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Thread: Considering a new GPU soon. How's the 7700 series on Linux?

  1. #91
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    Jul 2012
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    Hmm.. there seems to be a bit of a religious war going on

    Not wanting to step into any doo-doo, I completely f'd up and need to purchase a video card for my new rig today. Some specs: Phenom IIx4 960 with Asus M5A97 mobo, 16GB of DDR3-1600 RAM, 120GB SSD, and a Corsair HX550W PSU. And, of course, I had an old nvidia 7300GS video card kicking around.. but I didn't realize that it's a short height bracket and i lost the full height bracket that's needed for my case

    The aim is to run ESXi, and I'm planning on using CentOS for one or more VMs. I don't intend on playing any games on here, but will probably have the odd video playback. I was thinking of getting a 7750 based card due to the attractive TDP and performance per W.

    Windows will also be installed on here at some point, but that's secondary.

    Is a 7750/7770 based card a good idea? I guess I want something relatively newer architecture because it'll be a while before this is upgraded, and I'm interested in messing around with OpenCL. So, in case It's not obvious, this is mostly a development rig so pure performance isn't critical, but I wouldn't want it to chug along too slowly.

    Thoughts? I pretty much want to purchase the card today or tomorrow so I can spend some quality time this weekend using it.

  2. #92
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    Oct 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhuFighter View Post
    Hmm.. there seems to be a bit of a religious war going on

    Not wanting to step into any doo-doo, I completely f'd up and need to purchase a video card for my new rig today. Some specs: Phenom IIx4 960 with Asus M5A97 mobo, 16GB of DDR3-1600 RAM, 120GB SSD, and a Corsair HX550W PSU. And, of course, I had an old nvidia 7300GS video card kicking around.. but I didn't realize that it's a short height bracket and i lost the full height bracket that's needed for my case

    The aim is to run ESXi, and I'm planning on using CentOS for one or more VMs. I don't intend on playing any games on here, but will probably have the odd video playback. I was thinking of getting a 7750 based card due to the attractive TDP and performance per W.

    Windows will also be installed on here at some point, but that's secondary.

    Is a 7750/7770 based card a good idea? I guess I want something relatively newer architecture because it'll be a while before this is upgraded, and I'm interested in messing around with OpenCL. So, in case It's not obvious, this is mostly a development rig so pure performance isn't critical, but I wouldn't want it to chug along too slowly.

    Thoughts? I pretty much want to purchase the card today or tomorrow so I can spend some quality time this weekend using it.
    See my previous post... Although, the 7750/7770 is an extremely good idea because both include the option to perform double precision floating point calculations within the graphics card. This is extremely good if you want to do math that requires precision.

  3. #93
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    Nov 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhuFighter View Post
    Hmm.. there seems to be a bit of a religious war going on

    Not wanting to step into any doo-doo, I completely f'd up and need to purchase a video card for my new rig today. Some specs: Phenom IIx4 960 with Asus M5A97 mobo, 16GB of DDR3-1600 RAM, 120GB SSD, and a Corsair HX550W PSU. And, of course, I had an old nvidia 7300GS video card kicking around.. but I didn't realize that it's a short height bracket and i lost the full height bracket that's needed for my case

    The aim is to run ESXi, and I'm planning on using CentOS for one or more VMs. I don't intend on playing any games on here, but will probably have the odd video playback. I was thinking of getting a 7750 based card due to the attractive TDP and performance per W.

    Windows will also be installed on here at some point, but that's secondary.

    Is a 7750/7770 based card a good idea? I guess I want something relatively newer architecture because it'll be a while before this is upgraded, and I'm interested in messing around with OpenCL. So, in case It's not obvious, this is mostly a development rig so pure performance isn't critical, but I wouldn't want it to chug along too slowly.

    Thoughts? I pretty much want to purchase the card today or tomorrow so I can spend some quality time this weekend using it.
    I do hope you know that ESXi is headless save for some text mode basic configuration stuff.

  4. #94
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    Jul 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by barkas View Post
    I do hope you know that ESXi is headless save for some text mode basic configuration stuff.
    Yes. I have it installed on my servers at work now. I am just putting together a system at home so that i don't have to comply wiht all of the security policies from the office. The idea is to have all of the ESXi VMs (for dev purposes) boot off of the SSD, while windows, etc. boot off of a HDD.

