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AMD Tweaking Radeon Drivers To Reduce Frame Latency Spikes

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the stomping-bugs-with-extreme-prejudice dept.

AMD 105

crookedvulture writes "Slashdot has previously covered The Tech Report's exposure of frame latency issues with recent AMD graphics processors. Both desktop and notebook Radeons exhibit frame latency spikes that interrupt the smoothness of in-game animation but don't show up in the FPS averages typically used to benchmark performance. AMD has been looking into the problem and may have discovered the culprit. The Graphics Core Next architecture underpinning recent Radeons is quite different from previous designs, and AMD has been rewriting the memory management portion of its driver to properly take advantage. This new code improves frame latencies, according to AMD's David Baumann, and the firm has accelerated the process of rolling it into the official Catalyst drivers available to end users. Radeon owners can take some comfort in the fact that a driver update may soon alleviate the frame latency problems associated with AMD's latest GPUs. However, they might also be disappointed that it's taken AMD this long to optimize its drivers for the now year-old GCN architecture."

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105 comments

I read: AMD updates video driver (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42455715)

This is sort of what you're supposed to do -- optimize your video driver. How the living fuck is this news?

Re:I read: AMD updates video driver (2)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year and a half ago | (#42455765)

It's news because it's not a simple optimization. It's fixing something that was fundamentally broken.

Bullshit; OP is right. (2)

cbhacking (979169) | about a year and a half ago | (#42458831)

"Fundamentally broken" is BS. It would be fundamentally broken if the cards didn't *work* with the old drivers. You *might* even get away with that claim if the cards were unplayably slow, or the spikes were serious enough to make Windows think the driver had stopped responding, or some other such problem. "Benchmarks show that there is a specific performance problem, even though the overall performance is quite acceptable, and the issue was traced to an un-optimized memory manager which nevertheless was working correctly" is not even to "broken" by any reasonable definition, much less "fundamentally" so.

Re:Bullshit; OP is right. (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year and a half ago | (#42460175)

A graphics cards is supposed to give constant bandwidth. If there are spikes, it's a major bug.

Re:Bullshit; OP is right. (1)

jakobX (132504) | about a year and a half ago | (#42460411)

You will get spikes in every card from every manufacturer. Its not like the workload never changes.Sometimes it just takes longer to render a frame.

Re:Bullshit; OP is right. (2)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year and a half ago | (#42460439)

You know nothing of writing a rendering pipeline.

Re:I read: AMD updates video driver (0)

Sable Drakon (831800) | about a year and a half ago | (#42455945)

Because this should have been done 9 months ago. Leave it to AMD to once again just drop the ball. At least they're consistent at failing.

Re:I read: AMD updates video driver (3, Insightful)

citizenr (871508) | about a year and a half ago | (#42456183)

Because this should have been done 9 months ago. Leave it to AMD to once again just drop the ball. At least they're consistent at failing.

Better 9 months for software patch than 5 years for process change and MASSIVE GPU die off Nvidia gave us starting with 8xxx models.

Re:I read: AMD updates video driver (0)

Sable Drakon (831800) | about a year and a half ago | (#42456495)

How is it a GPU die off? nVidia's still making GPUs and they're still routinely putting AMD in their place, especially in the extreme high-end and for workstations.

Re:I read: AMD updates video driver (0)

citizenr (871508) | about a year and a half ago | (#42456595)

Re:I read: AMD updates video driver (1)

Sable Drakon (831800) | about a year and a half ago | (#42456657)

AMD has it's share of defective units rolling off the line. Every hardware maker does, it's an unavoidable fact of the industry.

Re:I read: AMD updates video driver (3, Insightful)

citizenr (871508) | about a year and a half ago | (#42456969)

Clearly you are unaware of Nvidia fiasco and following litigation. It wasnt "share of the units". It was Majority of them. Basically finding a working laptop with nv8xxx/9xxx GPU is considered lucky (they ALL die sooner or later, ticking bombs), and there are companies doing nothing else but fixing them.

Re:I read: AMD updates video driver (1)

Sable Drakon (831800) | about a year and a half ago | (#42457003)

All the more reason to avoid any notebook marketed for gaming, reguardless of the GPU vendor.

Re:I read: AMD updates video driver (1)

eharvill (991859) | about a year and a half ago | (#42457213)

Wow, I don't remember anything about this news. Coincidentally I've just started having GPU issues with my 4 year old laptop (Asus) with a 9800M GS last week. I just chalked to up to it being beaten to hell in general (used it for business travel for a few years) and then my kid abusing it and finally putting the nail in the coffin playing a lot of Minecraft during his time off for the holidays. It lasted a lot longer the Dell I had in 2006 with a 7900 GS (I think that was it).I even had the video card replaced once under warranty. Guess that's what I get for going Dell.

