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This page is a walk through on obtaining Direct Rendering on a mach64 graphics chipset

The Mach 64 Board

The Mach64 Chip is made by ATI, coming in several varieties. This page is targeted at the Rage Pro variant, which to my knowledge is the only 3D version of the mach64. Wikipedia: Mach64/Rage Pro This board has basic 3D capabilites, but Arch's xf86-video-ati package, which contains open source ATI drivers does not contain support for it.

Most GNU/Linux 3D graphics drivers use the DRI/DRM system for direct rendering, which is what the Mach64 Driver uses this.

Packages and References

Reference Building DRI - Check this for link updates. mesa - installs the mesa GL libs - Install this with pacman. libgl - installs the gl libs (part of the 'official' mesa source tree) (). - install this with pacman libdrm - installs the drm libs - install this with pacman xf86-video-mach64 - installs the ati kernel drm files. - If you have this installed, get rid of it with pacman (use ABS to recompile).

DRM - the kernel module that controls DMA, AGP memory management, resource locking, and secure hardware access. DRI - Direct Rendering Infrastructure - The X Server Driver. This allows the X server to communicate with the Graphics Card, translating OpenGL into instructions for the video card.

Building the Kernel Drm Module - with makepkg goodness

Since kernel 2.6.27, The in tree DRM is no longer compatible with the mach64 drm. The kernel must be compiled as follows:

Device Drivers --->
       Graphics Support --->
                   < > Direct Rendering Manager (XFree86 4.1.0 and higher DRI support)  --->  (CONFIG_DRM=n) Must be disabled.

If you are using the standard Arch kernel, you must either recompile the kernel or obtain the AUR package "kernel26-nodrm."

After your kernel is properly configured, install the AUR package "mach64drm," which will install the kernel modules compiled from out of tree DRI sources.

Installing the other end: DRI

The new Xorg (1.5.3) brought with it a new driver structure, which included a separate package for the mach64, giving users a mach64 package without having to recompile like with previous Xorg servers. (previously, xf86-video-ati had to be modified to compile mach64 when it was built).

This has made the process of installing DRI much easier, entailing:

pacman -S xf86-video-mach64


This is what my the Device section in my xorg.conf looks like:

Section "Device"
       Identifier  "Card0"
       Driver      "mach64" #most important, allows you to use the mach64 driver
       Card        "ATI Rage Pro - Mach64"
       Option "DMAMode" "async" #async - default, sync (synchronous DMA), mmio (PIO/MMIO) - Dispatch Buffers.
       Option "ForcePCIMode" "false" #Boolean, disables AGP aperture
       Option "AgpMode" "2" #(AGP 1x or 2x) valid options: 1 or 2. If not set, defaults to agpgart's mode
       Option "AgpSize" "64" #Sets the AGP aperture in MB. Default is 8MB, possible values are from 4 - 256.
       Option "BufferSize" "2" #Sets DMA buffer memory size in MB. Default is 2 MB. May be 1 or 2.
       Option "LocalTextures" "true" #By default, AGP cards will only use AGP memory for textures. To force using local card memory for textures in addition to AGP, you may set this option to true. boolean.
       #The AgpSize option changes the amount of system memory used for the AGP aperture and is not limited by the size of the card's on-board video memory. This memory is used for the DMA buffers (BufferSize option), and the remainder is allocated for AGP textures. Of course, the AgpMode/AgpSize options are ignored for PCI cards or if ForcePCIMode is enabled on an AGP card. However, the BufferSize option can be used to change the size of the DMA buffers in system memory for both PCI and AGP cards (but it's not recommended to reduce the buffer size unless you are short on system RAM).
       #see "Status and known issues for mach64 branch of DRI

The Modules Section:

Section "Module"
       <Your modules>
       Load  "glx"
       Load  "dri"

The DRI Section:

Section "DRI"
       Mode 0666 #allows anybody to use DRI

The DRI Section (For machines where security is a concern):

Section "DRI"
       Group "video" #Change to any desired group to restrict access, or you may omit this line all together and allow all groups to access DRI
       Mode 0660

Building the Kernel Drm Module - the Old Way without pacman

warning: this does not use the makepkg method, which is recommended. Please use the AUR packages (top of this document) or create your own. Skip this section if you did the section above, with makepkg. Go to "Installing the other end: DRI."

The standard ARCH kernel doesn't come with the mach64 DRM module, so building yourself is required.

  • Create a build folder to keep things tidy - this folder will be referred to from now on as $BUILDDIR
  • Now, obtain the drm source tree:
git clone git://
  • Get the thing compiled: (the drm folder appeared out of git)
cd $BUILDDIR/drm/linux-core/
make DRM_MODULES="mach64"
  • Go get some coffee or something since your machine is probably very old to have a mach64 chipset and wait while everything compiles.
  • When it's done compiling, there will be two files, mach64.ko, the device kernel module, and drm.ko, the DRM generic module.
  • Copy those two files to the appropriate kernel modules directory. (Before doing this you may want to backup the exisiting files to somewhere else just in case).
sudo cp mach64.ko drm.ko /lib/modules/`uname -r`/kernel/drivers/char/drm/
  • Now get the modules registered and depedencies generated.
sudo depmod -a `uname -r`