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ATI Video Processing Upgrade

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the shinier-all-around dept.

Graphics 142

An anonymous reader writes "FiringSquad has a hands-on look at ATI Catalyst 5.13 drivers for the Radeon X1800XL, with a focus on video quality. They say it's the greatest leap in video quality technology for ATI since the original Mach64-VT. They triple their HQV Benchmark DVD scores by adding diagonal filtering, unusual cadence detection, and even noise reduction. On top of the video quality improvements, the new drivers enable ATI's hardware H.264 support as well as hardware transcoding. Best of all, Catalyst 5.13 will be a free upgrade scheduled to be released to the public next week."

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V 5.13 (1, Informative)

matr0x_x (919985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14272954)

Is actually a fairly minor change... the next version should be a FULL update.

Re:V 5.13 (1, Offtopic)

The Ancients (626689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14272979)

Want to play poker on your Mac?

No - but I do want to know if the ATI update will run on my Mac.

Re:V 5.13 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14273103)

5kr00 dat, does it run Linux, err, the Sony rootkit (tm) ?!!

Re:V 5.13 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14273256)

Uhh, guh?

It's clearly not a minor change, they've overhauled the entire video (as in movie, not game) subsystem. This is not a minor change by any reasonable definition.

Re:V 5.13 (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14273364)

Not really.

Ati's naming scheme is this: major version number is the last years number (2004=4, 2005=5, 2006=6 etc) and the minor version number is the month. On special occasions the realese special versions, like this 5.13 at the end of the year.

So, no, the version number says absolutely nothing about the amount of changes. The driver also have a 'real' version number displayed deep down somehwere in the control panel for real version number diehards.

good work (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14272958)

For linking to the print version of the article, you are the winner of teh Intarnet!

all i have to say is (5, Interesting)

know1 (854868) | more than 8 years ago | (#14272980)

whenever i have used ATI on either windows or linux, something usually made the 3D display prone to being buggy as hell. maybe it's hardware, maybe it's thje driver, but nvidia have always been rock solid for me. maybe this improvement will fix ATI's problems

Re:all i have to say is (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14273134)

well, MY (didn't even have to be fabricated to make my point) anecdotal account says that nvidia cards blow up from overheating far too easily (like every one I've ever had) and all the ATI cards that I bought to replace blown up nvidia cards performed as well as the nvidia cards without bothering to blow up on me.

So there.

Re:all i have to say is (1)

stone2020 (123807) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273178)

I can tell you read the article. (it was about DVD performance) I can also tell you've owned recent ATI hardware too. I love the Nvidia drivers are better than ATI drivers myth.

Re:all i have to say is (1)

someone300 (891284) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273297)

I love the Nvidia drivers are better than ATI drivers myth.

Myth? Guess you've never used their Linux drivers then...

Re:all i have to say is (1)

stone2020 (123807) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273330)

So you've installed and used the latest ATI linux drivers? That's what I thought.

Re:all i have to say is (1)

tpgp (48001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14274296)

Pretty funny that you're arguing about which binary-only-piece-of-shit is better.

Ever tried using 3d acceleration, framebuffer and mpeg acceleration (on 64 bit linux) using either companies products?

Re:all i have to say is (1)

KangKong (937247) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273839)

About 10 years ago I swore not to buy an ATI chip, as I had nothing but trouble with my Mach64 card. Since then all my gfx cards have been nvidia and I couldn't be happier with the stability. Sorry, but I'm not trading in all these years of happy and stable nvidia gaming for ATI supposed stable drivers.
Most of my friends have had trouble with ATI cards in the last years and very few have had problems with nvidia. So unless nvidia gets far behind in the graphics race I won't switch, I don't want to go the ATI instability of my Mach64.
The nvidia drivers > ati drivers isn't some myth, lots of people have had that experience over the last years and are happy nvidia owners because of that.

Re:all i have to say is (1)

stone2020 (123807) | more than 8 years ago | (#14274070)

Comparing Windows 95 Ati Drivers to Windows XP Nvidia Drivers is pretty funny. All drivers for Windows 95/98/ME weren't very stable becuase of the OS. Ever heard of WHQL test that Windows XP drivers get tested with to prove they are stable? My friends blah, blah, blah. Thank you for proving the myth correct.

Re:all i have to say is (1)

KangKong (937247) | more than 8 years ago | (#14274282)

Sorry, but my nvidia drivers for my Riva TNT was perfectly stable under windows 98. Guess what, I wasn't running windows XP back then.

