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Since Intel provides and supports open source drivers, Intel graphics are now essentially plug-and-play.
- 1 Models
- 2 Installation
- 3 Configuration
- 4 KMS (Kernel Mode Setting)
- 5 Tips and tricks
- 6 Troubleshooting
- 7 See also
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.
Install either the or package which are available in the official repositories. SNA is recommended especially for Sandy Bridge CPUs and newer according to recent benchmarks done by Phoronix . These can be found here for Sandy Bridge and here for Ivy Bridge. UXA is still a solid option, if experiencing trouble with SNA.
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.
nomodesetfrom your boot configuration.
To proceed, add the
i915 module to the
MODULES line in
/etc/mkinitcpio.confwill likely cause the error
kernel: intel ips [...]: failed to get i915 symbols, graphics turbo disabled.
intel_agpmodule too if the system complains at boot time.
Now, regenerate the initramfs:
# mkinitcpio -p linux
and reboot the system. Everything should work now.
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 with
video=SVIDEO-1:d as you kernel command line parameter in your bootloader. See Boot Loader#Kernel parameters for more info.
If that does not work, you may also try disabling TV1 or VGA1 instead of SVIDEO-1.
Hardware video acceleration
If you want to enable hardware accelerated video decode/encode in multimedia applications (such as VLC or MPlayer) for Intel HD graphics controllers (Ivybridge, Sandybridge), install the package, available in the Official Repositories.
To take advantage of VA-API, use a VAAPI supported video player. If you use mplayer, install
/etc/adobe/mms.cfg. If hardware video decoding is still not working, you can also try adding
OverrideGPUValidation = 1.
Setting gamma and brightness
Intel offers no way to adjust these at the driver level. Luckily these can be set with
Gamma can be set with:
xgamma -gamma 1.0
xrandr --output VGA1 --gamma 1.0:1.0:1.0
Brightness can be set with:
xrandr --output VGA1 --brightness 1.0
Glxgears shows low performance results
glxgearsis not a benchmark tool for performance comparison between multiple systems.
If you run
glxgears in order to check your system's graphics performance, you may notice it showing results around 60 FPS. For example:
[...] 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 not caused by performance regression, but because the system graphics are using vertical synchronization, which is your display's native frames per second.
To disable VSYNC just add in your
Section "Device" the string
Option "SwapbuffersWait" "false".
~/.drirc and make sure that
driver is set to
<device screen="0" driver="dri2"> <application name="Default"> <option name="vblank_mode" value="0"/> </application> </device>
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:
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.
You can likely fix video tearing by enabling hardware video acceleration.
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.