Re:I read: AMD updates video driver (1)

X3J11 (791922) | about a year and a half ago | (#42459405)

Clearly you are unaware of Nvidia fiasco and following litigation. It wasnt "share of the units". It was Majority of them. Basically finding a working laptop with nv8xxx/9xxx GPU is considered lucky (they ALL die sooner or later, ticking bombs), and there are companies doing nothing else but fixing them.

I have an ASUS F8Sn-B1, from 2008, with a 9500M GS that still works fine. It saw moderate use playing World of Warcraft and Lord of the Rings Online for three years. I've never considered myself lucky, but I have been careful to ensure there was proper airflow. It still works, runs Linux Mint and (occasionally) Windows 7, and is mostly used for web browsing and simple stuff now.

TL;DR mine still works, 5 years later.

Re:I read: AMD updates video driver (4, Informative)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year and a half ago | (#42457357)

AMD didnt have a class action lawsuit requiring them to purchase new laptops for end users involved in the claim.

Re:I read: AMD updates video driver (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42460985)

False. I'm sitting in a factory right now that does comprehensive tests on every single unit we ship (millions - tens of millions) no matter what. We even overstress our components during testing to weed out early failures. We have 1/4th the amount of returns as our competitors and only 1/5 of them are actually broken.

Re:I read: AMD updates video driver (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42456237)

Easy to be a criticize when you don't have any responsibility on your head and are just some typical shirt-stained-with-cheetos internet troll, isn't it?

Fucktard.

Re:I read: AMD updates video driver (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42456289)

I know you are but what am I!

Re:I read: AMD updates video driver (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42456367)

Is that supposed to be a statement or a question?

Re:I read: AMD updates video driver (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42457443)

Your mom.

Re:I read: AMD updates video driver (1)

MagusSlurpy (592575) | about a year and a half ago | (#42458529)

This should have been done three years ago. My 5770 still had these issues up until when I replaced it with a 660 Ti two months ago.

Give them credit (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42455729)

taken AMD this long to optimize its drivers for the now year-old GCN architecture.

Give them some credit... they've acknowledged the problem and this isn't a simple tweaking/bugfix, this is a complete redesign and rewrite of the entire driver architecture.

Re:Give them credit (5, Insightful)

hattig (47930) | about a year and a half ago | (#42455977)

Well, it's in the memory manager portion of the driver. Memory management isn't easy at the best of times, and when you're dealing with a GPU that has thousands of cores, and each of those cores has its own local memory, and shared memory with a local cluster group, and then there are software controllable caches further up the hierarchy, I can see how writing this code could be fraught with difficulty.

And as many of us here have worked in professional software environments, I'm sure we can all see how something that was pretty hard to pin down like these latency spikes might not have been a top priority for development, even if they were aware of it at all - after all the FPS figures were great. You'd end up with a driver kernel that had some magic that nobody would want to touch, and most of the work would be game specific optimisations and higher level optimisations. A year sounds about right really.

Re:Give them credit (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#42457401)

One would think an automated test that looked at timestamped frame production would show the jumpy nature of it.

Re:Give them credit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42459695)

It is impossible to test a complex system for all possible inputs with all possible inputs. You can only test a sample, and hope it catches everything. It's entirely possible that a) their automated tests didn't trigger the jumpy behaviour and b) that it wasn't something they had been testing for before (within the margin of error they're showing)

Re:Give them credit (0)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#42459185)

This is true and on top of that they have completely switched designs, previous designs were VLIW and the new design is vector based GCN, so naturally when doing something as massive as a complete change to the architecture of the chip itself its gonna take some time to get all the bugs worked out.

Now that said this right here is why I always stay a couple of gens behind when it comes to GPUs, because frankly the higher end GPUs (the x8xx and x9xx chips especially) have been so badass that by staying a couple of gens behind you still get great graphics without nearly the headaches and at lower cost as well. I learned this lesson the hard way when I USED to be bleeding edge and found that by the time they had all the bugs worked out of the card, whether it be ATI or Nvidia, that the price of the card would have dropped by a pretty good amount leaving me feeling...well kinda dumb for buying bleeding edge just to be the beta tester. I understand how high tech these designs are so I don't blame 'em for selling the hardware before the software is done but that doesn't mean that I need to be the beta.

