Over the Christmas season I rebuilt my workstation — the one I use in my home office, all day every day, writing Calamares or FreeBSD ports or other stuff — to be almost-all-flash (and 3TB of spinning rust for backups). Since the machine was open and on its side on my desk anyway, I decided to try out the available graphics options.
As occurs so often: I’m not writing about something I did. It’s nearly all someone else’s work, and the FreeBSD 12.0 release notes understate it a great deal.
Various improvements to graphics support for current generation hardware.
- Intel iGPU My machine has an Intel Skylake i7 in it, so it’s got an iGPU. The
graphics/drm-kmodport supports this, and so I installed the i915kms kernel module, followed instructions, fiddled around with some settings. Results: Video works, with 2 monitors. Sound over HDMI works, although I needed to configure the Plasma mixer to use pcm instead of vol as the OSS volume knob to turn.
- nVidia GTX730 The cheapest and most fanless card I could get two years ago. This needs the (proprietary)
x11/nvidia-driveras well as an Xorg configuration file, and some other settings for sound. Results: Video works, with 2 monitors. Sound over HDMI works, with the default mixer setup.
- Radeon R7 360 This is a friend’s old gaming card. While it’s supposed to be supported by
graphics/drm-kmod, all I got out of it was screen buffer corruption on loading the driver and no X after that. I didn’t bother debugging this because the choice for a zero-extra-power part (i.e. the iGPU) was easily made.
In any case the new release and graphics improvements make it much easier to run FreeBSD on laptops and systems without a discrete GPU (I should get a Ryzen 2200G or something like that to see how other Radeon graphics do .. or debug the one I’ve got).