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Tom's Hardware Reviews ATI and Nvidia on Linux

CowboyNeal posted more than 8 years ago | from the pretty-pictures dept.

201

Beuno writes "I stumbled upon a GeForce vs Radeon review on Tom's Hardware, which seems normal enough. The big surprise is that it was actually a comparison of those two video cards on Linux (Fedora Core 5). The review isn't as thorough as I would like, but it does review all aspects ranging from tools available, complexity of getting them to work and benchmarks on performance. To me, this is a clear signs of Linux finally making a long expected breakthrough into common desktops."

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Compatibility... (3, Insightful)

ChowRiit (939581) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724766)

Maybe this trend will have all game manufacturers making their games Linux compatible too? (As opposed to having to run them through emulators like Wine and Cedega)...

I know I'd move properly from XP if this were the case, and I suspect a lot of gamers feel the same way - there are a large portion that only use XP because getting the games to run under Linux is such a hassle.

We can but hope...

Re:Compatibility... (5, Informative)

Billy the Impaler (886238) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724779)

WINE and Cedega are not emulators, rather, they implement a compatibility layer. Cedega is a proprietary fork of WINE that has more advanced DirectX implementation.

Re:Compatibility... (1, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724906)

This is an important distinction, by the way. While it does probably mean slower performance than running the same program natively under Linux, there have been instances where games run faster under Wine or Cedega than under Windows.

Cedega does cause a price problem, though. I would encourage everyone to use Cedega and wipe out their XP partitions so that games start being ported, but I can't really recommend it for the price alone. New Windows every 7 years: $200. Cedega: $5/mo = $120/year. Thus, Cedega is more expensive than Windows.

Wine is better for everything but games, though. While I would like to see something similar to the Point2Play interface, especially if I could get some nice sandboxing, it isn't really necessary. But, right now, Wine seems to have a better overall architecture than Cedega -- cleaner design -- and it does seem to support things that Cedega does not.

Re:Compatibility... (5, Funny)

0racle (667029) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724947)

Hm, 5x12=120? You went to an American school didn't you, or do you live on some other planet that has 24 months in a year?

Re:Compatibility... (1, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725205)

. . .do you live on some other planet that has 24 months in a year?

No, he lives on a planet where 7 years have 84 months.

KFG

Re:Compatibility... (1)

McNihil (612243) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724902)

being in the busines... DX# is a major impediment. Wine is in the short turn better because that will make sure that all older games will work thus not leaving anybody behind as soon as Microsoft decides to stop supporting something.

Don't be hard on wine because they are doing very good and important stuff for us all. I am not a wine developer.

Re:Compatibility... (1)

xdotx (966421) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725207)

WINE: Wine Is Not an Emulator.
It's all in the name.

No thanks... (3, Funny)

pdbaby (609052) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724768)

No thanks... I'll wait for the 300 page Toms Hardware revi-oh. I see.

Re:No thanks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15724786)

I'm sure they will make a lot of money in ads from this article ;-)

Re:No thanks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15724860)

there are adverts on tomshardware ? LOL [mozdev.org]

Re:No thanks... (1)

just_forget_it (947275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724896)

I love reading Tom's Hardware articles, they are so informative.

Re:No thanks... (3, Funny)

just_forget_it (947275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724903)

DOH, i meant..
I *next page* love *next page* reading *next page* Tom's Hardware *next page* articles, *next page* they *next page* are so *next page* informative.

RTFA (0, Troll)

LCookie (685814) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724771)

That article is so biased it almost hurts.. "Almost no difference" between NVIDIA and ATI cards under Linux, you gotta be kidding me, even a GeForce MX can outperform a Radeon under Linux.. ATI paid them... Don't listen..

Linux on the desktop (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15724781)

This is all very well but Linux's big breakthrough on the desktop won't come until we can play Duke Nukem Forever on Linux.

Re:Linux on the desktop (4, Funny)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724785)

What are you talking about? It plays exactly the same on Linux as it does on Windows. Just as easy to install, and even the exact same framerate.

Re:Linux on the desktop (4, Interesting)

Baloo Ursidae (29355) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724849)

Just as easy to install, and even the exact same framerate.

I've found, on the same hardware, that GTA: Vice City runs *smoother* with higher graphics settings in Cedega on Linux than natively in Windows. That really surprised me.

Re:Linux on the desktop (3, Insightful)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724934)

Maybe because Linux uses less RAM than Windows XP, or uses virtual memory better? Nvidia's driver code should be more or less the same, and there's no chance that cedega speeds up directx by converting it to OpenGL. I've had very good experiences with running Championship Manager under wine, and that's just a huge database.

Re:Linux on the desktop (3, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724970)

Check your RAM usage - for a lot of modern games under Windows, goig from 512meg to 1gig makes a considerable difference. Going from (say) 250 meg free to 350meg free is likely to have a noticeable effect too. I'd imagine that your Linux install uses less RAM than your Windows one, assuming you have third party firewall and anti-virus software under Windows.

2007 it is! (4, Funny)

QCompson (675963) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724782)

To me, this is a clear signs of Linux finally making a long expected breakthrough into common desktops.

Yes, how can anyone doubt that 2007 will be the year of linux on the desktop?

