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michael.bauer
07-12-2006, 03:30 PM
Hi,

There seem to be lots of problems related to the ATI linux drivers. It supposedly wasn't excellent in the past, but how good is their GL implementation at the moment? Does it make a difference to use current or older boards or is it a good idea to use the FireGL boards?

P.S. Which linux distribution is recommended for ATI drivers?

songho
07-13-2006, 10:42 AM
Hi mlb,
I am running SuSE v10 with Radeon 9700 pro. I have not seen any major problem with ATI OpenGL drivers so far. It supports upto OpenGL v2.0 spec.


Does it make a difference to use current or older boards or is it a good idea to use the FireGL boards?I believe ATI supports from Radeon 8500 and higher video cards and FireGL boards. The driver itself is unified: can be used on both Radeon and FireGL. (Yes, there are some certified drivers only for FireGL, but they are older than the unified version.)

You can have hardware accelerations with Mesa3D(default driver) and DRI for the older video cards. Recently, Mesa has added OpenGL shading language support. I have the other system with Radeon 7200 on Kubuntu (Ubuntu with KDE).

lodder
07-13-2006, 02:20 PM
Hi,

do yourself a favour and get an Nvidia card for Linux. The only exception is when you have a very old card, like 8500/9100/9200. These are well supported by OSS-drivers. For newer cards (9500-9800) there is an OSS driver, but it is still work in progress. For their recent cards (X1k), you can only use ATI's drivers.
We have done some stress testing with the Linux drivers and they are not very stable: They crash reproducable when the load is too high or when there are too many vertices drawn (looks like a memory related problem). Important features are missing (AAA, High Quality AF, forcing AF mode). And maybe the most important: They are only 1/2 to 2/3 of the speed their Windows drivers have.

For beginners I always recommend Kanotix and Knoppix, they are well supported by the ATI drivers (thanks to Aric Cyr!) and contain scripts for automatic driver installation and other neat things :)

Personally I have a X1800XT, but only because of the better AF and perfomance/price at the time I got it.

Grüße nach Erlangen =)

michael.bauer
07-13-2006, 02:45 PM
Hi,

> do yourself a favour and get an Nvidia card for Linux.

That's what I did some time ago ;-) I just asked out of curiosity - sometimes I'll get a new NV 79x part.

> We have done some stress testing with the Linux drivers and they are not very stable: They crash reproducable when the load is too high or when there are too many vertices drawn (looks like a memory related problem)

I see. So ATI does not really support linux, bad stability is a KO criterion. (not to mention bad performance)

Btw, how stable are their win drivers?

lodder
07-13-2006, 02:53 PM
Originally posted by mlb:
Btw, how stable are their win drivers? For me they are very stable since years and different graphics cards! But I can't compare to recent NVidia drivers/cards, as the last one I had was a Gf2 MX ;)
I can't understand why they produce good working Windows drivers and those horrible Linux drivers. Some Apple users here, who could tell us something about the Mac OS drivers?

07-13-2006, 03:14 PM
> I can't understand why they produce good working Windows drivers and those horrible Linux drivers.

maybe there are not enough ATI linux customers ... this cake is small, and it's completely eaten by nvidia.

> Some Apple users here, who could tell us something about the Mac OS drivers?

yes, please.

Overmind
07-14-2006, 11:21 AM
A friend of me always had horrible problems with ATI drivers on Linux. He had crashes related to switching to the console, and also crashes with resolution switches, for example after exiting games.

He recently upgraded to X.org 7.0 and reinstalled the latest ATI drivers and most of his problems were suddenly gone.

I don't have any details, he only mentioned it briefly to me. But it seems that many problems were actually the fault of an old X version (or at least some interoperability issue that's gone in 7.0).

OneSadCookie
07-14-2006, 09:23 PM
The state of OpenGL drivers on the Mac was pretty bad for a long time, but that's largely fixed now. Amusingly, the situation over here seems to be about the opposite of the PC world -- the NVidia drivers still suck pretty badly, and the ATI and Intel drivers are pretty good :)

I wouldn't buy a Mac with an NVidia card if you're serious about doing cutting-edge GL work. Unfortunately, that cuts out the current crop of G5 PowerMacs, but hey, we should get Intel ones soon right :)

ZbuffeR
07-15-2006, 02:46 AM
Intel drivers ? You mean they have good 3D accelerators ?

PkK
07-15-2006, 09:23 AM
The OpenGL drivers for intel graphics chips are the best ones on Linux. They're free, support most features the hardware can do.
Performance-wise intel graphics can't keep up with ATI or Nvidia though.