For an example I'm currently running an HD4850, these cards were nearly $300 when release, I paid $70 when the 6xxx chips came out and even today it still cranks out the pretty. Since its about to be 4 gens behind for my BDay in 2 months I'll move up to an HD6850 or HD6870, these cards were nearly $400 when first released, I'll pay $100-$120. I'll still have a 256bit graphics card, hell the one I'm looking at is 384bit so I may get an upgrade in that dept, and I'll double my GPU RAM while going from GDDR 3 to GDDR 5.

By sticking to a couple gen behind I can still play ALL the games, still have them look great enough people drool when they watch me do a "cool guys don't look at explosions" in something like Just Cause II, it saves me money and most importantly they have all the major bugs worked out by then so I can just plug it in and my games "just work" with no muss or fuss. Now if you'll excuse me I got a ton of games on the Steam Xmas sale and feel like a little Borderlands, when playing a franchise I like to go in story order.

Re:Give them credit (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42456119)

More than that, this frame latency issue is new to the recent drivers - possibly even restricted to the 12.11 beta drivers, which one might expect to have the occasional issue. Further, other review sites that investigate the smoothness of gameplay, even if not by quite the same method (ex: Hard|OCP [hardocp.com] ), have not found the issues that Tech Report has, which leads me to suspect that it might not be a universal issue.

I think that Tech Report has been very irresponsible in their handling of this issue. They've been quick to condemn, ignoring that the driver is _not_ a final version, and apparently unwilling to investigate the disparity between their older results with the same cards/older drivers (which had no such frame latency issues) and their new results. Frankly, I'm not willing to give them any regard as a review site any longer - their frame latency methodology certainly has merit, but they seem to be utterly incompetent in actually analyzing or investigating the results.

Re:Give them credit (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42456553)

This. Not to case doubt on techreport's results, especially now that AMD have publicly responded, but does anyone seriously believe that they've found this issue in other driver releases, or even other games? As an engineer, if I found something as substantive as this, you bet GDW the first thing I'd do is retest to verify, then roll back and test with previous. Their insistence thus far on a "narrow net" such as it is, tells me they value the page views more than they value scientific integrity.

Re:Give them credit (4, Insightful)

nanoflower (1077145) | about a year and a half ago | (#42457009)

Only one problem with what you suggest is that it is based on bad information. TR made the effort to look at different versions of the drivers and they've tested it on Win7 and Win8. Also only a couple of other sites have done the same level of testing frame rates that TR has been doing and they've found the same issues. Then you add in that AMD has looked into the issue and acknowledged there is a real issue that they need to address. So you are doing a disservice to Tech Report by misstating the situation and ignoring the other sites that have agreed with their findings.

Re:Give them credit (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42457823)

I don't doubt their findings, merely that the latency spikes are a universal problem, and that they weren't recently introduced in a _beta_ driver (or at the least, a newer one - we know the problem didn't exist back in earlier versions).

I wouldn't be surprised to find out that this is a result of the chipset/disk controller driver (which they updated in the interval between their older stutter-free results and their new stutter-heavy ones) interacting poorly with the newer graphics drivers, and possibly the older ones as well - disk reads can be a major culprit in stutter, particularly in all these console ports which use texture streaming heavily. It's unlikely, but since disk reads are one of the biggest sources of notable stutter, it merits investigation.

Or it could be a hyper-threading problem, as hyper-threading is known to cause stutter in some cases, and some, if not all, of the testers who haven't noticed stutter issues despite casting an eye towards smoothness of frame delivery are using processors without hyper-threading. This would be particularly easy to investigate, and they didn't even try.

Win7/Win8 was a reasonable thing to investigate, but that only serves to highlight their utter irresponsibility in not even commenting on the possibility in the original article, or actually investigating it before publication like any responsible reviewer should when faced with such remarkable results.

The problem here is _not_ the data, it's the lack of questions they've asked about the wildly different data, and the lack of any sort of scientific rigor applied to a very surprising result.

Re:Give them credit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42457813)

Re:Give them credit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42458333)

Crossfire has known issues with micro-stutter (compared to SLI, which isn't perfect either). Micro-stutter in single-card setups is an extremely different thing, and most definitely new.

Incidentally, those who wish to avoid micro-stutter with multi-card setups would be well advised to use three or four cards instead, as the method used for tri or quad card rendering lacks the stutter issues that the method used for dual card rendering has.

Re:Give them credit (1)

MagusSlurpy (592575) | about a year and a half ago | (#42458773)

It's not a new thing. We saw microstutter very commonly on C2Ds paired with 5000-series cards. It's just apparently WORSE now.

