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 Forum index » Advanced Topics » Hardware » Video
How do we get graphics cards working with Puppy?
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Mike Walsh


Joined: 28 Jun 2014
Posts: 6269
Location: King's Lynn, UK.

PostPosted: Thu 06 Feb 2020, 10:21    Post subject:  How do we get graphics cards working with Puppy?
Subject description: Going to need LOTS of advice here..!
 

Afternoon, kiddiwinks.

Now; I figured this is probably the best place for this. If not, Flash; please move it.

Question:-

What, exactly, is involved in getting a discrete graphics card up-and-running under Puppy?

Background

I have a basic, Asus GeForce 210 that I purchased a few years ago for use with the now-defunct Compaq tower. I was never able to use it for two reasons:-

1 ) The PCI-e slot in the Compaq was truly ancient; it was the very early 1.0a standard, so probably wouldn't have properly supported the card (the GeForce 210 needs at least PCI-e 2.0 or higher).

2 ) The other reason I was never able to use it was because some of the pins at the 'far' end of the slot were in fact damaged. You figure it out....

-----------------------------------

Having upgraded to a brand new HP 'compact' tower, with a PCI-e 3.0 slot, I'm considering whether to give this another try. The main reason I'd like to do so is purely because the card has 1GB of its own dedicated memory, so will do away with the need for the Intel Pentium's 'on-die' GPU to have to 'borrow' it from RAM.

Now; being Nvidia, I gather these work pretty well with Linux. I want to try this in Bionicpup64; there's several drivers available, but.....how the hell d'you know which one you need? What do you do with the driver once you've selected it? And more to the point, I'm going to need 'hand-holding', and being walked through this stuff step-by-step! (I'm always the same with any new procedure that I've never attempted before. Having got the hang of it, I'm usually fine after that.)

The new monitor that came with the HP has both VGA and HDMI; needless to say, I'm using HDMI. The card has outputs for VGA, HDMI and DivX...

I can install the card, no problem. It's what you do after that I'm not so sure about.....

Any and all advice will, as usual, be very much appreciated.

TIA.


Mike. Wink

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rockedge


Joined: 11 Apr 2012
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Location: Connecticut, United States

PostPosted: Thu 06 Feb 2020, 11:50    Post subject:  

can the card do GPU computations?
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OscarTalks


Joined: 05 Feb 2012
Posts: 2174
Location: London, England

PostPosted: Thu 06 Feb 2020, 12:27    Post subject:  

Hi Mike,

They are quite good in my experience.
Assuming you are able to get it connected to a slot and configured in the BIOS I would expect Puppy to automatically load the nouveau driver and everything would look OK. The nouveau drivers are better these days than they were a few years back.

The http://nvidia.com website has a driver search facility which tells you which card needs which driver. At a glance looks like GeForce 210 needs 340 but you should check that.

If you want to upgrade to an nvidia proprietary driver, BionicPup64 has some in Quickpet so that is probably all you need to do. The nouveau driver has to be disabled and blacklisted as it clashes with the nvidia driver, but I think it is all set up to do that. I believe you have to reboot though so it is not easy to test if running with no save.

If pre-built drivers are not available or if you like delving into it in more depth, you can download the .run installer from nvidia and use that to compile, but you have to exit to prompt and issue a few commands from there. There is the get-nvidia utility which is supposed to handle that process and make it a bit easier.

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dancytron

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PostPosted: Thu 06 Feb 2020, 12:36    Post subject:  

Just to add, that most of the cards have a sound driver that supplies the sound through hdmi.

If you aren't going to use the sound in hdmi, you will probably need to blacklist the graphics card's sound driver.

As long as the drivers are already compiled, like they are for most puppies, it is pretty easy.
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Mike Walsh


Joined: 28 Jun 2014
Posts: 6269
Location: King's Lynn, UK.

PostPosted: Thu 06 Feb 2020, 13:13    Post subject:  

@ Oscar:-

Mm. Ok. So; if I've got this straight, from what you're saying, I don't have to worry about the Nvidia drivers straight away, no?

