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AMD's Open Source Linux Driver Trounces NVIDIA's

timothy posted about a year ago | from the hari-seldon dept.

AMD 147

An anonymous reader writes "In a 15-way graphics card comparison on Linux of both the open and closed-source drivers, it was found that the open-source AMD Linux graphics driver is much faster than the open-source NVIDIA driver on Ubuntu 13.04. The open-source NVIDIA driver is developed entirely by the community via reverse-engineering, but for Linux desktop users, is this enough? The big issue for the open-source 'Nouveau' driver is that it doesn't yet fully support re-clocking the graphics processor so that the hardware can actually run at its rated speeds. With the closed-source AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce results, the drivers were substantially faster than their respective open-source driver. Between NVIDIA and AMD on Linux, the NVIDIA closed-source driver was generally doing better than AMD Catalyst."

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http://www.linuxadvocates.com/p/support.html (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610473)

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Nice heading (5, Informative)

Desler (1608317) | about a year ago | (#43610491)

NVIDIA doesn't have an open source graphics driver... Nice misleading title there, timmy.

Re:Nice heading (4, Funny)

somersault (912633) | about a year ago | (#43610529)

We're going to need another Timmy

Re:Nice heading (4, Informative)

chill (34294) | about a year ago | (#43611091)

A rare Dinosaurs reference. Wow. Very nice.

Re:Nice heading (4, Informative)

virgnarus (1949790) | about a year ago | (#43611137)

For those unfortunate to not get the joke: Ask Mr. Lizard [youtube.com]

Re:Nice heading (2)

SScorpio (595836) | about a year ago | (#43612137)

Unfortunate? Anyone who doesn't get the reference should be happy they are fortunate enough to not have watched Dinosaurs.

Re:Nice heading (1)

davester666 (731373) | about a year ago | (#43611327)

Is the article 5 times better than a 3-way?

Re:Nice heading (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610629)

yeah, i kind of read that as "nouveau" but you're right and that really needs to be changed because that would make people think Nvidia has an open source driver. I would also add "with no help from nvidia" or similar after "The open-source NVIDIA driver is developed entirely by the community via reverse-engineering," in the story to make their crapulence perfectly clear.

Re:Nice heading (2, Insightful)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year ago | (#43610901)

"The open source driver for NVidia". Nouveau. NVidia does not need to "have" this driver for it to be open source. The contrary if anything. I can't for the life of me imagine a reason for your troll.

Re:Nice heading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610931)

Except that the headline doesn't use "for", it uses the possessive case.

Capcha: literacy

Re:Nice heading (1)

Hunter Shoptaw (2655515) | about a year ago | (#43611255)

Captcha: Spelling

Re:Nice heading (4, Insightful)

Desler (1608317) | about a year ago | (#43611081)

You're the troll. The headline says:

AMD's Open Source Linux Driver Trounces NVIDIA's

This is elementary school level reading comrephension you failed at. There is no "for" in it at all.

Re:Nice heading (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43612813)

NVIDIA's what? Driver? what driver? Windows? OSX? Android? Oh, we're suppose to assume Linux Driver? What about Open Source Linux Driver? Does NVIDIA even have an Open Source Linux Driver? There is plenty of ambiguity in the statement and is simply not "elementary school level reading comrephension" fail. The failure is in your response.

Parent ins't a troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43614991)

Nice activist moderation.

Re:Nice heading (1)

Desler (1608317) | about a year ago | (#43611125)

And to add the phrase "for NVidia" doesn't even appear in the summary. You invented that quote out of whole cloth.

Re:Nice heading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43611755)

I can't for the life of me imagine a reason for your troll.

OMFG! That's coming from you? I guess you don't call it trolling when you do it. Right, asshole?

Re:Nice heading (2)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#43610927)

Not only that, the Open Source drivers are basically slower in every way, despite what the summary seems to imply. This particular line from the article is especially depressing:

"Sadly, the Nouveau kernel driver seems to regress quite frequently, still making it like a game of Russian Roulette in between major Linux kernel releases."

Who knows what they are doing.

Re:Nice heading (5, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | about a year ago | (#43612039)

Who knows what they are doing.