Re:2007 it is! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724907)

Well I won't believe it until Netcraft confirms it! ;-)

Performance issues (5, Interesting)

also-rr (980579) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724788)

Generally performance running games on Linux has been a mixed bag (on the same hardware).

NWN, WoW and UT have all been slightly faster than the Windows version, and crashes have been less of a problem (ctrl-alt-f1, kill task, no need to reboot - which _is_ required for some reason under Windows as games seem to offer best performance off a fresh reboot... resource recovery problems in the DirectX subsystem maybe?)

On the other hand EVE runs slower, with more graphical artifacts. Yes I'm aware that this is because it doesn't play that nicely with WINE and the fact that it runs in a playable fashion is a small miracle. It is still the case that if you want the best performance then you have to play it on Windows, for now.

Re:Performance issues (0)

tolan-b (230077) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724854)

NWN, WoW and UT on WINE do you mean? What about native UT?

Re:Performance issues (1)

also-rr (980579) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724909)

Whichever method worked best. For both UT and NWN that was native, not via WINE. (Although in many cases the set up to play the Windows version with Cedega is easier than the native setup... YMMV.)

Re:Performance issues (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724937)

# emerge ut2004

Ok, I cheated. Our ut2004 comes on four or five CDs, each of which has data files which must be copied over. Same with Doom 3. However, there's no next-next-next at all, just agree to one license and go.

Re:Performance issues (1)

FinchWorld (845331) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725041)

The DVD version of UT2004 Is a doddle to install on Linux, it even has a gui to do it that ran for me when I inserted the DVD.

Re:Performance issues (1)

praedictus (61731) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725313)

I've had no troubles getting the native linux games running, NWN, DOOM3, and UT2004 all run flawlessly. I haven't played with WINE gaming, though if I get anything that requires XP I'll get around to it. The farthest I've gotten with WINE is getting Excel to run, and even that was iffy: the save as feature doesn't work though a regular save did. I did like the NVidia drivers, upgrading a 5200 to a 6600GT was as simple as power down, swap cards, power up. No reboots to install drivers, it JUST WORKS. Gaming (read Blizzard) is really is the only reason I haven't wiped the Win partition and converted it and my media partition to Reiserfs or ext3

let them do a Notebook comparison and see ATI fall (4, Interesting)

Locutus (9039) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724803)

...on their face. Most laptops with ATI Mobility Express chipsets can't use the onboard video memory. ATI broke this a year ago and has not fixed it.

So don't trust ATI for Linux capabilities on notebooks.

Maybe Toms Hardware can do a notebook comparison since they've already done the desktop. I'm pretty sure that would expose this failure to far more than the few who already are aware of this. And just maybe, it'll get ATI to fix this.

LoB

Re:let them do a Notebook comparison and see ATI f (4, Informative)

killpog (740063) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724837)

Yup, I agree. No comparison yet. I advise all my clients not to buy ATI. They will not respond to requests for support, and refuse to acknowlege any bugs. They disgust me.

Re:let them do a Notebook comparison and see ATI f (3, Informative)

laffer1 (701823) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725190)

There are other reasons to buy nVidia. They actually support OTHER open source operating systems. (FreeBSD, Solaris) I can play some games under FreeBSD 6 like Enemy Territory quite nicely using the nvidia binary drivers. The binary drivers got me to buy my first nVidia card ever. I'm rather impressed with it considering its not even one of their more recent cards (only fx5200). xorg support sucks above 9200 chipsets as their is no 3d acceleration. I only wish nvidia made their own video cards like ati does. I've had bad luck with some oem cards. (one nvidia and several ati)

They missed something in the article. (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724810)

You can play Quake 3 using only free software and a 9600XT, you can't with a 7800GT.

Re:They missed something in the article. (1)

Munchr (786041) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724827)

No, you can't. Unless you're advocating piracy, you must still purchase a copy of Quake 3. Just because the sourcecode is available for free does not mean that the art and level resources are.

Re:They missed something in the article. (1)

Jacek Poplawski (223457) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724840)

You don't know what you are talking about. He wrote "Free Software" not "without paying any money". You can play Quake3 using only the Free Software, as long as you are using Radeon or Intel supported by DRI.

Re:They missed something in the article. (1)

Munchr (786041) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724855)

The point is, Quake 3 is NOT "free software". You cannot play Quake 3 using ONLY free software.

Re:They missed something in the article. (1)

Aim Here (765712) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724871)

The game code is free software. The data files that you buy from your favourite retailer in the Quake 3 box aren't, however. I'm down with that.

However, to spoil your nitpick, but won't there be free third party data files (maybe even Id software's demo levels too) that you can use with your free software Quake 3 binary?

Re:They missed something in the article. (2, Informative)

SillyNickName4me (760022) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725181)

However, to spoil your nitpick, but won't there be free third party data files (maybe even Id software's demo levels too) that you can use with your free software Quake 3 binary?

Indeed. [idsoftware.com]

Re:They missed something in the article. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15724877)

You can indeed play Quake 3 using nothing but free software. The catch is that you need the non-free media files, which don't really count as software. They're data, that's all. That'd be like claiming you can't listed to MP3s of commercially available music using only free software, just because the music files aren't free.

