Question about support for Intel Graphics

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tar1827
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Question about support for Intel Graphics

Post by tar1827 » Wed Dec 05, 2012 3:27 am

Earlier this year set up a PXE boot of Minimyth 0.24 as a front end for my MythTV system (I wasn't yet prepared to upgrade the backend at that time). Everything went pretty smoothly and I was pleased with the results. I have some work to do (lirc, samba, some other issues) but decided that it would be great to add a second front end.

The first FE was a Shuttle XG41 with Intel GMA X4500 graphics, so I thought I'd be fine choosing something similar from Shuttle since the first is now obsolete and unavailable.

I bought a Shuttle XS35V3 and got it PXE booting to Minimyth in no time at all. However, X will not start. Subsequently, I have learned that this graphics subsystem (GMA 3650) was not well supported in Linux. I get the impression that drivers have become available, but most of my Googling on the topic leads to people using Ubuntu and/or compiling their own kernel to make it work. But in a rapidly changing environment, Google is not always my friend (contrary to populist wisdom) because it's often outdated information. I've spent hours trying to figure out if I should return this computer (losing some $$) or hang on and make it work.

I know that I am not up to date because I have not upgraded my BE and switched to Minimyth 0.26. But I tried 0.26.0-82 and it still didn't work--I got the same results. I'm not sure what else to try.

The error reported by X via dmesg is:

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[drm:i915_init] *ERROR* drm/i915 can't work without intel_agp module!
Thank you, in advance, for any help you can give to me.
-Tom-

P.S. I cannot begin to tell you how sweet Minimyth is for this application. I really wanted to deploy a diskless front end without USB sticks or flash boot devices. Since I have IPCop as my firewall, PXE was a breeze; and MM made the MythTV part much easier than I could have hoped. I'm enjoying my first MM FE and look forward to adding this second one to the network. Thanks for all your work on this project!

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Re: Question about support for Intel Graphics

Post by Pablo » Thu Dec 06, 2012 4:28 pm

It is odd that the intel_agp module is not automatically loading. What are the outputs of

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lspci -mn

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cat /var/log/messages | grep -e '\(agp\|drm\)'
and

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cat /var/log/Xorg.0.0.log  | grep -e '\(agp\|drm\)'
MiniMyth running on an Acer ApireRevo 3610 and a Zotac ZBOX-ID80-U. Find out more at my MythTV page.

tar1827
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Re: Question about support for Intel Graphics

Post by tar1827 » Sat Dec 08, 2012 11:19 pm

Pablo,
Thanks for your reply. I was finally able to get back to this and try your commands. Here is what I got:

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root@MythFront:~ # lspci -mn
00:00.0 "0600" "8086" "0bf3" -r03 "1297" "4012"
00:02.0 "0300" "8086" "0be2" -r09 "1297" "4012"
00:1b.0 "0403" "8086" "27d8" -r02 "1297" "4012"
00:1c.0 "0604" "8086" "27d0" -r02 "" ""
00:1c.1 "0604" "8086" "27d2" -r02 "" ""
00:1c.3 "0604" "8086" "27d6" -r02 "" ""
00:1d.0 "0c03" "8086" "27c8" -r02 "1297" "4012"
00:1d.1 "0c03" "8086" "27c9" -r02 "1297" "4012"
00:1d.2 "0c03" "8086" "27ca" -r02 "1297" "4012"
00:1d.3 "0c03" "8086" "27cb" -r02 "1297" "4012"
00:1d.7 "0c03" "8086" "27cc" -r02 -p20 "1297" "4012"
00:1e.0 "0604" "8086" "2448" -re2 -p01 "" ""
00:1f.0 "0601" "8086" "27bc" -r02 "1297" "4012"
00:1f.2 "0106" "8086" "27c1" -r02 -p01 "1297" "4012"
00:1f.3 "0c05" "8086" "27da" -r02 "1297" "4012"
02:00.0 "0880" "197b" "2382" -r80 "1297" "4012"
02:00.2 "0805" "197b" "2381" -r80 -p01 "1297" "4012"
02:00.3 "0880" "197b" "2383" -r80 "1297" "4012"
02:00.5 "0200" "197b" "0250" -r03 "1297" "4012"
03:00.0 "0280" "10ec" "8176" -r01 "10ec" "8175"
root@MythFront:~ # cat /var/log/messages | grep -e '\(agp\|drm\)'
Dec  8 17:01:26 (none) user.info kernel: Linux agpgart interface v0.103
Dec  8 17:01:26 (none) user.info kernel: [drm] Initialized drm 1.1.0 20060810
Dec  8 17:01:26 (none) user.err kernel: [drm:i915_init] *ERROR* drm/i915 can't work without intel_agp module!
root@MythFront:~ # cat /var/log/Xorg.0.0.log  | grep -e '\(agp\|drm\)'
root@MythFront:~ #
I feel as though I read somewhere that a 3.6.x Linux kernel has support for this PowerVR graphics system, but I don't know if that is really correct. I am not really very Linux savvy, so I'm not really sure how I'd proceed. I wish these Shuttle systems were well supported for graphics in Linux because they make excellent low power front-ends.

