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AMD Graphics Upgrades Hardware Linux

AMD Radeon Performance Preview On Linux 3.8 112

skade88 writes "If you are like me, the proud owner of a Radeon card, and feeling left out of the Linux graphics driver revolution that swept Nvidia cards recently, then stay tuned — there might be hope for us seeing better graphics performance in the Linux 3.8 kernel."
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AMD Radeon Performance Preview On Linux 3.8

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  • by dbscoach ( 1993982 ) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @05:45PM (#42308747)
    ... never buy tech on a promise.
    • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @06:42PM (#42308997) Journal

      I counter.

      I love my ATI and it works with Linux fine (ati 5750), yet it is not perfect. Never buy tech on a promise? I have been burned by Nvidia for years though they have supposedly excellent Linux support. They die, blackscreen, overheat. Maybe it is the PNY brand? Who knows.

      ATI has the best hardware. Nvidia has the best software. Your choice will depend on which you value most? ATI is not perfect as I had some bizaare driver bugs in Windows. I am running a beta driver now because of the erratic frame rate story posted on slashdot. So far so good in that release. I have not experienced a single BSOD, but just stuff like overscan on HDMI not working with some driver versions and youtube videos not scaling up when you click on the button.

      I prefer supperior hardware as I can always revert if I have a crappy driver but do not have the cash to buy another nvidia card when it fails for some reason. I could have just had bad luck with mine and found a rare gem with my asus ati 5750 that came with my system.

      Also I do not game under Linux or run 3d modelling so I do not stress it with my ATI. Just run compiz and videos. I do gaming occasionally on Windows though so I guess if you run Blender on Linux perhaps an NVidia might be worth alook?

      • I'm in the market for a new desktop PC. Currently have an old nVidia card, and haven't had any serious problems.

        I don't do gaming, but love my 3D desktop effects. The new machine's for Android development. My old one doesn't run eclipse very well, and the latest Android emulators are downright painfully slow on it. But other than that, the box has served me well for 8 years, and it was a cheapo AMD box back then (have since added the cheap nVidia card and some memory). So, I think I'm looking for a fai

        • Flame war right here :-)

          I have never had instability. But there are a few quirks. My via soundchip with my AMD board is crap so I switched to HDMI and that is where I had a few glitches where the drivers assume I own a TV and not a LCD screen. It zooms out and creates a black edge as TVs overscan and include this black edge for some strange reason that is hidden and zoomed back in when you watch TV so you never know.

          One driver version did have that fps bug where if you spun around in a game the fps were goo

          • by Stalks ( 802193 ) *

            I too had the overscan problem on an ATi card when using HDMI.

            However I found in the Catalyst Control Center options to adjust the scan and have it perfect. Went from being a problem to not a problem.

        • by guises ( 2423402 )
          I just recently ordered a 650 Ti, because that's the newest thing, but if you're not planning on playing any games then yes - Intel is the way to go for cheapness and reliability and power efficiency.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          The AMD APU desktop combos are a fantastic deal with great results (from a happy, cheap owner).
          • by Rob Y. ( 110975 )

            I assume you run Linux - otherwise, your comment isn't relevant. So do you use the closed or open source ATI driver?

            • I run Windows 7, and play my games just fine with the latest Catalyst driver. I use it for coding and Diablo 3
            • I have an AMD APU (E-350) on my netbook running Linux. Went with the open source driver, since the only benefit of the closed one was video acceleration. (Videos I watch on my media senter with 50" screen, not my 12"screen).
        • by smash ( 1351 )
          Onboard intel GPU will do you fine. Drivers are open source too.
        • Here ya go, 6 core AMD for $230 after MIR [] all you got to do is add the hard drive. the HD4350 that comes with it is far enough behind the curve that they should have the bugs worked out and if you don't like it? At this price you can just sell the card and slap an Nvidia in there no problem. I have one of the X6 CPUs and I can tell ya they are great,turbocore makes short work of jobs that only need a couple of fast cores and with 6 cores to share the load you can multitask all day long with no problem. it c

          • I got an 8 core piledriver for $180, and it wasnt any particular kind of deal. Just go to newegg.

          • He mentioned Linux so I am not too sure. My ati 5750 ran fine but that was Fedore 13 (2010 - March 2011 before I quit Linux again) and Ubuntu 10.4 ... I think?!

            I do not know if it would run today and this user is mentioning Linux. In such a case never go with AMD/ATI as they fired their last Linux driver developer if I recall properly?! Or perhaps he was the chipset or AMD cpu driver/optimizer guy for the Linux kernel?