The Q3 engine does actually run without any of id's data files. There are at least two sets of free data files you can use with a free software Quake 3 engine - Tremulous, and Alien Arena. You can also run a surprising number of TCs without the original data files too, if you don't mind the occasional missing texture or sound effect somewhere. None of that is really relevant, because none of those actually are Quake 3 - they're each a game in their own right.

Re:They missed something in the article. (2, Funny)

FinestLittleSpace (719663) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724885)

You're a pedantic idiot who read wrong. Oh the irony.

The original parent was RIGHT. You CAN play Quake 3 using only free software, just like >>I, using WINE, can use something such as Visio 'using only free software'.

Wanker,

Re:They missed something in the article. (1)

linvir (970218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724898)

What non-free software do you have to run to play Quake 3? Or is there non-free software somewhere else in the game itself? The installer? What?

Re:They missed something in the article. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724912)

Yes, it is. It costs money, but it's still "free" as in "libre" -- you can get sourcecode for Quake 3.

Re:They missed something in the article. (1)

KarmaMB84 (743001) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724841)

So there's GPLed BIOS and firmware for all those PC components too?

Re:They missed something in the article. (0, Redundant)

Khyber (864651) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724859)

But I can play Quake 3 under linux (ubuntu) with a GeForce 6200. What does that tell you?

Re:They missed something in the article. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724930)

It tells me no one cares. Quake 3 is probably old enough that it's playable in software mode, or on a 3dfx card.

Re:They missed something in the article. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15724894)

You can play Quake 3 using only free software and a 9600XT, you can't with a 7800GT.
..you must mean free drivers, since Quake 3 isn't free :) If that's correct then it's really good news. Radeon 8500/9000/9200 used to be the best video cards with free drivers. I had Radeon 9200 in my desktop before and it was really easy to setup. Now I only have Geforces and they only work with proprietary nVidia drivers. It's sad that nVidia is pretty much your only option when choosing graphics card for a linux desktop machine. I'm day dreaming of well performing video card with free drivers..

Re:They missed something in the article. (1)

laffer1 (701823) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725196)

Unless this is recent, 9200 and lower are the only ones with 3d acceleration in xorg. I have a 9600xt all in wonder and i've never had 3D acceleration working without getting binary ATI drivers. (linux) And since i'm more of a BSD person, its really bad.

Re:They missed something in the article. (1)

Mad Merlin (837387) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725294)

Experimental 3D acceleration support for ATI cards >9200 is already in Xorg, see the old page (from before it was merged with Xorg) here: http://r300.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net] .

Re:They missed something in the article. (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725314)

Nope, there's a working r300 driver in CVS. I had Nexuiz running with it two days ago, constant 60fps at 1280x1024 (although turning on HDR makes it choke). On the other hand it doesn't have EXA support so Composite is painfully slow.

Re:They missed something in the article. (2, Informative)

SillyNickName4me (760022) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725202)

..you must mean free drivers, since Quake 3 isn't free :)

So tell me, what the source packages on this page [idsoftware.com] are about.

Let me quote the most relevant entry on that page:

Q3A 1.27g Game Source This is the combined source code for Quake III Arena and Quake III: Team Arena. It can be used to build the 1.27g point release or the Team Arena release. It contains buildable project files and all related game source code as well as prebuilt tool executables.

It is released under the GPL. How is that not free software?

Ah, you mean the game data? You can get that for free as well abeit with some limits, and as a matter of fact there are free and Free datafiles for quake 3 that do not need the data files from ID software to work.

quite good article (3, Funny)

Jacek Poplawski (223457) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724834)

They even mentioned DRI.

prit version, coralized version (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15724870)

The print version [tomshardware.com] and because that didn't work for me, the same via coral cache [nyud.net]

ATI, Linux, and Apple (3, Informative)

miyako (632510) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724881)

I've always used nVidia cards, which have always worked well for me under Linux. I've never tried getting an ATI card to work because I've never heard anything other than it was sheer agony to use an ATI card under Linux.
In general, this is fine. If a hardware vendor doesn't support my OS, then I will buy from a vendor who does. In this case, nVidia hovers between "almost as good as" and "slightly better than" ATI, depending on who has most recently released a new video card, so it's not a big compromise.
I do find ATIs lack of Linux support to be disappointing now however, because those of us interested on running Linux on an intel mac are stuck with a choice between ATI and an embedded crappy video card.
Incidentally, has anyone had any luck getting Linux to dual boot with OS X on one of the newer iMacs? I'm interested in getting one, but until Autodesk offers an Intel Mac version of Maya I'm stuck on Linux (and actually, even if there were an Intel Mac version, I'm not sure I want to pay the fee to transfer my license from Linux to Mac) so I can't justify getting a new machine unless it can run Linux well with good 3D support.

Re:ATI, Linux, and Apple (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725066)

because those of us interested on running Linux on an intel mac are stuck with a choice between ATI and an embedded crappy video card.

Realistically, this will only make a difference if you are playing games or doing GPGPU work. The recent Intel chips compare well with one or two generation old hardware from nVidia; they even have pixel shader hardware, which is used for a number of effects in a modern graphical environment.

By the way, anyone looking for a GPU to use with free drivers on FreeBSD should look at Intel. Now Eric Anholt (the FreeBSD DRI maintainer) is working at Intel, FreeBSD support is improving rapidly.

