Radeon 9200/Xorg refresh rate

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Radeon 9200/Xorg refresh rate

Michael Kjorling
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I have a ATI Radeon 9200 graphics card (lspci says ATI Technologies,
device 5940, rev 01) which currently drives my monitor at 48.5 kHz 60
Hz 1024x768 using x11-base/xorg-x11-6.8.2-r4 and the "radeon" driver.
I would like to raise the refresh rate to 75 Hz. How do I do that?

Various Google searches have turned me up empty, except that possibly
the answer lies in the ModeLine used. Is that correct and if so, what
values would I need to tune to adjust the refresh rate?

/etc/X11/xorg.conf says that the vertical refresh rate is "50-90" Hz.

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Re: Radeon 9200/Xorg refresh rate

Bugzilla from bigfish@asmallpond.org
On 11/17/05, Michael Kjorling <[hidden email]> wrote:

> -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
> Hash: SHA1
>
> I have a ATI Radeon 9200 graphics card (lspci says ATI Technologies,
> device 5940, rev 01) which currently drives my monitor at 48.5 kHz 60
> Hz 1024x768 using x11-base/xorg-x11-6.8.2-r4 and the "radeon" driver.
> I would like to raise the refresh rate to 75 Hz. How do I do that?
>
> Various Google searches have turned me up empty, except that possibly
> the answer lies in the ModeLine used. Is that correct and if so, what
> values would I need to tune to adjust the refresh rate?
>
> /etc/X11/xorg.conf says that the vertical refresh rate is "50-90" Hz.

Current x.org versions should be able to auto-detect the VertRefresh
and HorizSync settings, as well as appropriate modelines.  So I would
comment out all such stuff from your xorg.conf file, and see if the
autodetection will work.

Probably the easiest way to do this will be:

mv /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.save
X -configure
(follow the printed instructions for testing the generated config)
mv <path from X -configure> /etc/X11/xorg.conf

You may have to change /dev/mouse to /dev/input/mice in the generated
config before it will work.

Then you can diff the generated config with your old one, and see what
settings you want/need to keep.

For reference, my Monitor and Screen sections contain just:

Section "Monitor"
        Identifier   "LCD"
        VendorName   "ASUS"
        ModelName    "1680 x 1050"
#       DisplaySize  331 207
EndSection

Section "Screen"
        Identifier "LCD"
        Device     "X600"
        Monitor    "LCD"
        DefaultDepth 24
        SubSection "Display"
                Viewport   0 0
                Depth     8
        EndSubSection
        SubSection "Display"
                Viewport   0 0
                Depth     16
        EndSubSection
        SubSection "Display"
                Viewport   0 0
                Depth     24
        EndSubSection
EndSection

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Re: Radeon 9200/Xorg refresh rate

Mark Knecht
In reply to this post by Michael Kjorling
On 11/17/05, Michael Kjorling <[hidden email]> wrote:

> -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
> Hash: SHA1
>
> I have a ATI Radeon 9200 graphics card (lspci says ATI Technologies,
> device 5940, rev 01) which currently drives my monitor at 48.5 kHz 60
> Hz 1024x768 using x11-base/xorg-x11-6.8.2-r4 and the "radeon" driver.
> I would like to raise the refresh rate to 75 Hz. How do I do that?
>
> Various Google searches have turned me up empty, except that possibly
> the answer lies in the ModeLine used. Is that correct and if so, what
> values would I need to tune to adjust the refresh rate?
>
> /etc/X11/xorg.conf says that the vertical refresh rate is "50-90" Hz.

Generically modeline is the path to doing this. (I think...) I've done
similar things using this site:

http://koala.ilog.fr/cgi-bin/nph-colas-modelines

Hope this helps,
Mark

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Re: Radeon 9200/Xorg refresh rate

Michael Kjorling
In reply to this post by Bugzilla from bigfish@asmallpond.org
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On 2005-11-17 17:04 -0700, [hidden email] wrote:
> Current x.org versions should be able to auto-detect the VertRefresh
> and HorizSync settings, as well as appropriate modelines.  So I would
> comment out all such stuff from your xorg.conf file, and see if the
> autodetection will work.