Guessing. AMD provides specs, nVidia doesn't nor do they offer developer help. The hardware interface of graphics cards changes a lot since what people care about is compliance with DirectX and OpenGL, what happens behind the scenes between the driver and hardware isn't important. Lots of weird interfaces, lots of magic values, lots of bugs that don't appear in the closed source drivers because the driver and hardware team have agreed on just the right order to set it up and call it. Nouveau is fueled by "if you refuse to support open source, by god we'll make it work with open source" and all credit for that but it seems this is a tough enough mountain to climb without the blindfold. Personally I'd rather get behind one of the companies that actually support open source, but everybody do what they want. That's how it works.

Re:Nice heading (1)

FuegoFuerte (247200) | about a year ago | (#43612149)

I'm a pragmatist... I get behind the company who best supports their hardware on Linux, regardless of if the driver is open or closed source... I just want it to work dammit, and in my experience nVidia has always had more "just works" on Linux. AMD might "support" open source drivers and such, but I've always been very disappointed by the end result. So, if I want it to work on Linux, I buy nVidia, end of story.

Re:Nice heading (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43612257)

You know, there's more than just two video card vendors in the world.

Intel's graphics are supported better on linux than either nVidia or AMD. Intel hired Keith Packard [wikipedia.org] , for chrissakes, what more could you want in support?

Now it's true nVidia's hardware is faster & more powerful - at the moment. But you didn't mention that, you just claimed (incorrectly) that "nVidia has always had more 'just works' on linux" with is completely false. Matrox cards worked better than nVidia in the old days, and Intel 'just works' better now.

I'm a pragmatist - I use Intel graphics chips in my linux boxen - and I suggest you do the same. They just work.

Re:Nice heading (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43614681)

I'm a pragmatist - I use Intel graphics chips in my linux boxen - and I suggest you do the same. They just work.

Sure, let me just run down to my local computer parts store and grab an Intel video card. Oh, what's that? Intel doesn't make discrete video cards? Guess I'm stuck with my onboard AMD/NVidia chip, then.

Depends on what functionality you need.. (1)

jlehtira (655619) | about a year ago | (#43614941)

Except that Intel's GPUs just don't support some of their functionality on Linux. Like OpenCL. Or a modern OpenGL version.

Right, you might not care, if your usage pattern is mostly about websites and text files. For me, nVidia GPUs are the *only* thing that both brings the functionality I need (as a GPGPU software developer) and actually works.

AMD linux drivers are in a habit of losing functionality over time. Like all functionality (happened to me once). Others have complained that after updating the driver, some parts of the functionality that were present are no longer there. Because of the way Linux kernels work, you usually can't put an ancient driver to a new Linux distro.

Re:Nice heading (4, Insightful)

abrotman (323016) | about a year ago | (#43611587)

And who is to blame for that? nVidia could release specs and work with the OSS community.

Re:Nice heading (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43611931)

Waaah.

So the OSS community sucks at writing drivers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610535)

Manufacturer drivers are better than reverse engineered drivers. I'm fucking shocked.

Re:So the OSS community sucks at writing drivers (5, Insightful)

Zimluura (2543412) | about a year ago | (#43610681)

wow, what a subject line. for the oss community to be able to get hw acceleration through reverse engineering is impressive!

this isn't network/disk i/o hardware. opengl is a very complex api. it took nvidia years to get their ogl drivers into stable working order (without reverse engineering).

Re:So the OSS community sucks at writing drivers (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43611209)

The complexity of OpenGL itself may or may not be the issue. To the best of my understanding; both nouveau and the AMD OSS drivers use Gallium3d and Mesa(which can also provide an openGL implementation entirely in software, if you don't mind a lot of waiting). Actually taking advantage of the specialized hardware in a fast and stable way, though, is device specific.

Re:So the OSS community sucks at writing drivers (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610689)

Access to the documentation of the hardware you are writing a driver for helps when writing the driver. If the OSS driver programmers are as good as the manufacturer's, or even slightly better, you'd still expect the manufacturer to produce better drivers simply because they don't have to waste their time to figure out how to access the hardware. Instead of experimenting some extended time, they just have a look in the internal hardware manual.

If the OSS drivers are better than the manufacturer's without the manufacturer opening up the relevant documentation, it usually means that either the hardware is outdated, or the manufacturer's programmers did a really bad job, or both.

