AMD/ATI support in Linux, how is it now?

Discussion in 'Other Operating Systems' started by shtonkalot, Jun 21, 2008.

  1. shtonkalot

    shtonkalot Member

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    I've been using Ubuntu on my main PC for a while now, starting with the 7.04 release.
    Back then it seemed a real advantage for me to have the nVidia 6800GT I have rather than a friend who had an ATI 9600XT. At the time the support for nVidia seemed much better.

    Is that the case now? I'm about to upgrade my rig and will need a new video card (I'm still on AGP), not sure what to do though.
    I was thinking of something like a 7800/7900 series nVidia but it seems I may get similar performance for cheaper with ATI/AMD cards.. in Windows at least.

    So is ATI/AMD easy to get working to proper standards in Linux, Ubuntu specifically.

    Love to get some feedback from people who have both setups running.
     
  2. erikhb

    erikhb Member

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    I've got a HD2600 sitting in one of the computers here, running flawlessly except for flaky 3D support under Wine.

    I'm using OpenSuse 10.3, but will be upgrading to 11 as soon as the image is downloaded.

    If you want 3D support, I recommend using the official driver from AMD (fglrx). For 2D support, both the radeon (aka "ati") and the radeonhd, which I have most experience with, should work fine.
    3D support is in the works for the opensource drivers, but it's still experimental, and you'd have to go pull sources off different git trees to get it all working. If you're after a smooth installation, just go for one of the prepackaged drivers.
     
  3. wombo

    wombo Member

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    Support for AMD/ATI GPUS is currently very good.

    I run a Radeon 3850HD and it runs linux games flawlessly.

    AMD/ATI have really been pushing linux support lately. They are constantly been release new specs to the public (Nvidia drivers are all based on reverse engineering).

    AMD/ATI now are actually putting linux drivers on their driver cd's (as of 4xxx series). They have also put a picture of a penguin on the standard box.

    I suggest you have a look at phoronix for more info.
     
  4. DiGiTaL MoNkEY

    DiGiTaL MoNkEY Inverted Monkey

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    I'm not a Linux user, but its always good to see a company supporting Linux as well..

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=amd_evolution&num=1
     
  5. OP
    OP
    shtonkalot

    shtonkalot Member

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    Thanks for the advice guys.
    Wombo, what do you mean exactly about nVidia's drivers being based on reverse engineering? Are you talking about the official nVidia supplied drivers?
    I'll have a look at phronix too but thanks for the assurance that there is good support.
     
  6. -spam-

    -spam- Member

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    Ubuntu Studio 8.04 found the HD 2400 XT in my laptop straight away and installed the driver for it and it has been running flawlessly ever since.

    I found it funny that until i found a program to trick the ATI driver installer, vista and xp wouldnt see the graphics card as anything but a 16mb VGA adapter. :rolleyes:
     
  7. Zedd02

    Zedd02 Member

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    The open-source drivers for NVidia cards is reverse engineered from the closed-source drivers. It's not a very neat process, and it doesn't work very nicely currently, but NVidia have yet to release any information on their cards or how to program them.
     
  8. Outcast_Aussie

    Outcast_Aussie Member

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    Just to counter the above post...
    I deliberately purchased a nvidia card FOR the support in ubuntu as I have had bad experiences with ati cards.

    As an aside.. Can someone with an ati card please install and run GoogleEarth and tell me their experiences please. I have installed it on two machines using ati and it works abysmally on both. No such problems with Nvidia.

    another aside.. I am an AmigaONE owner and therefore have a natural leaning towards ati as they were the only company to give ANY driver info to Os4 coders so it really pained me to move over to Nvidia on my PC.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    shtonkalot

    shtonkalot Member

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    I guess whilst I really do approve and like the open source development of drivers, it doesn't really matter to me as much as the product just plain working properly.
    I was thinking of getting nVidia because of past issues with ATI cards. The nVidia driver is a snap to install in ubuntu and seems to give great performance.

    I guess if there are still issues with some apps (Google earth) and problems with WINE using 3D then I may still lean towards nVidia.

    How about gaming under cedega? anyone got issues there with ATI over nVidia?
     
  10. Zedd02

    Zedd02 Member

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    Just installed Google Earth then. Don't use it much. Probably won't use it again. But I had no problems browsing for a few minutes, zooming in and out as fast as possible, click-dragging or any other issues. Was there something specific I should be looking for?