It did. Thanks a lot!

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Re: Radeon 9200/Xorg refresh rate

Holly Bostick
In reply to this post by Mark Knecht
Mark Knecht schreef:

> On 11/17/05, Michael Kjorling <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- Hash: SHA1
>>
>> I have a ATI Radeon 9200 graphics card (lspci says ATI
>> Technologies, device 5940, rev 01) which currently drives my
>> monitor at 48.5 kHz 60 Hz 1024x768 using x11-base/xorg-x11-6.8.2-r4
>> and the "radeon" driver. I would like to raise the refresh rate to
>> 75 Hz. How do I do that?
>>
>> Various Google searches have turned me up empty, except that
>> possibly the answer lies in the ModeLine used. Is that correct and
>> if so, what values would I need to tune to adjust the refresh rate?
>>
>>
>> /etc/X11/xorg.conf says that the vertical refresh rate is "50-90"
>> Hz.
>
>
> Generically modeline is the path to doing this. (I think...) I've
> done similar things using this site:
>
> http://koala.ilog.fr/cgi-bin/nph-colas-modelines
>

That's a good suggestion, but what all the replies so far seem to miss
is the fact that refresh rate is a *monitor* setting, not a video card
setting (although, because the monitor is a part of the X server-- along
with the video card, mouse, and keyboard-- the possible refresh rates
are also set in xorg.conf).

So the possible refresh rates for any given resolution rely on the
monitor's capabilities, not those of the video card.

From my own experience, this can sometimes be tricky, depending on the
monitor. For example, my monitor is a 17" Eizo F550i-W. From the Eizo
site (I don't have a manual, as this was a hand-me-down from an office
that was upgrading), I found that the monitor is capable of 1280x1024--
but only@60, which many people find uncomfortable.

That's not the problem, though, if I want to use 1280x1024 (which I do);
the problem is that Eizo lists their monitor under both Windows and X,
meaning that they provide drivers for it, which I can use by selecting
the monitor's manufacturer and model during setup (under either Linux or
Windows). Except that the manufacturer-provided drivers are *limited* by
the manufacturer, to the "optimal" resolution of 1024x768@75.

So under either Linux or Windows (when I was still using Windows), I
could not use the manufacturer-provided drivers for the monitor, if I
wanted to use a resolution of 1280x1024-- that resolution was not
available, because the monitor only displays that resolution at 60Hz,
and Eizo doesn't want me to use a 60Hz resolution.

The only way I am able to set my desktop to 1280x1024@60 is to not use
the manufacturer-provided driver; under Windows I used "Generic VESA
1280x1024", and under X I must set my Horizontal and Vertical refresh
ranges manually (provided on the manufacturer's site, or in a manual, if
I had one). Under X, as long as the ranges are set correctly, X knows
that the monitor can display at 1280x1024, and sets the refresh to 60
automatically for that resolution (because the ranges I've given "tell"
it the correct combination of possible resolutions and refresh rates
that can be displayed).

The point being, you need to know your monitor's specs. Is it in fact
capable of displaying 1024x768@75? If so, the same place that told you
that should tell you the refresh ranges of the monitor. Plug those into
xorg.conf rather than whatever defaults might be there (which for me are
usually off by quite a bit, especially the horizontal range), and the
problem should sort itself after restarting the X server.

You can also do this with modelines, but I don't understand them
(meaning, I can't look at a modeline spec and know what it's trying to
do so that at need I could plug in my own), and so don't bother with them.

Hope this helps.
Holly
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Re: Radeon 9200/Xorg refresh rate

Bugzilla from bigfish@asmallpond.org
On 11/17/05, Holly Bostick <[hidden email]> wrote:
> The point being, you need to know your monitor's specs.