Re:So the OSS community sucks at writing drivers (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610835)

What this shows is that when the vendor provides specs, as ATI has, it improves the quality of the drivers. If nVidia provided specs, the nouveau driver would probably be faster than radeon.

Personally, my problem with the radeon driver isn't that it's not fast enough. It's that it detects my 4:3 CRT HDTV as a 16:9 display when connected with HDMI, and no modeline I can come up with can convince it otherwise. This is despite Catalyst on both Linux and Windows on the same hardware supporting 1280x1024 and 1024x768 with no problems. That's the only thing keeping me from using the open source ATI driver on Linux.

BTW, Is anyone else having trouble logging in?

Re:So the OSS community sucks at writing drivers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610975)

BTW, Is anyone else having trouble logging in?

I can login as Anonymous Coward quite fine. ;-)

Re:So the OSS community sucks at writing drivers (4, Informative)

quantaman (517394) | about a year ago | (#43610859)

Not entirely.

AMD's main drivers are proprietary, but they have open specs making it much easier for the community to write open source drivers, and they also assist the community in making those drivers.

NVIDIA neither opens their specs or assists in the development of the open source drivers.

That the open source AMD drivers would trounce the open source NVIDIA drivers is about as surprising as the Daily Mail finding something causes cancer.

Re:So the OSS community sucks at writing drivers (0, Troll)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#43611167)

That the open source AMD drivers would trounce the open source NVIDIA drivers is about as surprising as the Daily Mail finding something causes cancer.

Let's try to be precise here. Closed source is the cancer, but it's closed specs that causes it.

Re:So the OSS community sucks at writing drivers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43612015)

Let's try to be precise here. Closed source causes cancer in RMS and his loyal adherents, but it's closed specs that causes it.

There, FTFY.

Re:So the OSS community sucks at writing drivers (4, Insightful)

MachineShedFred (621896) | about a year ago | (#43611163)

More than that, the actual headline should have been:

Drivers with complete support for hardware features outperform drivers with partial support.

Even the summary says that the Nvidia reverse-engineered driver doesn't support adjusting the GPU's clock, and since Nvidia's firmware has the thing clocked to "barely running" when it starts up, it's hardly a shock that you get piss poor performance.

Obligatory car analogy: reverse engineering the ECU firmware on an engine, except in your version the rev limit is set to 1500 RPM, when the engine redlines at 8000; and then you wonder why you're short on horsepower and torque.

Re:So the OSS community sucks at writing drivers (1)

aliquis (678370) | about a year ago | (#43613477)

What's interesting to me:

Nvidias driver owning AMDs.

Open-source? I'm not going to rewrite it anyway.

I protest. (1)

Narcocide (102829) | about a year ago | (#43610623)

1) unfair comparison
2) old news
3) 100% nvidia's fault

Re:I protest. (-1)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year ago | (#43611023)

1) unfair comparison
2) old news
3) 100% nvidia's fault

4) Fuck you NVidia!
5) Profit.

Re:I protest. (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year ago | (#43612289)

1) unfair comparison
2) old news
3) 100% nvidia's fault

4) Fuck you NVidia!
5) Profit.

Apparently, some knuckle dragger with mod points does not know their history.

Re:I protest. (3, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#43613425)

I'm sure you got downmodded because you forgot the "???" step. ;-)

Support Nvidia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610627)

but for myself i still prefer nvidia than amd, because when u use nvidia the grapich always better than amd ,,
maybe just from my side not from another person reason,, nice thread , keep going dude

Re:Support Nvidia (0)

hedwards (940851) | about a year ago | (#43610657)

Not really, some of the games I used to play would crash randomly and be generally unstable with my previous nVidia chipset, but now that I've switched to AMD, I haven't had a single game behaving in such a flaky manner.

I'm not sure what nVidia was doing wrong, but it's something that they really need to address.

Re:Support Nvidia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610671)

Which chip and which games?

Re:Support Nvidia (3)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year ago | (#43611001)

I've never had a problem with the Nvidia driver. I don't know about AMD's driver because it sucked so bad back a few years ago that I didn't bother ever trying it again. I might buy an AMD board and try it again now.

Re:Support Nvidia (2)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about a year ago | (#43611369)

He's talking about on Linux. The old ATI Linux drivers were notoriously bad for years, and while they've gotten better since AMD bought them, they still fall short of nVidia's reliability and capability, regardless of the performance of the hardware itself. If you just want a graphics card to drive a monitor or two, AMD hardware is fine. If you want something that will do OpenGL or video playback well, you want nVidia, or at the very least Intel.

