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AMD Graphics Open Source

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

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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 02, 2013 @12:03PM (#43610835)

    What this shows is that when the vendor provides specs, as ATI has, it improves the quality of the drivers. If nVidia provided specs, the nouveau driver would probably be faster than radeon.

    Personally, my problem with the radeon driver isn't that it's not fast enough. It's that it detects my 4:3 CRT HDTV as a 16:9 display when connected with HDMI, and no modeline I can come up with can convince it otherwise. This is despite Catalyst on both Linux and Windows on the same hardware supporting 1280x1024 and 1024x768 with no problems. That's the only thing keeping me from using the open source ATI driver on Linux.

    BTW, Is anyone else having trouble logging in?

  • Re:In other words: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Andy Dodd ( 701 ) <atd7.cornell@edu> on Thursday May 02, 2013 @12:06PM (#43610863) Homepage

    Yup. I still buy NVidia cards because they ACTUALLY WORK and they do a reasonable quality control effort on their drivers.

    As opposed to AMD/ATI's drivers. Every time I've gone near a Radeon it's been nightmare driver hell, whether the platform is Linux or Windows. (Yeah, they can't even get their Windows drivers right. It should be the exception and not the norm that game A requires driver version Y and above, but game B requires drivers Z and below, where Z Y, because AMD/ATI don't comprehend regression testing - but every time I've worked with an AMD/ATI graphics chipset, that shit is normal.)

  • Re:hum (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 02, 2013 @12:12PM (#43610915)

    I work for a semiconductor company, not one of the three mentioned above. I've worked on video drivers for our GPU as well.
    nVidia won't open source their drivers because it opens them up to patent lawsuits.
    Undoubtedly nVidia is using some crap that is patented by someone else in their hardware and software. Only a fool thinks they won't be sued by someone, even if it's bogus. AMD and Intel have been very careful on how they release and what they release. It's an expensive (in lawyer time) proposition and nVidia doesn't care to spend the money.

  • by DMJC ( 682799 ) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @12:48PM (#43611343)
    I'm going to weigh in here. The Nouveau drivers are better than the open source ATi drivers. Simply because, the performance doesn't matter. It's the feature completeness of the drivers that matters. The Nouveau drivers have been very steadily working towards a point where all previous generation cards and the current generation cards have the same feature set at the same time. If you check out the nouveau feature matrix it's a stunning achievement how rapidly they've come to the point they're at. People don't seem to realise that aside from SLI, OpenCL and the hardware reclocking support. The Nouveau drivers are basically feature complete. Noone uses TV out anymore since HDMI/digital video has taken over. Within 2-5 kernel revisions, the reclocking stuff is going to be completed. When that hits, the Nouveau drivers are going to shatter the AMD ones for performance. Already in preliminary testing where reclocking was enabled, the Nvidia cards were performing at or above the level of the nvidia binary blob. When the reclocking support is turned on these cards are going to be running OpenGL 3.3 and probably pushing a lot of GL4 features. The interesting thing is if you check the status matrix, the same level of support exists in current high-end leading Nvidia graphics cards as in the previous generation's cards. This means that the nouveau driver appears to be similar to the Nvidia blob in that it's adapted to support multiple graphics card models easily.
  • Re:Nice heading (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 02, 2013 @02:14PM (#43612257)

    You know, there's more than just two video card vendors in the world.

    Intel's graphics are supported better on linux than either nVidia or AMD. Intel hired Keith Packard [], for chrissakes, what more could you want in support?

    Now it's true nVidia's hardware is faster & more powerful - at the moment. But you didn't mention that, you just claimed (incorrectly) that "nVidia has always had more 'just works' on linux" with is completely false. Matrox cards worked better than nVidia in the old days, and Intel 'just works' better now.

    I'm a pragmatist - I use Intel graphics chips in my linux boxen - and I suggest you do the same. They just work.

  • by Lonewolf666 ( 259450 ) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @05:24PM (#43614601)

    That's not entirely true.

    In some individual tests in the benchmarks on, the latest open source ATI drivers reach now 80-90% of the performance of the closed source drivers (most are still at something like 30%).

    Maybe 2 years ago, the best individual test results were something like 30% of the performance of the closed source drivers. Benchmarks that would not run at all on the open source side were a lot more common that today (although Phoronix may since have settled on tests that are known to run on open source, so take this with a grain of salt).

    So on ATI cards the open source drivers have come closer, but they still have a way to go.

    In the case of the noveau driver for nVidia, I find it impressive that the developers got it to run by reverse engineering at all. Performance, however, looks like that of the open source ATI driver 1-2 years ago.

"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas