Intel GMA 500
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The Intel Poulsbo Chipset, also known by its official names "GMA 500" and "Intel System Controller Hub US15W", is typically found on boards for the Atom Z processor series. It embeds a PowerVR SGX 535 graphics core developed by Imagination Technologies and then licensed by Intel. Its major advantages include the hardware decoding capability of up to 720p/1080i video content in various state-of-the-art codecs, e.g. H.264.
As the graphics hardware was not developed by Intel themselves, the standard opensource Intel drivers do not work with this hardware.
On this page you find comprehensive information about how to get the best out of your Poulsbo hardware using Arch Linux.
Kernel's gma500_gfx module
- Native resolution (1366x768) with early KMS (tested on Asus Eee 1101HA)
- Up to date kernel and Xorg
- 2D acceleration
- Works out of the box
- Some are unable to get native resolution (e.g 1366x768)
- No 3D acceleration possible
- Poor multimedia performance (use mplayer with x11 or sdl so fullscreen video will be quite slow)
To check if the driver is loaded, the output of
lsmod | grep gma should look like this:
gma500_gfx 131893 2 i2c_algo_bit 4615 1 gma500_gfx drm_kms_helper 29203 1 gma500_gfx drm 170883 2 drm_kms_helper,gma500_gfx i2c_core 16653 5 drm,drm_kms_helper,i2c_algo_bit,gma500_gfx,videodev
Dual Monitor Setup
After installing, an Xorg file is needed to setup the driver. Use this for device section:
Section "Device" Identifier "gma500_gfx" Driver "modesetting" Option "SWCursor" "ON" EndSection
If suspend does not work, there are various quirk options you can try. First, make sure that you have installed. See the manpage for pm-suspend for a list of them all. One that has been reported to help is
quirk-vbemode-restore, which saves and restores the current VESA mode.
To test it, open a terminal and use the following command
# pm-suspend --quirk-vbemode-restore
That should suspend your system. If you are able to resume, you'll want to use this option every time you suspend.
# echo "ADD_PARAMETERS='--quirk-vbemode-restore'" > /etc/pm/config.d/gma500
If you are not able to resume and you get a black screen instead, try the above quirk command with only one dash
# pm-suspend -quirk-vbemode-restore
modesettingas xserver in the previus section, suspend is probably not going to work with the current driver, so you need to select
fbdevdriver instead. But with
fbdevmultiple monitors (xinerama) won't work, so you have to choose.
Set backlight brightness
All that is needed to set the brightness is sending a number (0-100) to
/sys/class/backlight/psblvds/brightness. This obviously requires sysfs to be enabled in the kernel, as it is in the Arch Linux kernel. To set display to minimal brightness, issue this command as root:
# echo 0 > /sys/class/backlight/psb-bl/brightness
Or, for full luminosity:
# echo 100 > /sys/class/backlight/psb-bl/brightness
A very short script is available to do this with less typing written by mulenmar.
#! /bin/sh sudo sh -c "echo $1 > /sys/class/backlight/psb-bl/brightness"
Simply save it as brightness.sh, and give it executable permissions. Then you can use it like so:
Set brightness to minimum:
Set brightness to half:
Sudo may obviously ask for your password, so you have to be in the sudoers file.
/sys/class/backlight/psblvds/brightnessdoes not work, you may need to add
acpi_osi=Linux acpi_backlight=vendorto your kernel parameters. After rebooting, a new folder will appear under
/sys/class/backlight/; making changes to the
brightnessfile in that folder should work. For example, in some Asus netbooks the backlight can be controlled by writing a value (0-10) to
A variation of this script can be found here.
Memory allocation optimization
You can often improve performance by limiting the amount of RAM used by the system so that there will be more available for the videocard. If you have 1GB RAM use
mem=896mb or if you have 2GB RAM use
mem=1920mb. Add the following parameters to your bootloader's configuration file.
... kernel /vmlinuz-linux root=/dev/sda2 ro mem=896mb ...
... GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="mem=896mb" ...
... APPEND root=/dev/sda2 ro mem=896mb ...