Today my CPU decided to stop working. As I wanted to buy a new PC anyway it's now time to find out what hardware to choose. What I now want to find out is, what graphic card to take. My last one was a Nvidia AGP card, so no way to use this one in future...
What do you think? Is a ATI card worth buying it? I mean will these new drivers get the same performance for Linux as for Windows? And if yes, will the open source drivers be good enough to run the latest 3D Games (e.g. Enemy Territory - Quake Wars)?
I mean, why should I buy a graphic card of a vendor, who still needs a lot of time to improve there closed source drivers, and will not support High-Performance open source drivers? The closed source drivers of Nvidia are already working good... So is there any sense to support ATI in this way?
And please do not start a religious war. I really don't care about higher performance for less money or that stuff. I want to support ATI if they're doing a good job in supporting OSS. (My card wouldn't be the only one in future. I have a lot of customers using Linux due to my recommendations) Otherwise I will support Nvidia for there already good Linux support.
I was kind of hesitant as of my video card choice for my new system as well, there are many good things happening in the AMD/ATi front, but there are ugly lingering bugs that prevent me from taking the plunge and going back to ATi. First of all, my computer is virtually my whole entertainment system, so working XVideo is a must, currently it is broken. It is very nice of them to be opening their specs and what not to have better OSS driver support, which is a good reason to eventually switch (once the drivers are mature enough, with working 3D and then we'll see which is better and faster (proprietary Vs open, if indeed both are made from the very same documentation).
On the other hand nVidia has a track record of very good Linux support through their proprietary drivers. They do have a driver that is up to par with their Windows' driver and given some circumstances, they are even better. The array of features and its performance is very appealing, not to mention that they are mostly more stable than fglrx, though not as stable as open drivers. It is indeed a tough call... I'm going to go with nVidia this time around and allow AMD/ATi drivers to mature further and to see how do the Open drivers develop and turn out to be.
I too bought a card from the green team, mainly due to really
good linux support (I never had to patch the nvidia kernel module
to get it to compile against latest -git source), and because
I wanted to play with the "CUDA" (GPGPU) stuff. AFAIK ATI does not (yet?) have their "Close to Metal" ready for Linux.
even if the blob screws up, you have quite decent opensource drivers, which are quickly improving. besides ati's handing out the specs.
but that matters if you
- don't play advanced 3d games (doom3, quake4, et:qw etc) too much
- don't use some features (esp. tv-out)
- can wait for opensource drivers to benefit from soon-to-be released batch of docs.
from my point of view opensource drivers are more important. and ati shows more promise than nvidia in that matter.
if you need your card working NOW - i'd recommend nvidia, though.
ATI using the RadeonHD driver (with 'Option "NoRandR" "true"' if you have to in order to get your desired resolution.) is pretty workable in Linux if you don't need the 3d.
If you absolutely need the 3d in Linux, you have to go with Nvidia.
I recently switched from Nvidia to Ati because Nvidia stopped making AGP cards at the GeForce7 series and I wasn't ready to overhaul my entire system just to get to PCI-Express.
So I got an ATI HD2600XT AGP ... 2-3 times faster than my Nvidia 6600GT AGP was. Runs Crysis like a charm (in windows :-( ) unlike my 6600GT.
In hindsight I jumped just a bit too soon since the maturity of the drivers isn't quite there yet with ATI but they show promise, especially the OSS radeonhd.
AMD's not there for a large range of applications- not right at the moment.
NVidia currently is.
AMD has been giving out specs.
If you need 3D right now, there's very few choices- Intel or NVidia, and Intel's not got really high performing parts yet. NVidia's pretty much your only choice unless you get lucky with the AMD parts and the stuff you do works right on the drivers they've provided.
If you're willing to wait and limp through the next 6 to 12 months with a mixed bag of support, AMD is definitely the way to go. It's the future, I suspect, of things on Linux, but it's just not anywhere near gelled yet.
Hope there's someone still awake, as here in Germany it's now 2:30 AM. I have again big trouble now. I mean, I could probably wait these 12 months for good 3d support because I have to dual-boot anyway. And I really want to support this new openness of ATi/AMD. One more thing from holding me back to click on "order" is the fact, that I get nearly doubled performance in a ATi card than in a NVidia card for the same money. Okay, I said I don't care about that, but, hell, doubled?!?! (Referring to Sapphire ATi HD2600XT/800Mhz/256mb-ddr4@2200MHz versus MSI NVidia NX8600GT-MTD256E/540Mhz/256mb-ddr2@1400MHz) So maybe I should play risky and just order that ATi card...
But (again) what if NVidia is about to release specs, too? Never mind, ATi was first :P
Hell, I will get that ATi card. There's just one thing left to decide. What's better? 512mb of ddr3@1400MHz or 256mb of ddr4@2200MHz? And on the AMD website the card seems to support OpenGL 2.0, but I could not find any hint about that on the shopping site. But I guess there is OpenGL 2.0 support, right?