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#1 2012-07-04 23:04:20

cfr
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[solved] xf86-video-intel and friends

I am sure that there must be something somewhere answering this question but I cannot find it.

I am currently using xf86-video-intel. I notice that two new additions, xf86-video-intel-uxa and xf86-video-intel-sna are now available as well. I understand that 'uxa' and 'sna' refer to different types of acceleration. (I couldn't tell you more but that may be OK.) I also understand that these are replacing xf86-video-intel which I assume will disappear from the repos at some point.

I actually have two questions.

First, should I switch to one of the new options? Or will pacman -Syu replace my current version in its own good time? (I am in no particular hurry.)

Second, the wiki says that uxa is the recommended option but then goes onto say that sna is recommended for SandyBridge. Does this mean that sna is recommended for SandyBridge but uxa is recommended for everything else? Or does it mean uxa is recommended for everything but if you are going to use sna, it is recommended to have SandyBridge? Or does it mean I can just toss a coin since I've got an i3 because they are equally recommended for SandyBridge?

Last edited by cfr (2012-07-05 21:10:14)


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#2 2012-07-04 23:12:03

2ManyDogs
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Re: [solved] xf86-video-intel and friends

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#3 2012-07-04 23:12:05

Trilby
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Re: [solved] xf86-video-intel and friends

I can't answer any of those questions, but I am curious where these are heading as well.

To throw in my two cents I read this line of the wiki

wiki intel page wrote:

Install either the xf86-video-intel-uxa or xf86-video-intel-sna package which are available in the official repositories. UXA is still the recommended acceleration architecture. SNA is recommneded for SandyBridge cpus and newer and it's an option if you experience trouble with the UXA driver.

to mean that SNA is in fact recommended over UXA for sandybridge (sandybridges?).  UXA is recommended first for all non-sandybridge, but if UXA causes problems SNA can be tried as well.

That's how I understand that text, but I have no other knowledge of this whatsoever, so if I'm reading it wrong, I'd vote for a revision for clarification.

edit: this was cross-posted with the above.  I don't think this was a lack of search though - that other thread discusses the conflict when one tries to install the whole xorg group which is being advised against.  The current question seemed to be the difference between the two drivers and which is preferred under which circumstances.

edit2: my first edit was also crossposted with 2ManyDog's edit ... geesh timing.  Gusar's post does address this directly, but Gusar's post does not seem inline with how I read the wiki entry.  Should one or the other be corrected?

Last edited by Trilby (2012-07-04 23:15:52)


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#4 2012-07-04 23:18:18

2ManyDogs
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Re: [solved] xf86-video-intel and friends

Trilby wrote:

edit2: my first edit was also crossposted with 2ManyDog's edit ... geesh timing.  Gusar's post does address this directly, but Gusar's post does not seem inline with how I read the wiki entry.  Should one or the other be corrected?

(edit) Probably -- who decides these things?

(edit2) I removed the comment from my first post because it was a little harsh. This does in fact seem to be a fair question with no good answer.

Last edited by 2ManyDogs (2012-07-04 23:22:52)

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#5 2012-07-04 23:36:07

sitquietly
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From: Moscow, Tennessee
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Re: [solved] xf86-video-intel and friends

Phoronix published benchmarks of uxa vs sna accleration for the intel video. For example, the Cairo "fish" benchmark shows sna running at 2.42 fps while the same driver compiled with uxa acceleration gives only 1.20 fps. 

So if you have Sandy Bridge then using "Sandybridge New Acceleration" is an advantage: I've been compiling the xf86-intel-video package with --enable-sna since the 2.19 driver was released.  It's been running perfectly on my system and video is looking very good.  The sna acceleration can be used on any intel video, not just sandy bridge. I've read that Ubuntu will use sna as the default for intel video starting with Ubuntu 12.10.  And if it's stable enough for Ubuntu it's gotta be good big_smile

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#6 2012-07-04 23:51:58

cfr
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Re: [solved] xf86-video-intel and friends

Thanks for the responses.

