ATI 5870 on Debian unstable
I thought I would just share my experience and thoughts on this video card and my joys and troubles with it. As back ground information I switched from a Nvidia 9800 GX2. Most of my gaming is through Wine and it is acceptable. My most recent experience with ATI was about 2 years ago (give or take a few months) when I bought an ATI 4850, which I completely gave up getting to work at that time and I put it in my wife's Windows machine instead. Not a very good experience for a hardcore Nvidia fan.
Well back to my experience from yesterday with installing and using this brand new ATI 5870 in my computer. I plugged in the card and started up the computer. Of course X wouldn't start but that wasn't any more or less than I expected. I then installed the fglrx driver and associated packages, edited my xorg.conf and restarted GDM. Bling X started without a hitch and I was good to go. This was very impressive as I had been expecting to fight with this for a couple of days before I got it working.
Well after using the system for a little I have of course found that not everything is perfect. I still believe that Nvidia's driver is way ahead of the ATI driver but I can work with and accept this because of AMD's open source initiative.
What issues have I encountered which are not among the standard complaints like poor video performance and such.
EverQuest I through Wine:
I have not seen a performance boost as I expected. Whether it is Wine or the driver I don't know but I do suspect Wine.
When running XFCE it seems that the Video output from Wine took over all the workspaces meaning that I would see EverQuest on all workspaces even though I could only interact with it on the workspace it was started on. (this was not an issue with the Nvidia card and probably the one that scared and frustrated me the most in the beginning). This was resolved by running Compiz. I originally stopped running Compiz because EverQuest performed horribly when Compiz was enabled. EverQuest will have to run on face 1 of the cube or it will take over the faces with lower number just like in XFCE but it fixes the problem. There isn't much of a performance hit when running Compiz and Wine that I have experienced.
X in general:
I feel that X is slower. When starting X and logging in I see the screen updating in a top down manner, once I am logged I don't see this anymore but I still in XFCE felt that there was a little bit of delay when switching workspace that I didn't experience with the Nvidia video card.
Overall I wouldn't say that I am impressed or anything but I am happy with not having to struggle getting everything to work. I hope AMD will continue their good work and perhaps in the future no one will ever consider running a Nvidia video card in their Linux system. (hopefully because of a good and well update open source driver and not the binary blob I am running now)
AMD you get 3 out of 5 for your effort. I hope to see you score 5 out of 5 soon.
yeah, pretty much the same experience I had. Plugged in, works, minor issues here and there, not-so-minor issues with wine. Still happy, because other minor issues from nvidia went away and my system has been *more* stable with fglrx.
Does your X server use the backclear-patch? That should solve some of the noticable slowdowns in X. It's a "feature" in X that'll slow down all XAA drivers. An XAA replacement for fglrx is in the works, if we're lucky it'll be enabled by default with 10.6.
Ok, I was so happy for a while there and now I am back to being disappointed. I think my card is faulty because I am having problems with booting and crashes. I guess this is not ATI's fault but I am back to running my Nvidia 9800 GX2 again.
I have had crashes even when trying to access the motherboard BIOS. Most often the card wouldn't let me get to GRUB boot selector and so on. I am gonna try taking the card back to the store on Monday to see what they say.....
I hope I can just bring a new card back home and all problems will be solved.
And yesterday ended my recent ATI adventures with me getting my money back for a defective card. I brought the card back to the store and they tested it and found problems with it as well. Since they didn't have a replacement card in stock I got my money back.
I guess I am not destined to run an ATI card in my computer. Well, I will wait a couple of months and then try to buy a new ATI 5000-series card and hope for the best.