ATI Drivers

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This page is outdated and should not be updated further. The content below is preserved purely for historical reasons. As such, any instructions or suggestions on this page may damage your system. Follow them at your own risk.
ATI Radeon cards are now working in Mac OS X 10.4.3.

Contents

Introduction

Although OS X x86 10.4.1 works pretty well, it is definetely lacking in device drivers. It only contains fully functional drivers for a relatively uncommon Intel graphics chipset which Apple's developer kit reportedly features. It also contains generic drivers for VESA 2.0 and VESA 3.0 cards. The vast majority of users are using these generic drivers, which often limit refresh rates and resolutions to unbearably low levels. The generic drivers provide no 2D/3D acceleration whatsoever.

In the extensions folder there are .kext files which names suggest that they are drivers for a wide range of NVIDIA and ATI graphics cards. However they have been found non-working. The most common theory is that there are some required files missing and that the drivers are therefore incomplete. There has already been a lot of effort to get the NVIDIA drivers working with moderate success. See the wiki page below which is dedicated to the NVIDIA driver project:

http://macvidia.plusmediamusic.com/index.php?title=Main_Page

This Wiki page is dedicated to producing similar drivers for the recent ATI graphics cards (Radeon Cards mainly).

Note: What does this mean that the ATI Radeon Cards are working? I installed, 10.4.3 on a Compaq Presario X1000/X1015 with a built in Radeon 9200 Mobility. It does not use any hardware acceleration and defaults to 1024 x 768 x 32. The card and LCD is capable of 1680 x 1050. The ATI 8500 driver does not load completely even with Maxxuss ATI driver patches for 10.4.3. Anyone who can shed some light on this ATI Radeon claim with 10.4.3 Mactel version would be most helpful!

Current Progress

So far we are a long way behind the NVIDIA group. The biggest problem we are currently experiencing is that on the vast majority of hardware, the incomplete ATI drivers cause the whole system to crash when loaded with the below error message. This makes gathering useful information very difficult.

ATI Error Message, telling the use to restart their computer

We still need to assess the possibility of using the same technique the NVIDIA group are trying. At present this route still looks the most promising. The alternative is to construct our own from scratch. That is a much more difficult task.

There are also open source Linux ATI drivers. These are not the official Linux drivers from ATI those are closed source. However they do function fairly well, especially for non 3D work. These are a useful reference showing how such drivers are written.

You can find the Kernel Panic log dumps here: "For Mac OS X 10.2 or later, this information is automatically added to a log file named "panic.log" that you may locate on your startup disk at:

/Library/Logs/"

as per the following Apple knowledgebase article: http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=106228

Goals

Its seems only fair to work towards this in gradual process where we attempt to support all Radeon cards to at least a basic level before we push for 2D and eventually 3D acceleration. That said it appears from early reports that partially function NVIDIA drivers provide 2D acceleration, so the same may be true of the ATI ones. We all would like to give you a tutorial of how to install these drivers but no one here knows how either.

Current Efforts

We have tried a number of ways of getting the verbose debug data the kload command usually produces

1, The Boot -v Command: Simply using the –v boot command and starting up without the ATI drivers present in the extensions folder, does not yield any usful information on the screen. We really need the logging to be set much more verbose.


2, Pipeing the output: Pipeing the output to a text file with the > operator eg.

kextload /Path/to/ATIDriver.kext > output.text 

The output file is never present when the system is restarted

3, System Log Files: Acording to the apple documentation on the ADC site, any standard error output from a kext should end up in the System/var/log file. Again it is never present after the restart.


4, Not Tried Yet, Kernel Debuging: One possibility which has not been tried as far as the author knows is using remote kernel debugging. The details are on the kext development page on Apple’s ADC site. It uses two machines one as the host which is controlled over a LAN by the debugging machine. This allows kernel execution on the host machine to be paused. Maybe this would allow the output to be recorded.


If you know of another way of doing it get in touch on this Wiki’s discussion page.

Get Involved

This is very much a community effort, after all the whole community will benefit from its fruits (well those that own an ATI graphics card anyway).

Honestly we need everyone form the most Elite (apologies for using that word) hacker (in the coding and reverse engineering sense of the word) to the frustrated and curious user. If you have a suggestion or just want to be involved get in touch. Remember, your graphics card needs YOU and so does the rest of the community!

