Tuesday, 12-Dec-2000 10:32:07 EST
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Getting your ATI Rage 128-based card to work
Written By: RageAHolic

1) Use the newer Xfree86 -configure utility to configure Xfree86 4.0/4.0.1


1a) Use xf86config/XF86Setup and then edit your /etc/XF86Config file by hand

Paul Bauer contacted me and suggested the use of the Xfree86 -configure worked for him and for myself. Both Xfree86 4.0 and 4.0.1 use a new configuration utility: Xfree86 -configure. It seems the simplest solution to the problem; a configuration tool that recognizes and configures the card correctly the first time. There is still some hand configuration that needs to be done.

a) As root at the shell, type the following: Xfree86 -configure (case sensitive of course)

b) The screen will go black and you will see a bunch of gibberish on the screen. All of the probed information is dumped into /root/

c) At the shell, type the following: mv /root/ /etc/XF86Config (back up your /etc/XF86Config file as a precaution and a good habit). This moves the /root/ file to /etc/XF86Config, replacing the existing one.

d) At the shell, type the following: startx (starts an X session)

Detailed instructions about using XFree86 -configure can be found at: (thanks to Paul Bauer for the link)

If all goes well, you will have an X session. It may look strange to you...Xfree86 4.0 uses TWM as it's default Window Manager (WM). To change the default WM, you can edit your default xinitrc file:

Just remove everything below # start some nice programs and add the line to execute your preferred WM: startkde starts KDE, exec blackbox starts BlackBox...etc. However this is beyond the scope of this NHF.

Sensei's Note:
wmaker for WindowMaker

1a) Use xf86config/XF86Setup and then edit your /etc/XF86Config file by hand

If you're reading this part of the NHF, Xfree86 -configure didn't work for you on your system. No fears...there is hope. It will require hand editing of your /etc/XF86Config file.

Those with cards based on the Rage 128 chipset should add the lines:

Chipset "ATI Rage 128"

Driver "r128"

to your /etc/X11/XF86Config file in the same format as detailed below.

Relevant section of /etc/X11/XF86Config in XF86 4.0

# Graphics device section

# Any number of graphics device sections may be present

# Device configured by xf86config: Section "Device"

Chipset "ATI Rage 128"

Driver "r128"


If your X session still won't work...try omitting the Chipset "ATI Rage 128" line and only use the Driver "r128" line. This is and other tips can be found at Chiaki Ishikawa's website: Chiaki's site has information relevant to Rage 128 and Rage Fury owners who are having problems configuring their ATI cards in Linux.

Emmet Ford submitted his experience with this NHF. His experience supports the omission of the Chipset "ATI Rage 128" line...but your mileage may vary. He found that by disabling acceleration, he was able to configure a useable XF86Config file.

"I added Option "NoAccel" "on" to the Device section (culled from the xfree86 r128 man page, and that seemed to do the trick. This is a less than optimal solution, but I'll take no acceleration over system lockups any day, particulary since I'm not doing any gaming."

thedukeofurl has this to say about XF86 4.0.1 for ATI Rage 128-based card users: So is 4.0.1 right for you? NVidia users shouldn't exactly feel a huge need to jump, unless they'd like to gain a few FPS. 3dfx Voodoo3 users may be split, depending on what you use and how intensively you use your 3dfx card's 3D capabilities. On the other hand, Voodoo5 users have no other choice than version 4.0.1, since Voodoo5 was just recently introduced. ATI Rage 128 users will definitely want to jump at 4.x, just as Matrox users will.

My goal is to provide as much practical information about the ATI series as possible. I thank Chiaki, Paul and Emmet for their feedback and contribution. If anyone has any further information regarding ATI cards, please feel free to e-mail me so that we may compile a centralized ATI NHF. As where credit is due.


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