How to use the "old" or the "new" i915kms driver for Intel integrated graphics with Xorg..


Son of Beastie

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If you have no xorg.conf, it should default to the intel driver (not the KMS one or vesa).

For me (and my GMA915) I do get the native LCD resolution of 1280x768 (a weird size I know).
So it is surprising that it is only loading the vesa driver for you :/

If you use xrandr, what does it report?
Also, perhaps check glxinfo to see what card its reporting.


Well-Known Member

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I had an xorg.conf containing the pointer to the driver "vesa". Moving that file to xorg.old and rebooting resulted in a change, but I can't see a whole lot of difference yet.

Those two commands you detail above result in "Command not found".

uname -a returns "12.0 RELEASE FreeBSD 12.0 RELEASE r341166 GENERIC amd 64"

One reason I have been somewhat reluctant to leave things as they are is that circles look quite a bit like sideways ovals. That really isn't very important for our uses, but it bugs me as it isn't right.

Ken Gordon


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I think I'll upgrade the operating system to 12.1 RELEASE. That probably won't help this issue, but I think it should be done anyway.

Ken Gordon


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Hello. FYI, I am working with an older Acer "Aspire One" laptop which has an Intel Atom processor with integrated graphics. Checking pciconf -lv and dmesg -a|more, then visiting several other bits of information on the web, I find that the graphics part of this processor is a Pineview, 3rd generation, dated 2010.

Doing pkg install drm-kmod ...
Does using graphics/drm-legacy-kmod fix your issue instead of drm-kmod? If it is dated 2010 as you say, it predates Intel's Haswell family by ~2 years, which is a requirement to use drm-kmod (Intel GMA - GMA 3150 confirms this; the section on the top-right side of that page names "Intel HD Graphics" as the "Successor").

Edit: FreeBSD 12.1-RELEASE's Hardware Notes don't mention Atom, GMA, or Pineview... It's possible that it was an oversight, or you and kpedersen are just lucky to have the drm-kmod working at all in the first place...? :p


Son of Beastie

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I'm probably just doing a really bad job at explaining myself XD

There are 4 intel gma915 "compatible" drivers
  • drm-kmod
  • drm-legacy-kmod
  • inbuilt
  • vesa
For such an old card (like our GMA915), I notice that the inbuilt one is best for X11.
This means that we want to clear xorg.conf (so we don't load vesa). We also want to remove any boot.conf and rc.conf entries (so we don't load the drm*kmod versions).

Yep, my bad, glxinfo is from a package (mesa utilities). But after loading the inbuilt driver, what does xrandr say when run from inside X11? You should have all the possible resolutions available to you.


Active Member

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In general, no need for xorg.conf, unless required. Package drm-kmod is enough for installing drm-fbsd11.2/12.0-kmod andlibdrm. For older intel CPU/GPU (Pineview), driver from base or with xf86-video-intel ,may do the job for high resolution. KMS drivers are only for hardware acceleration, required for movies/games and to avoid tearing, lagging of moving windows/graphics.
To answer your question, the i915kms driver now has support for CoffeeLake graphics and is the driver of choice.
My intel Whiskey Lake i5-8265 with HD620 has been running on VM. I use drm-kmod for 12.1-RELEASE.


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All I can tell you is that I get similar on my GMA 915 (Thinkpad Z61).

Either I get a high resolution console (with the kms driver loaded), or I can actually run X11 (using the default). I cannot have both.

So a fullscreen XTerm is my solution for that one ;)

Hello again. Well, this morning, I fixed my issue here with my old GMA-3150 video by following the advice in this thread:

My circles are now real circles, and everything is working better and much faster. I did have to 1) get rid of my xorg.conf by renaming it, and 2) had to add kern.vty=vt to /boot/loader.conf. I also did 3) pkg delete drm-kmod and pkg install xf86-video-intel, then rebooted.

These may also fix your problem too. Please let me know if it does. I would like to return some of the help I have gotten here.

And thanks again for your help. It is much appreciated.

Ken Gordon​


New Member

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Upon upgrading from a Intel BOXNUC7i7BNH running FreeBSD 11.0 to a few BOXNUC8i7BEH running FreeBSD 12.2,
I could not run startx (Xorg) without getting only complaints that it could not handle FRAMEBUFFER devices and asking for dbus names.

I installed FreeBSD 12.2, which reported that it was a 12.0 for awhile. After a week or so, uname did begin
to report that it was a 12.2.

I also upgraded a FreeBSD 12.0 to 12.2 using freebsd-update.

To successfully run X using startx, I did the following, which is an update to the top of this thread,
for which I am very thankful.

After updating the ports with

portsnap fetch
portsnap extract

I noticed that
ls -laF /usr/ports/graphics | grep drm

showed a directory "drm-fbsd12.0-kmod" that seemed
to be named for my new FreeBSD12.2, so I installed the Intel driver with

cd /usr/ports/graphics/drm-fbsd12.0-kmod
make all install

I edited /etc/rc.conf to have


Some 15 i*.ko files appeared with a fresh date in /boot/modules, including i915kms.ko

Now, startx pops up 3 X windows which can run my mission critical program, consed,
and the keyboard and mouse work well. My rc.conf still has moused_enable="YES" , which
seems harmless.