Ditto here (3, Interesting)

phorm (591458) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273218)

On the laptop I run the ATI drivers, all up to the newest, remind me of the nightmarish win9x days with older ATI cards. In windows my previous experience with ATI cards has been frightening as well. What good are features and clarity if you're getting bluescreens or freezing?

Now to be fair the NVidia cards have had some bugs, but generally not anything that seriously impacted usability, and the fix-time was usually much quicker for turnover.

Re:Ditto here (1)

brontus3927 (865730) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273374)

I hear about problems with ATi drivers all the time, but I've never experienced it. I used to own a 1st generation Radeon AIW. In my PII-400 machine I used Windows 98-XP and Mandrake 7.2 Although I must admit that the lack of linux drivers for the TV-tuner (the AIW was the only TV I had) is probably what stopped me from switching over to linux full time back in college.

But I never had a problem with stability; it never crashed. I'll also grant that the most advanced games I ever played on that machine were Civ III and Test Drive 6.

Re:Ditto here (1)

delus10n0 (524126) | more than 8 years ago | (#14274290)

I used to be strictly nVidia after bad experiences with ATi in the page (Rage Pro, yuck!), but a year or so ago I switched to an ATI X800 and haven't looked back. Drivers have been rock solid. I'd say ATi has really stepped up their driver/testing team.

Re:all i have to say is (1)

bogie (31020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273292)

I know this has a lot to do with game devs but for years it seemed like every single game that came out didn't work properly on ATI cards in some way or another and needed a patch. There was always some graphics bug preventing the game from working properly. That of course still happens today with all video cards including Nvidia ones. But for sure ATI cards owners have endured a lot of pain over the years due to buggy drivers. I can't believe in almost 2006 and that still can be an issue no matter what card you have. Sigh.

Re:all i have to say is (1)

Bralkein (685733) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273684)

Yeah, right. This is why I have trouble understanding why they won't just open-source their driver. I mean if NVidia are ahead on the driver front, then it kind of makes sense that they don't open-source their software, because then they might end up losing the lead because their super-secret formula wouldn't be so super-secret anymore. I still wouldn't agree with them, but I'd understand their argument.

I see so many people complaining about the ATI drivers, people who have a bad experience and decide never to buy their cards again. If ATI can't write drivers to save their life, then fine, maybe there's someone in the community who can. By open-sourcing their drivers, ATI would definitely take the lead in cross-platform compatibility, and they'd probably make up the performance difference too - we all know how full-on some gamers get about performance, if they knew how to tweak the driver code in order to squeeze out a few more FPS, you know they would. It would be a hell of a lot cheaper and easier than installing water cooling or whatever.

It just pisses me off. I can't even use the closed ATI drivers for Linux because they're so shit, they seem to break with every new kernel version, they don't work if I enable framebuffer console, and they're a PITA to install, even though I've done it enough times. It goes without saying that I'll be really surprised if these improvements with the new Windows drivers make it to Linux. Within a week I should be running X.Org 7.0, which comes with support for open-source ATI drivers, but I think that even those won't be too great, due to lack of documentation from ATI.

Just fucking sort it out, ATI!

Re:all i have to say is (1)

delus10n0 (524126) | more than 8 years ago | (#14274323)

Congrats, out of all the operating systems running ATi cards, your Linux OS represents probably 2%. Who cares?

No problems over here in Windows land and my ATi drivers.

Re:all i have to say is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14274333)

TFA implies that the X800 is a programmable platform, so the actual deinterlacing, noise reduction and other algorithms are actually inside the driver. If this is indeed the case, it will never be open sourced.

Re:all i have to say is (1)

todd10k (889348) | more than 8 years ago | (#14274121)

Neverwinter nights, Star wars: knights of the old republic, World of warcraft, call of duty 2, day of defeat: source, Dystopia, grand theft auto: san andreas, grand theft auto: vice city, grand theft auto 3, pretty much any playstation 2, nintendo 64, or ps1 emulator. ever played any of those? my ATI 9800 had massive problems with all of those. bad fps, artifacts, and, in the case of kotor, the game locks up if you look at any of the trees on dantooine (what the hell was up with that?. ) Paying 100 quid for a graphics card that used for 3 days pissed me off big time. it was the final straw. ever since purchasing my geforce 6600GT, i have never, ever looked back. i used ATI graphics cards for 3 years, and i will never go back. Im a gamer, and Nvidia is my choice.