Again, thank you for looking at this and trying to help me out!
Best regards,
Tom

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Re: Question about support for Intel Graphics

Post by Pablo » Sun Dec 09, 2012 4:39 am

The short answer is I suggest you return your hardware. The long answer is ...

The 3.6 kernel has experimental support in the gma500_gfx Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) for the your hardware. As a result, as of the 3.6 kernel, Kernel Mode Setting (KMS) should be supported on your hardware. However, that is not the whole story.

There is no Open Source Xorg driver for your hardware. Instead you would need to use the generic Xorg modesetting or the generic Xorg vesa driver, neither of which have OpenGL or hardware accelerated video decoding support. As Intel now has their own graphics hardware for which they are actively supporting and Open Source Xorg driver, it is unlikely that they will bother developing an Open Source Xorg driver for Imagination Technologies designed graphics hardware.

It might be supported by the proprietary Xorg driver in the latest version of the proprietary Intel Embedded Graphics Drivers (IEGD), which came out in 16 February 2011 and is version 10.4. Unfortunately, even if it does support your hardware, it is so old that it is unlikely to work with the version of Xorg server (1.13) included in MiniMyth. As Intel now has their own graphics hardware, it is unlikely that they will have any motivation to update IEGD.
MiniMyth running on an Acer ApireRevo 3610 and a Zotac ZBOX-ID80-U. Find out more at my MythTV page.

tar1827
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Re: Question about support for Intel Graphics

Post by tar1827 » Sun Dec 09, 2012 4:36 pm

Pablo,
Thank you very much for the short, and the long answer. I learned more from that one post than I did from three hours of Googling last weekend. That's probably because so little of what I found was comprehensible to me since lots of it is over my head. But your explanation of the Intel graphics situation makes clear my decision to abandon this piece of hardware for another.

So is there a good alternate choice among the other Shuttle "Slim PCs" currently available? I see that their XS35GS V3 has the same CPU but has ATI Radeonn HD7410M for graphics. As I mentioned in my first post, I think these low power units are nice for FEs (as long as they work with Linux/Myth) :)

Again, thanks for your help on this specifically, and for MM! :D
-Tom-

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Re: Question about support for Intel Graphics

Post by Pablo » Sun Dec 09, 2012 7:24 pm

Is there a reason for focusing on Shuttle for a small form factor computer?

I would avoid AMD graphics. AMD has done a relatively poor job of supporting their graphics hardware on Linux, and the recent layoffs and departures of some of their Linux developers makes me believe the support will only get worse. It is to bad that AMD is in such financial trouble.

If you select an Atom processor as your processor, then you would be best served by graphics that supports GPU hardware accelerated video decoding. There are three widely supported interfaces for doing this XvMC, VAAPI and VDPAU. Support for XvMC is being phased out because it lacks support for H.264 and VC-1. VAAPI, which is supported by Intel's Open Source graphics drivers, is not supported by MythTV 0.24 (butt is supported by 0.25). VDPAU, which is supported by NVIDIA's proprietary graphics drivers, is supported by MythTV 0.24. Another reason to shy away from Intel graphics at the moment is that their Open Source graphics drivers have a problem with video tearing (which the hope to fix soon).