Re:ATI, Linux, and Apple (4, Informative)

matrixhax0r (988785) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725179)

There's a new opensource driver for ATI cards. As you may already know, ATI released code and documentation for their old r200 and r100 based cards. Then the opensource community used that information to write opensource drivers which are now found in X11-DRM and Mesa.

However, for r300 and up, ATI wanted to force users to use their proprietary drivers which have really sucked so far. Never fear! There's the r300 project currently in development that aims to add support for these more modern cards. What started as an invididual project (http://r300.sourceforge.net/R300.php), is now fully integrate into the the offical DRM and Mesa development trees.

Although the r300 driver is not in the offical DRM nor Mesa releases yet, the are in the CVS tree.
DRM - cvs.freedesktop.org:/cvs/dri checkout drm
Mesa - cvs.freedesktop.org:/cvs/mesa checkout Mesa
There are quite a few guides on compiling and using these sources. I recomend checking the Gentoo Forums. They support EXA and Xorg 7.1 (unlike current ATI / nVidia drivers IIRC). In fact I'm using them as I'm typing this.

Performance is not nearly the speed of the binary drivers. However, I can still play UT2K4/Doom 3, so it's good enough. It looks very promising and is likely to get must faster in the future. It seems very stable and I haven't had a video driver crash since I started using them (around Xorg 7.01 release).

Re:ATI, Linux, and Apple (1)

sowth (748135) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725283)

I do find ATIs lack of Linux support to be disappointing now however, because those of us interested on running Linux on an intel mac...

Hmmm...doesn't OS X run the FreeBSD userland? I wonder if it is not so different that you might be able to get FreeBSD's Linux Compatibility [freebsd.org] working. I suppose it is kernel based, but if OS X's kernel can run a FreeBSD userland, then why not Linux Compatibility too? At the very least, the idea should carry across. Maybe there is some project out there which ported it to or does the same thing on the Mac? I'm sure a lot of people would be interested in such a thing...

Not necessarily the same thing, but I found a program called Q emulator which may do what you want...it also emulates the 80x86 processor though, so it may be slow.

Linux on desktops? (-1, Troll)

LanceUppercut (766964) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724890)

LOL. "Linux finally making a long expected breakthrough into common desktops". LOL again. As a desktop OS Linux, died long time ago: around 2003 time frame. It failed for the very same reason Mac OS is approaching the same death now: it is a "naked" OS, there's no software for it. Today Linux is a firmware/temporary server platform with absolutely no prespects of returning to the desktop in the future. In 2006 a Linux machine with a vidocard is a geek's hobby, a curiosity, nothing more.

Re:Linux on desktops? (3, Insightful)

MrCopilot (871878) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724956)

In 2006 a Linux machine with a vidocard is a geek's hobby, a curiosity, nothing more.

Excellent troll my friend. Explain http://www.desktoplinux.com/index.html [desktoplinux.com]

Out of the 4 Desktops and 1 laptop in my home, 2 dual-boot, 3 are full time Linux.(All Debian) All of them gamers.

With an NVidia Graphics card Linux is a viable desktop. For work, web and Leisure.

Free Software is not a hobby, it is a way of life.

I look forward to the money I will save and you will spend on Vista. I look forward to the knowledge I will gain and you will be ignorant of. I look forward to modifying my system and my code to my liking, while you look forward to being locked out, broken apps and slashed features, and unsolvable crashes. (lest I forget the required reboots and reinstalls)

To each his own.

Re:Linux on desktops? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15725050)

You're spending too much time looking forward while I will be playing on my Vista system.

Re:Linux on desktops? (1)

chriso11 (254041) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725216)

Oh yeah - playing the awesome BSOD game! It's as much a part of the windows entertainment pack as solitare!

Re:Linux on desktops? (1)

ThePub2000 (974698) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725184)

It's hardly a troll. What's more important to define this is what exactly you mean by "desktop linux". If you define it as running office applications, browsing the web and keeping in touch through email, then Linux is less of a hobby and more of a reality. With distribution like Ubuntu, assuming you run all the non-written suggested hardware, you can have a fully functional and perfectly sane Linux desktop. Although, if you define "desktop linux" as being able to play native 3D games reliably, then desktop linux is almost entirely a hobbiest system still. People that want that sort of desktop will more than likely be interested in systems like XGL and their choices of easily compatible hardware are more restricted, add on top of that all kinds of potential conflicts with software, etc. The simple fact remains that other than installing a linux machine, not much more has become easier. The desktop environments are richer, and with a graphical package system installing software into is easier. But, the overall 'experience' of desktop linux still requires a higher technical skill than even many pc gamers are willing to invest enough time into learning. Maybe it's the rabid 'linux ftw' people who are instead trolls. Some people really do just like to turn on their machine and find it works. Windows offers that, and still will for some time over linux.

Re:Linux on desktops? (1)

NotBorg (829820) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725241)

I look forward to the money I will save and you will spend on Vista. I look forward to the knowledge I will gain and you will be ignorant of. I look forward to modifying my system and my code to my liking, while you look forward to being locked out, broken apps and slashed features, and unsolvable crashes. (lest I forget the required reboots and reinstalls)

Recently I switched from Mandriva 2006 to Suse 10.1. I have had nothing but trouble with getting any kind of performance (when the drivers do work) on my ATI video card. I switched to Suse because the Mandriva croud just doesn't seem to have much activity within the user and support communities. Also ATI claims support for Suse. While I like Suse much better and find the community much richer, my Linux install is still crippled.