Ditto! (1)

lotrtrotk (853897) | more than 8 years ago | (#14274154)

Just ask my friends how many Radeon 9600xt cards I've been through. So far my old GF4200ti has had to be a fall back for me a half-dozen times.

Best of all... (4, Insightful)

daVinci1980 (73174) | more than 8 years ago | (#14272988)

...is that a hardware vendor is releasing drivers for free?

Welcome to 2005, I realize things must be strange for you considering you've been frozen since 1930...

Re:Best of all... (4, Informative)

hawkbug (94280) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273177)

I believe the point of that original statement was concerning the H.264 and DVD codec improvements compared to their main competitor, Nvidia. As you may or may not know, Nvidia charges money for their DVD codec:

http://www.nvidia.com/object/dvd_decoder.html [nvidia.com]

I will never buy another ATI product again because I've been burned so badly by drivers in the past - however, I'll give ATI credit for not following in the greedy footsteps of their competitor, Nvidia. Charging for a DVD codec that's optimized for their hardware is just stupid. It's not bad enough they charge hundreds of dollars for the hardware? I applaud ATI for this move.

Re:Best of all... (4, Informative)

Jerry Coffin (824726) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273381)

I'll give ATI credit for not following in the greedy footsteps of their competitor, Nvidia. Charging for a DVD codec that's optimized for their hardware is just stupid.

There is a fundamental difference between the two though: ATI is providing this in the form of a driver that only works with ATI graphics cards. nVidia PureVideo, by contrast, is standard-based (admittedly not what you'd call an open standard, but a standard nonetheless) so it works with any video card that implements the standard.

IOW, ATIs offering is "free", but tied directly to their hardware. nVidia's offering isn't tied to any particular hardware and is paid for directly instead.

In most cases, "free" means you pay for it whether you want it or not.

Re:Best of all... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14273462)

Yeah, but NVIDIA could give PureVideo away for free with GeForce7 retail boxed GPUs.

Re:Best of all... (1)

Jerry Coffin (824726) | more than 8 years ago | (#14274116)

Yeah, but NVIDIA could give PureVideo away for free with GeForce7 retail boxed GPUs.

Well, not really -- nVidia doesn't sell retail boxed GPUs; what goes into the boxes is up to the OEMs. Considering they sell it retail for $20, I'm sure the OEM price on it is pretty low -- but I'd guess the OEM's pass because 1) their customers aren't asking for it, and 2) they already have deals in place to distribute other DVD player software anyway.

IOW, the only way this is going to happen is how I said before: that nVidia just tacks the price onto every GPU they sell, and you pay for it whether you want it or not.

The bottom line that there's always a price. The question is whether the price is paid by those who want/benefit from the product, or whether it's paid by everybody whether they want it or not. "Free" translates to the latter...

Re:Best of all... (2, Insightful)

xtal (49134) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273495)

Charging for a DVD codec that's optimized for their hardware is just stupid

It's only stupid if nobody pays.

Re:Best of all... (1)

Atmchicago (555403) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273527)

It's not bad enough they charge hundreds of dollars for the hardware?

Oh dear lord, they are charging lots of money for their products! How could they? Seriously, NVIDIA and ATI aren't in the business to give us nice cards for free - they are there to make a profit. If charging several hundred dollars gets them a profit, then that's what they'll do. Quit this whole "greedy" thing, please. That's what a free market is about.

Re:Best of all... (1)

hawkbug (94280) | more than 8 years ago | (#14274099)

You obviously didn't carefully read my post - I think it's greedy to charge for the damn codec to use the hardware you already paid for. I never said they couldn't charge whatever they wanted for the gear, they obviously charge a ton of money for it. Then on top of that, you pay for a DVD codec. It doesn't make sense.

Re:Best of all... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14274263)

Royalties must be paid to the DVD consortium and/or MPEGLA when you provide a DVD or MPEG2 decoder.... This is probably why NVIDIA somehow must charge for these pieces of software.

Re:Best of all... (0)

adslmaster (882246) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273274)

NVidia sells their PureVideo for $20, so the fact that ATI offers something better for FREE is pretty interesting, IMHO.

Re:Best of all... (3, Funny)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273275)

Welcome to 2005, I realize things must be strange for you considering you've been frozen since 1930...

More likely the submitter owns Sony PCs.

If you own a Sony computer (or a Mavica with an optical drive), don't lose your CDs!.