Therefore, I believe your best choice for graphics is NVIDIA.

Boxes, such as the ZOTAC ZBOX ID41 and the ZOTAC ZBOX ID80 are both good choices. I have one similar to the ZOTAC ZBOX ID41. All each one needs is memory and they should run MythTV (including HDTV).

It should be noted that Adobe Flash Player does not have effective GPU hardware accelerated video decoding. Therefore, if you are using Adobe Flash Player to playback videos, you may need a CPU that is more powerful than an Intel Atom.
MiniMyth running on an Acer ApireRevo 3610 and a Zotac ZBOX-ID80-U. Find out more at my MythTV page.

tar1827
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Re: Question about support for Intel Graphics

Post by tar1827 » Sun Dec 09, 2012 8:46 pm

I'm not stuck on Shuttle, I just liked the one I bought first and this second one because they are small, silent (no fans at all), and cheaper than Zotac. I got this latest one for US$185 including shipping. Of course, it's not such a great deal given that I can't use it for Myth! :oops:

Ironically, I have always tried to stick with nVidia for all things Linux; whether for MythTV or for my Fedora desktops. I guess I was lucky with the first Shuttle using an Intel GMA X4500 since it worked straight away. The Zotac boxes sound very nice, with the added benefit of integrated WiFi, though I read something about that not being great for streaming 1080P video. But I am still not in the HD world for MythTV, as much as I'd like to be. I haven't added the storage capacity and recording ability to my BE for that yet. And, obviously, I need to learn more about the graphics processing requirements.

One thing that I'm still not clear on from your post: Is VDPAU here to stay, or only supported in MythTV 0.24? I always felt like nVidia was less well-liked by MythTV developers because of their proprietary drivers (even though I am not a purist when it comes to using non-GNU s/w). Like most people, I think, I'd like to pick something that works well and try to use that throughout my implementation of Myth, since it means more consistency and easier maintenance. Perhaps I should wait another 6 months and see what's available before adding another FE...

P.S. I didn't know that AMD was behind ATI. I agree that it's unfortunate about AMD as they are often my first choice for CPUs

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Re: Question about support for Intel Graphics

Post by Pablo » Sun Dec 09, 2012 11:39 pm

tar1827 wrote:One thing that I'm still not clear on from your post: Is VDPAU here to stay, or only supported in MythTV 0.24? I always felt like nVidia was less well-liked by MythTV developers because of their proprietary drivers (even though I am not a purist when it comes to using non-GNU s/w). Like most people, I think, I'd like to pick something that works well and try to use that throughout my implementation of Myth, since it means more consistency and easier maintenance.
MythTV has had VDPAU for a long time (at least since 0.22) and continues to support it in its latest release (0.26).

I have not heard of VDPAU going away in foreseeable future. While VDPAU was created by NVIDIA and NVIDIA's proprietary drivers currently have the most complete implementation, there is an Open Source implementations under development in Mesa (the Open Source OpenGL and DRM implementation used by Xorg). In addition, many media applications besides MythTV support of it. Finally, for any media application that might support VAAPI without supporting VDPAU (I do not know of any), there is a Open Source library that enables VAAPI capable applications to use VDPAU capable graphics driver.
Perhaps I should wait another 6 months and see what's available before adding another FE...
If you have a use for another MythTV frontend, then I would not wait another six months, I do not believe that it will a difference (other than today's hardware being cheaper six months from now). Current predictions are that there will not be an Atom processor with integrated Intel graphics before the end of 2013.
P.S. I didn't know that AMD was behind ATI. I agree that it's unfortunate about AMD as they are often my first choice for CPUs
AMD bought ATI in 2006 so that it could develop integrated CPU/GPU computing solutions.
MiniMyth running on an Acer ApireRevo 3610 and a Zotac ZBOX-ID80-U. Find out more at my MythTV page.

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