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Thread: Recommendations on Radeon card for Debian desktop.

  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panix View Post
    What Nvidia card do you have in your laptop?
    It's an FX 5350 Go, if I remember correctly.

    And yes, the problem with a laptop is that you're stuck with it. I get corruption whenever I use XV for video playback under a composited environment

    I understand that nVidia doesn't want to waste resources on a chipset that's more than 5 years old, but this is simply the intrinsic advantage of open source drivers.

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by pingufunkybeat View Post
    It's an FX 5350 Go, if I remember correctly.

    And yes, the problem with a laptop is that you're stuck with it. I get corruption whenever I use XV for video playback under a composited environment

    I understand that nVidia doesn't want to waste resources on a chipset that's more than 5 years old, but this is simply the intrinsic advantage of open source drivers.
    Well, I read of people claiming their GeForce 6100+ hardware working fine in Linux. I don't remember whether Geforce 5xxx hardware is said to work. I know it used to and I'm not sure whether it's claimed to work in newer distros/kernels or not.

    My point is I've heard of older Nvidia hardware working compared to many complaints of older ATI hardware not being supported. I can only speak for my own ATI hardware on my laptop but I've read of many complaints about similar hardware.

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by bridgman View Post
    Panix, pretty sure I've posted this before but AFAIK what you are seeing is the result of the open source 3D driver going through a significant rewrite in preparation for moving to KMS/GEM/TTM and the testing focus has generally moved to KMS code paths.

    Distros won't generally be moving to KMS and letting you see the benefits of this work until the spring releases, but predictably "the bugs are available to you immediately". In the short term you'll probably have best results with a distro that is shipping KMS, which today may just be Fedora 12.

    Have you had a chance to try F12, and if so how is it working for you ?

    I don't really understand your argument here, since the open source nv driver does not include 3D support.
    Does the KMS developments mean support/performance might improve for older ATI hardware (mainly, including the RV250?)? I found Fedora 12 to be decent with the OSS driver but Mandriva 2010 perfomance was best. I don't know why. Kernels in those seemed to be similar to those in other recent distros. Mandriva's and Fedora's latest offerings provided the best promise so what is different about KMS/Mesa (or any other relevant development) in those?

    Btw, one off-topic question here: do you know, off-hand, what the current support is for this IGP (Radeon 2100 Graphics(740G Chipset) RS740 - Graphics core is RV410? I realize there is a thread topic for that but discussion on the support just kind of stopped with no real conclusion.

    Is the OSS driver finally working on that? Just curious. As I said, one concern I have about ATI is you never know which side ATI will pursue, trying to improve OSS support or dedicating proprietary driver support on a given hardware. The concern I have is that the division will result in neither being any good.

  4. #44
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    Fedora enables KMS by default, and I *think* Mandriva 2010 does as well. It's not just the kernel version that matters, it's whether kernel modesetting is enabled since that forces the rest of the graphics stack into significantly different code paths.

    As far as I can see the big areas right now for 3xx-5xx open source are (a) finishing the transition to kernel modesetting, and (b) getting the Gallium3D driver ready for prime time. Both of those are architectural initiatives, which basically means that you won't see any real benefits until the work is finished and you start running on the new code. It sounds as if you are already having some luck with the KMS-enabled distros, which is promising.

    The move to Gallium3D probably won't give you any immediate improvements, but the improvements that follow probably *will* be mostly on the Gallium3D code base. In the specific case of the 690, one of the things that really hurts performance with the open drivers is the fact that the software implementation of vertex shaders on the open driver stack is not as efficient as the one in the proprietary drivers, but one of the hopes for Gallium3D is that LLVM will be able to JIT-compile the shader code so that it runs much more efficiently on CPU.

    On the r2xx side most of the work right now is on the KMS/memory manager side, making sure that is stable. I don't think there is much focus on the non-KMS paths right now, but it appears that by the next round of distro releases those paths will mostly be used for legacy support on older distros and for troubleshooting purposes only.

    I don't quite understand your comment about "never knowing which site ATI will pursue" - the open source and fglrx efforts are separate and each have their own resources.

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panix View Post
    Btw, one off-topic question here: do you know, off-hand, what the current support is for this IGP (Radeon 2100 Graphics(740G Chipset) RS740 - Graphics core is RV410? I realize there is a thread topic for that but discussion on the support just kind of stopped with no real conclusion.
    The RS740 has been supported in the open source driver for ages (probably over a year).

  6. #46
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    Thanks, bridgman, for answering my questions. I appreciate you taking the time to answer them. I know I don't ask the most sophisticated and technical questions and much of your answer I don't fully understand but I find it interesting.

    I have one more related queestion, though. I was wondering why 3D works with Ubuntu 9.04, for e.g., which has an older kernel. What is different?