In other words: (1)

instagib (879544) | about a year ago | (#43610641)

Same old shit as always (DNRTFA).

I'm tainting my pure and virgin kernels since about 10 years with the evil corporate drivers from Nvidia, because it works and performs. Sorry Gnu!

Re:In other words: (2)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about a year ago | (#43610849)

No shit. Fact is, Nvidia, with their closed-source binary-blob driver, STILL supports Linux better than ATI/AMD did/does. "Purity" is overrated, and variable, depending on who's doing defining it.

Re:In other words: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43611849)

Used to think this, then I got a laptop with their Optimus shit.
Fuck NVIDIA.

Re:In other words: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43612373)

use the current beta driver. supports Optimus.

Re:In other words: (1)

Carewolf (581105) | about a year ago | (#43612851)

use the current beta driver. supports Optimus.

Not in any useful way. Since you can't switch a screen from Intel GPU to NVidia, you can only use the optimus driver on screens that boot on nvidia, which is no screens. In other words the new optimus driver supports rendering onto imaginary screens but not real screens.

Re:In other words: (5, Interesting)

Andy Dodd (701) | about a year ago | (#43610863)

Yup. I still buy NVidia cards because they ACTUALLY WORK and they do a reasonable quality control effort on their drivers.

As opposed to AMD/ATI's drivers. Every time I've gone near a Radeon it's been nightmare driver hell, whether the platform is Linux or Windows. (Yeah, they can't even get their Windows drivers right. It should be the exception and not the norm that game A requires driver version Y and above, but game B requires drivers Z and below, where Z Y, because AMD/ATI don't comprehend regression testing - but every time I've worked with an AMD/ATI graphics chipset, that shit is normal.)

Re:In other words: (4)

Torp (199297) | about a year ago | (#43611075)

Agreed. There's no point in looking at anything but NVidia with their proprietary drivers if you want 3D performance and stability on Linux.

Re:In other words: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43612345)

... as long as it doesn't involve dragging GL windows between landscape and portrait screens. Or a Xv video overlay that's over 4096 px wide. Or ...
Nvidias driver "just works". For small values of "works".

Re:In other words: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43612585)

...or using it as a dessert topping or a floor wax.

Re:In other words: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43614369)

...unless you want something cheap and good enough.

nothing beats amd's fusion chips in cheap, low power netbooks. or even sub-17" laptops.

Re:In other words: (3, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#43612611)

I'm sorry but I have to call bullshit as the Windows drivers have been nothing but rock solid since AMD bought them out and cleaned up the cruft. if you are talking pre-buyout? Then sure i agree 100% as ATI couldn't write a driver to save their lives but AMD fixed the messes (requiring .NET bullshit for the driver GUI? Really ATI?) and since then I've been using AMD cards exclusively in the shop and they have been nothing but stable.

If anybody could tell you if there was a problem with the drivers it would be me as I've put everything from the low end 3200 and 4200 IGPs to the X2s to the 7770s through their paces at the shop and its been nothing but blue skies and rainbows and at home me and both the boys have HD4850s and they just purr like kittens, not a complaint one.

ATI radeon on laptop (1)

phorm (591458) | about a year ago | (#43614687)

I haven't got many ATI cards, but my laptop has a decent mobile-series radeon and the *only* issue I've had was with Ogre3d terrain and the closed-source driver. Windows was solid. Linux works fine except it won't render textures on Ogre-terrain. I think that may be a non-issue as IIRC there were some fairly nvidia-specific extensions there.

Other than that, everything that works on my nVidia machines works just fine on the ATI card. For installation, the FGLRX driver is often easier to manage than the nvidia blob, with one annoyance in that it wants an X restart when adding an HDMI monitor (haven't seen how nVidia handles that). It's gotten MUCH better since AMD took over though.

On ATI, I've done multi-head, windows games, WINE games, and GL development without any major issues other than noted.

I haven't tried the FOSS driver recently, but I might just have to give it a shot as well.

Last complaint about ATI vs nVidia... AMD/ATI do seem to drive binary-support for cards faster (which is where having functional FOSS drivers is quite nice).