Driver Versions PPC and x86

PPC 10.4.3

  • ATIRadeon.kext - 1.4.16.3 (3273)
  • ATIRadeonDVDDriver.bundle - 1.4.16.3 (3273)
  • ATIRadeonGA.plugin - 1.4.16.3 (3273)
  • ATIRadeonGLDriver.bundle - 1.4.16.3 (3273)
  • ATIRadeon8500.kext - 1.4.16.3 (3273)
  • ATIRadeon8500DVDDriver.bundle - 1.4.16.3 (3273)
  • ATIRadeon8500GA.plugin - 1.4.16.3 (3273)
  • ATIRadeon8500GLDriver.bundle - 1.4.16.3 (3273)
  • ATIRadeon8500VADriver.bundle - 1.4.16.3 (3273)
  • ATIRadeon9700.kext - 1.4.16.3 (3273)
  • ATIRadeon9700DVDDriver.bundle - 1.4.16.3 (3273)
  • ATIRadeon9700GA.plugin - 1.4.16.3 (3273)
  • ATIRadeon9700GLDriver.bundle - 1.4.16.3 (3273)
  • ATIRadeon9700VADriver.bundle - 1.4.16.3 (3273)
  • ATIRage128.kext - 1.4.4.2 (3166)
  • ATIRage128DVDDriver.bundle - 1.4.4.2 (3166)
  • ATIRage128GA.plugin - 1.4.4.2 (3166)
  • ATIRage128GLDriver.bundle - 1.4.4.2 (3166)
  • ATIRagePro.kext - 1.4.4.2 (3166)
  • ATIRageProGA.plugin - 1.4.4.2 (3166)
  • ATITVOut.kext - 2.6.6 (0001)


x86 10.4.1

  • ATIRadeon.kext - 1.4.4.13 (2942)
  • ATIRadeonDVDDriver.bundle - 1.4.4.13 (2942)
  • ATIRadeonGA.plugin - 1.4.4.13 (2942)
  • ATIRadeonGLDriver.bundle - 1.4.4.13 (2942)
  • ATIRadeon8500.kext - 1.4.4.13 (2942)
  • ATIRadeon8500DVDDriver.bundle - 1.4.4.13 (2942)
  • ATIRadeon8500GA.plugin - 1.4.4.13 (2942)
  • ATIRadeon8500GLDriver.bundle - 1.4.4.13 (2942)
  • ATIRadeon8500VADriver.bundle - 1.4.4.13 (2942)
  • ATIRadeon9700.kext - 1.4.4.13 (2942)
  • ATIRadeon9700DVDDriver.bundle - 1.4.4.13 (2942)
  • ATIRadeon9700GA.plugin - 1.4.4.13 (2942)
  • ATIRadeon9700GLDriver.bundle - 1.4.4.13 (2942)
  • ATIRadeon9700VADriver.bundle - 1.4.4.13 (2942)
  • ATIRage128.kext - 1.4.0.11 (2895)
  • ATIRage128DVDDriver.bundle - 1.4.0.11 (2895)
  • ATIRage128GA.plugin - 1.4.0.11 (2895)
  • ATIRage128GLDriver.bundle - 1.4.0.11 (2895)
  • ATIRagePro.kext - 1.4.0.11 (2895)
  • ATIRageProGA.plugin - 1.4.0.11 (2895)

The x86 versions appear to be universal binaries since the file sizes are always near double in size.

What does this mean? This means that the ATI drivers included are far behind what PPC users can use.

How Can I Help?

  • We need someone with a ppc Mac and a recent ATI graphics card to give use a list of the file names and sizes of the ppc versions of the drivers (the files in the .kext folder). That way we can see if there are one or more files which are obviously missing. This is what the NVIDIA group did and it proved very useful. That would give use an indication if or not the NVIDIA groups route would work for use too. We have tried to extract them from the installer without any immediate success.

Remember these are just a few areas obvious to the author where we need help at the moment. Feel free to get in touch about anything to do with this effort. Remember the more that contribute the quicker we can create a solution.

Links

http://forum.osx86project.org/index.php?showtopic=1183 JaS original post which got things started

http://macvidia.plusmediamusic.com/index.php?title=Main_Page The NVIDIA driver effort


This page was last modified on 25 February 2006, at 11:11.
This page has been accessed 278,198 times.
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