I can get the card installed, set whatever needs setting in the UEFI/BIOS, boot up, and she should load and use the nouveau drivers automatically?

That sounds fairly straight-forward....


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ndujoe1

Joined: 04 Dec 2005
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PostPosted: Thu 06 Feb 2020, 14:47    Post subject:  

how do you blacklist the HDMI sound driver. thanks.
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dancytron

Joined: 18 Jul 2012
Posts: 1540

PostPosted: Thu 06 Feb 2020, 15:25    Post subject:  

ndujoe1 wrote:
how do you blacklist the HDMI sound driver. thanks.


I think it might vary from card to card, but in Debian Dog Stretch 64 I created a file /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf with "blacklist snd_hda_intel" in it.

see https://techgage.com/news/disabling_nvidias_hdmi_audio_under_linux/

In puppy, I seem to recall there is a gui utility to do the same thing once you find out what the driver is called for that particular card.
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mikeslr


Joined: 16 Jun 2008
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Location: 500 seconds from Sol

PostPosted: Thu 06 Feb 2020, 16:03    Post subject:  

ndujoe1 wrote:
how do you blacklist the HDMI sound driver. thanks.


In Puppies:

Menu>System>Bootmanager, click the Modules Tab, Click 'Blacklist' Module. Find the unwanted module in the Right-pane. Select it and click the Remove button.

SAVE (that change to your SaveFile/Folder) and reboot; i.e., its a component of bootmanager.
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don570


Joined: 10 Mar 2010
Posts: 5516
Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Thu 06 Feb 2020, 18:43    Post subject:  

I have nvidia gtx 1030 card inside a dell 990 and there is no need to blacklist the hdmi sound.

Line out and headphone jack work fine . The HDMI monitor works as well.


My instructions for installing nvidia package in fatdog64....
http://45.33.15.200/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=1022637&sid=1b5a7aa16d393b1e8ac389ebb3cf957c#1022637

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bigpup


Joined: 11 Oct 2009
Posts: 13806
Location: S.C. USA

PostPosted: Thu 06 Feb 2020, 19:17    Post subject:  

First, in the computers bios.
Need it set to be using the Nvidia card and not integrated graphics.
Look for graphics settings.
Something that will change what is used.

Some bios, auto switch, if they see a separate graphics card.

If the Nvidia card is used. Bionicpup64 8.0 will use the generic Nouveau driver.
It works OK for most graphics.
However, the Nvidia driver does provide all features support.

Bionicpup64 8.0 has Quickpet
Quickpet->Drivers has several ones already packaged for Bionicpup.
Nvidia says the 340 driver is the one that works for this card.

Do not try a newer driver. They may or may not still support that card. That is old hardware and newer drivers have dropped support for older hardware.

May have to run Quickpet->Info->Bionicpup updates to get all the Nvidia drivers showing.

Just click on the 340 driver.
It will download, install, and do everything needed so it is now being used.

If you do not want to use the pets already made for Bionicpup64 8.0.

How to install a Nvidia run package
http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=110611

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Mike Walsh


Joined: 28 Jun 2014
Posts: 6269
Location: King's Lynn, UK.

PostPosted: Thu 06 Feb 2020, 20:45    Post subject:  

@ all:-

Well, thanks for the varied advice, guys. I'll let y'all know how I get on with this in a few days time; it's a 'mini-project' for the weekend, I think.

I'll try the existing 340 driver .pet in Quickpet to start with, if I decide to give the Nvidia driver a go. Otherwise, I'll follow bigpup's instructions and see if I can build it from the .run package (I've already got the current 340.108 package from the Nvidia website, and have just downloaded shinobar's get-nvidia .pet.)

Initially, I want to see if Oscar's info about the nouveau drivers holds water. I'll decide what to do after that. I'm not too fussed about ultimate picture quality, though additional adjustments would of course be nice to have. The main objective here is to get the graphics running off their own dedicated pool of RAM, rather than 'poaching' system RAM.... I'm not too sure if the card's DDR3 RAM means it will actually run slower than the on-die adapter - which is using DDR4 - though from what I understand, graphics RAM is usually one generation ahead of its designation, i.e., GDDR3 is equivalent to DDR4 SDRAM, speedwise. And apparently bandwidth v latencies run to opposites in each instance.....meaning that ultimately, system RAM & graphics VRAM can't be directly compared, any way you look at it.