    Also, would you recommend:
    A) Install older distro such as Ubuntu 9.04 or
    B) Debian Testing, sidux, (I am asking about Debian-based distros here as you can tell) and wait for KMS to mature?
    C) Install Fedora 12 and/or Mandriva 2010 since KMS is enabled - easier more pleasant experience and less tweaking/waiting needed?

    I know I could multi-boot but just curious what distro I should use while still using this older laptop (Thinkpad T41 w/ ATI Radeon 9000 card).

    It sounds like I could consider an ATI card for my desktop. It's just a matter of being willing to wait for mature/progressing drivers. I wish you good fortune and progress with that as I agree with the principle of the OSS and intention of Linux support.

    But, I have poor patience, unforunately, so I'd probably go with what I think is working (to my satisfaction) when I am ready to buy. It might depend on whether I am able to use my old Nvidia card as a backup, too. ;-)

    I don't quite understand your comment about "never knowing which site ATI will pursue" - the open source and fglrx efforts are separate and each have their own resources.
    I meant by that, my speculating that there is an allocation of resources spent on the various drivers rather than combining all towards one type. I understand there is radeon, radeonhd and fglrx so there are 'three' to consider.

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by agd5f View Post
    The RS740 has been supported in the open source driver for ages (probably over a year).
    What do you mean by 'supported?' Fully? Both 2D and 3D? Any issues in either? Just curious.

    Thanks for responding/commenting, though. Any info is very useful for future investments in hardware.

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panix View Post
    I have one more related queestion, though. I was wondering why 3D works with Ubuntu 9.04, for e.g., which has an older kernel. What is different?
    The drivers in 9.04 probably represent the "high point" of the pre-KMS stack for ATI GPUs, in the sense that most of the developer focus was still on pre-KMS up to that point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Panix View Post
    Also, would you recommend:
    A) Install older distro such as Ubuntu 9.04 or
    B) Debian Testing, sidux, (I am asking about Debian-based distros here as you can tell) and wait for KMS to mature?
    C) Install Fedora 12 and/or Mandriva 2010 since KMS is enabled - easier more pleasant experience and less tweaking/waiting needed?

    I know I could multi-boot but just curious what distro I should use while still using this older laptop (Thinkpad T41 w/ ATI Radeon 9000 card).
    I haven't done much testing on r2xx parts with 9.04 (or maybe I have -- my laptop *is* a Thinkpad T41 with RV2xx running some version of Ubuntu) but my guess is that 9.04 would give you the most painless experience for now. You could go with that, then shift to a KMS-based distro in a few months once they get a bit more polish. That said, the KMS stack is the future so you probably want to move to it as soon as it seems to work well on your system -- assume there'll be at least one regression but in general the improvements should outweigh the regressions.

    The ideal, I guess, would be to dual-boot between a known good UMS distro (eg U 9.04) and the KMS distro of your choice so that you could file good bug tickets including comparison of behaviour between "stable UMS code", "new code on KMS, new code with KMS forced off" which should be helpful.

    Quote Originally Posted by Panix View Post
    But, I have poor patience, unforunately, so I'd probably go with what I think is working (to my satisfaction) when I am ready to buy. It might depend on whether I am able to use my old Nvidia card as a backup, too. ;-)
    Just make sure you compare both ways before making the decision, ie compare a generic R200-era desktop card to an competing laptop from the same era (GF2 / GF4 ?). Laptops tend to have more platform specific issues, particularly with the AGP bus, and that's probably what you are seeing.

    Whatever vendor is in the desktop tends to look better

    Quote Originally Posted by Panix View Post
    I meant by that, my speculating that there is an allocation of resources spent on the various drivers rather than combining all towards one type. I understand there is radeon, radeonhd and fglrx so there are 'three' to consider.
    I don't think it's much of an issue. The open source headcount wouldn't be enough to make a big dent in the fglrx code (remember that fglrx is ~100 times the size of the open source drivers), and the fglrx team wouldn't be big enough to let the open source drivers do everyhing that fglrx does today. Remember that the proprietary driver is all about letting us share code across 100% of the PC market - we couldn't do that in an open source driver.

    Duplication of effort between radeon and radeonhd is really a red herring. X drivers themselves haven't changed much in the last year - most of the developer effort in the last year has been going into drm and mesa, along with radeon changes to make use of the KMS/GEM/TTM code in drm.

    Quote Originally Posted by Panix View Post
    What do you mean by 'supported?' Fully? Both 2D and 3D? Any issues in either? Just curious.
    Supported to the same extent as other GPUs of that generation (3xx-5xx + rs6xx).
    Last edited by bridgman; 12-15-2009 at 11:13 PM.

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