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Graphics board thermal death anatomy

stripes under cursorThe Radeon board of my old MacBook Pro is dying. During an update the laptop may have overheated. Suddenly the screen got garbled. From now on every few boots only end in a kernel panic (segfault). Compositing refuses to use OpenGL and falls back to using XRender. Also the mouse cursor now has stripes filling the normally empty area of the cursor sprite (see image). The kernel log contains the following messages:
[drm:r100_ring_test] *ERROR* radeon: ring test failed (scratch(0x15E4)=0xCAFEDEAD)
[drm:r100_cp_init] *ERROR* radeon: cp isn't working (-22).
OS-X doesn't want to boot any more. It gets stuck on an empty blue screen. Booting it in safe mode (holding down the shift key) or in single-user mode (holding command-S) works, though. Also there the cursor has the same stripy pattern.
Refit still boots and is usable, although I only get a black screen when it initializes the graphics card in "BIOS mode" most of the time. So I can control Grub only blindly, and I get no early boot messages from the kernel until the KMS driver loads.

Neat workaround for the funny barcode cursor: use the SWCursor option of the radeon driver.

After a few months it got worse. With the radeon driver a lot of horizontal stripes and totally unstable. The machine would hang ever so often. Falling back to the xf86-video-modesetting driver works fine. I still get a stripy mouse cursor but at least it's stable.

Seems it's time to replace this old buddy with a new one soon.

posted on 2012-05-06 16:15 UTC in Code | 2 comments | permalink
All the best! Looking forward to a new Linux Install guide on the latest Macbook Pro.

Thanks for the kernel configs up to 3.3. My MBP 3.1 2.2Ghz is still kicking and I don't think I need the generic ubuntu kernel :)