aTi powersettings in Ubuntu

My Ubuntu laptop was running quite hot because of the built-in Mobility Radeon 9700. After a while I found out about a little utility called ‘aticonfig’ that you can use to change the powerstate of your videocard.
Using this utility I was able to clock down the videocard and enjoy a cooler laptop.

Recently I re-enabled all desktop eyecandy by using the ‘compiz-fusion‘ project. I use compiz-fusion in combination with the closed source aTi fglrx driver. However, my laptop began running hot again. At first I thought this was because of all the 3D eyecandy that uses your videocard.

After a while I decided to check the powerstate of my videocard using the ‘aticonfig –lsp’ command and got the following error:

Error: Unable to obtain POWERplay information.

After some investigation I found out that the ‘aticonfig’ utility cannot be run from X display :1. Thanks to aTi’s craptastic linux drivers you’re forced to run 3D-eyecandy desktops on display :1 instead of display :0. So the solution was simple, kind of. I wrote the following snippet that can be run from display :1

DISPLAY=:0

aticonfig –set-powerstate=1

DISPLAY=:1

Put this in a small script and make it execute everytime you start your X session ( System, Prefences, Sessions). Hopefully aTi manages to catch up with Nvidia’s linux driver support and keep their promise about better drivers.

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