ATI/NVidia driver status? - Hardware

This is a discussion on ATI/NVidia driver status? - Hardware ; Hi What is the current status of drivers for linux by ATI or NVidia? I know they both provide proprietary drivers, but I am unsure how well they work. The same goes for the open source driver, lacking information and ...

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Thread: ATI/NVidia driver status?

  1. ATI/NVidia driver status?

    Hi

    What is the current status of drivers for linux by ATI or NVidia?
    I know they both provide proprietary drivers, but I am unsure how well
    they work. The same goes for the open source driver, lacking information
    and all that...

    I am looking to buy a new graphics card for my Debian Opteron
    workstation and my choices have come down to the following:

    - Nvidia 8800 GTX
    (the 9800 series is not supported by the proprietary drivers yet)
    - ATI HD 3900

    I am planning on running it with 1920x1200 resolution with KDE, emacs,
    Konsole, web etc, no gaming or photo editing or stuff like that. (Gaming
    will of course have to be done in Windows or Wii (or soon maybe; PS3))

    Does the current drivers work for that? or will there be minor/major
    problems?
    Are the open source driver good/fast enough or must I use the
    proprietary one?

    regards

    Tom

  2. Re: ATI/NVidia driver status?

    On Thu, 01 May 2008 15:33:30 +0200, Tom Forsmo wrote:
    > Hi
    >
    > What is the current status of drivers for linux by ATI or NVidia?
    > I know they both provide proprietary drivers, but I am unsure how well
    > they work. The same goes for the open source driver, lacking information
    > and all that...


    ATI is in the process of opening up their source code. They have some third
    party code in it so they just cannot open it up completely.
    I am hoping the Open source driver can fully support my RS480 [Radeon
    Xpress 200G Series] (on board) video hardware.

    Does pretty good on most things but fails to run Flightgear on my
    Mandriva installation.

  3. Re: ATI/NVidia driver status?

    Tom Forsmo wrote:

    > Hi
    >
    > What is the current status of drivers for linux by ATI or NVidia?
    > I know they both provide proprietary drivers, but I am unsure how well
    > they work. The same goes for the open source driver, lacking information
    > and all that...


    Well, for a while already now, both ATi and nVidia have working proprietary
    drivers, and the FOSS /nv/ driver for nVidia doesn't support hardware
    acceleration but appears less pedantic in certain environments than the
    proprietary driver.

    I found that installing the proprietary ATi driver gave me all sorts of
    difficulties, starting with the cumbersome installation.

    Either way, the drivers work, and have been quite functional for a couple of
    years already. So far in terms of proprietary drivers, nVidia had more
    resources to develop their drivers than ATi - which will change now that
    AMD has bought ATi and is planning on opening up the source code - and thus
    nVidia's drivers were of higher quality, albeit that they weren't perfect
    yet.

    The problem with proprietary drivers is the same as with other proprietary
    software, i.e. you can't get to the code. And with video drivers running
    in kernelspace, it's always a leap of faith. :-/

    > I am looking to buy a new graphics card for my Debian Opteron
    > workstation and my choices have come down to the following:
    >
    > - Nvidia 8800 GTX
    > (the 9800 series is not supported by the proprietary drivers yet)


    I have an 8800 GTS in my Opteron system, albeit that it's still in the
    process of being installed. It's supposed to be well-supported by the
    proprietary drivers and also by the FOSS /nv/ driver - in the latter case,
    without 3D acceleration, of course.

    > - ATI HD 3900
    >
    > I am planning on running it with 1920x1200 resolution with KDE, emacs,
    > Konsole, web etc, no gaming or photo editing or stuff like that. (Gaming
    > will of course have to be done in Windows or Wii (or soon maybe; PS3))


    Well, I believe that gaming should be done on gaming consoles, but if you
    have to do it on a desktop computer, why not do it in a real operating
    system? :-)

    There are loads of games ported to GNU/Linux already, and others can be made
    to work using Cedega, i.e. a special non-free version of /wine./

    > Does the current drivers work for that? or will there be minor/major
    > problems?


    They will work just nicely, and have been for a number of years already. ;-)

    > Are the open source driver good/fast enough or must I use the
    > proprietary one?


    For modern videocards, there are - to my knowledge - no Free & Open Source
    drivers that offer 3D acceleration, short of the Intel ones perhaps, but I
    have no experience with Intel graphics.

    Depending on the video adapter you will eventually buy, some of the FOSS
    drivers use actual hardware features of your adapter card, but other
    adapter cards - such as the ones using a Kyro/Kyro II chipset - could only
    be made to work with a VESA framebuffer driver, and will thus be the
    slowest of them all. As long as you don't do any 3D stuff[1] with them,
    they will work very well, though.