Just to clarify: I had read both of the threads to which 2ManyDogs referred as well as the wiki but I'm still not really clear on what's happening. Gusar's post suggests that xf86-video-intel has disappeared which led me to think that that discussion might perhaps concern the testing repo or something like that as the package still seems to be available to me, as well as the two additions. And, as Trilby said, I couldn't quite figure out how that discussion fitted with the wiki.

The information about benchmarks is interesting although I'm more interested in stability than speed if it comes to a choice. I don't know if the hard freezes I've had on this machine are video-related but it would not surprise me if they were. Since they seem to be at least less frequent than they were, I want to stick with xf86-video-intel if that's the safer option.

But I'm still not sure if it is better to just keep with xf86-video-intel for now or whether it would be better to switch to one of the newer options.

Both Gusar's post and the wiki suggest that the current package is no longer an option at all, and that's the other bit I don't understand.

PS In my experience Ubuntu is far from stable - unless reliably crashing during install, installer booting to a black screen etc.counts as stability smile. (I'm sure it works well for others - that's just not been my experience on the four machines I've tried it on.)

Last edited by cfr (2012-07-04 23:54:22)


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#7 2012-07-05 00:11:38

karol
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Re: [solved] xf86-video-intel and friends

http://www.archlinux.org/packages/extra … intel-uxa/ says it replaces xf86-video-intel https://projects.archlinux.org/svntogit … 7b4c6c384f so it will be installed after you update your system.
You can install the -sna version via 'pacman -S xf86-video-intel-sna' if you prefer it.

Differences in building the old intel drives and the two new packages: https://projects.archlinux.org/svntogit … 33f4f&ss=1
It boils down to '-enable-uxa' / '--enable-sna --enable-vmap'.

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#8 2012-07-05 00:12:15

Gusar
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Re: [solved] xf86-video-intel and friends

Yeah, there's still a xf86-video-intel package. Which I find weird. Well, I don't think it'll be there for long.

As to what to choose, uxa or sna... Contrary to what the wiki says, I say go with sna. If that gives you issues, you can always fall back to uxa. If it doesn't give you issues, enjoy a faster driver smile.

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#9 2012-07-05 00:12:36

sitquietly
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Re: [solved] xf86-video-intel and friends

cfr wrote:

.....But I'm still not sure if it is better to just keep with xf86-video-intel for now or whether it would be better to switch to one of the newer options.....

The old xf86-video-intel IS uxa.  The driver can be built with one of three acceleration options:

  --enable-sna            Enable SandyBridge's New Acceleration (SNA)
                          [default=no]
  --enable-uxa            Enable Unified Acceleration Architecture (UXA)
                          [default=yes]
  --enable-glamor         Enable glamor, a new GL-based acceleration
                          [default=no]

The default is uxa; that's what Archlinux has been using.

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#10 2012-07-05 00:19:31

cfr
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Re: [solved] xf86-video-intel and friends

karol wrote:

http://www.archlinux.org/packages/extra … intel-uxa/ says it replaces xf86-video-intel https://projects.archlinux.org/svntogit … 7b4c6c384f so it will be installed after you update your system.
You can install the -sna version via 'pacman -S xf86-video-intel-sna' if you prefer it.

But, oddly, this isn't how it seems to be working. I've updated the system. The new packages are there. The old package is also there. And pacman doesn't see the old one as in need of replacing or updating. I am using 64 bit but the -uxa package says exactly the same as it does for i686.

Differences in building the old intel drives and the two new packages: https://projects.archlinux.org/svntogit … 33f4f&ss=1
It boils down to '-enable-uxa' / '--enable-sna --enable-vmap'.

Thanks for this. It's all somewhat beyond me, to be honest, but I'm getting a better sense of... well, of how people feel about the options more than anything, I think.


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#11 2012-07-05 00:24:45

cfr
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Re: [solved] xf86-video-intel and friends

@sitquietly,
Ah! Thank you - that makes sense. (And that's why the -uxa option will - presumably - eventually do the replacing rather than the -sna.)

And if -sna works better for SandyBridge (and whatever else), I may follow Gusar's advice when it comes to updating...

