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Thread: Articles - ATI vs. NVIDIA on Linux - the showdown

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    Articles - ATI vs. NVIDIA on Linux - the showdown

    HEXUS' own Linux expert, Jo Shields, takes another close look at what's on offer from graphics giants ATI and NVIDIA.
    Read more.

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    Banhammer in peace PeterB kalniel's Avatar
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    Re: Articles - ATI vs. NVIDIA on Linux - the showdown

    Good article, thanks

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    Re: Articles - ATI vs. NVIDIA on Linux - the showdown

    Nice one Jo, quality!
    [
    Quote Originally Posted by Blitzen
    When I say go, both walk in the opposite direction for 10 paces, draw handbags, then bitch-slap each other!

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    Re: Articles - ATI vs. NVIDIA on Linux - the showdown

    Good article. At last I can feel more confident at getting a useable Linux install using Ati cards, I've been so close to buying an Nvidia card just for Linux, but now I don't have to.Cheers ;-)

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    Re: Articles - ATI vs. NVIDIA on Linux - the showdown

    Good read, thank you!

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    Re: Articles - ATI vs. NVIDIA on Linux - the showdown

    Great article

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    Re: Articles - ATI vs. NVIDIA on Linux - the showdown

    Top notch. Just had my first ATi build under linux and it was fine on the 780G. At least until I started bug testing ubuntu 9.04.

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    Re: Articles - ATI vs. NVIDIA on Linux - the showdown

    Oh, this went live today I see

    Quote Originally Posted by zephod View Post
    Top notch. Just had my first ATi build under linux and it was fine on the 780G. At least until I started bug testing ubuntu 9.04.
    Ah, this ties into why I was using a particular driver version - basically the Xserver version in 9.04 doesn't work with any stable release of the Catalyst drivers. A pre-release version was handed off to the Ubuntu people because, frankly, without it 9.04 would ship with no Radeon support (there's still no stable release from ATI with support for this recent Xserver, and 9.04 goes final in a week)

    I wanted to use the latest driver versions available, which meant backporting from Jaunty - except for a while there was nothing to backport, since nobody had bothered to upload a non-functional ATI driver until the 8.600 build appeared. That's my excuse for lateness if management asks, anyway.

    ATI are worse than NVIDIA when it comes to getting drivers supporting new crap out of the door (be it new cards, kernels, or Xorgs) but the fact that they're giving pre-release versions to distributions shows how far they've progressed when it comes to working with the community to deliver a "serious" product
    Last edited by directhex; 16-04-2009 at 03:07 PM.

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    Re: Articles - ATI vs. NVIDIA on Linux - the showdown

    Personally I was not that impressed with the review. It did what it said on the tin, but nothing more. It left a lot of un-answerd questions.

    Top of my list, would be some information on the status of open source drivers for those cards. I know that OSS drivers for older ATI cards are fairly good, and support 3D, thanks to active input from ATI. Last time I heard the open drivers for nVidia cards where 2D only, and there was a reverse engineering project to write 3D drivers for nVidia, but that the project was receiving no help from nVidia and so was proceeding very slowly. Updates would have been good.

    Seconldy, it would be good to get an idea of the relative performance of windows and linux drivers, This can be done by running the same benchmark on both operating systems and comparing the numbers. Last time I checked, nVidia had very similar performance on windows and linux but ATI was significantly slower on linux. Is that still the case?

    Thirdly, I would say that if you only write one Linux GPU review, then it should not be for high end cards. Few people build linux systems for gaming, and not many for CAD, more likey they want to build a general desktop system or media centre, and want a 3D card for compiz, media playback or occasional games, so they are much more likey to spec a mid range card or low cost second hand card from another system or ebay. For that reason it is much more important to know about how those cards perform and are supported under linux than the latest high end cards.

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    Re: Articles - ATI vs. NVIDIA on Linux - the showdown

    Quote Originally Posted by chrestomanci View Post
    Personally I was not that impressed with the review. It did what it said on the tin, but nothing more. It left a lot of un-answerd questions.