Re:Give them credit (1)

bemymonkey (1244086) | about a year and a half ago | (#42459503)

Also, having just looked at the videos [techreport.com] , I actually find the AMD version to be more visually pleasing - yes, there's a big "jump" at a few spots in the video, but it's in no way regular, while the nVidia jumps (albeit a smaller distance) periodically - roughly once a second. It's like a rhythmic pulsing... really weird.

And I can't say I've seen this issue on my HD7750 (awesome little card - no PEG connector needed, doesn't break 50C running Starcraft 2 on high, low power consumption)... although that might be because I'm not running the beta driver.

Re:Give them credit (1)

smash (1351) | about a year and a half ago | (#42457451)

Given that they wrote both the software and designed the hardware, this smacks of insufficient testing to me. It's not like they're attempting to make somebody else's hardware work.

Re:Give them credit (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | about a year and a half ago | (#42459461)

I have 2x R7950s in my machine, and have been reasonably satisfied with them. The microstutter, as people call it, is pretty annoying at times, and had I known it was a particular issue with AMD cards, I would have gone with nVidia. The second issue is damned capacitor squeal, another thing I didn't know would be an issue. I've always run EVGA cards before this rig, and never encountered it (it's a buzz that happens in some game menus and, oddly enough, when there's a lot of white on the screen--meaning lots of the time in Skyrim).

If AMD can reduce the stutter (which still happens on nVidia cards--just not as often), that will be great. I'm running the current betas and still notice it happening from time to time. Not sure if it's supposed to be fixed in them (there's no mention in the changelog), so I can only hope that will be a future update. It's been a surprisingly long time since the last update came out--over two months now. In the past, they've pretty much been monthly, or so it seemed.

Re:Give them credit (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year and a half ago | (#42460499)

The second issue is damned capacitor squeal

AFAIK (CMIIW) capacitors cannot make noise, but rather inductors, coils...

I thought.. (1)

mewsenews (251487) | about a year and a half ago | (#42455749)

Isn't it also an AMD CPU issue? Or is the problem simply much more pronounced with this particular line of Radeon GPUs?

Or was the CPU problem long corrected?

This article from TechReport in August convinced me not to go AMD for my next gaming PC:

http://techreport.com/review/23246/inside-the-second-gaming-performance-with-today-cpus [techreport.com]

Re:I thought.. (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year and a half ago | (#42455907)

They make great dedicated video cards.

I have noticed this issue on my ATI 5750 dedicated card last year.

The CPUs are so-so unless you are looking for a cheap multicore system with virtual machines. Intels are better for single tasking and also multitasking if you have a large budget. Unfortunately, this is no market for cheap multicore heavy multitasking users except for a few geeks.

Thew new beta drivers work for me and it is a big improvement.

Re:I thought.. (1)

Pinhedd (1661735) | about a year and a half ago | (#42455995)

The 5750 is still on the old VLIW5 architecture, this optimization only affects cards on the GCN architecture

Re:I thought.. (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year and a half ago | (#42456161)

Well I noticed it is smooth now in games with the beta last month when I have good FPS so AMD is doing something. I can see it with my own eyes.

The 5xxx are the last cards supported with the latest drivers so it appears they are backporting the fixes to my card but no earlier ones as they are stuck on 12.3 I believe.

Re:I thought.. (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | about a year and a half ago | (#42459467)

I'm using the current betas and haven't noticed any change in microstutter, so far as I can tell (2x R7950s).

Re:I thought.. (1)

Ironhandx (1762146) | about a year and a half ago | (#42456025)

They're also "good enough" for pretty much any game on the market and they're still cheap... so there is a market for them.

Re:I thought.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42455999)

AMD's CPUs are considered to be slightly less powerful per core or whatever relevant parts you care to name, than Intel's, though not to the point of being poor performance, but I'm not sure what difference, if any that had with the problem from FPS spikes.

Reach for your wallet. (0)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42455759)

I'd be surprised if any new drivers show up for any video cards out in the field until a couple years of sales of new cards (same old cards sporting new drivers).
After all, they have no incentive to keep you using your old card if they can convince you to buy a newer one. AMD has a pretty long record of abandonware when it comes to video cards.

Re:Reach for your wallet. (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year and a half ago | (#42455883)

My el cheapo laptop from 2007 has WDDM 1.1 support for Windows 7 accelerated. I was impressed with that as this box was designed for Vista not 7. Also the driver version is from last March so ATI supported it for well over 5 years.

Re:Reach for your wallet. (0)

TrancePhreak (576593) | about a year and a half ago | (#42456707)

That is partly because Windows 7 supports drivers from Windows Vista.