I'm not a kernel/driver programmer. Quite frankly, while it is completely possible for me to dig in to every aspect of Linux programming, I don't have that kind of time and resource. You can call me "ignorant" all you want. While you look forward to choosing specific hardware for Linux, modifying you system code to get it working, and calling people ignorant for not knowing what you know, I look forward to not buying all new hardware (thousands of dollars and a gamble to boot) just to get a functional system.

I'll still enjoy open source when I can but I can't make fixing it "way of life." I still use OpenOffice.orgOpenOffice.org, Firefox GIMP, and a host of other software packages that don't cost me money even on Windows. Windows isn't perfect and Microsoft sucks, but I don't have to alter my way of life and become a system programmer to make it work--and I don't think that is all that ignorant.

Ah yes (4, Insightful)

gowen (141411) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724893)

Because hundreds of Desktop apps require 3D accelerated drivers.

Like erm ... err ... erm ... you know.
Oh, 3D rendering. I mean, everyone in my office spends all day doing 3D rendering.

Clue : if the speed at which windows are blitted to the screen is the rate determining step in you workflow, you're probably not getting paid enough.

XGL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15725037)

See subject.

Re:XGL (1)

gowen (141411) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725057)

XGL accelerates standard desktop windows.

The question still remains: does anyone actually find that unaccelerated desktop windows are slowing them down? I don't know about you, but I think faster than I type, and my editor displays the characters I type faster than either.

Re:XGL (1)

SillyNickName4me (760022) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725227)

The question still remains: does anyone actually find that unaccelerated desktop windows are slowing them down? I don't know about you, but I think faster than I type, and my editor displays the characters I type faster than either.

Moving a window on an unaccelerated desktop uses quite a bit of cpu time, thereby reducing what is available to other programs. An accelerated desktop makes it a lot easier for your machine to actually keep burning that DVD at full speed even when you are switching between windows, rearranging them or such things.

In other words, a desktop that makes good use of hardware acceleration can not only do things in a visually nicer way, it also stays out of the way for cpu intensive operations.

Re:XGL (1)

gowen (141411) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725271)

Sure. But who moves windows about very often, or for extended periods of time?
Does it really matter if your computationally intensive task takes 1200 minutes or 1200 minutes and ten seconds?

If your DVD burner is running so close to underflow that moving a big window turns your DVD into a coaster, then your major problem is not with the graphics driver.

3D acceleration has its place, but its not whats stopping Linux on the desktop, because the needs 99.99% of desktop users are perfectly well served by generic X drivers.

OK: Time to mention the elephant in the room.
When people say Desktop Linux needs better 3D performane, the vast majority of them are talking about gaming. That's fine, and a genuine concern for gamer. But lets not pretend that Linux Gaming and Desktop Linux are synonymous terms.

Re:Ah yes (1)

Bender Unit 22 (216955) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725088)

Maybe not 3D, but the Linux distributions I have tried, does not perform well on standard onboard graphics chips. If you have a 20" monitor and run 1600x1200, it becomes very annoying when you come a Windows desktop. But just a 50$ can solve that problem.
I have been switching between Windows and Linux until I got that card. Booting Windows when I got tired of the poor graphics performance, and booting Linux again when I got tired of missing all the advantages of having a Linux desktop when all the server I work with, runs Linux.

Re:Ah yes (1)

gowen (141411) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725112)

Maybe not 3D, but the Linux distributions I have tried, does not perform well on standard onboard graphics chips
I've heard a lot of people make vague statements like this, but I seriously need more information.
What do you mean by this?
How does this poor performance affect your workflow?
How much time per day will acceleration save you?

Re:Ah yes (1)

Bender Unit 22 (216955) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725143)


I am not sure that the acceleration saves me time as such.

My workflow was affected since I can complete my tasks faster when I run Linux.

It takes a lot before I would prefer to run Windows on the desktop so when I decided to boot Windows I had to be very annoyed by the half updated windows and mousetrails.
So I guess the answer is that you can't take a stop watch and compare the speed my my work and compare the accelerated versus the non-accelerated. But you can if you compare Windows vs. Linux.

But if it can put you at ease, I can tell you that I paid for the card myself even though it is my computer at work.

Re:Ah yes (1)

Bender Unit 22 (216955) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725185)

Now that I think about it, it was mostly the 2 Citrix application I have to run that was slow under Linux. Under Windos they were fine. So it might be a combination of the Citrix client with the Linux graphics driver. They run a lot better on Linux with the Nvidia card.

Re:Ah yes (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725124)

Exposé on OS X makes me a lot more productive; I multitask a lot, and I can switch between tasks with this a lot faster than I can with other mechanisms. Maybe it only save a minute or two a day, but it also means I can stay in flow while switching between components of the same problem. This is only possible with hardware OpenGL.

Pixel shaders on a modern GPU can be used to do good sub-pixel AA. The clearer the text on my screen is, the longer I can read it without getting eye-strain. The longer I can go between breaks, the more productive I am.

