Topic Title: Integrated (Legacy) Graphics and Discrete Card (Hybrid Crossfire) - Doable?
Topic Summary: Determine if it is possible to run HD3200 concurrent with a modern card
Created On: 06/07/2013 09:34 AM
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 06/07/2013 09:34 AM
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RecceDG
Peon

Posts: 5
Joined: 06/07/2013

I have a Linux machine running Ubuntu 12.04LTS. It has a Phenom II 940 processor, and a Gigabyte AM2+ motherboard with integrated HD3200 graphics. Machine was new in 2009.

It is currently set up as a dual monitor setup (one off the DVI port, one off the VGA port) and everything just works. Transparent windows, compositing, accelerated 3D, seamless transition between the two monitors (even though they are different resolutions) - everything is fine.

I did this by downloading the driver shell script based installer direct from AMD and running that (so I'm not using a Ubuntu repository for the drivers). This is mildly annoying in that every time Ubuntu bumps the kernel version, graphics breaks on reboot until I re-run the installer and reboot again, but that's a minor issue.

With the release of Steam, I tried playing Portal on this rig, and it works - barely. Frame rate at the 1080p resolution of the primary monitor dives whenever the camera can see into a portal, and that limits playability. As a proof-of-concept, it's very exciting, but it is clear that the HD3200 is tapped out.

In addition, AMD support for the 3200 has been pulled out of the regular drivers and has transitioned to the Legacy drivers, which has me nervous about being able to respond to future kernel updates should the driver API change.

So to counter that, I bought an Asus HD7870 card that I will be installing this weekend.

Reading through the motherboard documentation in preparation for the upgrade, I discovered that there is, in theory, potential to run the onboard graphics concurrent with the PCIe card, in a mode called "Hybrid Crossfire". I can't imagine this adding a whole lot of extra performance, given the raw horsepower differential between the two graphics processors, but at some point I will be adding a third monitor to this system and it would be great to have the 3200 drive this monitor (alternatively, I may want to drive a TV off the HDMI port - video only, not gaming - and the 3200 might be a good way to do that)

So then, here are my questions:

1. Can the drivers for the modern card and Legacy drivers for the onboard graphics co-exist on the same system? How would this work?

2. Assuming #1 is possible, can this make use of Hybrid Crossfire? Is it even worth doing?

3. Assuming #1 is not possible using the Catalyst drivers, how about using Catalyst to drive the 7870 and using the open source drivers to power the 3200? What would be the limitations of such a setup?

Thanks,

DG

 06/07/2013 10:27 AM
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Eydee
Ninja Zombie Killer

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Joined: 12/27/2008

If the 7870 is an elephant, the 3200 is a bacteria. Don't bother with hybrid CF or open source drivers or anything like that. Just turn it off, and use 7870 only. It can drive 6 monitors by itself, so you don't need the 3200 at all.



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CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 810 @ 3120MHz | RAM: Kingmax 2x2GB DDR2 800 @ 833MHz| MoBo: MSI K9A2 CF v1.0 (BIOS: 1.D)| GPU: Asus HD 6850 1024MB (DirectCu) @ 835/1135MHz | Display: L24FHD | PSU: PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 Quad | OS: MS Windows 3.11 Pro x64

 06/12/2013 03:37 PM
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RecceDG
Peon

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Joined: 06/07/2013

Well, here is how the install went:

1. Tried to install the latest drivers. Driver install package refused to install as HD3200 not supported.

2. Shut down system and inserted Asus HD7870 card; connected both monitors to new card.

3. System booted to command line prompt on both monitors (ie, mirrored). Logged in and ran driver install script, which ran to completion. Reboot.

4. System boots up to Ubuntu login screen, mirrored on both monitors (this is normal after a driver update or new kernal for me - following either I always have to run amdcccle to tell it about side-by-side and different screen resolutions) No "welcome" sound plays at boot.

5. Log in to GNOME Classic. Starts to come up, gets 3/4 of the way in (toolbars, panel apps) but not so far as desktop file icons. Clicking on any app in the toolbar hangs display but not mouse pointer. SSH in, set DISPLAY=0.0 and running various programs works for amdcccle and xterm, but nothing GTK and not Firefox.

6. Reboot after running amdcccle has restored side-by-side display, but cannot log in to completion on anything GNOME-based. Troubleshooting starts.

7. Noticed new errors in dmesg complaining about sound. Lacking any other clues, decided to tackle this first. Found thread online about audio for HDMI not working and to blacklist the HDMI kernal module. Added blacklist line and rebooted.

8. System comes up perfectly, boots into GNOME, sounds play, Steam runs, Portal runs full speed on max settings. No further issues.

9. Portal will occasionally glitch the texture that shows the view "down" a portal at certain angles (texture will flicker and renders too dark) Otherwise no issues.

And that's where I'm at.

 06/18/2013 02:41 PM
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RecceDG
Peon

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Joined: 06/07/2013

New version of Portal released last week fixed the flickery portal texture problem. Now, other than some tearing, everything works fine.

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