Re:In other words: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43614737)

I have read this comment somewhere before. Your Slashdot ID is too low to be a shill, have you been recycling it?

hum (1)

Vince6791 (2639183) | about a year ago | (#43610673)

fine, don't open source the drivers but at least open up the video card hardware so dev's can write their own drivers. Intel and amd cpu's are open why not gpu's.

Re:hum (4, Funny)

Narcocide (102829) | about a year ago | (#43610705)

Probably because that's where Hoffa's body is buried or something.

Re:hum (2)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#43610815)

Those are excellent questions to ponder every now and then. Would releasing full specs of the hardware to OSS coders reveal too much of secrets about the hardware? Would having an full-feature open source driver actually hurt or improve business? Why does Intel have no problem having a relatively open driver development?

Re:hum (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610915)

I work for a semiconductor company, not one of the three mentioned above. I've worked on video drivers for our GPU as well.
nVidia won't open source their drivers because it opens them up to patent lawsuits.
Undoubtedly nVidia is using some crap that is patented by someone else in their hardware and software. Only a fool thinks they won't be sued by someone, even if it's bogus. AMD and Intel have been very careful on how they release and what they release. It's an expensive (in lawyer time) proposition and nVidia doesn't care to spend the money.

Re:hum (3, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | about a year ago | (#43610985)

Would having an full-feature open source driver actually hurt or improve business?

In the high-end consumer market who cares about the open source driver other than the open source purist?

Re:hum (2)

SuseLover (996311) | about a year ago | (#43611707)

Would having an full-feature open source driver actually hurt or improve business?

In the high-end consumer market who cares about the open source driver other than the open source purist?

Hmm, "who cares about the high end consumer market"? What about the high end professional market? I have worked in several engineering departments where ALL development is done on Linux/Unix boxes and high end graphics are a must (EDA IC design tools for instance). I'm sure there are many more (closed source) applications that run on open source systems that need high end graphics performance and the engineers demanded the performance/features needed.

Every time I have tried to use the Nouveau drivers, it breaks my windowing system in some way I must tweak just to get working again (Ubuntu 12.04, CentOS, and a few others that I run).

I must be one of the rare instances where AMD drivers/cards just worked well for me.

Re:hum (1)

TrancePhreak (576593) | about a year ago | (#43613597)

Then use the closed source drivers? Don't see the problem here.

Re:hum (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43612377)

Anyone who cares not having to reinstall the graphics drivers when they install a new kernel version? Anyone who likes graphics, via XOrg, to just work automagically?

Re:hum (1)

MrHanky (141717) | about a year ago | (#43612573)

Anyone who cares about simplicity, reliability and stability.

Re:hum (1)

TheCycoONE (913189) | about a year ago | (#43611027)

Well the last question is answered easily enough. Intel doesn't compete for features or performance in the GPU market, just price per unit and to some extent energy efficiency. They have no secrets that open drivers would reveal.

Re:hum (1)

Desler (1608317) | about a year ago | (#43611181)

Intel has no problem because their business isn't selling GPUs.

Re:hum (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43611523)

Intel is the largest GPU company. Every Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge CPU has one, as will all desktop CPUs in the future.

Re:hum (1)

Desler (1608317) | about a year ago | (#43612091)

Yes, Intel sells CPUs with GPUs integrated. That doesn't change the fact that their core business is selling CPUs not GPUs. Or please link to where I can buy a discrete GPU from Intel. Nvidia's core business, on the other hand, is their GPUs.

Re:hum (1)

unrtst (777550) | about a year ago | (#43614211)

Yes, Intel sells CPUs with GPUs integrated. That doesn't change the fact that their core business is selling CPUs not GPUs. Or please link to where I can buy a discrete GPU from Intel. Nvidia's core business, on the other hand, is their GPUs.

Good point... personally, I'd like to purchase discrete intel video cards. I don't need core i7 performance, don't want the power consumption, and definitely don't want the price. AMD FX is fine by me. However, Intel's recent video performance is good enough, and completely open and well supported on Linux. I'd enjoy that combo. Currently, I've got a AMD FX box with nvidia card, and an AMD A-series box using the their integrated graphics. The Nvidia is much easier to work with (using proprietary drivers), and I've had a bunch of silly issues with the AMD graphics (tried both drivers).

