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techAdmin
Status: Site Admin
Joined: 26 Sep 2003
Posts: 4076
Location: East Coast, West Coast? I know it's one of them.
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Just look at the picture on Ebay or wherever, there's no point in trying to find specific models on the used market, you're just looking for a certain feature set or maybe AMD chipset generation and a seller with overall good reviews. The wraparound heatsinks are obvious in the pictures, and so are the smaller one side ones. If they don't post an actual picture of the card they are selling, don't buy it.

I got one of each and wasn't sure how much it would matter, but it matters, skip the ones without wrap around heatsink, it's about a 10C or so difference I believe.

My specs were simple: AMD, 1 to 2 GiB ram, PCIe, ideally 2 GiB since that tends to put you into the more current generations, but those were about 2x more and from what i can see, would make no difference at all to me. I started running with conpositing enabled by the way, not those silly window effects, just basic compositing mode, much smoother scrolling etc, quite noticeable.

Maybe with heavy desktops like KDE or GNOME it's not a bad idea to go for 2 GiB with compositing though, but I suspect 1 GiB is fine. Mine is XFCE, and it's fine.
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dankinzelman
Status: Curious
Joined: 06 Dec 2021
Posts: 5
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I got a card, but I don't understand what I got and I'm wondering if I might have been scammed.

The ebay description said this:
SCHEDA VIDEO GRAFICA PCI EXPRESS ASUS AMD RADEON R5 230 2GB GDDR3 VGA DVI HDMI

In XFCE device manager, I see 256M memory and Radeon HD 7450.

When I run lspci -v -s 05:00.0
here's what I get:
05:00.0 VGA compatible controller: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] Caicos PRO [Radeon HD 7450] (prog-if 00 [VGA controller])
Subsystem: ASUSTeK Computer Inc. Caicos PRO [Radeon HD 7450]
Physical Slot: 2
Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0, IRQ 46
Memory at d0000000 (64-bit, prefetchable) [size=256M]
Memory at efe20000 (64-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=128K]
I/O ports at c000 [size=256]
Expansion ROM at 000c0000 [disabled] [size=128K]
Capabilities: <access denied>
Kernel driver in use: radeon
Kernel modules: radeon

When I run glxinfo | egrep -i 'device|memory'

I get this:
Device: AMD CAICOS (DRM 2.50.0 / 5.15.0-6.2-liquorix-amd64, LLVM 11.0.1) (0x677b)
Video memory: 2048MB
Unified memory: no
Memory info (GL_ATI_meminfo):
VBO free memory - total: 2047 MB, largest block: 2047 MB
VBO free aux. memory - total: 1021 MB, largest block: 1021 MB
Texture free memory - total: 2047 MB, largest block: 2047 MB
Texture free aux. memory - total: 1021 MB, largest block: 1021 MB
Renderbuffer free memory - total: 2047 MB, largest block: 2047 MB
Renderbuffer free aux. memory - total: 1021 MB, largest block: 1021 MB
Memory info (GL_NVX_gpu_memory_info):
Dedicated video memory: 2048 MB
Total available memory: 3069 MB
Currently available dedicated video memory: 2047 MB
GL_AMD_performance_monitor, GL_AMD_pinned_memory,
GL_NVX_gpu_memory_info, GL_NV_conditional_render, GL_NV_copy_image,
GL_AMD_performance_monitor, GL_AMD_pinned_memory,
GL_MESA_window_pos, GL_NVX_gpu_memory_info, GL_NV_blend_square,

So what should I believe? Can you guys help me figure this out?

Thanks!
Dan
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damentz
Status: Assistant
Joined: 09 Sep 2008
Posts: 1007
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It appears that the R5 230 and the HD 7450 come from the same class of GPUs:

www.techpowerup.com/gpu-specs/radeon-hd-7450-oem.c300
www.techpowerup.com/gpu-specs/radeon-r5-230-oem.c2504

The R5 230 is newer by about one year, but the underlying architecture is the same. I think that will work fine even though the seller didn't advertise the right real GPU.

Regarding 256mb, I think that's GART or PCIe something memory. The other output you have tells you a bit more:
:: Code ::
VBO free memory - total: 2047 MB, largest block: 2047 MB
VBO free aux. memory - total: 1021 MB, largest block: 1021 MB
Texture free memory - total: 2047 MB, largest block: 2047 MB
Texture free aux. memory - total: 1021 MB, largest block: 1021 MB
Renderbuffer free memory - total: 2047 MB, largest block: 2047 MB
Renderbuffer free aux. memory - total: 1021 MB, largest block: 1021 MB


There's CLI tools to monitor your GPU, like radeontop, which will tell you what the GPU is really doing and how much memory you have left.
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techAdmin
Status: Site Admin
Joined: 26 Sep 2003
Posts: 4076
Location: East Coast, West Coast? I know it's one of them.
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I get almost the same identical info from lspci -v -s for my card, I don't think those numbers have anything to do with the ram, or if they do, they are only slightly related to the installed size.