Take a look at OS X sometime. A lot of small things (e.g. different height drop shadows showing which windows is active, minimise effects showing exectly where a window goes when it is minimised) that appear to be just eye-candy are usability enhancements. Use them for a few months, and then go back to a system without them, and you realise how much processing you were doing with your subconscious that you now have to do consciously, and the more mundane tasks (such as tracking windows) you can do subconsciously, the more of your conscious mind can work on interesting things. Good GPU support is a pre-requisite for a lot of these.

Re:Ah yes (1)

francium de neobie (590783) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725249)

Like, Google Earth for Linux, it uses OpenGL

Re:Ah yes (1)

gowen (141411) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725343)

Fair enough. But is Google Earth really an office productivity app? That's what Desktop Linux means -- a linux system for people who work in offices. Improved Google Earth performance is nice, but its not something thats going to make the difference between a Fortune 500 company migrating their offices to Linux or upgrading to Vista. I don't deny that 3D apps have a noticeable performance boost.

I do deny that 3D apps are terribly widely used in the generic commercial environs that the phrase "Linux On The Desktop" conjures up.

Whatever is preventing Linux from wider Desktop use, it isn't the performance of Google Earth.

(Clue: its the de facto standard that is Microsoft Office, and the fact that OpenOffice, while adequate for many tasks, really isn't very good. [And its MS Office compatibility is deeply imperfect. Which isn't OpenOffice's fault necessarily, but there you go...]).

Passing your Drivers Test (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15724895)

Tom's would rather see the site influence future development, than merely report the findings of a series of tests anymore.

Just do an entry/mid/high set of tests of $300,$600,$1200 systems using $125,$250,$500 ATI and Nvidia cards respectively.

Even a simple head-to-head platform comparison showing Windows framerates at 133% of Linux or at 75% for other tests.

Drivers tests are going to be boring anyway, but at least test older revision software too, to see recent improvements.

fglrx is a piece of crap! (0)

giorgosts (920092) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724915)

My correspondance with the fglrx packager: Dear Sir/Sirs, > > I don't know if this is the proper channel to report bugs or > deficiencies of the fglrx drivers to, but I don't know where else to > turn to. > > My system is RADEON 9600 XT 256MB (AGP) on Intel 845PE motherboard , > Pentium4 2.4 GHz, 1GB RAM. While on Windows XP everything runs fine, > on every flavor of Linux I've tried I get the same bugs: > > 1. glxgears freezes linux, and also every type of openGL application > after approx. 1 min. > > 2. Xv video overlay on TV-out produces only the upper half of the > piped video. If I disable Xv overlay, video is correctly displayed but > the performance deteriorates to a point where it is unwatchable. > > I have tried ubuntu 5.10 and 6.06, kubuntu 5.10 and 6.06, SuSe 10.1, > drivers 2.25.18 and 2.26.18 with every possible configuration and I > get the same bugs. > > I have switched back to "ati" driver on kubuntu 6.06 albeit with no > TV-out. > > Luckily windows can read linux filesystems and I watch my videos this way > > I would greatly appreciate if the drivers for linux can pipe video to > my tv while I work on my monitor, just like extended desktop on xp. > > Thanks for reading. Responce: Unfortunately I don't for for ATI, so can't really help you much with the drivers. I just submit the packaging scripts to ATI for their installer. But maybe the following is helpful to you: > 1. glxgears freezes linux, and also every type of openGL application > after approx. 1 min. I have never heard of this problem before. I have a Mobility 9600 and 9800XT myself, and have no such problems with the driver. Have you tried changing "fast writes" in your BIOS to "off", or trying different Linux kernels? > 2. Xv video overlay on TV-out produces only the upper half of the > piped video. If I disable Xv overlay, video is correctly displayed but > the performance deteriorates to a point where it is unwatchable. I guess you are using PAL TV? I believe this is a know issue, and there is no way around it other than reverting to much older drivers (8.20 might work, 8.16 should for sure if you can get it to compile on your kernel). From what I hear, ATI should be working on TV stuff for future releases, but I have no idea when they will be released. For now I'd recommend you disable Xv, and use the OpenGL display target of your video player (for example in mplayer use: "-vo gl2"). That should give you good performance, provided you can fix issue #1. I suggest you check out the Rage3D community site at http://rage3d.com/board/forumdisplay.php?f=88 [rage3d.com] and the unofficial ATI wiki at http://wiki.cchtml.com/index.php/Main_Page [cchtml.com] for more info.

Re:fglrx is a piece of crap! (1)

nowhere.elysium (924845) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724932)

That's as may be, but your formatting is worse.

Re:fglrx is a piece of crap! (1)

giorgosts (920092) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724961)

Sorry , I cut and pasted from the e-mail, but the formating didn't go through. I guess I sould have pressed the "preview" button before. I must have assumed that nowdays everything "just works" in linux (swiftfox on kubuntu dapper). Slashdot doesn't permitt the same post twice either. Better luck next time.

Preview button and "Plain Old Text" would help (1)

KWTm (808824) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725286)

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

You don't have to do a lot of pre-formatting; just change the mode from "HTML" to "Plain Old Text", which is actually HTML except that a linebreak is inserted at the end of every line (so you could still insert HTML tags). I've set "Plain Old Text" as my default.