I'm not sure why Intel doesn't release a discrete card, except maybe that they want to keep Nvidia alive and let them fight that battle.

Re:hum (1)

Kjella (173770) | about a year ago | (#43612413)

Would releasing full specs of the hardware to OSS coders reveal too much of secrets about the hardware?

The internal documentation would reveal way too much about the hardware, not just where they are but where they're going, so could the driver code and comments. It only takes one /* Will be done through/fixed by XYZ in next gen */ to potentially reveal important information on unreleased products. Could you strip it down to something terse that only says exactly what needs to be said in order to use it and nothing more? Maybe, but that's a lot of lawyer food. Instead AMD has mostly chosen the opposite approach, if we make working code what's the minimal level of documentation required to understand that code, which is usually lot less than the documentation required to figure out that's what the code must look like. There's a lot that could be done with the available AMD specs, it only lacks manpower.

Would having an full-feature open source driver actually hurt or improve business?

Depends if your drivers are currently a competitive advantage or disadvantage, In practice both AMD and nVidia consider their closed source drivers to have big advantages over their open source drivers that they're aren't willing or able to share freely. When you look at Mesa it's okay but when it comes to absolute performance and supporting the latest standards there's no doubt it has a long way to go. I don't think it's really that much about those two though, that rather brings us over to the next question.

Why does Intel have no problem having a relatively open driver development?

Why does MySQL have no problem being open source when Oracle is closed? Because I think it's fairly easy to say what way features would flow, there's not much MySQL could teach Oracle but there's a lot MySQL could learn from Oracle. Intel has two GPU companies that live and breathe graphics ahead of them, none after them (VIA has what, 0.01% or less market share) so they got absolutely nothing to lose, if they can enlist the open source community to help them it can only be to their advantage. Meanwhile AMD and nVidia really, really do not want to teach Chipzilla anything about making GPUs or drivers for them.

Re:hum (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | about a year ago | (#43612429)

Closed or controlled-as-in-android OS means forced obsolescence is way easier. Do you think hardware makers would keep subjecting themselves to MS Apple and Google now that alternative ecosystems cover A LOT of use cases?
This explains 3d, secure boot, acpi and other annoying problems that were not present when I was installing ppc linux on a powerbook in 2003.

Re:hum (0)

xaoslaad (590527) | about a year ago | (#43611059)

Probably because the 8 cents of PCB and 12 cents of metal on a new $500 GPU is not justified, even after R&D costs. Imagine if other people could enter the market and make $100 or $200 dollar top of the line cards. They're just trying to keep things status quo for their Oligopoly.

Re:hum (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43611235)

Those large PCB for high end cards are at least worth $10 a piece even for volume production and the plumbing on them aren't as cheap as you think due to the price of copper these days.

Would have preferred... (1)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | about a year ago | (#43610891)

I would have preferred benchmarks on Windows game performance in WINE. Sure, that would have added some extra configuration problems to the benchmarks, but those are the numbers I really care about as a Linux user that keeps a Windows boot around just for games. From my experience, that's also where AMD cards take a shit, whether using open or closed source drivers (sometimes it's performance, sometimes it's game-breaking bugs that don't affect nvidia cards).

How do you know both cards performed the same task (2)

zAPPzAPP (1207370) | about a year ago | (#43610903)

Maybe the Open Source driver does not support all the same features the NVidia one does?

I mean who can see from their screen if the GPU really did all of the 100+ flashy named video processing tasks and whatever else it was supposed to do?
Maybe it flunked on a certain texture-whatever effect and did a faster, almost as good one?
Maybe NVidia puts more auxillery tasks on the GPU, like physics stuff?

How can we compare the 2 drivers, when one of them is closed? And they dont even run on the same cards for AMD/NVidia...

Re:How do you know both cards performed the same t (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#43611007)

If you can't see the difference, does it matter?

Re:How do you know both cards performed the same t (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43611073)

The Summary says that the AMD open source driver out performed the nVidia open source driver, not that an open source driver beat a closed one.

Re:How do you know both cards performed the same t (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43611273)

More precisely, it said that both the closed-source drivers beat the open source ones with Nvidia's slightly ahead of AMD's.

