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Thread: Future of Catalyst Llano support

  1. #1
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    Default Future of Catalyst Llano support

    I am considering a new system and we have a classic AMD/Intel fight on our hands.
    It doesn't have to be blazing fast, but it has to be supported and 'reasonably' fast.

    I had an RS690 class graphics that was promised accelerated video decoding.
    Never got one. Catalyst support was flaky, but good til they tossed it into a
    legacy support mode (basically FU). Afterwards they made open-source driver
    and performance was under 50% of fglrx driver and it never got much better.
    So I'm pissed.

    Now, I'm still interested trying Llano, however, I don't want to be pushed into
    legacy linux support the same way they did it before. So this one goes to you,
    mr. Bridgman (no disrespect in any way) - for how long do you expect to support
    official Catalyst linux Llano (Evergreen) graphics driver? I know that xf86-video-ati
    is never going to work for me performance-wise nor powersave-wise.

    So, basically, tell me... should I go with SNA i5 HD series

    Forum fellow' comments are most welcome.

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    Who promised you accelerated video decoding on RS690?

    I wonder how you can come to the conclusion that Intel graphics will meet your needs when in the previous sentence you say that xf86-video-ati is never going to work for you performance-wise.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chithanh View Post
    Who promised you accelerated video decoding on RS690?
    http://www.amd.com/uk/products/deskt...abilities.aspx

    AMD 690 Series features Avivo™ technology, delivering the most vibrant images and smoothest video playback
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATI_Avivo

    In decoding, the GPU core supports hardware decoding of H.264, VC-1, WMV9, and MPEG-2 videos to lower CPU utilization (the bitstream processing/entropy decoding still requires CPU processing)
    http://techreport.com/articles.x/11931

    ...it's only fitting that the 690G is also equipped with an Avivo video processing engine. Avivo handles tasks like video scaling, decode acceleration, 3:2 pulldown detection, and other widgets that enhance video playback quality.
    Why would I need GPU accellerated h.264 if I had a dual core. The only meaningful purpose of a 690G chipset's AVIVO was to help decoding (satisfied with only help), so that CPU doesn't have to chew through all of the process. Never happened, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chithanh View Post
    I wonder how you can come to the conclusion that Intel graphics will meet your needs when in the previous sentence you say that xf86-video-ati is never going to work for you performance-wise.
    xf86-video-ati is less than half the performance of a Catalyst/FGLRX driver.
    xf86-video-intel is about on or close to a performance parity with Win driver(!)

    Intel HD3000 is similar to GeForce 310M or HD 5450.
    Mind you, this is on windows.
    HD3000 on linux should be on par with an ATi card 100% faster than HD540.

    Catch my drift?

    But I'm really not trying to be a troll. Just asking a reasonable question.
    If I choose AMD again it very well must be supported, even if I had to use a blob.

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    HD Graphics 3000 @ 1300 MHz should be comparable to the slowest Llano, Radeon HD 6480G. Intel at lower clock rate is slower and the other Llano Radeons should be faster.

    At the point when the Llano APU isn't supported by the catalyst driver anymore, the OSS driver will probably be feature complete (power saving!) and have a better performance.

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    Nowhere on AMD site it says that you get H.264 decode acceleration with 690G on Linux. In fact, such a claim would be suprising, as there is no H.264 hardware decoder on that chipset. The information in Wikipedia can sometimes be confusing or misleading. If you base your purchasing decisions on Wikipedia articles, you might not get what you expect.

    If you build mesa from git with VDPAU enabled, you already get some half-working decode acceleration for radeon. Though it is my understanding that it is not fully sure whether cards older than r500 can be completely supported by libvdpau_r300.

    Regarding the 3D acceleration, the r300 driver eventually reached around 60-70% of the proprietary driver's performance, as was predicted by bridgman. It seems reasonable to assume that the same will happen for r600 and your Llano.

    Concerning your original question of proprietary driver support, certainly AMD will drop Llano at some distant point in the future. I think that support for the older r600/r700 will likely go away first, so you have some advance warning before that happens.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chithanh View Post
    Nowhere on AMD site it says that you get H.264 decode acceleration with 690G on Linux. In fact, such a claim would be suprising, as there is no H.264 hardware decoder on that chipset. The information in Wikipedia can sometimes be confusing or misleading. If you base your purchasing decisions on Wikipedia articles, you might not get what you expect.
    Actually I base my purchasing decisions on many sources, because I like being informed. Many of them are credible. For instance, the anandtech article was rather clear about ATI's promises then (unless AnandTech is not credible enough):