Getting the real ram from a video card can be slightly tricky due to some cards claiming to have xxx ram, but actually getting some of that from system RAM, those are always lower end cards however, but I had a problem with that issue when I tried to get a program to show how much video ram there really was, the information was never that reliable.

I believe these are the actual operative items:
:: Code ::
    Video memory: 1024MB
...
    Dedicated video memory: 1024 MB
    Total available memory: 2045 MB
    Currently available dedicated video memory: 1023 MB


I'm assuming 'dedicated video memory, and video memory, are the actual memory the card has onboard, and total available memory means it can get some from system RAM if it needs it. I know this card had 1 GiB video memory onboard, so that makes sense.

I think I kind of gave up on the idea of trying to get how much video memory there really was years ago at least for tools like inxi or sgfxi, and just accepted the values from the system without trying to deduce what they referred to, but it might be worth revisiting that.

Laptops and SoC devices tend to use system ram for video memory, that's actually why you will see less ram available than you have installed on those sometimes, that means the 'missing' ram has been claimed by the graphics device and is not available to the rest of the system.

As an aside, when I googled this, almost all the 'answers' you will find are wrong, flat out. the lspci data is NOT the video ram on the card/device, but I do not know what it actually is.

Note that in this context, what matters is the chip-ID (inxi -Gxx), because that is the vendor ID plus the product ID, which is a specific identifying item, it's 'code', so to speak.

:: Code ::
inxi -Gxx
Graphics:
  Device-1: AMD Cedar [Radeon HD 5000/6000/7350/8350 Series] vendor: XFX Pine
    driver: radeon v: kernel bus-ID: 0a:00.0 chip-ID: 1002:68f9


google: 1002:68f9 graphics card specs
returns:
www.techpowerup.com/vgabios/172362/172362

:: Code ::
VBIOS Info
Filename:    172362.rom
VBIOS Version:    012.020.000.064.000000
UEFI Supported:    Yes
BIOS Build date:    2014-05-06 22:47:00
Date added:    2015-06-03 12:02:28
VBIOS Size:    128 KB
MD5 Hash:    b486a0661e88874cc1da522a74ed41a3
SHA1 Hash:    c79833f6a0696e9e23ced64d2db379bf670981db
Same Bios:    AMD HD 5450

Graphics Card Info
Manufacturer:    ATI
Model:    HD 5450
Device Id:    1002 68F9
Subsystem Id:    1002 010A
Interface:    PCI-E
Memory Size:    1024 MB
GPU Clock:    650 MHz
Memory Clock:    400 MHz
Memory Type:    GDDR3


Yes, I'd like to be able to get this data into inxi, lol.

However, when we run:
:: Code ::
lspci -v -s 0a:00.0
0a:00.0 VGA compatible controller: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] Cedar [Radeon HD 5000/6000/7350/8350 Series] (prog-if 00 [VGA controller])
   Subsystem: XFX Pine Group Inc. Cedar [Radeon HD 5000/6000/7350/8350 Series]
   Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0, IRQ 97, IOMMU group 13
   Memory at e0000000 (64-bit, prefetchable) [size=256M]
   Memory at fe920000 (64-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=128K]
   I/O ports at f000 [size=256]
   Expansion ROM at 000c0000 [disabled] [size=128K]
   Capabilities: <access denied>
   Kernel driver in use: radeon
   Kernel modules: radeon


we get essentially gibberish values for Memory at e000000, this is the item everyone, wrongly, online, lists as the actual video memory. We can also see that this item, Memory at fe920000, is referring to the bios memory size. So that appears to be real. I have no idea at all what the 256M memory is referencing, not the onboard ram, that's for certain.

Then:
:: Code ::
glxinfo | egrep -i 'device|memory'
    Device: AMD CEDAR (DRM 2.50.0 / 5.14.0-18.1-liquorix-amd64, LLVM 12.0.1) (0x68f9)
    Video memory: 1024MB
    Unified memory: no
Memory info (GL_ATI_meminfo):
    VBO free memory - total: 1023 MB, largest block: 1023 MB
    VBO free aux. memory - total: 1021 MB, largest block: 1021 MB
    Texture free memory - total: 1023 MB, largest block: 1023 MB
    Texture free aux. memory - total: 1021 MB, largest block: 1021 MB
    Renderbuffer free memory - total: 1023 MB, largest block: 1023 MB
    Renderbuffer free aux. memory - total: 1021 MB, largest block: 1021 MB
Memory info (GL_NVX_gpu_memory_info):
    Dedicated video memory: 1024 MB
    Total available memory: 2045 MB
    Currently available dedicated video memory: 1023 MB


This appears to use a real data source, not sure where it comes from, clearly not related to what lspci returned, which has nothing to do with the builtin ram that I can see.

On this one, Total available memory: item is interesting but I don't know what it refers to, I'm assuming it can get 1 GiB more from the system if it needs it, or something, but I don't know.

So of these, lspci has nothing to do with installed ram at all, or if it does, it's not in the way you might think, maybe that's the size of the individual ram blocks, i don't know.
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