Background: A year or so ago I bought a fairly inexpensive laptop from Tiger direct. It was a toshiba satellite A215-S740 and only cost around $600. This is a fairly decent machine and I intended to use it for work. It came preinstalled with Vista, but I typically run Linux (ubuntu to be exact).
I thought I'd run vista for a while and see how I liked it, tired after two days of the constant interrogation. I felt like Vista was an overly agressive Gestapo agent... so I installed Ubuntu (ahhh, much better).
My first problem, however was that the built in ATI driver did not support 3d. At the time I was playing with building 3d visualizations of our systems and I REALLY needed 3d (because software 3d was way too slow). I found the ati proprietary drivers, installed them, and everything seemed OK acceptable, but not quite Great.
Some examples of problems where:
Desktop effects didn't work
Changing resolutions and hotplugging monitors didn't quite work.
Admittedly these where minor so i basically ignored them. Every month or two I would download the latest ati drivers and then attempt to upgrade. Invariably I would waste 2 hours fooling around with them and finally give up.
Recently, I took off the gloves. I had some vacation time and decided I was going to solve this problem once and for all. After much wrangling, I discovered some things that really seemed necessary to get things to work.
#0 This I kept forgetting and I think had something to do with it
sudo rmmod fglrx
sudo rmmod ati_agp
#1 Uninstall the old drivers.
yeah, really, just do it. If you want my advice, hit
For those that don't know how, the steps I took to uninstall where:
sudo dpkg -r fglrx-amdcccle
sudo dpkg -r fglrx-modaliases
sudo dpkg -r xorg-driver-fglrx
#2 Create the ubuntu .deb files from the installer.
sudo ./ati-driver-installer-9-3*.run --buildpkg
#3 install the ubuntu .deb files
sudo dpkg -i fglrx-kernel-source_8.593-0ubuntu1_i386.deb
sudo dpkg -i fglrx-modaliases_8.593-0ubuntu1_i386.deb
sudo dpkg -i xorg-driver-fglrx_8.593-0ubuntu1_i386.deb
sudo dpkg -i fglrx-amdcccle_8.593-0ubuntu1_i386.deb
#4 reconfigure the driver
sudo aticonfig --initial --resolution=0,1280x800 -f
Some key points...
#1 I used a BUNCH of other techniques, but I never uninstalled the drivers first, nor did I stop the kernel modules (#0 and #1) I think these where critical.
#2 When running aticonfig, use the -f option to write the changes into the xorg.conf file. I kept getting kernel panics when I didn't include the -f.