All bloody confusing to a neophyte. Anybody more 'clued-up' about this than I am, by any chance? Confused

Stay tuned.....!


Mike. Wink

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Last edited by Mike Walsh on Thu 06 Feb 2020, 21:45; edited 3 times in total
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perdido


Joined: 09 Dec 2013
Posts: 1570
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PostPosted: Thu 06 Feb 2020, 21:26    Post subject:  

Probably be a good idea to make a backup of /etc/X11/xorg.conf before you get going.
Just in case of murphy's law.
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Mike Walsh


Joined: 28 Jun 2014
Posts: 6269
Location: King's Lynn, UK.

PostPosted: Thu 06 Feb 2020, 21:35    Post subject:  

perdido wrote:
Probably be a good idea to make a backup of /etc/X11/xorg.conf before you get going.
Just in case of murphy's law.


Thanks for the reminder, perdido. Murphy's law and I have an ongoing history of repeated encounters.... Laughing Rolling Eyes

Sod's law, of course, states that if I don't, then you know darned well what's gonna happen..!

Good advice , mate. Thanks for the tip! (Plus, I think, at least 2 complete backups of Bionicpup64.....in different locations. Just to be on the safe side, like...) Smile


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Mike Walsh


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PostPosted: Fri 07 Feb 2020, 11:52    Post subject:  

UPDATE

Well, I'm.....gobsmacked, is probably the appropriate expression. That was so easy it was unreal.

Oscar, you were absolutely 'on the money', mate. I had an hour or so to spare while Mama was getting her weekly hair-do, so I thought 'In for a penny....'

Powered-off. Unhooked everything. Had 'er up on the worktop. Off with the case-side; unhooked the optical drive, undid 4 screws and swung the hard drive cage out of the way. Removed the appropriate slot cover; plugged the card in, and clipped the retainer in place.

Did it all back up. Plugged everything back in, with the HDMI cable now going to the card instead. Powered-on, booted into Bionicpup, and.....it just works. Unbelievable. So the 'nouveau' drivers obviously have improved, 'cos there's absolutely no visible difference between the card and the on-die GPU. And that's pretty neat.

Actually, I tell a lie. There is one improvement 'twixt the two.

Right from day one, I'd noticed a slight, diagonal imperfection in the upper left quadrant of the new monitor. Only noticeable when scrolling, but it's been getting gradually more noticeable, y'know?

This has now gone. (*sighs of relief...*) Perhaps a slight conflict between the hardware of this particular monitor, the GPU, even the HDMI cable? Who knows.....

If the 'nouveau' driver is this good nowadays, then for my personal use-case I'm going to stick with it. I don't see the need to mess about with the Nvidia drivers, because they're not going to do anything spectacular, from what I can see of things.

Audio appears unaffected. Although

Code:
lspci


....gives me a new Nvidia audio device (in addition to the card itself), I don't think anything will need altering. Retrovol is still dispensing the Intel HD audio device's output without issues.

It even gives me a new core-temp reading in gKrellM, for the card itself.....which appears to be holding absolutely steady at around 38/40°C. Can't ask for more than that.

--------------------------------------------

There didn't appear to be any settings in the BIOS/UEFI for manually selecting graphics output, so I have to assume that the card was auto-detected & configured. Certainly, it all appears to be functioning as it should.

