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ATI fglrx driver

This is a binary-only driver which supports 3D acceleration.

Home page: https://support.ati.com/ics/support/default.asp?deptID=894&task=knowledge&folderID=356


Current version: 8.21.7 (19th January 2006)

Major changes:

  • 8.21.7: initial OpenGL 2.0 support
  • 8.20.8: fixed resume issues, fixed compile problems with kernels 2.6.13 and 2.6.14
  • 8.19.10: has added suspend / resume and dynamic GPU power management support. Using vbetool is no longer required (tested and successful with T43p).

Known problems and solutions

See Problems with fglrx.


The ATI drivers have explicit permission for repackaging and redistribution of the Linux drivers. Many distributions are supported within the installer, and many more repackaged by external developers. Please visit the Distribution Page at the Unofficial ATI driver Wiki

# yum install ati-fglrx
# VER=  # copy version string from output of above command
# wget http://rpm.livna.org/fedora/4/i386/SRPMS.lvn/ati-fglrx-$VER.src.rpm
# rpmbuild --rebuild --target $(uname -m) --define "ksrc /lib/modules/$(uname -r)/build" --without userland ati-fglrx-$VER.src.rpm
# rpm -Uvh --replacepkgs /usr/src/redhat/RPMS/$(uname -m)/kernel-module-fglrx-$(uname -r)-$VER.$(uname -m).rpm

User experience

How much is the speed gain versus the opensource drivers?

- On the old drivers, I've noticed appx 40% speed gain with ATI fglrx vs open source drivers. However, there are issues with freezing/garbage after suspend, garbage when resizing desktop (ctrl-alt-plus, ctrl-alt-minus), and garbage while using VMware. The current 8.14.13 has shown 400% improvement over using "radeon" or "ati" in xorg.conf. 1200FPS glxgears! (note that glxgears isnt a benchmark tool, its so simple that its value is without any meaning... you can only compare glxgears using the same drivers/machine, if you change any of then you can have higher/lower values and in real life programs/games happend the opposite. Think in the car engine rpm, higher rpm in the same car usually its a faster car, change anything and its meaningless. ie: gears, truck, wheel size, etc make it useless)

NOTE: 2D acceleration may be disabled when 3D acceleration is enabled. This comes from the Xorg.conf file the fglrx driver provides

  # === OpenGL Overlay ===
  # Note: When OpenGL Overlay is enabled, Video Overlay
  #       will be disabled automatically
      Option "OpenGLOverlay"              "1"

Just a note to the above. The 2D acceleration for that option refers to video overlay. You can use either regular Xv video overlay or make the video an opengl texture and let the OpenGL engine scale your video. It has nothing to do with 2D drawing primitives. Further, your mileage on performance may vary depending on what card you have. The open-source drivers don't support newer cards, while the ATI drivers don't support older cards.

Useful links

ThinkPads that may be supported

Supported chips, as found in select IBM ThinkPads: