I hate ATI

I recently purchased a built-to-order system from tigerdirect.com. Unfortunately they didn’t have the option for an nVidia card, so I ended up ordering an ATI Radeon x1600 PRO PCI Express card with 256 MB RAM. I figured that with their recent drive towards releasing updated drivers every month I should get stuff up and running without any problems.

So far my experience has been nothing short of frustrating. Readers of my blog will know that I don’t shy away from things like patching and compiling my own kernels, if that makes things work. But with these cards, let alone patches, even Google searches don’t reveal anything.

Here’s the exact problem: I’m running Xorg. 7.1+ and I’ve tried using the [[https://support.ati.com/ics/support/KBAnswer.asp?questionID=1176|latest drivers]] (29.6) as well as the [[https://support.ati.com/ics/support/KBAnswer.asp?questionID=23096|previous version]] (28.8). With the latest drivers, everything compiles and installs just fine (kernel module, drivers for xorg), but when I try to start X, I get the following weird error in the log file:

=== swlDalHelperPreiInit] === DALEnableInstance failed
PreInitDal failed
PreInit failed
=== [atiddxPreInit] === end

When I try the same thing with the 28.8 version of the drivers, I get a similar error, except that this time it says something like ”’R200PreInit failed”’. In both cases X doesn’t start and I’m returned to the console with no other debugging information.

At first I was working with the Ubuntu/Kubuntu Edgy Eft beta installations. I then switched over to a Debian installation (running Debian unstable) but with the exact same problems. So its unlikely that its a problem with my xorg installation or my kernel. Its likely some problem with the ATI fglrx kernel module or the corresponding xorg driver.

I’ve search Ubuntu forums, Gentoo forums, Fedora forums but haven’t found anything conclusive yet. I’m actually surprised that more people haven’t reported this problem yet. I’ll be filing a bug report over at [[http://launchpad.net|Launchpad]] soon. Meanwhile, if you have faced a similar problem, or know of a solution, **please** //please// do let me know. I’m seriously considering buying an nVidia card now.


  1. Diwaker Gupta

    *@jeremiah*: yes I am. I should have probably made that more explicit in my post.

    *@david*: Interesting. I’ll add the entry. How much traffic do you get on your website? I’m just trying to estimate how useful this information is. Maybe one should have a compatibility list as well :-)

  2. Travis

    I witnessed the same issue with a friend’s laptop; we were trying to install Ubuntu and get 3D acceleration to work to no avail. I was curious if you’ve come any closer in your attempts to getting it working?

    P.S. I have long hated ATI for their horrible drivers. I’d say buy an Nvidia. ;-)

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