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/1897/2

    One of the things that ATI had promised us was that by the end of the year, their Radeon X1000 series of GPUs would have hardware accelerated H.264 decode support; and with Catalyst 5.13, ATI is delivering on that promise... More specifically, ATI's Radeon X1000 GPU in combination with the Cyberlink H.264 decoder will handle the in-loop deblocking, motion compensation and inverse transform that occur during H.264 decoding.
    See, I wasn't the only one ATi promised something. It is rather obvious that ATi's marketing at the time was overhypeing some of the hardware capabilities. Later, this rhetoric was softened, diluted and pushed under the carpet. I'm aware for a long time that X1250 doesn't have UVD, however, at the time of my purchase UVD didn't even exist and AVIVO was advertised as H264 decoding solution. And afterwards people started saying something like you just did - a la "Well, what did you expect, RS690 hasn't got UVD, duh!'. Yes. Duh.

    Quote Originally Posted by chithanh View Post
    Regarding the 3D acceleration, the r300 driver eventually reached around 60-70% of the proprietary driver's performance, as was predicted by bridgman. It seems reasonable to assume that the same will happen for r600 and your Llano.
    Thats simply not true and is misleading. Phoronix's own:
    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...00g_slow&num=4

    Quote Originally Posted by chithanh View Post
    Concerning your original question of proprietary driver support, certainly AMD will drop Llano at some distant point in the future. I think that support for the older r600/r700 will likely go away first, so you have some advance warning before that happens.
    Yes. Well... perhaps. Or they'll loose support 12 months after my purchase.
    As they did before. Not so distant, is it?
    Last edited by clavko; 02-01-2012 at 07:15 AM. Reason: typo

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    Quote Originally Posted by oleid View Post
    HD Graphics 3000 @ 1300 MHz should be comparable to the slowest Llano, Radeon HD 6480G. Intel at lower clock rate is slower and the other Llano Radeons should be faster.
    Thanks for the info, it is quite helpful. It's interesting, but I didn't
    notice any head-to-head Phoronix Intel-nVidia-AMD article. Ofcourse
    there is OpenBenchmarking... but no articles PTS is made for

    Quote Originally Posted by oleid View Post
    At the point when the Llano APU isn't supported by the catalyst driver anymore, the OSS driver will probably be feature complete (power saving!) and have a better performance.
    Yes, it might, since a large portion of code is reusable. However, I'd like at least 2 years of support (through 2013) before binary support would be dropped. Because judging by current development pace, I don't think that Evergreen open-source support will be mature before the end of 2013. That kind of commitment would make me feel a little bit better about my decision. Perhaps mr. Bridgman would like to comment on that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by clavko View Post
    Actually I base my purchasing decisions on many sources, because I like being informed. Many of them are credible. For instance, the anandtech article was rather clear about ATI's promises then (unless AnandTech is not credible enough):

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/1897/2
    See, I wasn't the only one ATi promised something.
    The Anandtech article is only talking about Windows. And while the AVIVO part in the RS690 can accelerate some parts of H.264 playback, the support is far from complete. Which is not surprising, considering that H.264 standard was published in 2003 and the RS690 entered production in 2006 (typically manufacturers need more than 3 years to design a part).
    Quote Originally Posted by clavko View Post
    Thats simply not true and is misleading. Phoronix's own:
    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...00g_slow&num=4
    Since when are Phoronix benchmarks indicative of anything? The benchmarks often use code that is outdated at time of publication, they leave power profile at default or other shenanigans. Also it appears that Catalyst on the old Ubuntu versions were benchmarked with Gnome+Metacity, while the mesa on the new version uses Unity+Compiz which impacts performance too.
    Quote Originally Posted by clavko View Post
    Yes. Well... perhaps. Or they'll loose support 12 months after my purchase.
    As they did before. Not so distant, is it?
    I agree that AMD deserves to be criticized for dropping support for hardware that was still on sale (RS740 is a die-shrink of the 690 and was produced and sold well into 2010), but r300 generation was the oldest to be still supported by Catalyst back then. So it is not surprising that it was first on the chopping block.

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    Quote Originally Posted by clavko View Post
    Actually I base my purchasing decisions on many sources, because I like being informed. Many of them are credible. For instance, the anandtech article was rather clear about ATI's promises then (unless AnandTech is not credible enough):

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/1897/2



    See, I wasn't the only one ATi promised something. It is rather obvious that ATi's marketing at the time was overhypeing some of the hardware capabilities. Later, this rhetoric was softened, diluted and pushed under the carpet. I'm aware for a long time that X1250 doesn't have UVD, however, at the time of my purchase UVD didn't even exist and AVIVO was advertised as H264 decoding solution. And afterwards people started saying something like you just did - a la "Well, what did you expect, RS690 hasn't got UVD, duh!'. Yes. Duh.

    [...]
    a article from 2005, about a corporation which doesn't exist anymore. And this is a argument for what

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