Random Ramblings

March 6, 2009

Window effects on old desktop

Filed under: Computer — Tags: — camotop @ 11:44 pm

My desktop computer is about 5 years old. It has an old AGP graphics card slot. Years ago I upgraded the card to an expensive ATI AGP card because I wanted better performance for Need For Speed: Most Wanted.
On Linux I never really got the card to work to its full potential — X never seemed to want to do all the acceleration and after many hours of fiddling (at several different occasions) I gave up on it.
Then I got a new machine at work. Any new computer that replaces a five year old one seems fast. And it had a good graphics card. So I have KDE 4.2.1 with all the nice wobbly windows, shadows, transparency effects, desktop cube and so on.
Of course at home I was envious. And I realized that I never tried installing the latest ATI driver after upgrading to Kubuntu 8.10 and KDE 4.2.1. There’s now a cool “Hardware Drivers” program under Applications->System. It lists proprietary drivers that previously were tedious to install, even for a seasoned Linux user.
After backing up important data to the external drives, I clicked “Activate” in the Hardware Drivers program. It said it downloaded and installed the driver and asked for a reboot. I rebooted, and it worked! That’s been the least painful install ever. Surprisingly the effects are very smooth. Sometimes they take up to a second to kick (when moving a large window), but it all feels great. So I’m actually smiling and happy again with my old desktop that feels new again. Thanks Kubuntu!


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