Intel GMA 500
|Summary help replacing me|
|The current state of Intel GMA500/Poulsbo hardware support under Arch Linux.|
|Poulsbo Discussion in Arch BBS|
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
Modesetting driver and dual monitor Setup
To setup different resolution for external monitor using xrandr, AUR from AUR is needed. If you choose to use the git package ( AUR), remember to recompile it after a new version of Xorg. This will replace the driver.
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
Poor video performance
If you have problems playing 720p and 1080i videos, yes, that's normal while there are not accelerated XV drivers. But you can improve it up to the point of going well and smoothly for most videos (even HD ones) with theese tricks:
man pm-powersavefor more info.
- use AUR as indicated above.
- always use mplayer or any variant/gui. VLC and others are usually much more slower.
- substitute the normal mplayer with
-march=native -fomit-frame-pointer -O3 -ffast-math'. (About makepkg)
AUR, and compile with aggressive optimizations:
menuconfigand make sure you select your processor and remove generic optimizations for other processors. (About kernels) AUR as it is a very good performance kernel. Edit PKGBUILD so you can do
Old fbdev driver (default)
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
modesetting xorg driver
On some machines, when using modesetting driver the screen gets messed up with random data. Although the computer still works, you must go to a console and kill X or reboot "blindly". This is not optimal, so here is a solution:
First, see your avaiable screens and modes running
# xrandr Screen 0: minimum 320 x 200, current 1280 x 720, maximum 2048 x 2048 LVDS-0 connected 1280x720+0+0 222mm x 125mm 1280x720 60.0*+ HDMI-0 connected 1280x720+0+0 531mm x 298mm 1920x1080 60.0 + 1680x1050 59.9 1680x945 60.0 1400x1050 74.9 59.9 1600x900 60.0 1280x1024 75.0 60.0 1440x900 75.0 59.9 1280x960 60.0 1366x768 60.0 1360x768 60.0 1280x800 74.9 59.9 1152x864 75.0 1280x768 74.9 60.0 1280x720 60.0* 1024x768 75.1 70.1 60.0 1024x576 60.0 832x624 74.6 800x600 72.2 75.0 60.3 56.2 848x480 60.0 640x480 72.8 75.0 60.0 720x400 70.1
Edit or create (giving executive permisions)
/etc/pm/sleep.d/99xrandr, writing the correct names and modes for your solution:
#!/bin/sh # # turn off and on the screens so we force to clean video data case "$1" in hibernate|||suspend) xrandr --output LVDS-0 --off xrandr --output HDMI-0 --off ;; thaw|||resume) xrandr --output LVDS-0 --off xrandr --output HDMI-0 --off xrandr --output LVDS-0 --mode 1280x720 /usr/local/bin/brillo- ;; *) exit $NA ;; esac
In my case, I turn off both screens, and turn on only the main screen upon awakening. Feel free to customize to your needs. On some machines, the screen turns on by default even when the system was put to sleep with the screen turned off, so you need to turn it off twice.
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.
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 ...