But, yes, I don't regard the Preview button as optional.
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
Version: GnuPG v1.4.2.2 (GNU/Linux)

iD8DBQFEuTgKB8iUW0haVSkRAiciAJ4n5wB+9hzwpQphA72ECu SZZQRhVwCdHCqp
USEN+rupj1eXR2Of1xVC8MI=
=dkcz
-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

Re:fglrx is a piece of crap! (2, Informative)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724997)

Where's your line breaks?

Bad Slashdotter. No cookie.

Regarding your problems, I'm not surprised. The last time I had an ATI card, I had to manually hack the Linux drivers, as they were autodetecting my system as using AGP 2.0, when it was AGP 3.0 (AGP 8x). Now, I have two PCI Express systems, so that wouldn't be a problem, except that experience was enough to put me off of ATI on Linux, and I haven't bought an ATI card since, except the one in this Powerbook.

Once I got it working (by commenting out autodetection and hardcoding AGP 3.0), I still had similar problems to yours -- I never really tried TV out, but I never, ever had the ability to play video properly while using the proprietary ATI drivers. The open source DRI drivers worked fine, of course, but they didn't have any 3D acceleration at all, much less the extensions required by UT2003. So I had to choose, on boot, whether I wanted to be able to watch video or play games.

Basically, even the parts of the driver that were open source (the AGP acceleration) sucked. The closed parts sucked even more, especially because I could actually fix the open parts, but not the closed ones.

My next video card was nVidia, and I've never looked back. Almost completely proprietary, but they keep it up to date with every new kernel and kernel feature I try. I have a fairly custom kernel -- 64-bit, patched for Reiser4 and recent open source drivers straight from my gigabit card manufacturer, lots of custom hacks here and there -- but all I ever have to do is "emerge nvidia-kernel" whenever I get a new kernel. And everything works as well or better than any open source drivers I've had -- I can do XvMC (hardware-accelerated mpeg decoding), or just xv (X Video extension) which almost always looks good, fullscreen, antialiased by mplayer, at 1600x1200, no matter what the video is. Any game that I can get to work on Linux, period, never has any problems from the video drivers -- stuff just works.

My only ATI card left is something I had to get for my server, which I built as a second desktop machine, with the same motherboard as my desktop -- which was built for PCI Express, which does not boot unless it has a PCI Express card in there, even though the BIOS would seem to suggest that I could use a standard, $5 bargain-bin PCI video card. Problem was, although the PCI video card works fine, it won't boot at all unless there's a PCI Express card in there. So I got a $50 ATI card, which has the added advantage that, for another $10 or so, I got a tuner card to go with it. If I ever get around to it, I can set up MythTV on that box.

hm (3, Informative)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724950)

From TFA: "Acquiring Nvidia drivers seldom entails more than consulting a package repository for your Linux distribution of choice, and instructing local package management facilities to fetch, build, and install all required files and dependencies."

Well, support for Nvidia isn't supported on FC5 because it is non-free, so you won't find it in the standard repositories using yum... if you add livna you can do "yum install kmod-nvidia -y" which will handle it all... but it is important not to use the Nvidia ones because they overwrite sections of your X and can cause problems, especially if you change you card later. More info can be found here; http://stanton-finley.net/fedora_core_5_installati on_notes.html#nVidia [stanton-finley.net] ... just wanted to get the message out there to protect the penguins

Re:hm (1)

arashi no garou (699761) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725232)

Also, in Slackware there is no official Nvidia package. It's still trivial though. Just fire up the Links browser, point it to http://www.nvidia.com/drivers [nvidia.com] and download the latest Nvidia linux driver. Su to root, run the driver package, let it build the kernel addon for you, and let it modify your xorg.conf. If you've already toyed with your xorg.conf it might not modify the file for you; just manually change "nv" to "nvidia". Start up X and you should see the Nvidia logo. If so, you're all good. This has worked for me for every version of Slackware from 9.0 up.

Re:hm (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725355)

That's FUD.

I've been using NVidia's drivers for two years now with FC3, FC4 and FC5 downloaded from NVidia and installed per their instructions. The only problems I've ever had are when doing X upgrades my xorg.conf needs reconfiguring for dual-head output.

But other sites have been doing this for a while (4, Informative)

loftwyr (36717) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724991)

You can always get good info on hardware under linux on Phoronix [phoronix.com] . They've got lots of experience with linux builds and games and wine to give good information.

Looking for the things that arent there. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15725003)

"To me, this is a clear signs of Linux finally making a long expected breakthrough into common desktops."

And I saw Linus Torvad on a potato chip. no wait on my grild cheese sandwich.

Re:Looking for the things that arent there. (2, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725265)

And I saw Linus Torvad on a potato chip.

That's nothing. I saw a burrito on RMS.

KFG

NVidia owners - Please help out Nouveaux project! (3, Informative)

Hobart (32767) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725028)


This seems like a good on-topic thread in which to mention the freedesktop.org (X.org folks) effort to write a 100% open source 3D driver for the NVidia cards -- nouveau

http://nouveau.freedesktop.org/wiki/ [freedesktop.org]

If you're an owner of an nVidia card, please do all you can to help contribute! They appear to be suprisingly far along.

--
Slashcode bug # 497457 - unfixed since December 2001 - Go look it up [sourceforge.net] !

xgl on ATI (1)

nicku (158877) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725053)

Does this mean that xgl will work properly on the latest ATI drivers? The last time I tried it was pretty much a no go unless you had an nvidia card....

