I know about all the announcements, and I know that ATI is making great strides.
BUT, what we all care about is RIGHT NOW.
It wasn't that long ago that I couldn't play DVD's properly with fglrx (major refresh rate problems). That made me sell it and buy an NVIDIA.
I have an 8800GTS (G92) right now, but would like to support ATI for its linux efforts. However, I will not support them until they are equal or superior to NVIDIA. (be that with either the OSS or fglrx).
I (like most people here) am all for open source. It's great, will enable better interoperability with the kernel and xorg and GNU/Linux distros in general, but, at the end of the day, like most users, I will choose to install whichever driver is best on linux. (the OSS, or fglrx).
Most people aren't free software freaks enough to use an inferior driver just because it's open.
I'd like to know your thoughts. (esp. at high end, like support in games/DVDs of 4870 vs 9800* with current drivers )
Native 3D applications/games run great with fglrx, watching videos is no problem either. But yes, wine + fglrx doesn't work as good as it does with nvidia at the moment (I think that this may change with the open source drivers). Overall, the open source support is worth getting an AMD card alone in my opinion (others may disagree).
I started this post cause Phoronix themselves have stated that ATI is now on par witn NVIDIA. so, I took that to mean fglrx is on par with the nvidia binary.
mostly i'm interested in mpeg2/4, x264 playback and compiz
Compiz + fglrx = works for me
Video + Compiz = works with Xv in fullscreen mode, DRI2 will fix this later
Yup. The new 8.6 now allows the playing of Xv/openGL accelerated videos as long as they're in fullscreen. The same for some games (Alien Arena still suffers from flickering). Compiz itself works fine, but I have noticed the tearing (specially with zoom).
eh. I've got an X1300 in my Thinkpad. It sucks. ACPI, video playback, and 3D? If I pick two of them, one of the available drivers will work. I've never had all three working satisfactorially for the two years I've had the laptop.
Personally I think the binary nVidia drivers are slightly better then the AMD drivers at this moment. Although, AMD is catching up very quickly, I'm following the driver development closely since September 2007 (when I first heard about the improved Linux support by AMD).
As I own both, nVidia gpu's and an AMD gpu, I have the ability to compare the stability of the drivers. With nVidia I never had problems, everything worked just as I installed the driver. The AMD driver still contains some bugs which have to be solved before it is stable for the majority of the users (say 99%).
I have no experience with the open source drivers, but I think its a strong argument for buying AMD now. Why? Even if AMD itself wouldn't get it right (although I have no doubts they will get it right), there is a good chance that the open source community will provide a nice driver eventually. Besides that, the open source driver will probably have longer support. The AMD card I own is a 9500 pro, which is about the oldest card they still support. But as long as people from the open source community will use these cards, there probably will be driver updates for them.
Within a few weeks I'll buy a new computer and it will contain a new 4xxx series AMD gpu. I'm confident that within a few months you're better off having an AMD gpu then a nVidia gpu.