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Setting up ATI Radeon XPress 200M Under Linux
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A while back we wrote a guide to setting up Fedora Core on a ZV6000 series laptop. At the time we couldn't get 3D acceleration working. After some research, we finally found out a way to do it, unfortunately it involves a tradeoff.

The problem is that the Linux ATI driver does not work properly when the video card is using sideport (dedicated video) memory only. The type of memory that the video card uses can be modified in the BIOS, the options are:

Like we mentioned before, SidePort memory is the dedicated video memory. UMA is shared memory, that is, the card used the main system's RAM. Selecting SidePort + UMA allows us to allocate more memory to the card, at the expense of system memory

To make 3D acceleration work with the ATI Radeon XPress 200M, we need to set the card to use either UMA or SidePort+UMA. In our HP ZV6000, we chose SidePort+UMA, when choosing this option, we can select how much of the main RAM to use for video, the options are 32, 64 or 128 megabytes. We were only able to make ATI's Linux driver work properly by selecting 128 megabytes of UMA. Selecting UMA only should also do the trick, however in that case all of the card's dedicated video memory will be unused.

Unfortunately there is currently no way of using SidePort memory only and having 3D acceleration work on Linux, hopefully ATI will release a driver in the future that will support this configuration or (even better) open source their driver so that the community can enhance it.


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