Sunday, October 28, 2007

Getting 3D acceleration on my Asus A6Va in Ubuntu 7.10

A few days after the release of Ubuntu's new version, Gutsy Gibbon(7.10), I decided to do a fresh install on my laptop.

Everything was auto detected during the installation, and I was instantly able to use it properly. There was only one thing missing, namely 3D acceleration. Without it I could not use the integrated compiz-fusion, nor play any 3D games.

At first I tried to use the restricted drivers manager which comes with Ubuntu, but after reboot I got just a blank screen and unresponsive keys. I then rebooted it again, and this time the X-server started, but it was using the initial drivers without the 3D acceleration.

Secondly I tried the newest ATI drivers that you download from the AMD site. When I installed those and rebooted I got a kind of light show on my screen when I booted. It looked really cool, but it didn't make the computer more usable.

Now I have managed to get the 3D acceleration working, and the solution I present here might also work for other with different computers or ATI graphic cards and the same problems as me.

Here is how I did it:

  1. I had to download an older driver from ATI's archive. For my computer, an Asus A6Va with ATI Mobility Radeon x700, I had to use the 8.39.4 driver.

  2. The file was saved to my ~/download directory.

  3. I then had to make the file executable:
    # sudo chmod u+x ~/download/

  4. Ran the installer as root:
    # sudo ~/download/

  5. And followed the instructions, choosing "Install Driver" and "Automatic".

  6. Now you got two options, either reboot your computer(which is easiest), or load the module and restart your X-server.

  7. To load the module, you have to run the following in the terminal:
    # sudo modprobe fglrx

  8. Then just hit Ctrl+Alt+Backspace to restart your X-server.

With this driver, the desktop effects were still not working. To get them working I just ran:
  1. # sudo apt-get install xserver-xgl

  2. And restarted the X-server

I really hope this helps others in similar situations getting the most out of their ATI graphics cards in Ubuntu.


Anonymous said...


My name is Carlos, I'm writing you from Portugal. I also own a Asus A6va with a ATI X700 Radeon 128Mb..and I can´t get it to work on Ubuntu 7.10. I've tried following your instructions..but the result is a black screen. Can you help?

Anonymous said...

I forgot to say ..I've made a clean install of Ubuntu 7.10 (Ubuntu alternate install CD in text mode). After installing everything work ok..but with no 3D acceleration, so I've tried the steps you recommend, but as I've said before I end up with a black screen.


Strykejern said...

First I need some more information, could you give me the output of:
# fglrxinfo
Also, are you sure you used exactly the same driver as me, the 8.39.4? Because that's the only one working for me atm.

And, why do you use the alternate install CD? It worked flawlessly for me when I used the normal CD.

I would also like to know all the errors you might get at any points in the installing of the driver.

Also, have you checked that it's not just a long boot time? Because there is a bug where the booting takes like 2 mins or so.

Anonymous said...

Hi again, sorry for the late response.

Here goes my fglrx output:

# fglrxinfo
display: :0.0 screen: 0
OpenGL vendor string: Mesa project:
OpenGL renderer string: Mesa GLX Indirect
OpenGL version string: 1.4 (2.1 Mesa 7.0.1)

Nuno Cruz said...

Hi there! I have an Asus a6va and had the same problem with the drivers, i did what you have here but it didn-t work and my ubunut it`s very slow now. Any way of undoing it?

Strykejern said...

Some of the drivers(specifically those right after the one i refer to in the guide) makes ubuntu really slow. Now however, the newest drivers should work just fine, at least they did for me. Just use the same instructions replacing the driver name and version with the newest one.