    [1] 3D stuff is not just limited to gaming or CAD/CAM programs anymore these
    days. A window manager like Compiz/Beryl also relies on hardware video
    acceleration, and the OpenGL KDE screensavers also need that. Without it,
    your screensaver would be hogging your CPU(s) so badly that you can barely
    interrupt the screensaver again.

    Other than all of the above, I refer to Bit Twister's advice. ;-)

    --
    *Aragorn*
    (registered GNU/Linux user #223157)

  4. Re: ATI/NVidia driver status?

    In comp.os.linux.hardware Bit Twister wrote:

    > ATI is in the process of opening up their source code. They have some third
    > party code in it so they just cannot open it up completely.
    > I am hoping the Open source driver can fully support my RS480 [Radeon
    > Xpress 200G Series] (on board) video hardware.


    ATI have released technical specifications for their latest cards, so it
    should be possible to write an open source driver.

    I would definitely go for an ATI card rather than an Nvidia.

    Regards,

    Mark.

    --
    Mark Hobley,
    393 Quinton Road West,
    Quinton, BIRMINGHAM.
    B32 1QE.

  5. Re: ATI/NVidia driver status?

    Tom Forsmo wrote:

    > Hi
    >
    > What is the current status of drivers for linux by ATI or NVidia?
    > I know they both provide proprietary drivers, but I am unsure how well
    > they work. The same goes for the open source driver, lacking information
    > and all that...
    >
    > I am looking to buy a new graphics card for my Debian Opteron
    > workstation and my choices have come down to the following:
    >
    > - Nvidia 8800 GTX
    > (the 9800 series is not supported by the proprietary drivers yet)

    There is 173.08 (beta) which supports GeForce 9800 GTX and GeForce 9800 GX2


  6. Re: ATI/NVidia driver status?

    (I know you changed the followup, but I dont want to segregate the
    discussion, its still relevant to both groups)

    Markus Kossmann wrote:

    >> - Nvidia 8800 GTX
    >> (the 9800 series is not supported by the proprietary drivers yet)

    > There is 173.08 (beta) which supports GeForce 9800 GTX and GeForce 9800 GX2


    Have you used the driver and do you know how stable it is? and is it
    usable for ordinary desktop work in KDE?

    tom

  7. Re: ATI/NVidia driver status?

    Tom Forsmo wrote:

    > (I know you changed the followup, but I dont want to segregate the
    > discussion, its still relevant to both groups)
    >
    > Markus Kossmann wrote:
    >
    >>> - Nvidia 8800 GTX
    >>> (the 9800 series is not supported by the proprietary drivers yet)

    >> There is 173.08 (beta) which supports GeForce 9800 GTX and GeForce 9800
    >> GX2

    >
    > Have you used the driver and do you know how stable it is? and is it
    > usable for ordinary desktop work in KDE?


    Well, I'am running it because I'am using a 2.6.25 kernel and not because I
    need it for a 98xx card ( I'am actually running a 7800 GT) . I have seen no
    problems so far for which I can blame 173.08.

    And if you look into the nvnews forum (
    http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/forumdisplay.php?f=14) there aren't many
    bugreports for 173.08.

  8. Re: ATI/NVidia driver status?

    On Thu, 01 May 2008 15:33:30 +0200, Tom Forsmo wrote:

    > (Gaming
    > will of course have to be done in Windows or Wii (or soon maybe; PS3))


    I don't see why all games should be played on other systems. Some people
    in this group seem to be very anti-game on Linux but I like to use my
    system for work and play!

    I use the proprietary nVidia drivers, and run Quake 3 Arena, Quake 4 and
    Doom 3 all in their Linux binaries. I also run Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
    via Cedega and they all work excellently.

    HTH,
    --
    Rob
    To reply, remove zudo

  9. Re: ATI/NVidia driver status?

    Mark Hobley wrote:
    > In comp.os.linux.hardware Bit Twister wrote:
    >
    >> ATI is in the process of opening up their source code. They have some third
    >> party code in it so they just cannot open it up completely.
    >> I am hoping the Open source driver can fully support my RS480 [Radeon
    >> Xpress 200G Series] (on board) video hardware.

    >
    > ATI have released technical specifications for their latest cards, so it
    > should be possible to write an open source driver.


    Someone can counter this... but AFAIK, ATI has only release some
    of the information for only some of their cards. Seem to be
    trickling out of ATI. Lots and lots and lots of work to do
    before anything will be viable (IMHO).

    >
    > I would definitely go for an ATI card rather than an Nvidia.


    Ok... but having owned ATI and Nvidia cards throughout the years,
    ATI always gives me the most headaches... Nvidia can cause problems,
    but usually when people try to run unsupported/beta/experimental
    drivers (or they overclock).

    ATI's architecture changes from generation to generation leaving
    some parts in the dirt (so to speak).

