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Old 06-22-2008, 05:36 PM
Ralf Mardorf
Default Issues on sound vs graphics


because of my troubles with the ASUS M2A-VM HDMI mobo with an integrated
ATI Radeon X1250-based graphics, I made some inquiries about HDMI, that
might be interesting for others too. Maybe someone knows if my inquires
are correct or not.

Also something about my troubles.

I run 64 Studio with the vesa driver. The problem with the vesa driver
is, that I'm not only missing 3D support, but also it's impossible to
increase the vertical refresh rate.
After I run the proprietary ATI installer and edited the xorg.conf to
the ATI driver, there wasn't a driver, there was a problem with a
module, graphics were the same as with the vesa driver entry in the
xorg.conf, but I run into trouble with my sound devices.

Before the ATI driver there was the possibility for QJackCtl to use
- the integrated HDA ATI SB sound
- the HDA ATI HDMI sound
- the PCI TerraTec EWX24/96 sound card
- and the USB MIDI device.

To clear an error from the list and some inaccuracies from a friend and
to know about HDMI myself:

HDMI sound seems to be independent from the ATI graphic driver. As I
wrote above, there always was the possibility to chose it by QJackCtl,
also when using the vesa driver, but I've to say that I only tested the
TerraTec sound card and the USB MIDI devices and no other sound devices.
Running hwinfo --sound I get the information

- for HDA ATI SB there is
Driver Status: snd_hda_intel is active
Driver Activation Cmd: "modprobe snd_hda_intel"
- for HDA ATI HDMI ther is also
Driver Status: snd_hda_intel is active
Driver Activation Cmd: "modprobe snd_hda_intel"

that should make clear that the HDMI sound driver simply is the same as
for the "normal" integrated sound, that's why the last lines of my
alsa-base looks like that:

# Fix indexes for the spymo DAW
alias snd-card-0 snd-ice1712
options snd-ice1712 index=0
alias snd-card-1 snd-hda-intel
options snd-hda-intel index=1
alias snd-card-2 snd-usb-audio
options snd-usb-audio index=2

As long as 64 Studio is fine, one of the HDA ATI sound devices is hw:3
and hw:0 to hw:2 are self-explanatory.

Because of the ATI graphic driver 64 Studio is broken, still after
running the uninstall scrip and copying back the xorg.conf for the vesa
driver I used before.

Now I've three problems. The first one is, that browsing and emailing is
often interrupted, no problem for emailing, because there's still enough
time to send emails, but it's nearly impossible to browse the net,
that's why my inquiries might be not very good. This phenomenon appears
after 64 Studio is back to the vesa driver.

Because the modem's LEDs for "ADSL Link/Act" and "Ethernet Link/Act"
signalize that both connections are often interrupted, I checked out
what will happen, if I'll disconnect ADSL or Ethernet, always with the
other still connected. Doing this the Ethernet connection seems to be
fine, but the ADSL connection seems to be unstable. It looks like this
is just an unfortunate accident and for this 64 Studio seems to be still
fine. The error might arise out of troubles my internet provider has got.

The second and major problem is that after startup, most times I'm
missing the TerraTec sound card or seldom the USB MIDI device.
I won't report this error detailed again, because I still sent it to the

It's possible to get the TerraTec by running alsaconf, but than all
other devices will be lost. Running modprobe snd_hda_intel brings back
the two HDA ATI sound devices, but modprobe snd_usb_audio won't bring
back the USB midi device, maybe there is a command needed to reset
usbcore or restart the soundserver. Anyway, it should be fine after
startup, like it was before. This problem appears after the installation
of the ATI driver and it's still there after the removal of the ATI driver.

The third problem is, that after the removal of the ATI driver (resp.
the ATI stuff, because there wasn't really a driver) the screen during
the shutdown most times is black.

I don't know weather I should try to repair or reinstall 64 Studio,
because of all the needs 64 Studio won't support and that has to be
adapted after the install, but I'm sure there's the need to get a NVidia
graphics card.

Graphics cards always need AGP or PCIe x16 as far as I know. There are
some ISA, VLB, PCI cards too, but that seems to be not for general
interest. For my mobo this means, that I have to remove the HDMI card.
To have a multimedia Linux that won't become more worse comparing to
Apple and Microsoft based multimedia computers, than Linux is in any
case, I does some inquires about HDMI in general and some especially for
my mobo.

There are expensive graphics cards supporting HDMI, but because I'm very
poor and the costs for my Linux DAW, caused by all the hardware
troubles, reach the costs to a more efficient legal Windows DAW, I'm
looking how to cut the losses for my Linux DAW. To have a graphic card
might be better than to use an integrated graphics, because of troubles
with the shared RAM needed by integrated once, even if the integrated
one ought to be fine.


>From the "M2A-VM HDMI specification summary", but also interesting for
other mobos, because there are first informations about what to know,
when there's the need to have HDMI, while HDMI is not supported at once:

"[...] Graphics [...]
Supports HDMI(TM) Technology with HDCP compliant [...]
Supports DVI-D [...]
Dual VGA output support:
TV-out (YPbPr/AV/S) & DVI/HDMI
Note: Simultaneous output for YPbPr, AV, S, and RGB is not supported.
Note: DVI-D can not be converted to output RGB signal to CRT and isn't
compatible with DVI-I.
High Definition Audio
Realtek(R) ALC883 High Definition Audio 6-channel CODEC [...]
Supports S/PDIF out through the port on the bundled HDMI card [...]"

At this point I shutdown my computer and demounted the HDMI card to have
a cursory look at it.

The mobo has connectors for

- Microphone
- Audio in
- Audio out

The HDMI card has connectors for

- S-Video
- Video

We are not in the good old days of QL, C64, Atari, but also without
heating up the soldering station it might be possible to use S/PDIF by
the HDMI card, even if the card is not in the PCIe slot.

I haven't made tests, but it looks like S/PDIF will be fine just by
connecting the cable of the "ASUS HDMI/AV/S/SP REV. 101G" card to the
board. On the card is also a label with he information "M2A-VM HDMI

The HDMI card's connector, not seen from the components side, but from
the other side, conduction paths are on both sides and I didn't take
care if it's multilayer board:


3 not in use
4 +5V


With or without connecting the card to the PCIe slot S/PDIF seems only
be featured as output.

When using the PCIe x16 slot for an graphic card, it might be able to
use S/PDIF of the HDMI card, without connecting the HDMI card to any
slot, the driver seems to be the one above.

In general it should be possible to use a cable from DVI-D to HDMI, I
don't know what's about the DHCP copy protection and if it can be used
without the proprietary ATI driver, but HDMI might be maintained without
the HDMI card.


Without the HDMI card in the PCIe slot, there might be no loss of the
on-board sound, even S/PDIF seems to be fine. S-Video, Composite Video,
HDMI and DVI-D seems to be lost. If there's the need to have HDMI it
might be possible to have it with a graphics card, that supports DVI-D,
there might be no need to have HDMI featured by a HDMI connector.

Internet seems to be fine again, so I will look for NVidia cards right
now .


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