Back in the day, that was true.  But with modern monitors (I'm not
sure of the spec, I think is part of the VESA compliance requirements)
the video driver can query the monitor for what refresh rates and
modes supported by the monitor.  This is what the "DDC" module in X is
for, and why monitors no longer require 'drivers' (which was never a
'driver' anyway, just a .inf that told the video driver what the
possible modes were).

-Richard

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Re: Radeon 9200/Xorg refresh rate

Holly Bostick
Richard Fish schreef:
> On 11/17/05, Holly Bostick <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> The point being, you need to know your monitor's specs.
>
>
> Back in the day, that was true.  But with modern monitors (I'm not
> sure of the spec, I think is part of the VESA compliance
> requirements) the video driver can query the monitor for what refresh
>  rates and modes supported by the monitor.

"Back in the day", indeed! True, but all monitors currently in use or
available for sale are not necessarily compliant with the spec, or
with the current spec. Perhaps they're older models, hand-me-downs or
remaindered at a store. Compliance or incomplete compliance with specs
such as VESA are not particularly a deal-breaker (or even much
mentioned) when buying a monitor, and there's no explicit reason that
anyone might choose a "modern" monitor rather than a remaindered one (a
model that is no longer actively produced by the manufacturer, but
unused units of the product remain at the store's warehouse), and of
course if one buys an off-the-shelf computer (Compaq, HP, Packard Bell)
that comes with a monitor, you have no idea or choice what you in fact
are getting in terms of "modernity"-- most likely such a
no-longer-produced model is the one provided, to reduce costs. Because,
really, if the monitor displays acceptably, why should Compaq or HP or
PacBell particularly care to provide the very most recent model, for
which they must pay more (and pass the extra cost on to the end buyer)?
How many people actually ask the monitors specific specs in such a
situation?

And further, monitors may be actively limited in specification, the way
mine is. I'm almost sure that I've tried autodetection at least once
(when the head of the ATI team said that the new drivers were better
served by having a relatively empty xorg.conf, and that autodetection
was now working in fgrlxconfig/aticonfig). Unsurprisingly, my monitor
was again limited to 1024x768@75, and I had to insert my refresh rates
in order to get 1280x1024@60.

But of course, since the actual monitor specs are not all that critical
to "the average user", the average user who owns this model probably
doesn't even know that the monitor is capable of 1280x1024 (and if they
want that resolution, they buy a new monitor), and are satisfied to "eat
what they're given", as it were. That's fine for those who find it fine,
but I've gotta say, it really burned me, just on the principle of the
thing, to discover that my monitor was had capabilities that were
actively concealed from me, for my own "protection" I suppose.

> This is what the "DDC" module in X is for, and why monitors no longer
>  require 'drivers' (which was never a 'driver' anyway, just a .inf
> that told the video driver what the possible modes were).

All monitors do not correctly report their DDC information, flatly put.
Sometimes because of active limitation as I experience, or because
they're cheaply made (just well enough to hit the mark, rather than with
strict compliance to spec), or simply because they were made before the
spec was implemented. After all, on anyone's standard upgrade list, how
high priority is really "the monitor",  as opposed to the CPU, the mobo,
the memory, the video card-- even the sound card or network hardware?
Who really bothers if the monitor works (meaning, "displays without
corruption")?

All of which means, yes, you have a point, and in many (possibly even
most) situations you're probably right, but there is still a place for
knowing your monitor's actual specifications, and there is still a
place/reason for inserting such specs actively into xorg.conf. I stand
by "know your specs". :-) .

Holly
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Re: Radeon 9200/Xorg refresh rate

Bugzilla from bigfish@asmallpond.org
On 11/18/05, Holly Bostick <[hidden email]> wrote:
> place/reason for inserting such specs actively into xorg.conf. I stand
> by "know your specs". :-) .

Well said.  Of course if you just give up on CRT monitors, and only
buy LCD, you don't have to care about refresh rates to begin with!
(but you do get a whole new set of worries...)

-Richard

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