It's a desktop, so those power options really don't work. Besides, I want composition on, but it's odd that it's forcing my card into high power mode like that. When I had KDE on my laptop battery life was worse than crappy I suspect due to this; that same laptop can go on for 45min. on GNOME with Compiz on. I will try another distro and see if it's not a Kubuntu quirk.
I just bought another laptop with Amd/Ati. Would I do that if it sucked? The answer is no.
Fglrx is running just fine with my two laptops. I have to download a patched xserver (no backfill version) though, but thats not that hard.
After that, compositing is working great in both kde4 and gnome.
I also tried the oss drivers with kms. Impressive piece of work. Tried them for ~1 month ago, so they weren't quite stable that time and powersavings didn't work. But as far as I know powersaving features is on the way.
Thank you for allyour interesting answers.
Good. Full of hope for the future.I guess experiences vary. I haven't had a 3D-related crash on HD 4550 in over a month.
The open drivers do require a recent kernel and the mesa stack built from source (I believe there are packages for Ubuntu). They provide good OpenGL 1.5 acceleration, and GLSL is coming soon. Not as fast as fglrx yet. Tear-free XVideo. KDE4 effects work great.
There is only very basic powersaving now (and none if you use KMS). There is no decode acceleration, and likely won't be any for at least half a year, as it will be built on top of the Gallium driver, which is nowhere near ready yet.
This is the state of the open-source stack. I've never used fglrx, so I'll let other people answer that.
I am interested in this laptop : VAIO VGN-FW54E
It is based on Intel motherboard. Is it really a problem as it has been suggested ? Is the card enough powerfull to handle 1080p ?
Indeed, HD decode (with speed and tear free) is the main feature I am looking for. 3D performance are not that important.
Based on the answers you got in this thread alone, I think you would have to be completely nuts if you bought a laptop with an ATI card on it...
Yes I agree with you but it is hard to find a laptop that suit my needs with nvidia card. Is nvidia planning to come back on that market ? (Please I don't want a fight between nvidia or ati)
Here's a list of Nvidia powered laptops, although I don't think is up to date...
You don't have a choice to switch video hardware with a laptop in most cases so you are stuck with what you get. Therefore, I recommend checking out the Ubuntu and Kubuntu forums, maybe even Fedora and other ones as well for the overall feedback of ATI users and the owners of ATI laptops and their experiences. I think a lot of those owners aren't too enthusiastic with ATI drivers.
Heh unfortunately this is an annoying situation what with the nvidia hardware issues recently for laptop cards.
Some revisions of the 200 mobile series melting the same way that *all* 8800s (desktop ones too, the design is faulty - they all melt eventually) did. This is why ATI are in most new laptops now btw - there was a big replacement squabbling debacle between Nvidia and the vendors. HP, Dell & Apple dropped nvidia in new products because of this.
So basically you have a choice between potentially faulty hardware with nvidia or the ati option where you have improving (but still not great) fglrx drivers. Open drivers are a great initiative but they aren't very advanced yet. So yeah the graphics situation on Linux is really coming to a head right now. Hopefully it'll only be a few years before we have open drivers that can do everything fglrx can do (or better) without the bugs.