Doesn't Not Compute

My log of experiences with GNU/Linux and computers in general.


The goal of this page is to provide a list of articles about the Intel Corporation System Controller Hub (SCH Poulsbo), aka Graphics Media Accelerator 500. Hopefully this will help anyone attempting use use hardware incorporating this accursed piece of silicon. Or maybe somebody write a fully open source driver for it if Imagination Technologies ever decides that their (currently top-of-the-line) SGX 535 GPU is pointlessly old to hide the secrets of, and releases the datasheets for it.

Note: (9/10/10) As my netbook has mysteriously failed, I can no longer test whether these steps work. Your mileage may vary, as always.

From what I’ve been able to gather, the hardware itself has incredible capabilities, such has hardware-accelerated H.264 decoding for up to at least 720p video. The problem rests with the absolutely horrible Linux and Xorg driver support, apparently nonexistent *BSD support, and unimpressive Windows software support for the acceleration capabilities.

Please, suggest additional pages, threads, blogs, or any other information that might be helpful about the Poulsbo chipset. Don’t worry about whether they fit with the others here; if it’s not spam and not a duplicate, I’ll look at it and probably shuffle it in. ­čśÇ

Intel article: “Using hardware video decode on Mobile Internet Devices”.

“Purpose and Scope
This paper gives a primer on how to take advantage of the hardware video decode provided in the Intel┬« Graphics Media Accelerator 500 chipset (Intel┬« GMA 500).”

Intel’s description of the System Controller Hub US15W and product brief (PDF)

General Support

“Poulsbo stub driver” patch intended to make backlight control possible without PSB or similar driver.

  • This leads to Google Groups, you may wish to clear your cookies after you visit.
  • I see no information on what kernel version this was for, or if it was incorporated. Date of final patch on the list: August 25, 2010.

Project to port Mandriva’s patches for using Poulsbo driver on Xserver 1.7 to Ubuntu — on Google Code (clear your cookies after you leave). Basically done.

Ubuntu Wiki arcticle about Ubuntu support of the GMA 500 “Poulsbo” video hardware

Ubuntu Support

Ubuntu Wiki article about Ubuntu support of the Acer Aspire One 751h, which incorporates the GMA 500

Long, long, long thread in Ubuntu Forums about getting the US15W chipset working

A shorter thread in the Ubuntu Forums about getting the US15W chipset working

A very short thread in the Ubuntu Forums about setting the resolution with a 915resolution built into grub2 — supposedly works in Lucid! (I haven’t tested it yet.)

Arch Linux Support

Thread in Arch Linux forums about PKGBUILDs for the GMA 500 drivers — both the older Ultra Mobile Group driver and the efforts to package the Intel Embedded Graphics Driver.

Arch Linux Wiki entry on the Intel SCH, or Poulsbo, chipset.

My post in the above-mentioned Arch Linux forum thread describing the last information I was able to derive from my experiments with the netbook. Summary: altough the PSB driver works with Xserver 1.7 and newer, you’ll need Xserver 1.6 if you want Xv video acceleration.

General Info

A relatively thorough background, list of benchmark results, and list of notebook computers incorporating the GMA 500. English Fran├žais Nederlands Portugu├¬s Espa├▒ol T├╝rk├že

Wikipedia article about the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator series. Direct links to sections about the GMA 500: hardware capabilities, the Linux support debacle.

News and Announcements

April 2010

Intel employee “Kirk” states that Meego 1.0 will skip to Xserver 1.8, and thus the IEGD driver will likely skip Xserver 1.7 as well.

Mandriva developer Olivier Blin has developed patches allowing usage of the PSB driver with Xserver 1.7, and Fedora 12 packages may be incoming.

January 2010

Mailing list thread titled “Installing NetBSD on Intel US15W SCH” — seems to imply part-way through that there is some sort of FreeBSD support.

November 2009

Phoronix article titled “Intel’s Special Driver For Poulsbo Uses Gallium3D” — unclear as to whether this is the Embedded Graphics Driver or a new, third driver for Poulsbo (apparantly is for Moorestown and Sodaville chipsets as well)

September 2009

Info on Hacking Old “PSB” Driver to Work With Xserver 1.7

Note that this is already working well enough to provide okay performance.

April 26, 2010: Efforts on Mandriva


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