            If you are running Windows then ATI would be a better bet. Android SDK runs on Mac, Window

            • If you go to Phoronix and look up the FOSS drivers they are IIRC up to the 6xxx chips as far as support and there is of course also the Catalyst drivers so there ya go. As I said at just $230 for the whole shebang with a price that low he can always try it and if he doesn't like the AMD GPU he can sell it on CL and grab an Nvidia, he'll still have 6 cores of processing power, a nice board, 8GB of RAM and a burner all wrapped up in a nice case so at the end of the day he's still ahead of the curve.

              But you a

      • If you suspect it's the PNY brand, you maybe should have tried another? I've had something like 8 nVidia cards of various brands in personal machines, and supported countless more at work, and they've never had any of the problems you mention.

        If the problems are related to Linux drivers, that's a software issue rather than hardware. Any card is going to die if you run at the wrong clock speeds and/or don't control the fans adequately.

        • I typically stick to XFX for ATI cards. I have one of their 7970s (DD Black Edition) running at 1100mhz for about a year with no issue. Their support is amazing for customers with Black Edition cards.
        • My ex bought an nvida chipset gaming laptop from Toshiba. BIG MISTAKE. It blackscreens all the time and we went through 3 boards. Sometimes a BSOD will appear and whine about some driver.

          • If you want to game on a laptop the Liano quad laptops are pretty nice, its not gonna play Crysis cranked out but for most games its fine. Just remember to put the fastest memory it'll take as those APUs are more affected by fast memory then a CPU since both GPU and CPU are accessing the memory. But its really hard to even find a discrete in a laptop anymore since the APUs came out, hardly anybody puts a discrete when the APU is "good enough" for most folks.
          • It may be the well known industrial failure on geforce 8/9, sometimes referred as "bumpgate". Somewhat related to switching to lead-free soldering I believe. It's terrible but there haven't been something like that since.

            • Thats exactly what it was. Sound failed and teh boards are sensitive and Toshiba wont replace it as a recall. Just give anaother defective board. We became an ATI house as a result afterwards and our problems went away.

              • Toshiba are hardly a great make either. I experimented with HPs and Toshibas a few years ago, and the Satellites had really flimsy cases and I think it was Bluetooth issues in Windows. After that I just went back to Dell. They build decent quality laptops and are good at fixing stuff promptly when it does go wrong.

      • The 5750 is almost 4 years old. If it doesn't work fine by this point then it's a total failure of a product.

        • Runs Wow and SWTOR perfectly fine. Wow can run at 30 fps almost full screen on max settings. True under medium high is more like its settings but it is fine. I bought it on sale for cheap 2 years ago and is perfectly fine. No I would not want to run the latest crysis on it but for Adobe dreamweaver, photoshop, h.264 movies, and a few games it rocks!

          I do plan to upgrade it this spring if finances are in my favor to a 7770 or a 7850. My only issues are I do HDMI only and occasionally some of the drivers assum

      • I've run nvidia cards on linux since before the turn of the century but recently switched to an ATI for the eyefinity capability. Trying to do triple head (or more) with Nvidia just blows. I picked up a cheap Saphire Flex 6540 for less than $70 and it runs (3) 1920x1080 screens with one card and no real issues. I even get composite support for window previews. I know gaming is out, but that's fine for my purposes. For some more bucks I could run 6 screens off one card. I would prefer nvidia, but short

      • by ifrag ( 984323 )

        Maybe it is the PNY brand? Who knows.

        I'll throw in my one minor data point on this, my current video card is a PNY GTX 680 and I've had no issues with this card so far. Doesn't say anything about their production as a whole, but they are capable of making at least 1 functional card. My first few NVidia cards were BFG, which I did have some minor issues with, then I moved on to ASUS before this recent PNY upgrade and those ASUS were pretty good as well.

  • nice improvements. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Truekaiser ( 724672 ) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @05:56PM (#42308805)

    I like how things are shaping up, without the lockups of course.
    But it still stands that if you want the most out of the card, the official drivers are still the only way to go.

    • But it still stands that if you want the most out of the card, the official drivers are still the only way to go.

      And Windows. Fglrx's performance isn't that great when compared to Catalyst for Windows of competing Nvidia products.

  • by VortexCortex ( 1117377 ) <(VortexCortex) ( ...> on Sunday December 16, 2012 @06:00PM (#42308819)

    If you are like me, the proud owner of a Radeon card...

