Fedora 17 GMA500 (Poulsbo)

Good news for those of us with the GMA500 (Poulsbo) graphics card !

Fedora 17 ships with the 3.3.4 kernel and my GMA500 works out of the box without the need for any customizations to the boot options. Simply put the .iso onto a flash drive and boot.

Again, the gma500_gfx offers 2d graphics (no 3d). So while gnome-shell is working with llvmpipe, but there is a noticeable performance hit.

While it is novel to see gnome-shell running on the GMA500, I suggest the kde spin (if you want eye candy) or the xfce or lxde spin.

The gma500 should work, with 2d graphics, using the 3.3.4 or higher kernel, on any Linux distribution.

You may need to add (kernel) boot options for suspend or brightness keys. These features are often BIOS dependent.

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10 Responses to Fedora 17 GMA500 (Poulsbo)

  1. Pingback: Ubuntu developers: Bodhi.Zazen: Fedora 17 GMA500 (Poulsbo) | Linux-Support.com

  2. aspireone says:

    Do you have any tips on which boot options you’ll need to have suspend/hibernate working?

  3. bodhi.zazen says:

    @aspireone the boot options seem to be dependent on hardware / bios. A few people posted some suggestions on my blog here :


  4. Necromancer79 says:

    Hi, I’m new to linux and seeking clarification on two points.

    Does the 3.3.4 kernel support the GMA500 chip specifically, or the whole series?

    Does the support entail 2d acceleration or only basic functionality?

    I’m running Fedora 17 Gnome on an Asus x101CH, which I think uses the GMA3600. The experience is sluggish, and the cursor flickers and disappears. I suspect that Gnome is doing some 3d rendering and is responsible for the slow performance. But I’m not sure I’ve understood everything I’ve read.

    Any distro recommendations? And any suggestions where I might report my progress? I’m booting off an SD card and I’m guessing that people would like to know it’s possible to do that on this machine.

  5. bodhi.zazen says:

    @Necromancer79 – There are open source drivers for the gma500 and gma3600 video cards in the linux kernel.

    Graphics is 2d only.

    Gnome (shell) on Fedora is using llvmpipe (basically using your cpu for gpu to give 3d graphics effects). While it is interesting to see gnome-shell on my gma500, I find the kde, xfce, or lxde spins give better performance.

    See: http://spins.fedoraproject.org/

  6. Necromancer79 says:

    bodhi.zazen, thanks for fielding my questions. lxde is indeed faster :)

    I might even be glad that I was ignorant of the gma3600 / n2600 issues when I purchased the netbook, because I may not have seriously considered installing linux if I’d known.

  7. John Wong says:

    Good News, wait too long for ubuntu to support this driver!
    Time to go back to Fedora.

  8. Mike says:

    Nice web mate,

    Gonna give fedora a go on my vaio p19….

    See what happens. Natty Narwhal struggled with videos…. Fingers crossed for Fedora.

  9. prune says:


    It seems Xorg is using the right driver, but I can’t see the GMA driver in ‘lsmod’.
    The only driver I see is psb_gfx, which seems to be made for GMA500, though… Linux Kernel is 3.2.0-23-generic
    My graphic is REALLY SLOW, so I’m wondering if I’m missing something…

    lshw -c video
    PCI (sysfs)

    description: VGA compatible controller
    product: System Controller Hub (SCH Poulsbo) Graphics Controller
    vendor: Intel Corporation
    physical id: 2
    bus info: pci@0000:00:02.0
    version: 07
    width: 32 bits
    clock: 33MHz
    capabilities: pm msi vga_controller bus_master cap_list rom
    configuration: driver=gma500 latency=0
    resources: irq:16 memory:fdf00000-fdf7ffff ioport:ff00(size=8) memory:d0000000-dfffffff memory:fdf80000-fdfbffff

  10. bodhi.zazen says:

    @prune – psb_gfx is the correct driver. It is slow with gnome3 due to the lack of acceration for 3d , thus llvmpipe is used. llvmpipe uses your cpu rather then your graphics card.

    I find either the kde spin or xfce spin is quite a bit better (I personally use KDE because of this), you might also like the lxde spin.

    good luck to you.

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