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Mobility Radeon HD 3650, 11.12, external monitor no longer syncs

rburch05

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Jan 15, 2012
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First time caller, long time listener.

Background:
Dell Studio 17 (1737)
ATI Technologies Inc RV635 [Mobility Radeon HD 3650]
64bit Gentoo Linux, kernel 3.1.6 (I'm happy to post in alternate OSes forum, but I think this problem transcends OS...)

I have been running this rig for over 2 years using the proprietary AMD Catalyst driver blob (fglrx). Everything has worked well, simultaneously driving the laptop LCD and an external LCD panel (vga) at 1920x1200@60. Until the recent catalyst update to 11.12... when

Observation:
I no longer can properly drive any external monitor at all. The laptop LCD still works fine, but my regular external LCD panel exhibits full screen vertical flicker at 1920x1200@60 as though the sync rate isn't right, yet the card and monitor both report 60. Other monitors act like there is no signal, or are similarly incapable of displaying a proper screen at any resolution.

The results are the same whether trying to set resolutions using AMD's amdcccle control panel, or using xrandr from Xorg (Catalyst has provided support for this for some time).

I can almost get something to "stick" on my regular panel at 1680x1050@60; that is the LCD panel seems to display at this resolution but it blanks out every 20-30 seconds and then reappears. Sometimes the blank outs are more frequent. At this res the LCD panel reports 1680x1050@60.2 while amdcccle (or xrandr) reports 60. All other resolutions either do not display, or they display with horrible vertical flicker.

Here's the thing: If I roll back the drivers, this still happens. I can't get this card to drive any external monitor, no matter what drivers I use, no matter what Xorg I use, even versions that formerly worked just fine. It's like 11.12 has changed something on the device.

So I went to take a look at the card's BIOS. I thought I might use atiflash to back it up and look at it in RBE. Using these instructions I proceeded to do just that. I boot into my little DOS USB stick and check this out:
C:\>atiflash -s 0 backup0.rom
0x0 bytes saved, checksum = 0x0000 (wait, it didn't copy the BIOS? why? sure enough the backup0.rom file is size 0)

C:\>atiflash -t 0
Pass (okay?)

C:\>atiflash -i (I reformatted the output)
adapter:0
bn:01
dn:00
dID:9591
asic: RV635/N86
flash: Unknown SPI
romsize:10000
test: 0000
bios p/n: -
So right away I am confused. Shouldn't I be able to identify my BIOS type and export it to a file? The AMD control panel amdcccle seems to have no trouble identifying the BIOS (see below). But atiflash cannot. Is there something about this model of card that would prevent it?

I looked up my card on the Video Bios Collection page but I see only 4 entries (2 really, as 2 seem to be dupes) and they are both for 512MB cards whereas mine is 256MB.

Did my BIOS get wonked somehow? Does anyone else have this card? Could someone verify whether atiflash can see/export/install BIOS to this card? Where can I get the BIOS for the 256MB version of this card? Did I leave the iron on?

Looking for a genius to provide trouble shooting tips, for at this point I can't drive any external monitor and I am confused.

Some Other Details:
# lspci | grep VGA
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: ATI Technologies Inc RV635 [Mobility Radeon HD 3650]

# lshw -C display
*-display
description: VGA compatible controller
product: Mobility Radeon HD 3650
vendor: ATI Technologies Inc
physical id: 0
bus info: pci@0000:01:00.0
version: 00
width: 32 bits
clock: 33MHz
capabilities: pm pciexpress msi vga_controller bus_master cap_list rom
configuration: driver=fglrx_pci latency=0
resources: irq:49 memory:d0000000-dfffffff ioport:2000(size=256) memory:fc000000-fc00ffff memory:fc020000-fc03ffff
The amdcccle control panel has this in its Information tree:

Hardware:
BIOS:
Date: 10/29/08,15:04:27
Version: 010.088.000.034.030676
Part Number: BR30676-001
Memory:
Type: DDR2
Clock: 500MHz
Size: 256MB
Bandwidth: 16.0 GByte/s
Bus:
Graphics Capability: PCI Express 2.0
Maximum Setting: x16
Core Clock: 450 MHz
Software:
Catalyst™ Version: 11.12
Driver Packaging Version: 8.92-111109a-129215C-ATI
2D Driver Version: 8.92.6
Catalyst™ Control Center Version" 2.13
RandR Version: 1.3
OpenGL:
OpenGL Provider: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.
OpenGL Renderer: ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3650
OpenGL Version: 3.3.11318 Compatibility Profile Context