    I have several GPUs that I test with. I've never been more proud than when I've fixed my own code to work around a tricky bug in the proprietary Radeon driver, so that some folks with that card could still use my software. That's because I'm proud of myself for my dedication to end users, not because of some name brand on a piece of abandoned hardware... So, no, I'm not like you; Unless you're just proud in general, not in relation to the GPU you own.

    Don't get me wrong, I've had to work around many other GPU vendor driver bugs over the years, from Voodoo to GeForce. My point is this: Who gives a damn if you own a piece of hardware, but don't have access to the full software stack required to operate and maintain it. I swear we were all much better off with software rasterizers. At least then the devs could Actually FIX BUGS, rather than tell users to upgrade a driver or that they're just SoL. Thus, as for being proud of the GPU vendors Intel is the only brand on my list that's (moderately) relevant today.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @07:11PM (#42309169) Homepage

      Who gives a damn if you own a piece of hardware, but don't have access to the full software stack required to operate and maintain it. (...) Thus, as for being proud of the GPU vendors Intel is the only brand on my list that's (moderately) relevant today.

      You are aware that this article is about the radeon open source driver improvements, not the proprietary driver right? You have access to the full stack. Of course you could wish that AMD would get fully behind an open source stack, but they're one step down from Intel and a hundred steps over nVidia in open source support. I hope there's more than one company that'll have an interest in a high performance open source graphics stack on Linux. because the reasons you're in a community is mostly sharing of the work.

      Of course I won't forget the people who work on these projects but affiliated with other companies or individual volunteers either, but my ideal end state would be one where Intel, AMD and nVidia all work on that stack to sell their hardware. Much like the Linux kernel isn't dominated by one single company, there's many who each contribute 15% or less. Of course much of this is driver code for their own hardware, but they all contribute to make the common parts stronger. Same with graphics cards, sure there's plenty card specific work but there's also plenty work to do on the common stack.

      • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968@gm ... minus herbivore> on Sunday December 16, 2012 @11:29PM (#42310801) Journal

        For those that aren't aware there is a REASON why AMD can't get "fully behind the Open Source Drivers" and that is because there is a section of each chip they can't legally allow access to, the HDMI HDCP decoders. Since they have integrated that into the GPU there is simply no way for them to open that up, the code isn't theirs to give. Intel has their HDMI HDCP more separate than AMD does because their chips are all about the CPU and the GPU is simply supposed to be "good enough" for basic video watching and the like. Since AMD has been more about the GPU everything is tightly coupled around that GPU so they just can't give you 100% access, not without ending up blacklisted and unable to play any content that uses HDCP.

        But this should be a perfect test of the FOSS community, to see if they are worth supporting or not. AMD has done EXACTLY what you asked, and opened every bit of code that was theirs to give, so if their sales don't go up because the community goes "LOL use Nvidia proprietary drivers" then the hardware manufacturers will see how pointless it is to support FOSS, as AMD will have done all that work and not gotten any more sales as a result. At the end of the day if you don't support the companies that do as you ask then frankly nobody is gonna bother, after all it costs money to have a lawyer sign off on opening tons of code and docs and if they see no ROI for doing so why bother?

        • by Anonymous Coward


          So, ATI can't whole-heartedly get behind the development of the open source Radeon drivers because its hardware supports HDCP?

          Why does Intel *only* ship an open source Linux driver for its hardware... much of which (the GMA 4500 and newer) supports HDCP?

        • by renoX ( 11677 )

          As the Anonymous said your post is wrong about HDCP.
          Plus what many would want is the access to the video decoding unit of the GPU, I don't think that this is related to HDMI..

          • No it is YOU who are mistaken and here is why: 1.- Intel owns HDCP so they can allow as little or as much as they want of the code for it in their FOSS drivers, AMD doesn't have that luxury as they only license it, 2.- again Intel has their chips built in a MUCH more modular fashion, if you'll look up the design pics of the Intel chips and the AMD chips frankly even with the naked eye its quite easy to see the various components so bypassing HDCP while still having access to the entire GPU is almost trivial

    • by gr8_phk ( 621180 )

      I swear we were all much better off with software rasterizers.

      Yay! With many core processors and LLVM-pipe this could be a viable option soon ;-) At least for composite desktops and older 3D apps.

      To be honest, I've seen some commercial CAD packages rendering high complexity models at frame rates lower than what ray tracing can do today. So yes, keep software rendering in mind.