Re:How do you know both cards performed the same t (1)

unrtst (777550) | about a year ago | (#43614275)

Should have just ranked them by speed. Slowest to fastest:
Nvidia with open source drivers
AMD with open source drivers
AMD with closed source drivers
Nvidia with closed source drivers ... I'd like to know where Intel's rank in that line up. I know they're slower than the closed source ones, but what about the open source ones (and what cards?)?

Open source FAIL (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43610951)

Yet again proving that CLOSED source is a far far better development model than open. This is also why Windows and OS X are light years ahead of Linux in pretty much every respect.

Poster FAIL (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43611055)

Give two groups the task to write a driver. Give one group full documentation of the hardware the driver is for. Give the other group no documentation of the hardware. Which group do you think will produce the better driver?

Indeed, even if full documentation were available, the manufacturer's programmers would still have an advantage since they can simply ask the hardware developers whenever anything is not entirely clear.

Re:Open source FAIL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43613099)

For people curious what the answer to this troll would be...

In AMD's case:

- The proprietary driver has been in development much longer

- The proprietary driver shares much code with the windows driver

- Related to the previous point: The proprietary driver has much more developers. (The open source driver has had 2 AMD employees for some time I believe and some months ago they made that 5). There are several big contributions from the community but GPU drivers is hard and specialized work, so not very many people can do it, or would want to do it in their own time

- Shortly after this article there was an experimental optimizing shader compiler pushed to master that according to some early testers boosts the performance again quite a bit

- AMD releases hardware documentation but I have heard that especially for newer hardware it is not really complete

- AMD allegedly has some code for the open source driver for power management and other stuff ready but they have always problems with legal review so they can't release it. This means that nobody else will invest that much time into it since it will be replaced by AMD's code anyway. One example of this is the code for using the UVD for video decoding that they recently released. That thing took forever to be deemed ok for release because they worried so much about not exposing secret DRM decoding methods or something.

That's all I can write down on the spot right now but there are probably several more things to consider. All in all the development could be faster but it is still quite good how it is.

Too little Too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43611113)

Now if only AMD didn't completely drop Linux support for 6 year old graphics cards. If you want hardware acceleration for your x300 or x1800 then you're stuck with 2.6 kernels. This is the same generation graphics card as the Geforce 7 series. In contrast, I can still get hardware acceleration with a Geforce 2 (13 years old!!) using Nvidia blobs.

Re:Too little Too late (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43611559)

The open source drivers support the older cards. ATI's plan is to dump support for legacy cards on to the community driver when it's too much of a pain in thte ass to keep the code going in their closed driver.

Re:Too little Too late (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#43612769)

And what is wrong with that? Didn't the FOSS community say "just open the specs and we'll support it" to everyone that would listen? Well here is their chance as AMD can't afford to keep supporting an arch that is no longer used anywhere in house anymore, the old cards used VLIW 4 and the new cards use vector based GCN so its NOT a case of simply backporting, the hardware just is no longer compatible.

Nvidia can support the older cards easier as they haven't had any major changes in the way they do things, with AMD that is simply not the case.

Re:Too little Too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43613161)

They didn't *completely* drop it. Their 5 full time employees for the open source driver can still work on the open source driver.

Do you really want to use that ancient, buggy fglrx? Really?

Who the hell uses nouveau (1)

opus_magnum (1688810) | about a year ago | (#43611269)

apart from RMS?

Re:Who the hell uses nouveau (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43611469)

apart from RMS?

Nice try, troll.

RMS doesn't buy nvidia cards. He only uses "FLOSS hardware."

Re:Who the hell uses nouveau (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year ago | (#43612347)

Not just that, he doesn't even use graphics cards. If all he does is live in emacs, why would he ever need graphics cards? He probably has X for the rare instance that he has to see a picture of something, but otherwise, he might just as well be having a vt100 terminal.

