Casey Bralla on 30 Apr 2009 02:32:02 -0700

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Re: [PLUG] The state of ATI vs. nVidia on Linux

On Thursday 30 April 2009 2:33:56 am Gordon Dexter wrote:
> I'm preparing a parts list for a new computer.  
> In general, what are you choosing these days?  The more principled ATI,
> since they released their specs?  Or the generally more practical
> nVidia?  How good are ATI's open source drivers, and how much are they
> expected to be improved upon in the short- and long-term?
> What would you advise in my case?  

I just made this same decision.  Here's what I decided, and the results so 

AMD X4 (quad core, but only DDR2 memory) because it got me 4 cores at lower 
cost.  (Intel is probably faster,but the system costs go up 20+%)

My motherboard came with integrated ATI 3300 chip ("780 series").  This has 
been a big disappointment so far, but things are looking better for the 
future.  Basically, there is no 2D acceleration for this chip yet with the 
opensource RadeonHD driver, but it seems to be improving fast.   Just today I 
installed the latest version 1.2.5 (I think) that claims to support 2D 
acceleration.   As far as I can tell, X __thinks__ its accelerated, but any 
normal human being wouldn't think so.    Screen scrolls are painful, and there 
is no "sideways" RandR support.  

Some of my problems may be that I haven't found the right settings, but I've 
done all the things mentioned in the and Gentoo Wikis.  I only installed 
it last night, so I still need to muck around with it before declaring defeat.

The latest RadeonHD driver is really designed to run with the 2.6.30 kernel, 
which is not out yet, so I'm hoping that it improves when the kernel gets 
released sometime in the next week or so.

I was unsuccessful loading the binary ATI driver, and the other radeon driver 
"radeon" left me with a blank screen.

One bad note for ATI is that Novel just laid off one of the RadeonHD 
developers, so progress will be slower in the future.

If you want a fast system __Today__,  I'd recommend going with the binary 
nVidia driver.  if you want a "pure" system and are willing to wait a month or 
so (at least), then go with ATI


Casey Bralla

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