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Since Intel provides and supports open source drivers, Intel graphics are now essentially plug-and-play.
- 1 Models
- 2 Driver
- 3 Installation
- 4 Configuration
- 5 KMS (Kernel Mode Setting)
- 6 Tips and tricks
- 7 Supported hardware
- 8 Troubleshooting
It is a popular mistake to think of "Intel 945G" and "Intel GMA 945" as being the same graphics chip with different names. As a matter of fact, the latter does not exist. Intel uses "GMA" to indicate the graphics core, or the GPU. Anything other than that is actually the model of the motherboard chipset, like "915G", "945GM", "G965" or "G45".
The more common GPUs and their corresponding motherboard chipsets are:
GPU Chipset/Northbridge Intel GMA 900 910, 915 Intel GMA 950 945
The "i810" chipset (again, motherboard; not GPU) is actually really old and was manufactured long before the 9xx product line with which the GMA onboard-graphics branding began. Similarly, alternative names for the 910, 915 and 945 chips may include the
See this for a list.
You may need to installin 64-bit systems to use acceleration in 32-bit programs.
There is no need for any kind of configuration to get the Xorg running (an
xorg.conf is unneeded, but needs to be configured correctly if present).
One thing that you should have already done from the start (not a configuration step per se) is to add your user to the relevant group:
# gpasswd -a username video
KMS (Kernel Mode Setting)
KMS is required in order to run X and a desktop environment such as GNOME, KDE, Xfce, LXDE, etc. KMS is supported by Intel chipsets that use the i915 DRM driver and is enabled by default as of kernel v2.6.32. Versions 2.10 and newer of the driver no longer support UMS, making the use of KMS mandatory. KMS is typically initialized after the kernel is bootstrapped. It is possible, however, to enable KMS during bootstrap itself, allowing the entire boot process to run at the native resolution.
To proceed, add the
i915 module to the
MODULES line in
Now, regenerate the initramfs:
# mkinitcpio -p linux
and reboot the system. Everything should work now. If you are having problems, try explicitly enabling KMS by adding
i915.modeset=1 to your kernel line in
# (0) Arch Linux title Arch Linux root (hd0,0) kernel /boot/vmlinuz-linux root=/dev/... i915.modeset=1 initrd /boot/initramfs-linux.img
and make sure that you do not use the
vga=... property nor
nomodeset. Now, reboot and Xorg will work.
If you ever want to disable KMS, you can change the
i915.modeset option to 0 in GRUB's
/boot/grub/menu.lst, without rebuilding anything:
# (0) Arch Linux title Arch Linux root (hd0,0) kernel /boot/vmlinuz-linux root=/dev/... i915.modeset=0 initrd /boot/initramfs-linux.img
i915.modeset=0 is the Intel equivalent to
nomodeset for other video cards.
For disabling it without having to edit
/boot/grub/menu.lst, turn on the machine and when you see GRUB's screen, hit a key to disable the timeout. Select the kernel you want to boot (probably the one already selected) and hit Template:Keypress for "edit". Now select the line starting with "kernel" and hit Template:Keypress again for editing. You can now add the
i915.modeset option and disable KMS by setting it to 0. Press Template:Keypress and then Template:Keypress to boot. Note that this will be temporary, so it will be enabled again upon rebooting.
- KMS — Arch wiki article on kernel mode setting
- Xrandr — If you have problems setting the resolution
- Arch Linux forums: Intel 945GM, Xorg, Kernel - performance
Tips and tricks
Setting scaling mode
This can be useful for some full screen applications.
xrandr --output LVDS1 --set PANEL_FITTING param
param can be
center: resolution will be kept exactly as defined, no scaling will be made,
full: scale the resolution so it uses the entire screen or
full_aspect: scale the resolution to the maximum possible but keep the aspect ratio.
If it does not work, you can try
xrandr --output LVDS1 --set "scaling mode" param
param is one of
KMS Issue: console is limited to small area
One of the low-resolution video ports may be enabled on boot which is causing the terminal to utilize a small area of the screen.
To fix, explicitly disable the port with an i915 module setting. For example, add the following to the end of the kernel line in
If that does not work, you may also try disabling TV1 or VGA1 instead of SVIDEO-1.
If you want to enable hardware accelerated video decode/encode in multimedia applications (such as VLC or MPlayer) for Intel HD graphics controllers (G45, Sandybridge), install the package, available in the Official Repositories.
Glxgears shows low performance results
If you run glxgears in order to check your system's graphics performance, you may notice that glxgears shows results around 60 FPS:
... 311 frames in 5.0 seconds = 61.973 FPS 311 frames in 5.0 seconds = 62.064 FPS 311 frames in 5.0 seconds = 62.026 FPS ...
That is happening not because there is a performance regression, but because your system graphics are using vertical sync (vsync), that means, your display's native frames per second.
Blank screen during boot, when "Loading modules"
If you are using "late start" KMS and the screen goes blank when "Loading modules", it may help to add
intel_agp to the initramfs. See KMS above.
Alternatively, appending the following to the kernel command line seems to work as well:
External monitor connected to laptop flashes black every 30 seconds
If your laptop uses Intel HD graphics and your external LCD is flashing to black every 30 seconds, upgrading your video driver and kernel may help. As of now usingversion 2.14.0-1 and kernel 2.6.37-5 have solved this issue.
Only a single low-resolution present
If Xorg starts with 800x600 and does not find any other resolutions, it may be because you have an
/etc/X11/xorg.conf file left over from your NVIDIA setup. Simply changing the driver from "nvidia" to "intel" is not sufficient when moving from NVIDIA's
xorg.conf to Intel's. Try to delete
/etc/X11/xorg.conf, letting the driver pick the settings itself.
Install VA-API support by installing the
/etc/adobe/mms.cfg and add line
EnableLinuxHWVideoDecode=1. If hardware video decoding is still not working, you can also try adding
OverrideGPUValidation = 1.
X freeze/crash with intel driver
If you have issue with X crashing, or GPU hang, or problem with frozen X, then the fix may be to use the "Shadow" option:
Section "Device" Identifier "old intel stuff" Driver "intel" Option "Shadow" "True" Option "DRI" "false" EndSection
Because it disables (most) video acceleration functions, using this fix (Option "Shadow" "True") may cause problems with gnome-screenshot and similar programs like , or .
Another option that can help on some implementations is to enable semaphores in the kernel video driver, by adding
i915.semaphores=1 to the kernel command line. To make this change permanent on GRUB2 installations, changing the kernel command-line entry in
/etc/default/grub and re-running
grub-mkconfig will make that change permanent.
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash i915.semaphores=1"
Adding undetected resolutions
This issue is covered on the Xrandr page.