  5. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by bridgman View Post
    Thanks Paul. Normally I focus entirely on tomorrow, but when you said that we did something so terrible that you (and others) would never use AMD products again and I had no idea what you were talking about it seemed worth looking into.

    IIRC 2004 was when we were just starting to move the Linux drivers from a completely separate code base to a shared-code model so we could bring hardware support and features/performance to Linux users more quickly. That work started in 2004 (to get ready for r5xx in 2005) and ran through 2007, with the last big change (moving to a new OpenGL driver stack) coming in Sep 2007.
    In my memory the really old driver was fine, up to 2004 when ATI stopped giving information to DRI developers, as far as I know that was tungsten graphics back then.
    The point where you write that work started in 2004 up until 2007, that was the very very bad time. No real open source anymore, and the crappy blob instead.
    Since documentation is open sourced it slowly gets better, but it's still bad.
    I admit that fglrx has gotten a little better over time but I still consider it almost unusable.
    Last edited by barkas; 07-12-2012 at 11:34 AM.

  6. #96
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    My understanding was that we stopped providing support for open drivers around 2002, when the fglrx driver was first introduced with a Linux-specific code base. I was told the information flow basically stopped after r300 2D and before r300 3D.

    There are three driver architectures under discussion here, not two :

    - open source driver, supported with info from ATI until ~2002, support restarted in 2007
    - proprietary Linux-only driver, starting with r200 and the primary option for r300, ~2002 through 2004
    - proprietary Linux driver code sharing with other OSes, incremental transition between 2004 and 2007 then stable-ish architecture from 2007 on

  7. #97
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    It makes even more sense when you know that end of 2006 ati was integrated into amd

  8. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by bridgman View Post
    My understanding was that we stopped providing support for open drivers around 2002, when the fglrx driver was first introduced with a Linux-specific code base. I was told the information flow basically stopped after r300 2D and before r300 3D.

    There are three driver architectures under discussion here, not two :

    - open source driver, supported with info from ATI until ~2002, support restarted in 2007
    - proprietary Linux-only driver, starting with r200 and the primary option for r300, ~2002 through 2004
    - proprietary Linux driver code sharing with other OSes, incremental transition between 2004 and 2007 then stable-ish architecture from 2007 on
    Your dates are probably more accurate than my memory. Anyway the first OSS driver was best, followed by the present OSS driver, which is good, if very slow sometimes. The first proprietary was certainly the worst. The present isn't great, but better.

    @kano: When AMD took over, it got better in my opinion.

  9. #99
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    I suspect the present OSS driver is actually faster than older versions one on todays workloads, and that the driver is being asked to do more work than before in order to provide a slicker looking UI. Even adding a compositor makes a big change in the driver workload.

    A much bigger issue is that older GPUs dedicated a big chunk of die area for optimized 2D acceleration hardware, while most modern GPUs use the 3D engine for pretty much everything and don't even *have* 2D hardware. In our case, the R5xx and RS6xx generations were the last ones with 2D acceleration hardware .

    Performance on the kind of benchmarks you ran in 2002 is probably lower on modern hardware, but that's a hardware change not a driver change.
    Last edited by bridgman; 07-12-2012 at 05:53 PM.

  10. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by bridgman View Post
    I suspect the present OSS driver is actually faster than older versions one on todays workloads, and that the driver is being asked to do more work than before in order to provide a slicker looking UI. Even adding a compositor makes a big change in the driver workload.

    A much bigger issue is that older GPUs dedicated a big chunk of die area for optimized 2D acceleration hardware, while most modern GPUs use the 3D engine for pretty much everything and don't even *have* 2D hardware. In our case, the R5xx and RS6xx generations were the last ones with 2D acceleration hardware .

    Performance on the kind of benchmarks you ran in 2002 is probably lower on modern hardware, but that's a hardware change not a driver change.
    Those things have certainly gotten much faster and very much harder to write a driver for.
    That leads to the question if the present low manpower way in which the OSS driver is built is sustainable or if it will always be more stable but much slower than the blob. I'm primarily benchmarking xbmc and I think the blob is about 3 times as fast as the OSS driver there.

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