Re:Best of all... (2, Funny)

GoodbyeBlueSky1 (176887) | more than 8 years ago | (#14274095)

<cheap-shot>The replacement driver CDs probably come with rootkits anyway</cheap-shot>

Best of all, Catalyst 5.13 will be a free upgrade (0, Redundant)

millisa (151093) | more than 8 years ago | (#14272989)

Who woulda thought!
Free video driver updates!
Will wonders never cease.

Much better than those pay for drivers you get from . . .uh . . . you know, those other evil video card vendors.

Re:Best of all, Catalyst 5.13 will be a free upgra (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14273091)

nVidia's PureVideo costs between $20 and $50. Admittedly it includes a DVD player application, but ATI's drivers will be used by any standard DVD application anyway.

This rare '13th month of the year, the month of strange sorrows, the month of Grimuary' release includes the standard free drivers, and free stuff to activate what you pay a reasonable amount for with PureVideo.

Re:Best of all, Catalyst 5.13 will be a free upgra (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273922)

"Admittedly it includes a DVD player application"

If you buy built by ATI cards (i wish they had never allowed others to build them) you also get a DVD player it is in the media center that is on the cd.

the knock offs don't bother putting this in the package unless it is retail, ATI does it even on the OEM's

nVidia doesn't do it at all

"Free" (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14273011)

This isn't really free, we don't get the source or even the freedom to distribute it. When will these changes make it into fglrx btw?

Re:"Free" (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14273339)

Shut your bong hole, hippie!

Re:"Free" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14273476)

It is free, free as in beer. It is not FOSS or "libre"

Re:"Free" (1)

jim_v2000 (818799) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273618)

It's "free" as in it doesn't cost you anything to download. I think you mean "open".

Re:"Free" (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14273977)

It's "free" as in it doesn't cost you anything to download. I think you mean "open".

Just like all the mp3s in your iPod! Why are all open source advocates serial software pirates? Does open collaberation have to go hand in hand with a total lack of respect for man's right to private property?

Re:"Free" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14273655)

Oh my fucking god! No matter what a hardware or software company does some jackass needs to decry it for not being OSS or "free as in ____."

Shut your fucking faces, all of you! These companies don't have to make open-anything and you don't have to buy their closed whatever! If you want open hardware so damn badly, go raise a few million, research your OWN GPU core and contract a fab plant to make your OWN damn chips, then you can go right ahead and produce your own fully open-source graphics cards. Yes, of course you can publish all of your diagrams and schematics so that other tinkerers can solider up their own open-source video cards in their basements.

The point is this: These companies are selling products to make money. They don't have to do ANYTHING beyond selling you a piece of hardware and promising you it will work in the environment that they specify. If you don't like it, go vote with your fucking wallet and buy something else that IS open.

Re:"Free" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14273867)

right around the time it stops exposing the driver writers performance tricks to the competition: read never.

Re:"Free" (1)

IPFreely (47576) | more than 8 years ago | (#14274098)

This isn't really free, we don't get the source or even the freedom to distribute it.

Is that like "It isn't really free until I have more control over it"?

Ahh, fleeting freedom. To feel the wind in your face, to feel the grass under your feet. To be free to wander the countryside and take in the beautiful views, choose your own destiny.

So long as this software is trapped on disks, destined to bow to the whims of humans, to wander the maze of silicon like rats in a lab, to labor under the load of polygons and pixels, it will never truely be free.

Liberate you software! Throw it out the window. Until you do, it will never truely be free.

Support for Older Cards? (4, Interesting)

bchernicoff (788760) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273020)

What will they do for my 9800?

Re:Support for Older Cards? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14273107)

I don't know, I read the whole article and it says nothing about older cards only the X1800.

Re:Support for Older Cards? (0)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273124)

Older? When did the 9800 become "older"?

The moment you bought it (2, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273295)

The moment you bought it. Certainly the moment I bought it. Sigh, next machine will probably have to be a dual core sli 2gig monster. Really sad thing? My current p4 will be scrap as it consumers to much power and doesn't have the desktop performance for of my ancient dual p3 setup.

