06 06 | 2012

Beware of the newest Intel Atom GPU

Written by Tanguy

Classified in : Homepage, Debian, Miscellaneous, Grumble

Do you remember how Intel used to be the white knight of graphic card manufacturers, the one from which you could buy hardware without looking, being sure that it would be supported by GNU/Linux directly?

Do you remember how they broke that by releasing the infamous Poulsbo card?

Well, they did it again. The newest Intel Atom D2500, D2550, D2700, N2600 and N2800 processors, codenamed “CedarView” and “Cedar Trail”, include a graphic core that is only supported by a proprietary driver only available on Meego (read: unusable on regular GNU/Linux.

So, if you plan to buy a netbook, beware! Intel is not a manufacturer you can trust to provide freely usable hardware. Just like other manufacturers, check that the hardware you are planning to buy is supported, by asking on #intel-gfx on Freenode. The most relevant course of action probably consists in buying a previous model or waiting for the next models.


wednesday 06 june 2012 à 20:19 asdf said : #1

I need to close the open parentheses!


wednesday 06 june 2012 à 21:11 Simon Farnsworth said : #2

Fortunately, it's only Atoms that have the graphics foulup.

The current rules for Intel are easy:

1) Is it an Atom CPU? If not, you're OK.
2) If it's Atom, it's probably not OK - use http://ark.intel.com/ to confirm that the CPU is Pineview or Valleyview, as anything else is unsupported.

wednesday 06 june 2012 à 23:42 Tanguy said : #3

@asdf : xkcd 859, is it not? I am leaving my mistake just for the lulz. :-)

thursday 07 june 2012 à 00:55 Alex said : #4

...and that's why I'm an AMD fanboy these days.

thursday 07 june 2012 à 08:39 Tanguy said : #5

@Alex : I like AMD for their radiator fixations which are stronger than Intel's plastic stuff, but when it comes to open graphic drivers, I must say that they suck more than Intel.

friday 08 june 2012 à 20:58 Julian Andres Klode said : #6

But Intel's working on it, and future versions of Atom will use Intel graphics, not PowerVR.

friday 08 june 2012 à 21:54 aguy said : #7

I thought powerVR has linux support. Last I checked most of the world's smartphones use PowerVR, and a few of those run linux.

friday 08 june 2012 à 23:38 Anonymoose said : #8

I work for Imagination Tech, unfortunately management are very anti open source. As long as open source is not financially good for them, they won't do it. D: I know, I hate it too.

saturday 09 june 2012 à 07:31 Someone said : #9

Well, this was known for ages. The next Atom chip's IGP will be based on the Ivy Bridge GPU, so you won't have anything to worry about. It'll be a lot more Linux friendly as it'll be using the same base code to power the graphics.

monday 11 june 2012 à 17:40 Graph X said : #10

@Anonymoose: Please tell your bosses to make a reality check. A while ago, I developed an Atom based board for a presentation system which should have been sold at moderate prices. Unfortunately, I was forced to use Poulsbo gfx and after weeks of development there was a stupid situation, having no way to get drivers for this crap for the kernel we needed. The outcome was a design change to buy Windows licenses and rewrite our software for the Windows platform, ending up in a higher end price and less sales. "Great" job!

wednesday 13 june 2012 à 01:22 hammerd said : #11

Anonymoose - there is not a chance in hell you work for Imagination. If you did there's no way you would make such an ill informed comment..

If you want to make comment on Intel's lack of support fine but don't lie about it.

tuesday 03 july 2012 à 23:27 a@a.com said : #12


wednesday 04 july 2012 à 10:17 Tanguy said : #13

@a@a.com : Do you have a link to the upstream website or is it really a lame, Ubuntu-specific project? Does it consist in a kernel module or only an X.Org driver? Why is it not integrated to the main Linux and X.Org development?

wednesday 04 july 2012 à 20:59 a@a.com said : #14

Propietary drivers. They seem to be included in Ubuntu 12.04.1 repository:


But they seem to have some performance limitations.

thursday 05 july 2012 à 08:52 Tanguy said : #15

@a@a.com : Okay, so these are only crappy proprietary drivers, like the ones that existed for the infamous Poulsbo graphic card (and were completely abandonned by Intel). That do not really answer to that problem, does it? So, the recommendation stays: avoid buying that crap.

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