  • by AlphaWolf_HK ( 692722 ) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @06:15PM (#42308873)

    Seriously, I don't know. I don't really use desktop linux, I mostly use it for servers and data forensics. Perhaps somebody could fill me in? And everybody else who doesn't know while they're at it.

    • Users love their operating systems.

      Cad users and artists occasionally use Linux. Shriek used Linux on Nvidia for all 3 movies with a SGI to put the animations together in one package with renderman.

      Most Linux users are Windows 98 users who have a sworn allegience agaisn't the old MS and hope people will magically wake up and switch and have not touched Windows since unless forced to by work. I used to be one of these users who just wanted to code without a crippled learning edition of visual C++ when the pr

      • I don't know about the rest because I'm not really a developer, but I do agree that X is showing its age badly. All of the other major OSes have eliminated the problems of yore like tearing while moving windows, among other things.

        I think Wayland looks interesting. Granted, it has given up the network driven portion of X, but it is far more modern both in terms of providing modern graphics functions as well as having a clean, glitch free rendering system.

        Well said about virtual machines, I use vmware avidly

        • by deek ( 22697 )

          Apparently it will be possible to achieve network transparency with Wayland, through a program external to the core of the system.

          I disagree that X is showing its age badly. I think it is showing its age gracefully. Through its extensible design, it has been able to step up and cope with the demands of the modern desktop. Wayland will be more efficient, of that there is no doubt. I wonder if Wayland will cope with future demands anywhere near as well as what X has.

          • Mostly Wayland is an inefficient, ineffective attempt to get away from "old" stuff like X onto "modern" stuff like Windows. In the end it won't work any better; if it turns out even worse than X (probably will turn out less featureful but not actually slower; you never know how APIs will turn out, and I could see some level of eclecticism churning out something that's even harder to code for), people (Ubuntu) will push it and claim bullet-point technical superiority while avoiding real-world failings.
      • Dunno, I like Gnome 3 and Windows irritates me for being so terrible and lacking the "Activities" view. Don't like Gnome 3's alt-tab behavior though, wish it was per-window instead of per-application.
  • As long as I can view a video on YouTube/BBC/... I don't really care; and I have been able to do that for many years. I'm not interested in playing games and don't care about fancy desktop effects - is there something else that I should care about ?

    I am annoyed that Ubuntu running in a VM (qemu-kvm under CentOS 6.3) is very slow at desktop operations like moving to a new workspace, it probably works nicely with a real graphics card but is slow running under VNC. I wish it would go for simplicity/speed rathe

    • Issue is flash is outdated and filled with holes on Linux with no hardware acceleration. Even Mac was a second class citizen until last year in that regard which is shocking considering how many Adobe users are hardcore Mac users.

      I have come to the conclusion that if you need to do anything with multimedia then Windows is a better solution. Or a Mac if you have more money and like Unix but want usability and more commercial apps.

      Also have you tried VMWare or Virtualbox? VMWare workstation is competitively p

  • Eh? What change? (Score:4, Informative)

    by rueger ( 210566 ) * on Sunday December 16, 2012 @06:29PM (#42308929) Homepage
    I admit to not really knowing or caring about graphics cards (not a gamer), but skimming through TFA's charts, it looks like almost every test had more or less the same performance out of 3.7 and 3.8.

    Am I missing something?
    • by Nutria ( 679911 )

      Am I missing something?

      No, you're not.

    • you're also not missing the benchmarks comparing the performance to a Windows box running the same benchmarks (where applicable) or the benchmarks showing the proprietary driver's performance.

  • It's been a long road to the current state of play with the original limited release of the specs for the older ATI cards through to the current state with near-parity with the Windows drivers. It's really good to see this right now as I am in the market again for an improvement to my current graphics card. My number one option was the Nvidia 660, but if this set of code makes things that much better then I may go for one of the AMD 79xx cards instead.

    I was in college in the University of Limerick with the

  • by Anonymous Coward

    There has been no Nvidia "Linux graphics driver revolution" and Linux 3.7/3.8 Radeon performance is pretty much the same. Great to know!

  • OK, I admit it, I read TFA. Except for one or two games, I'm not seeing any performance improvement from those graphs. In fact, as the proud owner of a HD6570, the new DRM seems to be a regression. Since I don't game I don't really care anyway, but WTF is this story about again? Slow news Sunday?

Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap; it will be dear to you. -- Thomas Jefferson