PupSysInfo now gives this for graphics output:-


Code:
▶—— Video ——◀

Display Specifications:
• Monitor VertRefresh: 60.00 times/s
• Screen Dimensions: 1920x1080 pixels (508x285 millimeters)
• Screen Depth: 24 bits (planes)

Xorg Startup Log (/var/log/Xorg.0.log):
• Xorg Driver in use: nouveau
• Loaded Modules: dbe dri2 exa fb fbdevhw glx shadowfb
• X.Org version: 1.19.6

OpenGL 2D/3D Rendering:
• Direct Rendering: Yes
• Vendor: nouveau
• Renderer: NVA8
• Version: 3.1 Mesa 18.2.2

VGA controller [0300]: NVIDIA Corporation GT218 [GeForce 210] [10de:0a65] (rev a2)
• Kernel Driver: nouveau
• Memory Used by Driver: 1660.00 KB
• Path: /lib/modules/4.19.23/kernel/drivers/gpu/drm/nouveau/nouveau.ko
• Description: nVidia Riva/TNT/GeForce/Quadro/Tesla/Tegra K1+
• Video RAM: 1008M total, 256M 32M prefetchable



Remember, I didn't want this for gaming, or owt like that. I primarily wanted to stop the graphics from poaching system RAM to use it as VRAM. I'm probably going to obtain a second 4GB stick of DDR4 to fill the remaining slot, but that will be it, as far as it goes. This will then be the perfect 'Puppy' system for me.....and I remain astounded, even after all these years, as to just how good Pup really is.

Amazing.

Now all I need to do is to get used to the slight extra whine from the fan on the card's own cooler.... Aside from that, ATM I'm as happy as a pig in the brown stuff!!


Mike. Wink

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Mike Walsh


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PostPosted: Sun 09 Feb 2020, 07:53    Post subject:  

Footnote:-

Just as an end to this tale, I've been doing a wee bit of research. That the card is functioning as intended, of that there is no doubt. However:-

-----------------------------------------

.....it turns out this is a very old card. Bigpup wasn't wrong when he said that!

It dates from 2009; this is when Nvidia first released the reference version of this card. And the chip itself - the GT218 - actually dates back to the Quadros, etc, a few years earlier still.

It has a grand total of 16 cores, okay? The on-die Intel UHD 610, built in to the G5400, has 96!! Along with pixel & texture fill rates that blow the 210 into the dust.... The main downside is that the 'internal' GPU borrows system RAM.....whereas the GeForce doesn't, since it has its own 1 GB of VRAM to draw from.

Okay, okay; I know what most of you are going to say. Dump the Nvidia, use the on-die 'internal'. Mm. I'll say this; at the end of the day, what counts is real-world performance. I've tried out everything I use which is in any WAY graphics-intensive.....including a first-person 'shoot-em-up' type of game called 'Xonotic', which I run as a Windoze PortableApp under WINE. It works darned well, too! No tearing, juddering, artefacts, anything like that.

I only tried Xonotic once on the old Compaq, and gave it up as a bad job. It was so slow as to be unplayable. I'm not a 'gamer', though I do play around with 'em very occasionally when I get totally bored. On this new HP, it's completely different, and is in fact quite an enjoyable diversion for half-an-hour. Very similar to 'Assault Cube', 'Doom'.....that kind of genre. Modern hardware definitely seems to help for this sort of thing!

-----------------------------------------

I think I'm going to keep the card. There's a very slim possibility I might look around for something a little bit 'beefier', though for my use-case it's not important. The main reason I might do so is to see if I can get hold of one of those 'silent' types (with the huge heatsink). There's certainly room for it in the Pavilion's case. The noise from that little fan on the GeForce 210 is quite intrusive after a couple of hours.....

We'll see.

EDIT:- Probably one of these, I think:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/ASUS-GT710-SL-2GD5-GeForce-GT-Graphics-Efficient/dp/B07489XSJP?psc=1&SubscriptionId=AKIAILSHYYTFIVPWUY6Q&tag=duc08-21&linkCode=xm2&camp=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=B07489XSJP

GeForce GT710; 2 GB DDR5, 192 CUDA cores.....and only around GBP £35. I know these things are described as 'occupying 2 slots', because of that huge, 'passive' heatsink; on most boards, there's several PCI-e x 16 slots fairly close together, the heatsink overhangs the neighbouring slot, so one tends to get 'wasted'. This HP board has a single PCI-e x 16 slot, and a single PCI-e x 4 slot.....and they're well spaced apart.

Perfect.


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Last edited by Mike Walsh on Sun 09 Feb 2020, 15:12; edited 1 time in total
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