my old eMachines M6809 laptop. With out these settings in my /etc/X11/xorg.conf file it was totally unsatisfactory. Now however, it's near full speed as compared to Hardy and the infamous MS WinXP Pro.  Here are the settings I'm now using.

Section "Device"
Identifier     "Configured Video Device"
Option         "AccelDFS"                               "on"
Option         "AccelMethod"                         "XAA"
Option         "MigrationHeuristic"                "smart" # "greedy" works well also
Option         "EnablePageFlip"                      "on"
Option         "EnableDepthMoves"                "on"
Option         "ColorTiling"                            "on"
Option         "FBTexPercent"                         "0"
Option         "RenderAccel"                          "on"


Poyraz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Poyraz said...

Hi there,

I have an Asus notebook, which has an ATI 9600 Mobility Radeon on it. I have been using Ubuntu 8.10 and the level of performance for Compiz was immense. After I have started using Jaunty Ubuntu 9.04, I have realized that Compiz affects are too slow. I am thinking to downgrade it, if I wouldn't be able solve my problem. I hope you and others help me the solve the problem.

I have applied the technique that you supplied from the forum. There is an obvious positive change in the graphical performance. Everything works much faster. However, just one thing is still extremely slow. When there are many programs are on the screen, and I access to the desktop using CTRL ALT D combination and want to recall all windows again with the same combination, it takes 5 seconds for my computer to initiate the action. Why do you think, why could it be? Should propriety drivers need to be tried?

And, it seems like Jaunty is using more processor power, even if my computer is idle, do you have any opinion on that?


Bucknasty said...


The Radeon Mobility 9600 is not supported by ATI anymore except in it's legacy driver base. Only propriety drivers will provide the performance you are looking for in Jaunty and above at this time. The problem in our case (yours and mine) is that the only propriety drivers available aren’t compatible with Jaunty due to the new version. To use a propriety driver for the 9600 would be moving back to an older version of Ubuntu.

The open source driver is under heavy development and will soon (a matter of months) be able to provide the performance of the old ATI drivers. The reason we will see this performance not previously possible is because ATI released their early codebase for open source development.

The tweaks provided in my post helped me to obtain a usable system, however I don't use compiz or any other compositing on that system.

I suggest you use gconf-editor and disable all animations, and enable reduced-resources. This should help with window response.

Do this of course after turning off compiz desktop effects. Otherwise, if you must have decent performance across the board right now, don’t use jaunty on that laptop and wait for karmic koala.

I use Hardy on 2 of my MUST HAVE PERFORMANCE type laptops. The one with Jaunty is an internet/email only appliance.

Poyraz said...

Thanks for you response.


Anonymous said...


I'm experiencing the same problems using Juanty with a Radeon Mobility 9600.
I wanted to try your solution but the problem is that my xorg.conf is completely empty.
I copied your settings into the config but it seems to have no effect.I'm not sure if it is even used.
Do you know what i could do?

Poyraz said...

Dear Bucknasty,

I suppose you should first have the default xorg.conf. You can have from there;

However, I can give you my xorg.conf. It might work without any problems. I put my xorg.conf below this post.


# xorg.conf (X.Org X Window System server configuration file)
# This file was generated by dexconf, the Debian X Configuration tool, using
# values from the debconf database.
# Edit this file with caution, and see the xorg.conf manual page.
# (Type "man xorg.conf" at the shell prompt.)
# This file is automatically updated on xserver-xorg package upgrades *only*
# if it has not been modified since the last upgrade of the xserver-xorg
# package.
# Note that some configuration settings that could be done previously
# in this file, now are automatically configured by the server and settings
# here are ignored.
# If you have edited this file but would like it to be automatically updated
# again, run the following command:
# sudo dpkg-reconfigure -phigh xserver-xorg

Section "Device"
Identifier "Configured Video Device"
Option "AccelDFS" "on"
Option "AccelMethod" "XAA"
Option "MigrationHeuristic" "smart"
Option "EnablePageFlip" "on"
Option "EnableDepthMoves" "on"
Option "ColorTiling" "on"
Option "FBTexPercent" "0"
Option "RenderAccel" "on"

Section "Monitor"
Identifier "Configured Monitor"

Section "Screen"
Identifier "Default Screen"
Monitor "Configured Monitor"
Device "Configured Video Device"

Bucknasty said...


I'm experiencing the same problems using Juanty with a Radeon Mobility 9600.
I wanted to try your solution but the problem is that my xorg.conf is completely empty.
I copied your settings into the config but it seems to have no effect.I'm not sure if it is even used.
Do you know what i could do?

By default many systems will no longer have an xorg.conf file on a fresh install and you will have to create the file yourself. Be sure you are placing the file in the correct location (/etc/X11/xorg.conf). Use the example that Poyraz has posted for you and start tweaking from there.

The settings I posted work well on my system and many others have reported the same results. If it doesn't work for you, then your search for an answer isn't over yet. You may end up having to wail until the next release to get back your performance. Otherwise you can pass on this version and go back to the last version that worked great for you. I've kept Hardy installed on 2 of my laptops for the same reason. It's still fully supported, and their are ways to get MOST of the updated applications running on Hardy, so that may be your final solution until Karmic Koala is released.

Good Luck,


JL said...

Thank you very much Bucknasty. You helped me get an Asus M6B00N 1.7ghz laptop with an ATI Radeon 9600 running smoothly. It was on a fresh install of Ubuntu 9.10. I had to create the xorg.conf file from scratch, if anyone else needs to know.

JL said...

Actually Bucknasty, I have now noticed that although Ubuntu Karmic speeds up considerably, there are weird artifacts showing up behind the current window.

Do you have any ideas?


JMichaelX said...

I realize this is an old thread, but I was wondering if any others are having as rough a time as me using a Radeon 9600 GPU in Lucid.

I had it working well in Karmic, using a similar xorg.conf configuration to Bucknasty's. In Lucid, however, this xorg.conf did not work at all.

Right now I am running with no xorg.conf, with resolution set at 1680x1050. Things start out working well enough, but after several hours I will get an X crash that will involve having to reboot the machine.

Any advice would be more than welcome!