Re:Reach for your wallet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42456803)

The Vista and Windows 7 GDI are similar, but not identical nor are they binary compatible. The WDDM is different and recoding is needed to get it to work at the driver level. You can't use the same driver. Rather the driver includes a Vista version and a Windows 7 version unlike other drivers which can run unmodified.

The laptop can not run METRO accelerated and uses the vesa driver for the same reason. WDDM 1.2 is not compatible with the 1.1 and 1.0 of Vista and Windows 7. Everything else used the Vista drivers fine on 8.

Re:Reach for your wallet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42456441)

Thing is, if the claim is accurate (only affects GCN architecture) then the only cards affected are the cards currently for sale.

If you have an old card? No worries, it doesn't have any problems.

If you have a 7700, 7800, or 7900? [1] Unless the 8-series launch is nigh, as this is AMD's current line of cards, I don't see them playing games like you are describing.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Islands_%28GPU_family%29

Re:Reach for your wallet. (1)

antdude (79039) | about a year and a half ago | (#42456709)

Agreed. I had to use v9.4 Catalyst driver for my old ATI Radeon 4870 video card (512 MB; PCIe) because of my very old, updated Windows XP Pro. SP3's clock/time DVI slowing down and rare random hard lock ups when playing videos. :(

Re:Reach for your wallet. (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year and a half ago | (#42460525)

Is an upgrade to Win7 possible?

Re:Reach for your wallet. (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | about a year and a half ago | (#42457503)

I'm not sure what's implied here but AMD's got Windows 8 drivers for their HD2000 series, which was released in 2006. That's, I'd say, a fairly good legacy hardware support timespan.

Re:Reach for your wallet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42458629)

Isn't that just because Win 8 uses Win 7's drivers? Win 7 also supported HD2000 and up (and Geforce 6xxx or higher), which made me sad because my (then not too old) Core 2 Duo notebook had a (also, then not too old) x1600 card and never ran right under Win7 (no Aero and Multimonitor support on the dock was FUBAR). While my old A64 system with a GF6800 was fine.

Re:Reach for your wallet. (0)

Cinder6 (894572) | about a year and a half ago | (#42459485)

On the other hand (and I say this as an AMD user), if were to stop supporting my cards right now (R7950s), I sure as hell wouldn't buy from them again. AMD has a vested interest in fixing bugs and improving performance in cards already in customers' hands. Goodwill is important to a company, and I'm not aware of any consumer group that's as fickle or easily offended as gamers.

Yet another reused abbreviation (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42455869)

I thought AMD's last graphics chipset with the name "GCN" was its Flipper GPU in the Nintendo GameCube video game console from 2001, which was for some reason abbreviated GCN.

Re:Yet another reused abbreviation (1)

Mr Z (6791) | about a year and a half ago | (#42456599)

Game Cube Network, perhaps? At least that's what GCN means in the context of Mario Kart.

I can confirm this (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year and a half ago | (#42455875)

I have the latest beta cataylst drivers from December 3rd and SWTOR is now fluid when I turn. Also video seems better too. Also worth mentioning is this and the last stable released fix the massive security hole by disabling protected mode in Vista/7 with ASLR.

I highly recommend ATI users upgrade their drivers as I found the beta more stable than the stable one.

Re:I can confirm this (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | about a year and a half ago | (#42459499)

I may have to look more carefully, then--I've not noticed any improvement to Skyrim since installing the betas last week, but that was also the same time I started heavily experimenting with graphics improvement mods.

Technology sites give brainddead measurements (4, Insightful)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | about a year and a half ago | (#42455915)

This only went on so long because tech sites use such poor, useless benchmarking methods. Minimum/Average/Maximum FPS, or often just Average/Maximum FPS, are worthless!

A game, or a video card, can average 100fps, but still have that one frame every second that performs some extra I/O and takes 3x longer than usual causing an annoying stutter effect.

A good first step would be to use frame latency percentiles.. i.e. 90% of frames are at least 60 FPS, 95% of frames are at least 50 FPS, 99% of frames are at least 40 FPS.

The next step is to measure spikes themselves -- low framerate sucks, but not nearly as much as a stuttering framerate. A sudden spike from constant 10ms/frame to 50ms/frame and back should be counted as far more detrimental than a smooth transition from constant 10ms to constant 25ms.

Re:Technology sites give brainddead measurements (5, Informative)

hattig (47930) | about a year and a half ago | (#42456023)

You should be reading the Tech Report GPU reviews then, they have all that stuff included.

