[Chimera-users] chimera and my ATI card

Thomas Goddard goddard at cgl.ucsf.edu
Fri Dec 29 14:33:13 PST 2006

Hi Jeff,

  The system crash on your laptop indicates it is a graphics driver
problem.  Unfortunately these are very common -- maybe 1 in 20 driver
version / graphics card combinations have Chimera crashing or system
crashing bugs.  I intend to make a web page that includes all the bad
combinations we have encountered -- hopefully I'll get to it in January.
The reason Chimera is particularly susceptible to these bugs is that
it uses many capabilities of the OpenGL 3-d graphics library -- some
that are seldom used by video games and other 3-d applications.

  There are only 4 practical solutions: 1) update the driver, 2) use
an older driver, 3) set driver options to use less OpenGL acceleration,
or 4) use a different machine.  I use solution 2 on my home machine with
an Nvidia Quadro driver that is a dozen versions behind the current one
and over a year old.  New drivers come out fairly often for both Nvidia
and ATI cards and usually do not offer better performance -- only a new
set of bugs (old ones fixed, new ones introduced).

  If you could send us a Chimera bug report by starting Chimera and use
menu entry Help / Report a Bug this will send us your graphics driver version
so we can include it on our bad drivers page.  And if you find another
driver version that works I would of course like to know which version.

  Sorry to offer so little help on this.


From: Jeff
To: "'Thomas Goddard'" <goddard at cgl.ucsf.edu>
Subject: chimera and my ATI card
Date: Thu, 28 Dec 2006 23:59:26 -0800

hi Tom,

on my laptop (IBM T43p), chimera is crashing the machine. I have the latest
release installed in WinXP (as of 12/21), and a fairly recent release
(within 2006) installed on Linux (also on same machine, different drive). 

this occurs with both really small volumes (100 cubed) and larger ones
(600x400x100 or so), doing common tasks like rotating a surface rendering.
in XP, it froze with a required reboot; with Linux, I got the screen that I
have attached.

the GPU is an 'ATI MOBILITY FireGL V3200', which was one of the GPUs you
could get on a 'workstation laptop' back in June '05. I am pretty sure the
drivers are current (within '06) and I use the ATI proprietary drivers in
both XP and Linux - there is a standard ATI driver package that you download
and then it just installs the proper version for your card.

On an older laptop (prior to '05) I had similar issues with crashing, also
on an ATI card, but different generation (was a Dell purchased in feb. '02).

on my desktop workstation with an NVidia card, it works fine, although
sometimes surfaces get rendered in the wrong place (something in background
looks more in foreground, etc) - but I don't have problems with chimera
getting killed (or killing the OS).

any thoughts on having it run on my laptop? this machine is the only one I
have access to outside of the lab, and was originally bought for this
purpose (reconstructions and processing).



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