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I'm about to (at least, want to..) buy a laptop with an ATI Radeon HD 4250, and I haven't a good opinion on ATI's drivers. How is the actual performance of the open/proprietary driver (currently I have nVidia, and I'm very satisfied)?

The intended use for the laptop is: watching videos, programming in Java/PHP/maybe Qt... but, I like to know if Compiz runs well. Yes, I'm a hardcore (?) programmer that uses Compiz. :P

Someone has this GPU? Experiences? Thoughts?

Thanks! :D

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a hardcore programmer? Is that when we code naked while standing on a bed of spikes? with just one hand, and the other in the mouth of a lion? –  Ralf Sep 11 '10 at 14:39
    
i'm thinking more on this: internetsiao.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/supercoder.jpg :P –  Axel Sep 12 '10 at 5:58
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4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Im using an Packard Bell easynote TJ75 with a ati mobility radeon HD5650, and its not bad at all.

Compiz benchmark is around 500~600 frames/sec, i can play good World of Warcraft or Call of duty MW 4 (under wine), for example (well, there is some slowdown sometimes).

BTW, im using the experimental drivers:

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates/ubuntu lucid main 
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates/ubuntu lucid main
http://keyserver.ubuntu.com:11371/pks/lookup?op=get&search=0x3B22AB97AF1CDFA9

Sometimes compiz has some issue (for example, does not load the windows icons, minimixe, maximize and close), but i dont know if this is really related with the ati card.

I have an ati on my desktop too, with ubuntu 9.10 no kind of driver used to works, with ubuntu 10.04 it works perfectly.

Here's a screenshot for you, with the compiz expo effect: alt text

As you see, ati card and drivers does not work bad at all.

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You said: Sometimes compiz has some issue (...) i used to have some issues like this with nVidia older drivers, so i think it's driver related, with particulars cards.. So, thanks! it was very usefull your opinion, and happy to know that the ati drivers aren't to bad :P are you using the propietary drivers? how about stability/crashes/etc? –  Axel Sep 11 '10 at 13:37
    
As i sais, sometime happen that compiz has some issue, as the windows control, but i simply stop and restart compiz to solve, and really dont know if is a driver or compiz issue at all. Its almost 2 year im using ubuntu with ati drivers (in my answer, there is the repository of the drivers i use, are proprietaty development drivers) and i never had a crash that forced me to restart the system. –  Strae Sep 11 '10 at 16:11
    
Another thing, i have to notice you about 1 bug with 3d rendering: bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/desktop-effects/+bug/137388 –  Strae Sep 11 '10 at 16:13
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Radeon 4200 here. The ATI proprietary drivers performance for me is acceptable, but the stability is not. They tend to lock up my laptop shortly after using any full-screen games or video, and they leak memory like a sieve. The "-radeonhd" open drivers work extremely well. They are fast and very stable. I have a very low-end laptop, so I can't vouch for playing games like COD:MW on it. Compiz runs extremely well though.

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stability is definilty important for me.. so, the open drivers run well on 3D/compiz? –  Axel Sep 11 '10 at 13:27
    
Rock solid for me, for about the last 2 months. Before I found them I was doing without 3D and compiz. Liveable, but not enjoyable, and video was choppy. It is now officially "perfect", with all hardware working as good or better than it would under Windows. –  Nerdfest Sep 11 '10 at 13:43
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According to Wikipedia's comparision of AMD chips you have a rv620 chip. This chip is not supported by the opensource driver. See here for more info

So currently you are using VESA. Which is slow. So for 2D support alone I would recommend installing the closed source fglrx driver. That will also give you 3D support. Compiz will run fine, but there might be small issues with certain games on Wine. It's always hit or miss with any combination of driver, card, wine-version and game.

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My Radeon HD 4200 has the same graphics core and works extremely well with the open drivers, where the fglrx drivers are very flaky, to the point of being unusable. I'd actually given up on using compiz until I tried the open drivers. –  Nerdfest Sep 11 '10 at 15:30
    
But does it default to the open drivers or does it default to VESA for you? –  Ralf Sep 11 '10 at 17:54
    
How can I check? –  Nerdfest Sep 11 '10 at 17:58
    
Btw, it does look supported, but I may be missing something: phoronix.com/… –  Nerdfest Sep 12 '10 at 14:04
    
Does glxgears work? Does it have decent framerates? Can you run compiz? I would assume Ubuntu defaults to the opensource ati drivers if they are compatible. (and only to vesa, when not) –  Ralf Sep 12 '10 at 17:15
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This question is now more than two years old and the proprietary drivers have come to the point to being legacy for this particular hardware (Mobility Radeon 4200-series) on both Windows and Linux. The FGLRX-drivers did never work well with this graphics hardware and Unity suffered from poor performance with the FGLRX-driver. Even after disabling V-sync. I would strongly recommend to use open-source drivers, making use of the X-swat PPA if you want the latest stable open source drivers.

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