Re:Technology sites give brainddead measurements (4, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a year and a half ago | (#42456779)

This only went on so long because tech sites use such poor, useless benchmarking methods. Minimum/Average/Maximum FPS, or often just Average/Maximum FPS, are worthless!

Umm... Tech Report has been doing frame latency benchmarking for over a year now.
And I'm not sure if they were the first ones to come up with the idea, but I know they're not the only reviewers using that benchmark.

They better fix vertical stripes of death first! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42456151)

Radeon drivers have been hell lately. HD7970 experience here :-(

Re:They better fix vertical stripes of death first (1)

Pubstar (2525396) | about a year and a half ago | (#42456325)

I don't have that issue at all. I also rarely get/had latency issues. This is from both a single 7970 and my new crossfire setup.

Disappointment for a 1 year GCN issue? Hardly (1)

tyrione (134248) | about a year and a half ago | (#42456173)

The overwhelming bulk of GPGPU users are still on two and three year old cards. When they move up they'll either buy the discounted 7000 series once the 8000 series arrives or not. Either way, the GCN issues will be worked out and they won't have ever experienced this issue.

Re:Disappointment for a 1 year GCN issue? Hardly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42456505)

GPGPU users don't generally care about micro-stutter in the first place.

Re:Disappointment for a 1 year GCN issue? Hardly (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year and a half ago | (#42460579)

On GPGPU side there's another problem of "screen lag" which becomes an issue when the GPGPU work slows down the Aero desktop and games.

So far, there seem not to be ways to prioritize GPU work the same way an OS can give CPU apps different priorities. Maybe the GPU industry will later solve this problem.

Ordered Nvidia (2, Informative)

watermark (913726) | about a year and a half ago | (#42456355)

I had a newish card, AMD 4xxx HD, but they force me to use the fgrlx-legacy driver. The fgrlx-legacy drivers don't work with the newest xorg, and the ones that work with the older xorg are missing features essential for steam. AMD scaled down the Linux team recently. I just bought an Nvidia.

Re:Ordered Nvidia (2)

Sable Drakon (831800) | about a year and a half ago | (#42456993)

The HD4000 series isn't a newish card by any stretch of the imagination. Newish is the 5000 or 6000 series, and yes, AMD's Linux support has always been pathetic at best.

Re:Ordered Nvidia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42459555)

HD4770 uses 40nm fab process. Even 7000 series is still 40nm. Either 40nm is newish or it isn't. Since you wrote: 'by any stretch..' then lets use process size to determine GPUs' worth.

So which is it, is 7000 (and 4770) old or new?

Re:Ordered Nvidia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42459687)

My 4870HD says it was released June 25, 2008. It's 4.5-year old tech now, ancient in computer time. While the fab process might be the same (mine's on 55nm), the architecture is old. That's not to say that the drivers being in -legacy is justified or acceptable -- just saying the 4xxx HD series is old.

Re:Ordered Nvidia (2)

cbhacking (979169) | about a year and a half ago | (#42460151)

The Radeon HD 7xxx series cards, such as the 7950 in my PC, are manufactured using a 28nm process. It's actually smaller than what AMD uses for their CPUs, oddly enough (the current CPUs are 32nm). 40nm is a couple generations back.

Re:Ordered Nvidia (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42457297)

I only bought nVidia for last decade+. But recently their drivers also suffer from minor issues.

https://devtalk.nvidia.com/default/topic/526044/linux/x-server-1-13-1-deadlocks-randomly-on-geforce-gtx680/ [nvidia.com]

https://devtalk.nvidia.com/default/topic/525640/linux/evga-geforce-gtx-660-ti-problems-/ [nvidia.com]

Maybe higher performance and better support than competition, but nVidia is not flawless either.

Re:Ordered Nvidia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42458241)

Stupid, and stupid.

AMD drivers announced they're being fixed for minor issue..

Nvidia exploit in the wild.

Re:Ordered Nvidia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42459721)

I think that saying they're "forcing" you to use the fglrx-legacy driver is exagerated.
Actually there are other options available, like the opensource "radeon" driver based on AMD's documentation, that's been shaping relly well, really quick recently.
Second, have you considered looking up other people like you out there wanting to run Steam for Linux on HD2000-4000 hardware? Enough users asking AMD to update the legacy driver might just do the trick. One thing to remember is that the legacy driver hasn't been updated to support Steam *YET*. There is no official statement they are completely opposed to the idea.
Third, there are the HD5000+ cards.
The scaled down Linux team had nothing to do with graphics cards (be it fglrx orthe opensource team) and the operations have been relocated.

