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Thread: fglrx on the desktop -- nowhere near as bad as it used to be

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Default fglrx on the desktop -- nowhere near as bad as it used to be

    Color me impressed. After several tries with ATI and Linux in the past (I'm not very smart and apparently unable to learn) I'm giving it another shot with a pair of 5830s. They were so cheap I couldn't refuse.

    Initial impression is very, very positive. The open source driver ran the fans at full blast which was a bit horrifying. But after installing fglrx the system quieted down, the desktop came up with no fuss (well, after aticonfig --initial of course), and everything I've tried seems to work well enough including a few light windows games, watching youtube, suspend/resume and exiting X. Crossfire and multi-monitor is next.

    This is a far cry from the previous fglrx user experience. I know AMD seems to be making little to no progress month to month, but compared to just a few years ago (my last try was with an X1800XT in 2006, before that an X850XT, before that an 9600XT, before that a 7200...) they've advanced by leaps an bounds. From what I've seen so far I'd say they're at least at the same level as NVidia was in 2004, possibly further. That's tremendous progress in just a few short years for the binary blob.

    I'm excited and cautiously optimistic about having a choice of desktop video hardware. And maybe some day even a functional, fully open source system!

  2. #2
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    Aug 2007
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    I would like to test crossfire on my own. I have got 2x hd 5670 cards now, but those need 2 slots and the board i could use for testing has 2 pci-e slots but a stupid layout that would require the use of single slot cards. So if somebody has got a pair of single slot ati cards still supported by fglrx or a s1155 board (s1156 would be ok too) with 2 pci-e slots in a differnet layout feel free to contact me. I always like hardware donations...

  3. #3
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    Yeah I am running Catalyst without any noticeably problems nowadays. The times when nVidia was the clear choice for Linux users are long gone.

  4. #4
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    Aug 2007
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    xvba is a joke compared to vdpau or intel's native vaapi implemention - why on earth is h264 l5.1 not supported? For other things it should work. As long as the radeon 9800 was supported by fglrx i even used an ati card in my main box. xv has to work 100% flawlessly, video accelleration for hd would be even better. Currently i use a simple nv card (cpu E8400), maybe i switch over to pure snb as main system (i really like my new i7-2600). ati is of course in one or two test systems i use for driver testing - there i often switch the gpu, boxes are usually always open

  5. #5
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    Jan 2010
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    Well, the honeymoon didn't last long.

    Several games under wine lock up after anywhere from 30 seconds to 5 minutes. Single card or crossfire. Others have obvious rendering glitches. I know what you're thinking: your wimpy 750 watt Antec isn't up to the job of handling a 4 ghz i7 and two 5830s. I'd think that too, except the exact same hardware works flawlessly when I reboot to Win7, the power calculator says I've got plenty of margin, and the box spent 24 hours churning out bitcoins (249.9 Mhash/sec per card!) without a hiccup.

    There is occasional graphic flashing when OpenGL is rendering a window and Compiz + cairo dock are running. It's like I can actually see it render parts of the dock and docklets.

    I got severe tearing with high res youtube videos combined CPUs pegging.

    As far as OpenCL -- with NV, as under windows, all you do is install their driver from the package repository. With ATI, you also track down an SDK and then hunt down a tarball to unpack in /, set environmental variables etc. Definitely points lost for needing to goggle up guides.

    So overall, ATI drivers are probably fine as a VGA replacement, but they're still worlds behind what you get with NV. No big loss, the hardware was cheap. I'll just run bitcoins on it and throw it away when it's no longer paying for itself. Guess I'll try again in a few more years.

  6. #6
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    Sep 2007
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    Those Nvidia - ATI driver comparisons are so useless. They depend too much on your personal usage scenario.
    In my case for example the Nvidia driver sucks for years on my notebook running KDE4 under openSUSE 64bit. KDE slowdowns and broken flash player acceleration are annoying. They seem to be not willing to fix that KDE slowdowns - even though a lot of people wrote complains to the nvnews.net forum.
    With my pc (HD3850 and now HD5850) I had no such problems. Everything I'm using (I don't use wine) is working fine with the catalyst drivers.

    Missing video acceleration is one drawback of the catalyst, but I don't have time to work on my htpc anyway :-(

    Cheers,
    mibo

  7. #7
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    Did you read the latest nv driver changelog?

    http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/show....php?p=2441669

    Maybe it helps for you. With Kanotix and Xserver 1.7.7 (Hellfire) or 1.4.2 (Excalibur) i have got only few problems. For Xserver 1.4.2 i have to patch the adobe flash 10.x to disable vdpau, thats all. The only thing that i really miss is full xrandr support. I dislike nvidia-settings for monitor config.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the link Kano.
    I will try the beta driver - maybe it helps (my suse has an older xserver).
    How do you disable this broken flash acceleration? Is there an easy guide, link?

  9. #9
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    Aug 2007
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    Disabling vdpau is easy - if you installed flash into your home:
    Code:
    sed -i s/libvdpau/libvdpax/g ~/.mozilla/plugins/libflashplayer.so
    Otherwise find the libflashplayer.so file.

  10. #10
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    Feb 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by v8envy View Post
    Several games under wine lock up after anywhere from 30 seconds to 5 minutes. Single card or crossfire. Others have obvious rendering glitches.
    I'd start with
    Code:
    regedit
    Navigate to
    Code:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Wine/Direct3D
    Add the following key
    Code:
    UseGLSL
    Set it to
    Code:
    disabled

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