Oh well I can wait a bit. Apart from Sony MMO games most games still play well enough.

re: When did the 9800 become older? (1)

quest(answer)ion (894426) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273346)

...it's been two generations of card since it was released. i've got a 9600 and finding driver updates for it since the X series came out is like pulling teeth. yes, it's still a radeon chip, yes, it still works fine, but as far as ATI's concerned, the 9x00 series is legacy.

these driver updates are mainly just ironing out the bugs in bleeding edge cards before they stop being bleeding edge. i seem to remember the big hoopla over the 5.11 and 5.12 catalysts was mainly to do with crossfire bugs in the x_00 and x1_00 series. regardless of how ridiculous ignoring relatively recent cards like the 9x00 series is, grandparent's point is still valid: info on the status of older cards with these drivers is basically nill.

imho, the big reason for not paying attention to older radeons is the shift to PCIe--hardware nuts see AGP as a performance bottleneck, so hardware companies like ATI are concentrating on the new standard, working out the bugs and so on. [shrug] since they make most of their money on bleeding-edge enthusiasts, focusing on PCIe seems like a smart business move to me. those "stuck with AGP" will just have to deal until it's really obsolete.

Re:Support for Older Cards? (1)

Zathrus (232140) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273631)

q[When did the 9800 become "older"?]q

About two years now.

The 9800 line was released in early 2003, so it's closing in on being 3 years old at this point. There have been two full graphics line refreshes since then. And if you want to consider that the 9800 line was a minor refresh of the 9700 line, then it's closer to 3 1/2 years old already.

So yeah, it's "older", and has been for quite some time. If you bought yours last week then I'm sorry you haven't been paying any attention to the market for the past two years.

Re:Support for Older Cards? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14273239)

this will only work with x1000 series

Re:Support for Older Cards? (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273314)

I'd be careful.

After upgrading from 5.11 to 5.12 something crazy went wrong with my 9800XT. No DirectX accelerations will work. I've tried to uninstall those drivers and go back to 5.11, but that didn't help either.

It certainly doesn't make sense that installing drivers can screw up hardware, but thats what it seems happened to me.

Re:Support for Older Cards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14273446)

Have you tried the ATI Driver Removal tool? ATIs drivers dont alwayss uninstall right, you may have files from both versions. The tool is available on ATIs website.

Re:Support for Older Cards? (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 8 years ago | (#14274288)

Yes, thanks. In fact, I was due for a complete format and reinstall, and even that didn't help.

Re:Support for Older Cards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14273968)

I've had to go back to good old 4.12 with my 9700 Pro. If I used the 5.XX series, after a few hours I have to reboot purely because both 2D and 3D acceleration just stops dead, sometimes just completely blacks the screen out.

ATi have had numerous VPU Recover reports now.

It does seem quite 9700 Pro specfic in this case, not that is going to matter for much longer, just waiting for AMD to start releasing AM2 socket processors and I'll be rid of this Intel P4 and this ATi 9700 Pro.

Lost Interest (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273021)

I used to do be one of those people first on the block for all newest video cards, but that trend is over for me. When the next gen consoles are ready, I plan to do all my gaming there. The unstable drivers, overheating $5 fans and eyecandy PC games left me with a sour taste.

I seriously would have no problem paying $400 a card if it worked flawlessly for every game and the performance rivals tomshardware benchmarks.

So you prefer consoles? (1)

michaeltoe (651785) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273065)

Instead of a graphics card, you buy an XBox 360 which costs just as much, crashes, and burns down your house. Great.

Good Thing (1)

The Real Nem (793299) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273075)

Good thing the XBox 360 is as stable as a drunk two-year-old on stilts [gearbits.com] .

Re:Good Thing (2, Funny)

Chowser (888973) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273146)

I am offended that you are saying my two-year old cannot hold her liquor.

Re:Good Thing (1)

PakProtector (115173) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273229)

And I, [sir/madam], am offended that you say you have a two-year old.

Re:Lost Interest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14273238)

Tomshardware is a great benchmarking site for all of your ASUS hardware needs...

Re:Lost Interest (1)

transatlantique78 (812825) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273376)

I seriously would have no problem paying $400 a card if it worked flawlessly for every game and the performance rivals tomshardware benchmarks.

One word: Matrox [matrox.com] .

Granted, those aren't gaming-oriented cards by any definition, but they're real workhorses.

Damn reliable too, I'm still using a Millenium II which must be close to 10 years old -- never glitched, through at least 4 computers and as many OSes.

huh? (0)

GmAz (916505) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273026)

Since when are drivers charged for? Man, my tab must be a hell of a lot from NVidia then.

