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Thread: Testing Out AMD's DRI2 Driver Stack

  1. #11

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    One nice thing to see would be the same results for fglrx (or at least the fglrx results with the last working kernel/xorg that supports the hardware). This would give the community a baseline for where we are now and how much more we have to do.

    Otherwise, all we have to go on is bridgman's pronouncement of 3D performance in the 70% range of current fglrx.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWalrus View Post
    Great article Michael. I like how you interpreted it as more of a "work in progress" rather than bashing its current regressions.
    I hate to burst your bubble, but that's only because he didn't write this article...

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by crumja View Post
    Otherwise, all we have to go on is bridgman's pronouncement of 3D performance in the 70% range of current fglrx.
    "Prognostication" is probably more accurate than "Pronouncement"

    The "60-70%" number was an *estimate* about how far the development community is likely to take the drivers over time, based on discussions with community and in-house driver developers. The number is an average, so some apps will be faster and others slower, and is based on two things :

    - estimates of the effort required to achieve increasing levels of performance
    - estimates of the point where developers will decide to spend their time working on other areas of the graphics stack instead of improving 3D gaming

    Again, this is not an estimate of what is POSSIBLE, just what is LIKELY.
    Last edited by bridgman; 05-13-2009 at 03:16 PM.

  4. #14
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    For as long as I can recall, ATI/AMD video cards have typically had decent support in Linux.
    Correction.
    For as long as I can recall, ATI/AMD video cards have typically had very broken support in Linux.

  5. #15
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    This is easily the most accurate article I've read in a while.

    I'd just like to reaffirm the assertion that Mesa 7.5 will include Gallium Radeon code, and that that code is highly experimental and generally not useful for anything.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by crumja View Post
    One nice thing to see would be the same results for fglrx (or at least the fglrx results with the last working kernel/xorg that supports the hardware). This would give the community a baseline for where we are now and how much more we have to do.

    Otherwise, all we have to go on is bridgman's pronouncement of 3D performance in the 70% range of current fglrx.

    From my own testing it's more like 20-50%. I can't wait to get my hands on a finalized Gallium3D driver and bench it against fglrx.

  7. #17
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    From my own testing it's more like 20-50%. I can't wait to get my hands on a finalized Gallium3D driver and bench it against fglrx.
    "finalized" is a odd term to use. Development of the drivers will stop right around the time people stop using them..

    (that is one of the nice things about OSS drivers is that as long as people are using them then they'll be supported. My oldest laptop uses a ancient ATI mobility chipset that had it's supporte dropped years and years ago by the flglx drivers, but the OSS stuff works decently and is still gettting occasional bug fixes.

    But I would not expect any massive improvements in benchmarks from Gallium. Any performance improvements will be a slow small build up of performance over time.

    -------------

    the thing I am hoping most from Gallium right now is consistency.

    OSS drivers are plagued by inconstanty reliability, performance, and API support. This means that for games and applications that take advantage of Linux have to put a lot of effort into driver-specific behavior and fixes to support a wide veriaty of users.

    Most projects don't have the resources and just concentrate on Nvidia first and then Flglx a second, if that. The OSS video drivers may get a few bug work-arounds in applications, but that is few and far between.

    So for users using OSS drivers they not only have to deal with confusing and oddball behavior they are likely to run into problems when trying to play games or do other things related to GPU acceleration.

    For example say your using Mythtv... the XvMC acceleration stuff is very spotty.. for the Intel driver you have very different setup for getting XvMC on the older 810-style devices vs the newer 9xx GMA devices and XvMC is not really that useful for accelerating lots of different things other then mpeg-2. So that makes a user go 'low-level' and edit Xorg to enable it or get a *.so file or something like that and edit a couple files to get it enabled. And even after they put that effort into it it's not something that is enabled by default, so it's not widely used, so it's not widely tested, and it's not really good at helping to accelerate HD video (which is usually going to be H.264 for most people) which is going to be people's primary interest in accelerating. (a decent Pentium 4 can play a DVD-resolution-sized video with doing raw unaccelerated x11 and software scaling.. but even my dual cores choke on 1080p HD stuff.)

    This leads to bad usability and a reputation that Linux is buggy and hard to use. People who do not necessarially care about having the best performance are still forced to install propretiary drivers due to compatibility reasons and this, again, is not really easy to do and leads to bad user experiences, unproductive platform, and bad reputations.

    Sooo....

    Gallium is nice because its design tries to minimize, or at least isolate, the hardware-specific code in the driver/API stack. With the current model while the DRI and the DDX drivers are all based on the same sort of design and same code bases.. they are all very unique and have hardware specific features spread all over the place. With Gallium they try to isolate that so that you get a much more simplified OpenGL or EXA implimentation that then connects using standardized methods to the hardware-specific code.

    What this gets you is that the APIs are going to be much more unified between drivers and application compatibility should improve quite a bit, if not performance. And then since the hardware-specific code is isolated then that makes it a much easier design to deal with for driver developers and then they can get better hardware support done faster.

    ..........


    I figure once they get to the point were browsers will stop locking up X Windows, 3D games and applications stop having ugly artifacts and crashing all the time, suspend and video modesetting is very reliable... then that is when they'll start putting effort into optimizing performance.
    Last edited by drag; 05-13-2009 at 03:51 PM.

  8. #18
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    It's impressive how fast and good the work is done.
    Thanks for good benchmarks.
    Could you do some more benchmarks of 3D games (for example Nexuiz and OpenArena) which could be run on DRI2 already and maybe compiz/kde window effects performance?

  9. #19
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    I meant finalized in terms of "usable by end-users".
    As for Gallium, I won't bitch and moan for performance. Stability and feature support are my main concerns. 30-60% of the 3D performance of fglrx is fine with me. Getting applications to run in a stable manner is more important to me than squeezing extra frames. Optimization can come latter.

  10. #20
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    Folks, a bit off-topic, but I still can't have 3D accel in my AMD/ATI Radeon HD 3200 IG in Kubuntu 9.04 ... anyone knows what happened with the Catalyst 9.5 release? It was rumored to be out today (just google for Catalyst 9.5)

    Thanks!

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