Bill Jonas on Fri, 18 Jul 2003 16:59:05 -0400

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[PLUG] Radeon 9200

Hi all,

Long time no talk.

Anyway, I recently bought a Radeon 9200[1] and I thought I'd share how I
got it working.  This will be somewhat Debian-centric.

First, this card is not supported by any version of XFree86 lower than
4.3.0; upgrade X, if necessary.  For Debian users, see
<>; Branden Robinson (Debian's X
maintainer) now makes pre-release snapshots of the Debian packaging
diffs available, for those that have some knowledge about how to build a
Debian package.  For other distributions, well, I'm not really sure.
There's always source and binaries available at

After you have X 4.3.0 installed and configured (use the "ati" or
"radeon" driver in the video card's Device section (doesn't matter which
one; if you use "ati", it will switch to the radeon driver)), you should
be able to start it up in 2D mode just fine.

Okay, so it works now in 2D mode.  Now to get it working in 3D mode.  In
the "Module" and "DRI" sections in your XF86Config-4, follow the
instructions that I've previously written about at
(Time's PLUG HowTo archive)[2].  With that done, you'll need to load the
kernel's module for the card.

This is the tricky part (read: I had it almost-working but this is what
tripped me up).  The modules included with the kernel are out-of-date
(as of 2.4.21, at least), so you'll need updated modules.  If you're
using Debian, you can add "deb ./" to your
sources.list and apt-get install drm-trunk-module-src.  In /usr/src,
untar the tarball that that package leaves there, then as you're
building your kernel (after you've ran "make-kpkg kernel_image"), run
"make-kpkg modules_image".  (I'm assuming here you're using the
kernel-package package.)  Alternatively, you can get the modules from
<>, or obtain them from the xfree86 source
distribution, in
xc/programs/Xserver/hw/xfree86/os-support/linux/drm/kernel/.  If you
compile them this way, ensure that your kernel source from which you've
built your current kernel can be found in /usr/src/linux, then "make -f

A note about your kernel configuration: You want to compile the kernel's
own AGP support (CONFIG_AGP, make sure it's "y" or "m", and it wouldn't
hurt to just say y to all the various chipset support options either),
which is under "Character devices"->"/dev/agpgart (AGP support)" in the
kernel's menuconfig.  Say no to "Direct Rendering Manager (XFree86 DRI
support)", as these are the modules I mentioned above that you'll be
building separately.

Once you've booted up with your new kernel and made sure that the
agpgart (if you compiled that as a module) and radeon modules are
inserted, then you can start X.  At this point, you should get "direct
rendering: Yes" when you run glxinfo.  Try running glxgears, though, and
your system will freeze.  Turns out that the 9200 isn't fully supported
yet by all the GL libraries and such.  Fortunately, the 9200 is
basically just a tweaked 9100, which is a tweaked 9000, which is a
slightly modified 8500.  Short version: According to
<>, you can just add
"ChipId 0x4242" to your card's Device section in the XF86Config, and the
driver will treat it like it's an 8500 and it will work beautifully.
Oh, and you'll get defaulted to 1X AGP unless you use 'Option "AGPMode"
"4"'.  (AGP 4X is all Linux supports at the moment, at least in the 2.4

You'll probably notice that the card doesn't seem as fast as it should
be, but I attribute that to the fact that support for the 9200 is brand
new.  Another note: I've tried 'Option "AGPFastWrite" "yes"', but it
crashes my system every time when I go to start X, at least with my
current motherboard.  Other than that, I'm not sure if there's been any
more tweaking to be done from an end-user perspective.  

Et voila!  Shiny new Radeon 9200 (the best Radeon that X and Linux
currently support) working.  Hope this helps someone else; it took me a
while to do it (but I didn't get to work on it much because I was busy).

[1] One of the "Powered by ATI", not "Built by ATI" cards.  Links:
(No relationship with Newegg other than that of a satisfied customer.)

[2] The site seems to be unreachable at the moment; use the Google cache
if you can't get to the main site.

Bill Jonas    *    *
"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your front door.  You step
into the Road,  and if you don't keep your feet,  there  is  no knowing
where you might be swept off to."  --  Bilbo Baggins

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