Re:huh? (4, Informative)

Dster76 (877693) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273079)

From TFA:

In comparison, PureVideo has never been free. It starts off at $20 for the "bronze" edition with basic SPDIF out support or 2 channel audio, $30 for the gold version with 5.1 analog out, and $50 for the platinum version with DTS support. When price shopping for a new GPU, if you're going with NVIDIA you need to factor in the extra $20 that you wouldn't have to with a built-by-ATI card.

Here's a link to nVidia's PureVideo [nvidia.com] that seems to confirm that it
  • isn't free
  • does much the same things as the new free ATI software described in TFA

Re:huh? (1)

GmAz (916505) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273202)

Ya, the purevideo is not the same as NVidia's Forceware drivers. Its a seperate product. ATI's Catalyst drivers have always been free. It seems that they are just adding this into the catalyst driver. NVidia's thing is a completely seperate thing.

Re:huh? (1)

Frenchy_2001 (659163) | more than 8 years ago | (#14274412)

In other news, PowerDVD and WinDVD are not free either... ie: the nVidia PureVideo is the heir of the nVidia nV-DVD. It is a software DVD player that takes advantage of DirectX8 hardware for acceleration. I would have found this comparison more useful if they had added PowerDVD or WinDVD, as you will always get *some* DVD player with a new graphic card (retail). It would be interesting to test the couple graphic card/DVD player instead of doing an artificial test on their drivers. Sure, both lines include MPEG1/2/4 hardware acceleration, but most 3rd party software already take advantage of this. I would have liked to see how well they all act, on each hardware. And PureVideo is not free because of the DVD decoding. The ATI DVD player is not free either, it is bunddled with some ATI cards (AIW mostly), like PureVideo, WinDVD or PowerDVD are for nvidia cards.

Re:huh? (1)

jmcmunn (307798) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273088)


Exactly, every time I format a machine (yes Windows) I just go get the latest version of the vid drivers from the ATI site. Usually there is a recent update (within the past couple months) for FREE. Granted, older cards don't get updated as often...but the drivers have always been free for me.

Re:huh? (1)

Minwee (522556) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273201)

That's okay. If Reading The Full Article was charged for, you'd still be in the clear.

Comments like this one might even make you money.

and by released we mean for windows (2, Insightful)

Surt (22457) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273035)

Not to lesser operating systems, nor to open source of course.

Linux video support? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14273042)

Do they do all that nice stuff in the Linux version of their drivers, too? X11 has a standard extension for hardware accelerated motion compensation (Xvmc), but to date it seems to be only supported by VIA, of all possible vendors.

Scoring system odd (4, Insightful)

ironwill96 (736883) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273053)

FTFA: The Radeon X800 XL with Catalyst 5.12 failed miserably on both of these tests. The Radeon X1800 XL with Catalyst 5.13 flies through these tests with flying colors. Both XGI and ATI require a little bit of extra time to detect the 3:2 cadence in comparison to NVIDIA, but it's still fast enough to score a perfect score.

Their verdict from this:
Score
Tied 3rd place: ATI, NVIDIA, XGI (10 points)

So apparently their scoring system favors ATI from the get-go (read the article and you will see they knock Nvidia and XGI back if they take longer than the other, but as shown above they ignore the same discrepancy when it applies to ATI). Also, why are they tied for third!? Wouldn't that be tied for first?
I think this article is poorly written and i'm not going to trust the results until I see something from some other sites once a final release driver is out.

Re:Scoring system odd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14273137)

The benchmark defines 10 points as detecting the sequence "within 5 frames." There's still a range of how fast you can detect while still getting 10 points on the score.

Re:Scoring system odd (4, Informative)

hattig (47930) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273148)

Blame the benchmark. You get full scores for cadence detection if the card has detected it before the car gets to a certain point in the video. Being faster doesn't matter if the other card is still fast enough.

The site hasn't assigned arbitrary scores.

The benchmark is an industry standard one, btw. It's probably not perfect, but a couple of frames here and there wouldn't alter the scores significantly in the end if the scoring was finer grained.

Re:Scoring system odd (1)

kesuki (321456) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273603)

Well, clearly S3 and matrox took 1st and 2nd place if ATI Nvidia and XGI are tied for 3rd place!

Re:Scoring system odd (1)

ThurstonMoore (605470) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273725)

I learned a long time ago to take what firingsquad says with a grain of salt, because of stuff like this.

What video card is good? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14273067)

Ive had an ati 9600 all in wonder pro for a while now and one day in the middle of nowhere the tv tuner stopped working. I got it working for a few day s after a system restore but then never again.

ati's drivers are a nightmare. i hope i never use them again.