    Top of my list, would be some information on the status of open source drivers for those cards. I know that OSS drivers for older ATI cards are fairly good, and support 3D, thanks to active input from ATI. Last time I heard the open drivers for nVidia cards where 2D only, and there was a reverse engineering project to write 3D drivers for nVidia, but that the project was receiving no help from nVidia and so was proceeding very slowly. Updates would have been good.
    Not much to say beyond what was said:
    * The radeon driver failed to produce an image, and if it had done, is 2D only for RV770
    * The nv driver is 2D only full stop, but worked in 2D with the GeForce
    * The Nouveau driver doesn't work with GF8 or newer

    Seconldy, it would be good to get an idea of the relative performance of windows and linux drivers, This can be done by running the same benchmark on both operating systems and comparing the numbers. Last time I checked, nVidia had very similar performance on windows and linux but ATI was significantly slower on linux. Is that still the case?
    I'm not fully versed in the standard HEXUS testing environment (which runs under Windows) and didn't want to skew peoples' views of the hardware I had by producing numbers which seemed wildly out of whack with their previous outings in the main HEXUS labs.

    Thirdly, I would say that if you only write one Linux GPU review, then it should not be for high end cards. Few people build linux systems for gaming, and not many for CAD, more likey they want to build a general desktop system or media centre, and want a 3D card for compiz, media playback or occasional games, so they are much more likey to spec a mid range card or low cost second hand card from another system or ebay. For that reason it is much more important to know about how those cards perform and are supported under linux than the latest high end cards.
    Fair enough, although harder to quantify given an already wooly set of criteria - given issues like XvBA/VDPAU are already known, there's not much left to discuss if you don't care about 3D performance that isn't the same as the high-end cards.

    I'm also limited by what I'm provided with by HEXUS as kit to test. If people want more Linux content on specific topics, then ask management for it - it only helps justify my expenses.

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    Re: Articles - ATI vs. NVIDIA on Linux - the showdown

    You can get 3D on r6/700 with the open-source drivers, but you need an updated drm (2.6.29 I think), the latest mesa and xf86-video-ati or radeonhd.

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    Re: Articles - ATI vs. NVIDIA on Linux - the showdown

    Quote Originally Posted by fat_chris View Post
    You can get 3D on r6/700 with the open-source drivers, but you need an updated drm (2.6.29 I think), the latest mesa and xf86-video-ati or radeonhd.
    I was testing on Ubuntu Intrepid, which definitely didn't cut it. Of course, the nature of the beast is that things get better over time, but at the moment in time I was doing it, it just didn't work

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    Re: Articles - ATI vs. NVIDIA on Linux - the showdown

    Quote Originally Posted by directhex View Post
    I was testing on Ubuntu Intrepid, which definitely didn't cut it. Of course, the nature of the beast is that things get better over time, but at the moment in time I was doing it, it just didn't work
    Ah, I see. I'm a fan of rolling release distros myself so i don't have to do a full upgrade when I want the latest packages

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    Re: Articles - ATI vs. NVIDIA on Linux - the showdown

    Quote Originally Posted by fat_chris View Post
    Ah, I see. I'm a fan of rolling release distros myself so i don't have to do a full upgrade when I want the latest packages
    Makes it tricky for people to compare numbers though. "Benchmarked on a Gentoo system which was up to date at exactly 09:35:12 GMT"? Nah, logistics nightmare. Gotta use a release people can realistically duplicate if they want to

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    Re: Articles - ATI vs. NVIDIA on Linux - the showdown

    Quote Originally Posted by directhex View Post
    Makes it tricky for people to compare numbers though. "Benchmarked on a Gentoo system which was up to date at exactly 09:35:12 GMT"? Nah, logistics nightmare. Gotta use a release people can realistically duplicate if they want to
    Yeh I suppose. You could list all the version numbers of the software, but I bet that would take quite a while. Oh and btw, r600/700 3d was just pushed about an hour ago to mesa so I was mistaken before anyway

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    Re: Articles - ATI vs. NVIDIA on Linux - the showdown

    I just wanted to ask - should I download GPU drivers directly from the ATI website or enable the driver from within Ubuntu when the graphics card symbol shows up in the taskbar?
    Thanks

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