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AMD Graphics Open Source

AMD's Open Source Linux Driver Trounces NVIDIA's 147

Posted by timothy
from the hari-seldon dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In a 15-way graphics card comparison on Linux of both the open and closed-source drivers, it was found that the open-source AMD Linux graphics driver is much faster than the open-source NVIDIA driver on Ubuntu 13.04. The open-source NVIDIA driver is developed entirely by the community via reverse-engineering, but for Linux desktop users, is this enough? The big issue for the open-source 'Nouveau' driver is that it doesn't yet fully support re-clocking the graphics processor so that the hardware can actually run at its rated speeds. With the closed-source AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce results, the drivers were substantially faster than their respective open-source driver. Between NVIDIA and AMD on Linux, the NVIDIA closed-source driver was generally doing better than AMD Catalyst."
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AMD's Open Source Linux Driver Trounces NVIDIA's

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  • Re:Nice heading (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 02, 2013 @10:44AM (#43610629)

    yeah, i kind of read that as "nouveau" but you're right and that really needs to be changed because that would make people think Nvidia has an open source driver. I would also add "with no help from nvidia" or similar after "The open-source NVIDIA driver is developed entirely by the community via reverse-engineering," in the story to make their crapulence perfectly clear.

  • by Zimluura (2543412) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @10:48AM (#43610681)

    wow, what a subject line. for the oss community to be able to get hw acceleration through reverse engineering is impressive!

    this isn't network/disk i/o hardware. opengl is a very complex api. it took nvidia years to get their ogl drivers into stable working order (without reverse engineering).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 02, 2013 @10:49AM (#43610689)

    Access to the documentation of the hardware you are writing a driver for helps when writing the driver. If the OSS driver programmers are as good as the manufacturer's, or even slightly better, you'd still expect the manufacturer to produce better drivers simply because they don't have to waste their time to figure out how to access the hardware. Instead of experimenting some extended time, they just have a look in the internal hardware manual.

    If the OSS drivers are better than the manufacturer's without the manufacturer opening up the relevant documentation, it usually means that either the hardware is outdated, or the manufacturer's programmers did a really bad job, or both.

  • Re:Nice heading (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tough Love (215404) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @11:11AM (#43610901)

    "The open source driver for NVidia". Nouveau. NVidia does not need to "have" this driver for it to be open source. The contrary if anything. I can't for the life of me imagine a reason for your troll.

  • Re:hum (Score:4, Insightful)

    by westlake (615356) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @11:19AM (#43610985)

    Would having an full-feature open source driver actually hurt or improve business?

    In the high-end consumer market who cares about the open source driver other than the open source purist?

  • Poster FAIL (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 02, 2013 @11:25AM (#43611055)

    Give two groups the task to write a driver. Give one group full documentation of the hardware the driver is for. Give the other group no documentation of the hardware. Which group do you think will produce the better driver?

    Indeed, even if full documentation were available, the manufacturer's programmers would still have an advantage since they can simply ask the hardware developers whenever anything is not entirely clear.

  • Re:Nice heading (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Desler (1608317) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @11:27AM (#43611081)

    You're the troll. The headline says:

    AMD's Open Source Linux Driver Trounces NVIDIA's

    This is elementary school level reading comrephension you failed at. There is no "for" in it at all.

  • by MachineShedFred (621896) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @11:32AM (#43611163) Journal

    More than that, the actual headline should have been:

    Drivers with complete support for hardware features outperform drivers with partial support.

    Even the summary says that the Nvidia reverse-engineered driver doesn't support adjusting the GPU's clock, and since Nvidia's firmware has the thing clocked to "barely running" when it starts up, it's hardly a shock that you get piss poor performance.

    Obligatory car analogy: reverse engineering the ECU firmware on an engine, except in your version the rev limit is set to 1500 RPM, when the engine redlines at 8000; and then you wonder why you're short on horsepower and torque.

  • Re:Nice heading (Score:5, Insightful)

    by abrotman (323016) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @12:06PM (#43611587)

    And who is to blame for that? nVidia could release specs and work with the OSS community.

  • Re:Nice heading (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kjella (173770) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @12:48PM (#43612039) Homepage

    Who knows what they are doing.

    Guessing. AMD provides specs, nVidia doesn't nor do they offer developer help. The hardware interface of graphics cards changes a lot since what people care about is compliance with DirectX and OpenGL, what happens behind the scenes between the driver and hardware isn't important. Lots of weird interfaces, lots of magic values, lots of bugs that don't appear in the closed source drivers because the driver and hardware team have agreed on just the right order to set it up and call it. Nouveau is fueled by "if you refuse to support open source, by god we'll make it work with open source" and all credit for that but it seems this is a tough enough mountain to climb without the blindfold. Personally I'd rather get behind one of the companies that actually support open source, but everybody do what they want. That's how it works.

  • Re:In other words: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Thursday May 02, 2013 @01:52PM (#43612611) Journal

    I'm sorry but I have to call bullshit as the Windows drivers have been nothing but rock solid since AMD bought them out and cleaned up the cruft. if you are talking pre-buyout? Then sure i agree 100% as ATI couldn't write a driver to save their lives but AMD fixed the messes (requiring .NET bullshit for the driver GUI? Really ATI?) and since then I've been using AMD cards exclusively in the shop and they have been nothing but stable.

    If anybody could tell you if there was a problem with the drivers it would be me as I've put everything from the low end 3200 and 4200 IGPs to the X2s to the 7770s through their paces at the shop and its been nothing but blue skies and rainbows and at home me and both the boys have HD4850s and they just purr like kittens, not a complaint one.

  • Re:I protest. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by maxwell demon (590494) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @02:58PM (#43613425) Journal

    I'm sure you got downmodded because you forgot the "???" step. ;-)

Physician: One upon whom we set our hopes when ill and our dogs when well. -- Ambrose Bierce

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