    I have an X1600pro, Opteron 170 and the previous ATi drivers (8.5) in Ubuntu. I do know for a fact that last year, about this time, ATi support was horrendous. It was at that stage I started playing with Linux, and I used to use the dodgy open-source drivers, because they were better then the actual ATi ones. That's changed. They're both very good now, NVidia is still better (just).

    What do you mean by snap? Because the last time I installed NVidia drivers, it had to be done outside of the actual OS. I have no idea how to install NVidia drivers, but the ATi drivers are simply just download, chmod to executable, run as su, follow GUI (next, next, next, finish), then execute

    Code:
    aticonfig --initial
    and then reboot. That's all I had to do for Compiz support, etc. It hasn't been hard for me personally.

    As for gaming, I don't play under Cedega, had too many issues getting it set up, etc. Nothing to do with graphics , Warcraft 3 ran perfectly fine on my X1600pro, Cedega just wasn't my thing. That said, WoW works perfectly fine, with a few general graphics issues, under WINE. No mods necessary.

    All I can say on the issue is that I can't wait for the HD4870's, Crossfire in Linux and the GPU2 F@H client for Linux/ATi.
     
  11. Outcast_Aussie

    Outcast_Aussie Member

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    Thanks for testing Google Earth.

    The issue on these two machines is unless you keep moving the mouse the earth map shrinks to just a 2 inch deep black bar at the top. Really annoying.

    Compiz fusion works perfectly on both machines so the restricted drivers are working ok.

    Oh.. One is an Asus A4 Laptop and the other is a self build K8T NEO with a Radeon 9800 AGP card.
    [edit]

    Just found this link, I'll have to try this out next time I lay my hands on their systems.

    http://edhewitt.co.uk/2008/03/24/fixing-ati-radeon-on-linux/
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2008
  12. HyDrA

    HyDrA Member

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    In my experience ATI/AMD drivers for Linux still aren't mature enough. They're getting a lot better, but they are still flaky, especially if you use Compiz Fusion.

    Nvidia still have a massive lead when it comes to Linux.
     
  13. MrSnuffy

    MrSnuffy Member

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    closed source drivers for both are very good
     
  14. Menthu_Rae

    Menthu_Rae Member

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    Not sure about now - but I had headaches with ATi drivers in Ubuntu from 6.10 to 7.10 on a Mobility X1600.

    For my desktop build(s) I went with nVidia to get around this problem. Has been flawless with Ubuntu 7.10 and 8.04 on an 8500GT with the nVidia drivers.

    Only complaint is that the nVidia Settings program goes into a tiny square upon loading... but that is a known bug:

    http://www.mail-archive.com/ubuntu-bugs@lists.ubuntu.com/msg893532.html
     
  15. OP
    OP
    shtonkalot

    shtonkalot Member

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    What I mean by a snap to setup is you only have to do the following..
    1. Click on System menu > Administration > Hardware Drivers
    2. Check the box next to nVidia accelerated graphics driver
    3. Click the "Enable drivers" button on the pop up screen.
    4. wait for driver to download and install before restarting computer

    Or see here for a nicer writeup of the above (very basic) procedure with pictures!

    That's it! It's simple and worked just fine for me. You don't even need to type out commands in a terminal.
     
  16. MrSnuffy

    MrSnuffy Member

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    all (?!) major distros have ootb support for closed source drivers for new cards from both vendors.

    you may need to enable something to get closed sources such as restricted drivers manager on 'ubuntu.... you'll find the howtos incredibly simple.

    the whole nvidia vs ati support thing is no longer applicable to the masses, and anyone saying otherwise has specific issues which don't belong in a higher level 'debate'.... not pointing at anyone here ofcourse... noboubt everyone has seen the "zomg graphics vendor xyz sucks at linux support" posts - it's not true - go which ever card fits your needs best.
     
  17. Mr Bubbles

    Mr Bubbles Member

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    You do understand that these video cards all have basically two kinds of drivers.
    1. Open source drivers written by the community. This usualy only have 2D support and sometimes some basic 3D support.
    2. Binary drivers written by the company. These have pretty good 2D and 3D but usually don't work quite as well or have all the features of the Windows drivers.

    While Nvidia have the better binary drivers for Linux ATI is more open source friendly.

    ATI have released detailed specifications of thier GPUs to allow better open source drivers to be written by whoever wants to write them. Nvidia do not encourage open source driver development so open source driver writters have had to try to reverse engineer the Nvidia binary drivers.

    So currently the better drivers are still from Nvidia but ATI may have better drivers soon thanks to open source development. They have a penguin on their boxes now so they must be good.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2008
  18. RnR

    RnR Member

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