Last edited by cfr (2012-07-05 00:25:11)


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#12 2012-07-05 00:28:34

2ManyDogs
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Re: [solved] xf86-video-intel and friends

Gusar wrote:

Yeah, there's still a xf86-video-intel package. Which I find weird. Well, I don't think it'll be there for long.

As to what to choose, uxa or sna... Contrary to what the wiki says, I say go with sna. If that gives you issues, you can always fall back to uxa. If it doesn't give you issues, enjoy a faster driver smile.

Seems like we need to change the wiki.

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#13 2012-07-05 01:09:02

sitquietly
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From: Moscow, Tennessee
Registered: 2010-07-12
Posts: 216

Re: [solved] xf86-video-intel and friends

cfr wrote:

@sitquietly,
Ah! Thank you - that makes sense. (And that's why the -uxa option will - presumably - eventually do the replacing rather than the -sna.)

And if -sna works better for SandyBridge (and whatever else), I may follow Gusar's advice when it comes to updating...

Just beware that many folks, like me, ARE getting crashes with the latest linux kernels: Random Kernel Panic Since Upgrade to 3.4 Kernel .  If you do have kernel panics / system lockups the first suspect is linux-3.4.x, not xf86-video-intel-sna smile

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#14 2012-07-05 01:20:47

cfr
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Re: [solved] xf86-video-intel and friends

sitquietly wrote:

Just beware that many folks, like me, ARE getting crashes with the latest linux kernels: Random Kernel Panic Since Upgrade to 3.4 Kernel .  If you do have kernel panics / system lockups the first suspect is linux-3.4.x, not xf86-video-intel-sna smile

Hmmm... Yes, kernels were definitely implicated in my freezes a little bit ago. At one point, I switched to LTS though even that would freeze sometimes. But the more recent kernels seem to have actually been more stable for me, although I'm still seeing the occasional freeze. (Getting back to my usual 8G of RAM also helped - the system froze repeatedly with "only" 2G.)

Recent kernels/drivers have also had a lot fewer artefacts for me than they did for a while. Though I'm still not as confident of the kernel/drivers as I was when I first installed Arch last November.

But disconnecting VGA out is also often a trigger for major issues and these sometimes lead to hard freezes. (If I get the sequence just right I can sometimes get away with just killing X or manage to shut down cleanly but not always and it is hard to get it just right.) I don't know if that is graphics related - I was just suspicious because of the video-association.


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#15 2012-07-05 04:44:27

AndyRTR
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Re: [solved] xf86-video-intel and friends

The old xf86-video-intel driver pkg is identical to the new -uxa that replaces it automatically. I still need to remove the old pkg from the extra repo.

http://www.x.org/wiki/IntelGraphicsDriver - the new SNA is an option for all chips from i830 and above but  should give better results with new chips than the uxa one, especially when it comes to cairo. SNA is not so widely tested so far.

Feel free to clarify this in our wiki.

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#16 2012-07-05 06:17:14

ConnorBehan
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Re: [solved] xf86-video-intel and friends

Wouldn't the ultimate thing to do be compiling the driver with --enable-uxa and --enable-sna? That way you can quickly choose between them with Option AccelMethod.


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#17 2012-07-05 07:21:15

AndyRTR
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Re: [solved] xf86-video-intel and friends

ConnorBehan wrote:

Wouldn't the ultimate thing to do be compiling the driver with --enable-uxa and --enable-sna? That way you can quickly choose between them with Option AccelMethod.

Afaik that's not possible. You have no choice te enable more than one acceleration method.

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#18 2012-07-05 09:43:25

Gusar
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Re: [solved] xf86-video-intel and friends

AndyRTR wrote:

Afaik that's not possible. You have no choice te enable more than one acceleration method.

You can, and it's actually the case currently, the -sna package has both in it, and it's switchable in xorg.conf. Try it, compile the -sna package with --disable-uxa, you'll see it'll be smaller.

cfr wrote:

But disconnecting VGA out is also often a trigger for major issues and these sometimes lead to hard freezes.