I'll stick with Nvidia/Nouveau. (4, Interesting)

DMJC (682799) | about a year ago | (#43611343)

I'm going to weigh in here. The Nouveau drivers are better than the open source ATi drivers. Simply because, the performance doesn't matter. It's the feature completeness of the drivers that matters. The Nouveau drivers have been very steadily working towards a point where all previous generation cards and the current generation cards have the same feature set at the same time. If you check out the nouveau feature matrix it's a stunning achievement how rapidly they've come to the point they're at. People don't seem to realise that aside from SLI, OpenCL and the hardware reclocking support. The Nouveau drivers are basically feature complete. Noone uses TV out anymore since HDMI/digital video has taken over. Within 2-5 kernel revisions, the reclocking stuff is going to be completed. When that hits, the Nouveau drivers are going to shatter the AMD ones for performance. Already in preliminary testing where reclocking was enabled, the Nvidia cards were performing at or above the level of the nvidia binary blob. When the reclocking support is turned on these cards are going to be running OpenGL 3.3 and probably pushing a lot of GL4 features. The interesting thing is if you check the status matrix, the same level of support exists in current high-end leading Nvidia graphics cards as in the previous generation's cards. This means that the nouveau driver appears to be similar to the Nvidia blob in that it's adapted to support multiple graphics card models easily.

Re:I'll stick with Nvidia/Nouveau. (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#43611795)

I very much hope you are right.

Re:I'll stick with Nvidia/Nouveau. (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about a year ago | (#43611893)

Noone uses TV out anymore since HDMI/digital video has taken over.

I was using it on an Nvidia mini-ITX motherboard only a few months ago. It won't be obsolete until the last analog TV dies. Considering that TVs last about a decade and HD only really took over a few years ago I'd say that TV-out has at least a few years left in it. That said, other than 2D codec support I doubt there is that much need for acceleration. The main use case for TV-out is to hook a PC up to a TV as a media player.

Re:I'll stick with Nvidia/Nouveau. (1)

antdude (79039) | about a year ago | (#43614471)

I still use TV out with my 19.5" CRT Sharp TV from January 1996! As for monitors, they're all old and LCD.

Nothing has changed. (1)

Rob_Bryerton (606093) | about a year ago | (#43611615)

Nothing has changed in a couple of years regarding the relative performance of the open source kernel drivers for NVidia and ATI cards and their closed source binary counterparts.

Given similar and modern hardware, the open source ATI driver is much better in several areas including general performance and ease of installation. I believe this is due to ATI publishing specs to a much greater extent, and I think they even have (had?) employee(s) dedicated to developing the OSS driver that ships w/the kernel. NV on the other hand, shows very clearly through their (in)actions that they do not give a shit about Linux, and the neuveau (sp?) driver is completely reverse engineered w/little to no help or interest from NV.

The closed binary drivers in terms of relative performance show the opposite with nVidia edging ATI out in terms of performance. But again, the ATI driver is a breeze to install where the NV driver installation is a bit quirky, for example forcing you to exit X to do the install. Not a big deal for most users, but probably a bit disconcerting for "newbies". Another thing that turned me off about the closed NV drivers in the past (don't know if this still holds) is that they would not install if you were running a Xen kernel, or if you were running VMware Workstation.

Another thing to keep in mind when selecting a card is GPU compute capabilities: cuda vs. OpenCL support. The level of support varies by both OS and program; some apps support one API but not the other. If your app supports OpenCL only, by all means go for the ATI card as they perform much better. If your app supports cuda only, or if the app happens to be Blender, then the only choice is NVidia because ATI cards cannot run the proprietary cuda API, and in the case of Blender, it's OpenCL implementation is severely lacking for various reasons regardless of operating system.

In the end, use your head and do your homework before deciding on a GPU, and ignore the troll headlines.

Re:Nothing has changed. (3, Interesting)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | about a year ago | (#43614601)

That's not entirely true.

In some individual tests in the benchmarks on Phoronix.com, the latest open source ATI drivers reach now 80-90% of the performance of the closed source drivers (most are still at something like 30%).

Maybe 2 years ago, the best individual test results were something like 30% of the performance of the closed source drivers. Benchmarks that would not run at all on the open source side were a lot more common that today (although Phoronix may since have settled on tests that are known to run on open source, so take this with a grain of salt).

So on ATI cards the open source drivers have come closer, but they still have a way to go.

In the case of the noveau driver for nVidia, I find it impressive that the developers got it to run by reverse engineering at all. Performance, however, looks like that of the open source ATI driver 1-2 years ago.

Great news I suppose (1)

Dega704 (1454673) | about a year ago | (#43612419)

It's just too bad that both open source drivers are still nowhere close to matching their proprietery couterparts.

GPU Support? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43612849)

Anyone know if the Linux drivers for the AMD graphics engine support CUDA and OpenCL?

If so, for which specific boards?

Are benchmarks yet available?

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