Re:Ordered Nvidia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42461157)

Tell me about it. I bought a laptop with an AMD A6 APU and it's been a nightmare trying to get video working in Linux. When the video works, something else is broken. They don't make FreeBSD drivers like NVIDIA either. There's no backup plan. I'm not using windows.

What Problem? (1)

All_One_Mind (945389) | about a year and a half ago | (#42456685)

I've had a 7970 since early 2012 and have never had this issue on any of the resolutions I commonly use (1920x1080 and 2560x768 eyefinity). Obviously other people have had these issues, but I've personally never experienced them, and I'm sure I'm not the only Radeon owner who was spared from this bug.

Re:What Problem? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year and a half ago | (#42458783)

I've had a 7970 since early 2012 and have never had this issue on any of the resolutions I commonly use (1920x1080 and 2560x768 eyefinity). Obviously other people have had these issues, but I've personally never experienced them, and I'm sure I'm not the only Radeon owner who was spared from this bug.

Well, to detect it means you need to really run a bunch of video cards together on the games you play. It was discovered only because a video card was putting out great numbers, but gameplay seemed "less smooth" than a video card putting out lower numbers.

Whether or not you can detect this stuttering is dependent on so many factors - it's hard to tell, Maybe you discount it as a framerate drop. Maybe your eyes don't see it. Or your games are fine. Lots of factors. Just like some people feel games written for 30fps run fine, while others want 120+fps and feel the lag if it runs at 60.

I suspect most people probably won't notice it - it's the only card they see so there's no "smoothness" to compare it too. It's like micro-stuttering on SLI/Crossfire setups - you might see it, you might not. But unless you're playing with a bunch of cards, you probably won't notice unless you upgrade monthly or so and thus have recent enough memory to say "I think this game ran smoother on my old card..."

Re:What Problem? (0)

Cinder6 (894572) | about a year and a half ago | (#42459521)

I have two 7950s and notice it. The game will just randomly slow down for a few frames, then go back to running smooth as silk. It's annoying and distracting, but it's also one of those things that isn't nearly so common or noticeable when you're just running one card. Had I known of the issue when I bought them, I would have gone with nVidia.

Re:What Problem? (1)

jakobX (132504) | about a year and a half ago | (#42460467)

This is a different problem and is common to every crossfire/SLI setup. If you want to fix it you have to play with tools like radeon pro.

Why bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42456721)

Trying to improve amd drivers for their products is like pouring perfume on a pig.

Nvidia destroys them in the video card market with better products, better support, better pricing, better performance and better drivers. Intel kills them in every category when it comes to cpus and chipsets.

I dont even see how they are still in business. If it werent for the fact their are only really two major video card and cpu makers and amd being number 2 in both (and no, being number 2 in a race with only two people in it doesnt make you great. Its like if I ran a race against the worlds fastest man and being proud I came in second place) then they would be bankrupt completely if there were say 4 or 5 major competitors because they wouldnt even get intel or nvidias run off that they get now.

Amd should just shut its doors and call it a day, but as long as the few die hard supporters continue to give them money for inferior products and inferior support they will always be around. I used to love amd but they stumbled years ago and couldnt get back up in time to ever catch up. Now amd is the computer industries sloppy seconds.

Re:Why bother? (1)

Pubstar (2525396) | about a year and a half ago | (#42457031)

XFX support > Any nvidia support, hands down. Then again, I've only bought Black Edition cards from them, so I get priority support.

Re:Why bother? (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | about a year and a half ago | (#42457825)

It's an unconvincing argument to make, as an nvidia user i've never needed to use support, it just works.

Re:Why bother? (1)

Pubstar (2525396) | about a year and a half ago | (#42457899)

The only time I've had to use XFX Support was to find out why the free game code for steam wasn't working properly. Got a response in under an hour.

Re:Why bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42457393)

It's true they're not competitive against Nvidia/Intel in the mid to high-end markets. They do ok with the low-end gear though.

I don't want to see the graphics/chipset markets being a one-horse race. That's a terrible thing for consumers, and only an idiot would invite that.

Re:Why bother? (1)

jakobX (132504) | about a year and a half ago | (#42460509)

You do know that 7970 GE is faster than nvidias gtx680. Thats hardly what i would call not competing in the high end. Their CPUs on the other hand need some work :).

Re:Why bother? (1)

jakobX (132504) | about a year and a half ago | (#42460493)

AMD cards have better price/performance ratio and drivers have been good for many years. Both companies have occasional problems with drivers but in the end drivers from both companies are good. (only had minor fixable problems with amd and nvidia drivers so far)

Nvidia does have better marketing and more fanboys though.