  10. Re: ATI/NVidia driver status?

    In comp.os.linux.hardware Chris Cox wrote:

    > Ok... but having owned ATI and Nvidia cards throughout the years,
    > ATI always gives me the most headaches...


    I only use ATI cards here, and have had no problems with the open source
    drivers.

    > Nvidia can cause problems,


    My experience with Nvidia is that the drivers are built for specific
    kernel releases. Although I must admit, these are on third party
    machines. I would never buy a video card that cannot be driven using my
    own software, so I would never buy an Nvidia card for my own machine.

    Mark.

    --
    Mark Hobley,
    393 Quinton Road West,
    Quinton, BIRMINGHAM.
    B32 1QE.

  11. Re: ATI/NVidia driver status?

    Mark Hobley wrote:
    > In comp.os.linux.hardware Chris Cox wrote:
    >
    >> Ok... but having owned ATI and Nvidia cards throughout the years,
    >> ATI always gives me the most headaches...

    >
    > I only use ATI cards here, and have had no problems with the open source
    > drivers.


    The open source drivers only support a limited subset of cards and
    even then, no accelerated 3d on most (and 3d only very recently
    anyhow).

    >
    >> Nvidia can cause problems,

    >
    > My experience with Nvidia is that the drivers are built for specific
    > kernel releases. Although I must admit, these are on third party
    > machines. I would never buy a video card that cannot be driven using my
    > own software, so I would never buy an Nvidia card for my own machine.


    With Nvidia you build from scratch. I suppose you could trust them
    for the very few binary builds they provide, but their installer is
    very good at compiling from scratch against your kernel.

    Chances are all of the software on your box is not owned by you.

    I think what you meant to say is, you don't want to run anything
    but GPL'd (or at least OSI approved) open source software.

    And that was my point with regards to Nvidia today. Nvidia is
    closed source, but with a pretty well built kernel installer.
    End result is a pretty functional and fast fully accelerated
    openGL driver. Same CANNOT be said about ATI today. And
    AFAIK, not ever, since I do not believe the goal is to support
    the whole gambit of ATI architectures out there... but probably
    only something relatively contemporary (but possibly NOT
    the very latest and greatest... sigh).

    I'm glad that you have chosen (and it's somehwhat of a crap shoot)
    compatible ATI cards all of this time. Certainly I run many
    radeons here... and some with ATI's proprietary (closed source)
    driver (due to lack of support ... that is completely
    non-functional support of the open source radeon driver).

    With that said, the open source nv driver does seem to support
    a lot more Nvidia boards than the the open source radeon
    driver supports ATI boards.... so as long as 3d isn't interesting
    (your case), you probably have the option of going either way.

    It is hoped that eventually an open source ATI driver will have
    fully accelerated openGL/3d for at least a good portion of
    ATI's radeon series... but only time will tell.

  12. Re: ATI/NVidia driver status?

    I demand that Chris Cox may or may not have trolled...

    > Mark Hobley wrote:
    >> In comp.os.linux.hardware Chris Cox wrote:
    >>> Ok... but having owned ATI and Nvidia cards throughout the years,
    >>> ATI always gives me the most headaches...

    >> I only use ATI cards here, and have had no problems with the open source
    >> drivers.


    > The open source drivers only support a limited subset of cards and even
    > then, no accelerated 3d on most (and 3d only very recently anyhow).


    That would be "r5xx and r6xx cards, ignoring the older ones", right?

    [snip]
    --
    | Darren Salt | linux or ds at | nr. Ashington, | Toon
    | RISC OS, Linux | youmustbejoking,demon,co,uk | Northumberland | Army
    | Let's keep the pound sterling

    I'm the person that your mother warned you about.

  13. Re: ATI/NVidia driver status?

    Darren Salt wrote:
    > I demand that Chris Cox may or may not have trolled...
    >
    >> Mark Hobley wrote:
    >>> In comp.os.linux.hardware Chris Cox wrote:
    >>>> Ok... but having owned ATI and Nvidia cards throughout the years,
    >>>> ATI always gives me the most headaches...
    >>> I only use ATI cards here, and have had no problems with the open source
    >>> drivers.

    >
    >> The open source drivers only support a limited subset of cards and even
    >> then, no accelerated 3d on most (and 3d only very recently anyhow).

    >
    > That would be "r5xx and r6xx cards, ignoring the older ones", right?


    Are you talking about the very recent advancement in having some
    3d support? If so, I can't remember which cards were supported... but
    still, it's progress. And yes, I know, the support is very limited....
    at least today (that is limited 3d).

    I'm hoping we'll see the first viable FOSS set of drivers for
    accelerated 3d (that is, something that runs at least games made
    5 years ago reasonably well). But today... if you want that...
    Nvidia works the best.

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