Re:xgl on ATI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15725149)

I tried installing xgl yesterday on ubuntu 6.06 with ATI drivers fglrx 8.25.18. on Radeon 9700pro. I havn't seen any of the issues reported from earlier versions like crashes,and have tried all the stuff from the demos, like semi-opaque DVD running while spinning the desktop cube, with few stalls.

Apart from the ATI issues trying to replace mesa with fglrx solved using
http://www.mail-archive.com/debian-user@lists.debi an.org/msg440319.html [mail-archive.com]
there were no issues other than that the blobby shaking xgl dialogs will do my eyes in.

It's working fine, at least until the next kernel upgrade.

Good article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15725056)

Good article, I hope they follow up with more graphics on Linux related articles and that other sites do the same.
I really wish ATI and nVidia (and others) would release open source graphics drivers.

http://www.opengraphicsproject.org/ [opengraphicsproject.org]

Ahem (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15725059)

to me, it's a clear sign that linux STILL sucks :)

not just for gaming (1)

Bender Unit 22 (216955) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725065)

I got a Nvidia card with passive cooling for my Linux desktop instead on the onboard graphics. All the desktop computers I have had at work, have always been slow compared to Windows with any Linux distribution when it comes to graphics speed. It does not make it better that you need to run a higher resolution to get the same screen "real estate". (of course, tuning font sizes help a bit).

Anyway I installed the 50$ Nvidia card which solved that problem. And with SUSE 10, I hope I don't have to worry about compiling the drivers every time there's a kernel update since the Nvidia drivers can be found in YAST.

Sub $100 Video Card Recommendation? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15725067)

Need an AGP card for a desktop that'll be running Linux 24x7. Don't want to spend an arm and a leg, can anyone recommend a decent card for under $100?

Thanks!

Re:Sub $100 Video Card Recommendation? (1)

Bender Unit 22 (216955) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725116)

I got this one http://www.club-3d.com/distri/productinfo/spec_vga .php?ordercode=CGN-628ATVD [club-3d.com] which works fine. 50-55$(price quickly converted to $ in my head) in my local shop.
I also got a similar model from ASUS which had horrible shadows when using the analog signal(and it didn't have analog out on the DVI port)
So I switched the two cards between the machines(since one of them used digital and the other analog signal) and the Club3D had no shadows.
The heatsink of both gets very hot, so it needs a bit of space around it. Although the Nvidia program says that the alarm level for the chip temperature is something around 140c(seems like a lot).

Re:Sub $100 Video Card Recommendation? (1)

pharm (190410) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725200)

Any Radeon 9250 is well supported & cheap.

Re:Sub $100 Video Card Recommendation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15725206)

Go look at tigerdirect or newegg, both runs sales of sub hundred buck agp cards all the time. I got a nvidia 5500 for real cheap, like 40 bucks, works quite well. I'm not a hard core gamer but for what I do it seems fine. And I use fedora so the referenced "add livna" to your repositoriy list fits. They have much better ones now for your price range. In fact you should be able to get both a decent-enough vid card and another half gig stick of ram for $100. Do both it'll be like getting a new puter!

Re:Sub $100 Video Card Recommendation? (1)

Tribbin (565963) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725278)

Geforce 6200 does it for me, compact, passively cooled XFX card.

ATI Drivers ARE available via Yum (2, Informative)

bhunachchicken (834243) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725305)

From the article,

"Installing Nvidia drivers is simple, straight-forward, and usually incorporated into your distribution's package repository. For example, Fedora Core 5 offers GeForce driver revisions 8756 and 8762 through select repositories, so installation involves little more than invoking Yellow Dog Updater, Modified (YUM) or YUM Extender (YUMEX). Nvidia clearly wins on this front, because ATI doesn't offer this luxury."

The last few updates of the ATI drivers I have recieved have been done so via YUM on FC5. In fact I'm due for an upgrade now,

yum check-update

...
kernel.i686
kmod-fglrx.i686
...

3D? Talk to me about 2D. (2, Interesting)

pdh11 (227974) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725306)

I'm still looking for any graphics card with amd64 Linux drivers that supports either dual-dvi with accelerated portrait mode (1200x1600 x2), or dual-link DVI (2560x1600). Matrox have some that will do it, but only with proprietary drivers and only on ia32.

Peter

3D card trully supported under linux? Where? (1)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725311)

So NVidia and ATi are crap at providing Linux drivers. But is there any video card which is really supported under linux (open source drivers provided by the manufacturer) that is any good and economically viable? It can even be an equivalent to a NVidia mx400. Is there anything like that in the market?

quirks in NVidea & X11 (1)

chunderfest (755217) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725336)

I've been happy with my GeForce 4 card, once I determined the following about X11's support for it:
  • X.org's NV driver (at least the initial versions) didn't support automatic screen-off with my LCD display; it'd blank the screen but not power it down;
  • Nvidea's proprietary driver for X11 would powerdown the screen, but couldn't handle anything put out by video4linux (in kernel 2.4);
  • XFree86's NV driver in version 4.5.0 and newer handles both DRI screen-powerdown and v4l output perfectly.
.02c.
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