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Thread: HD3850 to replace 8600GT. Wise choice?

  1. #1
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    Default HD3850 to replace 8600GT. Wise choice?

    Since I replaced my Xpert2000 with a GF2Mx400 years ago, I am a nvidia user. My fifth card is a 8600GT and while the 3d performance is great - the 2d performance in the KDE 4.1-prereleases is not. I am thinking about buying an ATI card for a while. Even before I bought the 8600 - but nvidia's drivers always worked very well for me - until now. Even watching videos sucks

    So I have several questions:

    how good are the frglx drivers really? I read the phoronix articles but I always felt that there is a big pro-ati bias. How feature complete to nvidia? Xv? 2d performance? How troublesome are they? What about 3d? I like ut2004 and vegastrike. I don't care about wine or compiz but I do care about reasonable 2d speed.

    What about the radeon/radeonhd drivers? 2d? 3d? Support of the 3850? From the stuff I read the radeonhd driver does not even does 2d acceleration, correct? What about the radeon driver?

    What about bugs? Years ago, my Xpert2000 locked my box up when I
    -watched tv, lockup some hours later.
    -used videotext, lockup some hours later.
    -moved a video window at the wrong moment or in the wrong direction.
    -switch to vt? 10% of lockup.
    etc pp
    (and yes, that were problems with open drivers ...)

    What is the status of the three ati drivers today, how stable are they? What about screen corruption?

    I am feeling lost. And I would welcome some advise before I buy a card that might perform even worse than the current one.

  2. #2
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    Right now the open drivers have good support for 5xx, RS690 and earlier but 6xx-and-up acceleration (including 3850) is being implemented now and is not there yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bridgman View Post
    Right now the open drivers have good support for 5xx, RS690 and earlier but 6xx-and-up acceleration (including 3850) is being implemented now and is not there yet.
    ah, thanks. But what about the closed drivers? Is 2d 'good'? what about the 3d performance? There used to be a big gap in the past - I read some articles that claimed the gap got smaller, is that true? I am prepared to loose some fps for better 2d - it would suck to have bad 2d and 3d at the same time

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    I'll just toss in a quick comment to keep the thread bumped -- my sense is that on 2d performance we may be ahead of NVidia for recent chips; 3d we're probably on par, and NVidia is doing better in terms of running video and 3d apps under Compiz.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bridgman View Post
    I'll just toss in a quick comment to keep the thread bumped -- my sense is that on 2d performance we may be ahead of NVidia for recent chips; 3d we're probably on par, and NVidia is doing better in terms of running video and 3d apps under Compiz.
    that is cool. I don't care about compiz. Only 2d and 3d is important for me. Looks like I am buying a 3850 or maybe even 3870 on Tuesday

  6. #6
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    I was hoping someone else would jump in, even if they said we sucked. I hate having you go out and buy something based only on my answers

    EDIT - oh well, let me think of other negatives. I guess the main ones are that Wine doesn't seem to have made the transition from our old driver to the new one, although there are some workarounds that seem to help, so if Windows games are a big part of your plans you probably won't be happy with our cards yet. The other one is that the installer is tested on a relatively small (but growing) set of distros so we don't "just work" on all the distros yet.
    Last edited by bridgman; 07-27-2008 at 07:10 PM.

  7. #7
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    don't worry. I read lots of the threads here and the articles on phoronix. And I am a nvnews regular. All I read in the last hours makes an amd card look like the solution for my problems. It can't become worse in 2d and video, so...

  8. #8
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    I might chime in and say that while I don't own any ati cards I can tell you what I have heard...from these forums and nvnews. Treat this information as hearsay and do with it what you will...

    fglx sucks at 2d but it sucks less than nvidia on comparable generations of cards. ie radeon 2600 > geforce 8600.

    xf86-ati kills at 2d on a radeon 2600 (dunno if it applies your card...probably not yet),I saw some impressive xrenderbenchmark results that showed it being nearly as fast as intel...

    nvidia is more stable than fglx generally

    dunno about modesetting and monitor preferences, but I do know that I HATE twinview (it eats children for breakfast), I imagine that the open drivers have pretty good randr 1.2 support.

    video is better on nvidia than fglx


    I may be forgetting some things. Personally if I had a choice I would swap out my nvidia card as it seems to be going nowhere I wonder if I could get an mxm radeon 2600 somewhere?

  9. #9
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    I have a HD3850 right here under Hardy 64bit and it works great. It runs Compiz with almost no problems and can even game on it (Nexuiz, Warsow, Alien Arena, WoP, Urban Terror, Doom 3, NWN, Sauerbraten, Glest) with really good performance. Xv playback is rather good performance wise as well. 2D is good too; not perfect, but definately not bad.
    The driver does have problems, however. The most anoying to me is tearing with video playback (Xv); it's rather noticeable too (still nothing that's worth crying over though). Oh, and Wine is a definite no-no.

  10. #10
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    I would stick to NVidia for now.

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