What is a good non-ati video card for cool game graphics and pornography?

Re:What video card is good? (3, Insightful)

Jarnis (266190) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273485)

Sounds to me like a broken videocard.

Working ATI videocards work fine with latest ATI drivers. I've seen a lot of broken ones (9600, 9600XT, 9800pro series all common) that exhibit very odd problems with certain driver versions.

Swap in another copy of the card and the drivers all work flawlessly.

Stop blaming drivers when your hardware fails. Warranty is there for a reason. Naturally do check first if your windows is b0rked, but it's fairly common to see failing vidcards. People never clean their fans, dust builds up, heat does it's job and then we have truly bizzarre effects - which sometimes only show with specific driver versions.

(I work at PC repairs. I see these 'ati drivers stopped working' computers every week. 90% of the time if the usual 'reinstall windows + latest drivers' doesn't work, its a faulty videocard, and the other 10% of time time it's a faulty motherboard...)

free drivers? What a country! (1)

boarder (41071) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273130)

So, an anonymous reader submitted this overly glowing "review?"

After reading the blurb and the article, it looks like the reader is a P.R. person for ATI and the writer of the article a paid shill of ATI. I'm so glad I don't have to pay for this driver update like I do with all of my other hardware... such a relief. Now console gamers have one less thing to knock us PC gamers for. The author says ATI did worse on certain test but still gave them a perfect score to tie with the two who beat them. The rest of the review isn't much better.

I'm a proud owner of an ATI video card... I paid $180 for it 2 years ago, and it still plays current gen games well enough for me. This review and post are just worthless, though.

Re:free drivers? What a country! (5, Informative)

hattig (47930) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273199)

Err, the equivalent nVidia software is $20 to $50, if you had read the article or other comments here. The base drivers are free, yes. The extra features are free on ATI's side, but not free on nVidia's side. Expect nVidia to fight back within a couple of months with better algorithms and free/cheaper software.

The same site gave nVidia the lead just earlier in the month, prior to these new drivers. Doesn't sound like they're paid off to me. The benchmark scores are how the benchmark defines them, and the site didn't make the benchmark. Your post is just a typical hysterical (and probably fanboy) overreaction that slanders a website that has put a lot of effort into showing what the latest drivers can provide for a user. Pretty sad, really.

Re:free drivers? What a country! (1)

boarder (41071) | more than 8 years ago | (#14274164)

Re-read my post and you'll see that the knock on the statement about free drivers was about the blurb, not the actual article. The blurb makes it sound like the drivers are what you are getting for free, not the DVD decoding software. Catalyst is the name of their drivers, so of course they are going to be free. A better statement would've been, "The Catalyst drivers will be available later with the H.264 support added in as a free bonus."

Also, how can my post be interpreted in any way as fanboy? There is no way it can be. Period. I say I proudly use my old ATI card because it works well after a long time (for this industry) and didn't cost too much at the time. In the same post I criticize what sounds to me like ATI paying for (what seems to me) a badly written review and then posting it to /. for attention. I also knock ATI's results in the benchmark. So, I say I really like ATI and yet still criticize them. I also never mention the quality of any other brands. Fanboys tout their favourite product with no critical thought and stick to buying said product whenever they can. My next video card purchase will probably be Nvidia, because they are the current price/performance leader with the 6600GT. I don't need to at the moment, though; but when I do I'll check to see if ATI has a better card.

Hell, I always root for S3 when they jump around in their seats raising their hands, because they want to announce to the class that their new gpu is ultra-cool and will cost next to nothing. Of course, it never happens, but I still like their gusto.

Transcoding? (1)

ShyGuy91284 (701108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273138)

What I'm really curious about is the "AVIVO Video Converter", or transcoding abilities. I remember the demo of it on a site a few months ago, and actually gave me a reason to upgrade to the latest generation of cards. But the article said nothing other then a brief mentioning of it in the features.

The question everyone wants to know is: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14273188)

Where's the fscking Linux support?

Everytime theres an ATI submittion I have to reply (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14273197)

It's amazing ATI does as well as it has considering their track record of writing drivers. If you buy an ATI product, for a lot of programs it will be: buggy, not work at all, crash, or slow; and in general a: pain to install & uninstall, rudementary functionality non-functional, abandoned. These things can be said for other makers, but not to the degree and consistency of botchedness. Friends don't let friends buy ATI.

no download (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14273211)

only 5.12 drivers listed for download here:
https://support.ati.com/ics/support/default.asp? deptID=894&task=knowledge&folderID=27

Re:no download (1)

hattig (47930) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273235)

The article mentions that the drivers will be released on the 22nd December, once they're WHQL certified.