Philipp

lodder
07-15-2006, 09:38 AM
Originally posted by OneSadCookie:
The state of OpenGL drivers on the Mac was pretty bad for a long time, but that's largely fixed now. Amusingly, the situation over here seems to be about the opposite of the PC world -- the NVidia drivers still suck pretty badly, and the ATI and Intel drivers are pretty good :)

I wouldn't buy a Mac with an NVidia card if you're serious about doing cutting-edge GL work. Unfortunately, that cuts out the current crop of G5 PowerMacs, but hey, we should get Intel ones soon right :) I can't believe that :-/
Is the speed of ATI's Mac OS (X?) drivers the same as with windows? Maybe you could compare with the Quake4 Demo. If you don't have Windows, try to make some runs with the Quake4 and tell me the numbers =)
Thanks :)

Overmind
07-15-2006, 09:43 AM
They're free, support most features the hardware can do.LOL

Not very hard, when the hardware can't do many features.

OneSadCookie
07-15-2006, 04:45 PM
The Intel GMA 950 is a perfectly capable piece of hardware, feature-wise. It's not going to play cutting-edge PC games, but it's somewhere near an ATI Radeon 9600 in features. It lacks hardware vertex transform (a problem for Doom III/Quake 4) and it lacks any kind of floating-point texture/pbuffer support, but it is a DX9 part.

The upcoming Intel GMA X3000 is a DX10 part, with hardware vertex transform. AFAIK, there are no performance numbers for it yet, though.

There is no Mac Quake IV demo, and I haven't bought it. In any case, it wouldn't be a fair comparison, because the Mac version of Quake IV takes advantage of SMP, where the PC version doesn't.

The Mac GL drivers are still slower than the PC counterparts. In particular, OpenGL calls seem to have a much higher overhead. Obviously, things like pixel-shading that are solidly hardware-limited will not show any difference.

Overmind
07-16-2006, 04:43 AM
It lacks hardware vertex transform (a problem for Doom III/Quake 4) and it lacks any kind of floating-point texture/pbuffer support, but it is a DX9 part.What do you mean, it lacks hardware vertex transform? Do you mean vertex shaders? Then it's not a DX9 board. And if you really mean hardware T&L, it's even worse.

And what about fragment shaders? IMHO any board that doesn't support at least basic assembly level fragment shaders is not really worth to be considered for backwards compatibility, but nowadays I would expect GLSL support from any GPU that wants to be taken seriously.

So do the Intel boards support these? If yes, do the Linux drivers support these features, too?

Only then I can accept your statement that Intel drivers are the best Linux drivers out there.

lodder
07-16-2006, 04:50 AM
Originally posted by OneSadCookie:
There is no Mac Quake IV demo, and I haven't bought it. In any case, it wouldn't be a fair comparison, because the Mac version of Quake IV takes advantage of SMP, where the PC version doesn't.Maybe Doom3? :D
And the latest Quake4 (and Doom3) take advantage of MultiCore CPUs, too!

V-man
07-16-2006, 08:43 AM
Originally posted by Overmind:

It lacks hardware vertex transform (a problem for Doom III/Quake 4) and it lacks any kind of floating-point texture/pbuffer support, but it is a DX9 part.What do you mean, it lacks hardware vertex transform? Do you mean vertex shaders? Then it's not a DX9 board. And if you really mean hardware T&L, it's even worse.

And what about fragment shaders? IMHO any board that doesn't support at least basic assembly level fragment shaders is not really worth to be considered for backwards compatibility, but nowadays I would expect GLSL support from any GPU that wants to be taken seriously.

So do the Intel boards support these? If yes, do the Linux drivers support these features, too?

Only then I can accept your statement that Intel drivers are the best Linux drivers out there. I would not be surprised if it doesn't have TnL
It's just a integrated chipset.
The 915 supports GL 1.4 and it has the assembly shaders (in Windows)
It can't do occlusion queries?

For some reason, ATI is very slow. I have a 9700 pro and Suse 10.0 and drivers are 8.25.18
On top of that Doom 3 Linux doesn't use SSE so the performance suffers a lot.

OneSadCookie
07-16-2006, 07:22 PM
The Intel GMA 9xx parts have no hardware vertex processing of any kind, but that is perfectly well done in software. Like I said, the kinds of vertex counts Doom III and Quake IV like to throw around, with all those stencil shadows, it can be problematic, but it's not really an issue for most earlier games.

Like I said before, the GMA 950 is almost exactly equivalent to a Radeon 9600 in fragment shading capability. It supports only 8 temporaries as opposed to the 9600's 16, but every other limit is the same. On the Mac at least, it supports GLSL.

It doesn't support occlusion queries.

When the first Macs with GMA 950s shipped, this was sent to the mac-opengl list:
http://lists.apple.com/archives/mac-opengl/2006/Mar/msg00010.html

Note that it only supports OpenGL 1.2 on the Mac -- the hardware can't do multisampling, either (not that you'd want to, with that little fill), but technically, the Windows drivers are lying :)

Bruce Merry
01-10-2007, 02:50 AM
Originally posted by songho:
Hi mlb,
I believe ATI supports from Radeon 8500 and higher video cards and FireGL boards. The driver itself is unified: can be used on both Radeon and FireGL. (Yes, there are some certified drivers only for FireGL, but they are older than the unified version.)
Recent drivers (8.32 is the one I tried) don't support anything below 9500. I'm going to be looking into those open-source drivers I guess.