Re:Why bother? (1)

ctrlshift (2616337) | about a year and a half ago | (#42461257)

They may be in a slump, but we've seen bigger turnarounds happen. Besides, you really don't want to see the industry where Nvidia is unopposed. Or Intel for that matter.

it's amazing that it's a software issue and not a (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42456731)

hardware issue. I was going to buy a 7900 series anyways, but so content that the firmware/GCN code can be adjusted.

A day late and a dollar short (0)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year and a half ago | (#42456839)

It's too late. I've been a hardcore AMD/ATI guy for over 10 years and I'm done. They could have fixed this crap BEFORE they were nearly bankrupt, now it's a bit late. It's one thing when AMD was getting beat up by intel and ATI was getting beat up by NVIDIA. But drivers from both companies were just shit. I was buying $600 video cards and getting crappy performance for years... Their duel monitor implementation is ridiculous. AMDs CPU setup on older systems was borderline ridiculous... they finally fixed that but then they started having heat problems. I'm sick of it.

I just had a friend put in a request and I built him an Intel/Nvidia system. It's over, I'm out.

Re:A day late and a dollar short (1)

Pubstar (2525396) | about a year and a half ago | (#42457013)

Care to elaborate on the dual monitor implementation? I have had no problems running a dual or tipple monitor setup since my HD4460. Hell, I got a 8150FX running in quad core mode and it cleans up in benchmarks against my friends i5 2600k (i do have a slightly higher OC than him).

Re:A day late and a dollar short (1)

epine (68316) | about a year and a half ago | (#42457045)

Unfortunately, IT'S NOT PRESCOTT!!!(TM) was the high point in the AMD story arc. They bought themselves some additional time and good will being less pederastic toward binary blobs than the Green Goblin.

Despite this, I've also grown weary of the difference between the vision AMD proclaims and the reality in the channel six months later.

Re:A day late and a dollar short (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42459879)

Their duel monitor implementation is ridiculous.

Well, I can't think of anything more ridiculous than two monitors duelling.

Tried an AMD card recently - not impressed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42457295)

I've been using NVidia cards exclusively since way back when the original Geforce cards came out, and have always been on the cutting edge in my gaming rigs - recycling cards down through my work PC and then family/friends as they're replaced.

Anyway, needed to run a 5 monitor setup - when it was 4 monitors I was just using a pair of NVidia cards, and had no problems. But for 5 I really wanted to just have 2 cards, so 1 would need 3 outputs. Bought a 7870 on a whim, and regretted it within a day. OS is windows 7 x64, had been rock solid with Nvidia, but after installing the AMD, with the most up to date drivers, spending time on the setup, I found the cursor would disappear in text fields, or randonly display corrupted unless mouse trails were enabled. Windows would sometimes switch to non-aero due to "problems" with the graphics driver. Issues with Flash movies crashing, choppy playback with media players... The list went on. Returned that card and went with 3 Nvidia cards - problems all disappeared. I will NEVER buy another AMD card, and would never recommend them to anyone.

Re:Tried an AMD card recently - not impressed. (1)

jakobX (132504) | about a year and a half ago | (#42460523)

Sometimes you get a faulty card. It has happened to me a couple of times. Nothing to do with the chip itself. Im running a hd7850 and didnt run into any of the problems you describe.

What about 6850 owners? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42457901)

I have a Sapphire 6850 that I bought to replace an evga gtx260 that died. Skyrim while running at 60fps suffers from horrid stuttering when looking up and down or strafing. Running Skyrim in windowed mode, or using a framerate limiter like MSI Afterburner OSD Server fixes much of the issue, buts still not as good as it was under the GTX260, even if it can do 60fps with higher graphics options.

Slashdot editor fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42458031)

"AMD has been rewriting the memory management portion of its driver to properly take advantage."

And the Slashdot editor has not been rewriting the failed summary with proper grammar. One takes advantage OF something. Incomplete sentence fragment. These are very simple English failures, the bar must be very low.

aticlxx (1)

Hsien-Ko (1090623) | about a year and a half ago | (#42458269)

I always had to terminate that process to gain some input responsiveness back, otherwise the only workaround is to have a multi-core system.

Re:aticlxx (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42460083)

It is a little annoying for me (as a long-time and mostly satisfied AMD/ATI user) that any driver updates automatically turn on that bloody service. I'd really like the option during setup (squirreled away in the advanced/custom installation options) "don't turn on superfluous services.

Does anyone actually use these things?

whatever (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42460269)

pacman and frogger still play fine on my c64, so I don't know what you kids are fucking yammering on about.

dumb little bitches

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