Re:no download (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273340)

Or, you know, never if you happen to have a Radeon mobility and your laptop manufacturer doesn't see any reason to release updates unless the old one crashes.

Luckily a hacked version that will load for laptops anyway should be out shortly after the official desktop release.

Re:no download (1)

ahmusch (777177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273502)

Mobility Radeon 9600 and up are natively supported by the ATI Catalyst drivers.

Re:no download (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273635)

I have a 9700.

When I try to install the mobility drivers on my system, they exit with a message saying that I need to obtain the drivers from my laptop vendor.

There is an application that hacks the check out of the installer, and then the drivers work just fine, but I still wouldn't call that 'supported'.

PPU (1)

Rac3r5 (804639) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273232)

I remember there was an article on slashDot earlier regarding the PPU or Physics Processing Unit. Anyone know if they're being used for games? Are ATI or NVIDA planning on having on on their cards?

Re:PPU (2, Interesting)

SpinJaunt (847897) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273732)

if you search one of the above companies say that there products are already powerful enough not to need ush things, which given some of the physics I've seen in some of the more recent games is quite true, although I still wonder how much the CPU plays part, not the GPU.

Maybe if M$ was to update DirectX and require more physics related hardware accelerated physics then it might well hold and the whole PPU thing would pretty much sink, atleast as a seperate card, it would be just an additional unit inside the GPU.

Best of all?? (1)

Stan Vassilev (939229) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273241)

"Best of all, Catalyst 5.13 will be a free upgrade" That's the BEST of the whole deal? Move along, nothing to see here.

My main beef with the comparison.. (4, Interesting)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273289)

I just have one "minor" beef with the review. For all the image quality tests in this, they are compairing the current generation ATI 1800XL (the low end, high end card) against a last generation nVidia middle line card. To be fair, it should be against the nVidia 7800GT... but who is really looking at these things anyway.

Will it make a whole lot of difference if a 7800GT was used or not? I don't know for sure, but at least it would be fresh apples vs fresh oranges comparison, not fresh apples vs moldy oranges... The 7800GT's have hardware H.264 and more hardware help for de-interlacing then the 6600 does. Do a fair comparison is all I can say.

Re:My main beef with the comparison.. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14273768)

From Nvidia's site:

"NVIDIA PureVideo technology is available in the following NVIDIA graphics solutions:

* GeForce 7800 GPUs
* GeForce 6800 GPUs
* GeForce 6600 GPUs
* GeForce 6200 GPUs
* GeForce Go 7800 GPUs
* GeForce Go 7300 GPUs
* GeForce Go 6800 GPUs
* GeForce Go 6600 GPUs
* GeForce Go 6400 GPUs
* GeForce Go 6200 GPUs
* NVIDIA Quadro FX 4400
* NVIDIA Quadro FX 4000
* NVIDIA Quadro FX 3400
* NVIDIA Quadro FX 1400
* NVIDIA Quadro FX 540
* NVIDIA Quadro FX Go1400
* NVIDIA Quadro FX 4400G
* NVIDIA Quadro FX 4000 SDI"

And as far as I know the 7800 series hasn't added any more power to their H.264 decoding

Re:My main beef with the comparison.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14274052)

They talk about this. NVIDIA was able to trickle down the 7800 GTX's video *quality* features into the 6600GT with the latest driver release. That's actually a real strength to NVIDIA's solution.

Free for the decoder upgrade (2, Insightful)

Bullfish (858648) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273294)

The reason it is pointed out that this upgrade is free is that nVidia charges for its Pure Video codec packs. nVidia does not charge for normal driver upgrades. Frankly, I agree with the article, if you shell out for one of nVidia's high end cards, this should be given as a free pack-in. It is just gouging otherwise.

That said, the ATI cards are generally more versatile out of the box (in my opinion) than nVidia, which tends to make pure gaming cards.

Not Best of All (2, Funny)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273750)

Best of all, Catalyst 5.13 will be a free upgrade scheduled to be released to the public next week.

Not best of all at all. Best of all is sending me the card free, sending out a technican to install it along with the drivers for free, and then paying me to use it all afterwards. A couple games, btw, would also be nice.

This is just the next best thing.

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