Notes On AIGLX/Xgl and Graphic Cards (2007)

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This document contains information about what 3D accelerated graphic cards Mandriva users have found to work, and not work, under the AIGLX/Xgl interfaces.


Advanced Display Features: 3D, multi-heads, translucency

If you want to use the VGA or S-Video output of your laptop, if you want to use compiz, read below

NB: this page discribes the state in pre-2007. Things may be very different on MDV2006 or other distros.



Two ways to achieve clone on CRT:

  • Option "MonitorLayout" "NONE,CRT+LFP" works nicely, CRT works when hot plugged, without restarting X.
  • Option "MonitorLayout" "CRT,LFP" and Option "Clone" the cursor is buggy on LFP or CRT (need SWCursor)

No success yet with Xinerama.

TV output:

  • works with S-Video (composite failed)
  • black & white unless booting with projector plugged and switched on
  • 24 bpp only
  • clone works with Option "MonitorLayout" "TV,LFP" and Option "Clone" (but TV must use the same resolution as the flat panel)
  • another resolution on TV can be obtained using TV only output with Option "MonitorLayout" "TV,NONE".

(tested on "945 (laptop Sony VIAO VGN-SZ140P)" and "915GM (laptop HP Compaq nc6220)")

radeon (free driver)

Depending on the graphic card & BIOS, things will work nicely or not:

good support

The VGA output will work magically if plugged when launching X. The default configuration is clone.

To achieve xinerama, use something like Option "CRT2Position" "RightOf". You also need to use a _double_ resolution (eg: 2048x768 instead of 1024x768). See "man radeon" for more. (nb: this is merged xinerama, so it has limitations)

(tested on "Radeon X600 (RV380)" and "Radeon Mobility 9000 (M9) (laptop IBM 237394G)")

bad support

On laptops, the only thing that works is switching to VGA output using the Fn magic blue key. You may need to use Option "BIOSHotkeys".

On desktop, no luck. (the best obtained is a black CRT with a buggy cursor using Option "MonitorLayout" "LVDS,CRT" (and a complete black with SWCursor))

(tested on "Radeon XPRESS 200M (laptop HP Compaq nx6125)")

nvidia (proprietary driver)

  • with Option "TwinView" + Option "TwinViewOrientation" "Clone" you get clone
  • with Option "TwinView" you get xinerama.
  • with Option "ConnectedMonitor" "CRT,TV" on a desktop, you get dual-head with S-Video.

Many more options are available. Cf nvidia documentation for more.

(tested on GeForce 6200 TurboCache(TM))

3D acceleration

To understand the various AGP/DRI/libGL/GLX terms, cf AIGLX is available in free software drivers which provide GLX. It allows compiz effects on the desktop.

See Accelerated Desktop

Translucency and RENDER extension

The RENDER extension is used to display fonts, and other 2D effects. A buggy RENDER implementation can cause text to be invisible (eg: white on white).

Translucency uses the Composite extension. Without using graphic card acceleration, it's dead slow. Composite uses RENDER, and its speed depend on RENDER being accelerated.

  • on Intel chipset (i915, i945), RENDER and Composite works nicely
  • on some radeon chipsets, RENDER and Composite can be faster when using Option "AccelMethod" "EXA" (cf man radeon) (tested on "Radeon XPRESS 200M (laptop HP Compaq nx6125)", it causes a few display bugs, including not completly hiding window when double clicking on title bar)
  • on nvidia proprietary driver, you may need to disable RENDER acceleration using Option "RenderAccel" "false".

First Hand Experiences With Cards That Support AIGLX/Xgl

If you have had success or failures with other graphic cards not listed here, please add this information to help improved the database.


  • ATI Radeon 9250
  • ATI Radeon X300 Series
  • ATI Radeon Xpress 200M (integrated)
  • ATI Mobility 9700 (r350)


  • nVidia GeForce 4 ti4200
  • nVidia GeForce 4 MX440
  • nVidia GeForce FX 5200
  • nVidia FX 5700
  • nVidia GeForce Go 7300

First Hand Experiences With Cards That Do Not Support AIGLX/Xgl (presently)

Matrox Millennium

  • G550


  • nVidia GeForce 2 MX


  • Voodoo3

More Information about AIGLX and Xgl

You can learn more about these two 3D environments by visiting the developer web pages:

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