I've seen some patches recently that could be related, about the order of doing things when disabling outputs. Let me check... Ok, here we go: http://lists.freedesktop.org/archives/i … 18635.html <- the way I read this, it's a genuine bug you're hitting, and that patch series aims to resolve it.

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#19 2012-07-05 14:17:00

sitquietly
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From: Moscow, Tennessee
Registered: 2010-07-12
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Re: [solved] xf86-video-intel and friends

ConnorBehan wrote:

Wouldn't the ultimate thing to do be compiling the driver with --enable-uxa and --enable-sna? That way you can quickly choose between them with Option AccelMethod.

Thank you!  I had read the README and the configure --help for xf86-video-intel and completely missed that simple fact sad  Feeling dumb but helped by a friend... smile

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#20 2012-07-05 20:52:33

cfr
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Re: [solved] xf86-video-intel and friends

Gusar wrote:
AndyRTR wrote:

Afaik that's not possible. You have no choice te enable more than one acceleration method.

You can, and it's actually the case currently, the -sna package has both in it, and it's switchable in xorg.conf. Try it, compile the -sna package with --disable-uxa, you'll see it'll be smaller.

cfr wrote:

But disconnecting VGA out is also often a trigger for major issues and these sometimes lead to hard freezes.

I've seen some patches recently that could be related, about the order of doing things when disabling outputs. Let me check... Ok, here we go: http://lists.freedesktop.org/archives/i … 18635.html <- the way I read this, it's a genuine bug you're hitting, and that patch series aims to resolve it.

Thanks so much for looking this up. I would never even have recognised those discussions as relevant to the problems I have with disconnecting VGA - even if I'd somehow happened to find the thread. I had been kind of assuming I must have misconfigured something since this has never worked properly, but all my efforts to get it right have been in vain. I hope that the patching all goes well and that the fixes make it into a release (and, hence, an arch repo) near me soon!


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#21 2012-07-05 23:30:11

Gusar
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Re: [solved] xf86-video-intel and friends

It seems I was wrong above about the -sna package also containing uxa. You do get both sna and uxa with the git version unless you specify --disable-uxa, but the 2.19 release is different.

Edit: Yep, this commit made runtime switching of accel methods possible: http://cgit.freedesktop.org/xorg/driver … 4e1d07c6dc
It was made a month after the 2.19 release.

Last edited by Gusar (2012-07-05 23:40:36)

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#22 2012-07-05 23:56:54

cfr
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Re: [solved] xf86-video-intel and friends

FWIW: Updating today installed the -uxa package automatically. I then went ahead and installed the -sna package over the top. This way, I figured I'd have the -uxa package available locally if I needed to go back to it urgently.

I'm sure this is completely unrelated but there's nothing about this which would cause binary releases of firefox from upstream to fail horribly is there? Just seems weird that firefox worked fine until I rebooted and now won't even open in safe mode.

(Version from arch is usable but I'm stuck with the US version as the language pack has zero effect - hence my use of upstream's binary.)


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#23 2012-07-06 00:04:00

karol
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Re: [solved] xf86-video-intel and friends

Gusar wrote:

It seems I was wrong above about the -sna package also containing uxa. You do get both sna and uxa with the git version unless you specify --disable-uxa, but the 2.19 release is different.

Edit: Yep, this commit made runtime switching of accel methods possible: http://cgit.freedesktop.org/xorg/driver … 4e1d07c6dc
It was made a month after the 2.19 release.

Thanks a lot for your valuable research. I'll continue using -uxa for the time being but I'll check other options when the next release comes.

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#24 2012-07-06 15:55:09

hushkyotosleeps
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Re: [solved] xf86-video-intel and friends

FWIW, I did a system update yesterday and -uxa was selected by default, and after starting X with the new driver I was getting artifacts in several places (thought it was my theme's issue since I was mucking around with it). Switching to -sna got rid of them for me (on an i5-2520M).


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#25 2012-07-06 19:26:57

Nanthiel
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Re: [solved] xf86-video-intel and friends

I've the i7-2670QM and get issues like the above poster with the SNA driver, UXA works fine though.

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