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C-TZ
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 1:07 am    Post subject: Difference between nouveau and nvidia-drivers? Reply with quote

Hi,

I've been away for 5 years and now I want to get back into Gentoo again. Been busy two days now and I've almost got a box running.

First of all, what is the difference between the nouveau and nvidia-drivers? Are nvidia-drivers deprecated? is nouveau the new deal?


I've got a q6600 on a p5n32 sli+ motherboard and the basic system is running, except for grub with a bootsplash and x11.
Tips on those two subjects (grub + x11) and what might be imporant to know nowadays are welcome.

Kind regards and thanks for your time =]

Kevin.
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C-TZ
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 1:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For example, one thing I'm wondering, I'm using this http://en.gentoo-wiki.com/wiki/Nouveau and there's a step for genkernel which I don't use.
But the wiki is missing info on what to do when ur not using genkernel. Anybody had this issue?

Gonna boot my box in a few moments and see. If it doesn't work then, on to day 3 in the proces.
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djdunn
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 1:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

noveau is opensource drivers not made by nvidia who makes the nvidia-drivers closed source, they are newer 3rd party and dont support as many of the newest cards as nvidia-drivers do

all you should have to do for noveau is have it enabled in the kernel, have it listed in your make.conf under VIDEO_CARDS="nouveau" and have it in your xorg.conf

and it should work I think, you shouldnt have to have a initramfs or use genkernel
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Gusar
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 1:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nouveau is an open source driver, created by the community through reverse-engineering. It's lacking in the performance department, it doesn't have all the features your card provides, it's missing power management (work is being done on that, but it's still early). Nvidia-drivers is a closed source driver, provided by Nvidia themselves. It is fully featured and gives your the full performance the card is capable of. Neither is deprecated or "the real deal". It simply two drivers, you can choose which to use. The gentoo guides about them tend to be a bit outdated, but the gist is very simple:

For nouveau: Activate it in the kernel, it's in the Staging section (CONFIG_DRM_NOUVEAU). Then put VIDEO_CARDS="nouveau" into /etc/make.conf and emerge xorg-drivers. That's it, no further configuration required. If you have an xorg.conf, remove it.

For nvidia-drivers: Do *not* activate nouveau in the kernel. Then put VIDEO_CARDS="nvidia" into /etc/make.conf and emerge xorg-drivers. Afterwards, create an /etc/X11/xorg.conf containing *only* these four lines:
Code:
Section "Device"
    Identifier  "Nvidia Card"
    Driver      "nvidia"
EndSection
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C-TZ
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Gusar,

Thanks for the reply. I've now re-read myself into te current situation and dropped nouveau. But it's confusing, because: http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/xorg-config.xml advices to use the nouveau driver.
I couldn't watch a FullHD clip on that without problems, starcraft didn't work, when I searched for issues I had with error messages I got from wine I found out that on other distro's this driver is also causing
allot of head-ache.

In my opinion, this driver isn't ready for user environments yet, at all.

Luckely it wasn't such a pain to step back to the nvidia-drivers, which work out of the box perfectly, as I remember them.


The only problem I'm having now is to get Grub to boot at a higher resolution than 640x480.

I have this in my grub.conf, is this ok??

# This is a sample grub.conf for use with Genkernel, per the Gentoo handbook
# http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/handbook/handbook-x86.xml?part=1&chap=10#doc_chap2
# If you are not using Genkernel and you need help creating this file, you
# should consult the handbook. Alternatively, consult the grub.conf.sample that
# is included with the Grub documentation.

default 0
timeout 5
splashimage=(hd0,2)/boot/grub/splash.xpm.gz

title Gentoo Linux 3.2.1-gentoo-r2x64
root (hd0,2)
kernel /boot/kernel-3.2.1-gentoo-r2x64 root=/dev/sda3 nouveau.modeset=1

title Windows 7
rootnoverify (hd0,0)
makeactive
chainloader +1


if I change nouveau.modeset=1 to nvidia.modeset=1, it's not working,
and the manuals and documentation online are a bit confusing and each states different options...
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Gusar
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nouveau provides a framebuffer console driver, nvidia doesn't. So you'll need to use vesafb or uvesafb for the console. The problem with these two is, you might not get the exact resolution you want.
For example my display is 1440x900, but the largest resolution I can get with (u)vesafb is 1280x800. Even worse on my laptop - the display is 1280x800, but (u)vesafb only gives me 1024x768, resulting in a stretched picture. So I don't even bother with a framebuffer console on the laptop. It's the price to pay when using the nvidia driver.
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Kollin
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some nvidia cards are better with nouveau some with nvidia-drivers.

My 7950gt + nouveau = terrible performance, but good with nvidia-drivers.
My NvidiaION PC +nouveau = a lot better than nvidia-drivers. ;)
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Gentoo64
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Same with my card (GTX 460) nouveau isnt that fast on fermi based cards (afaik) and older cards like the 8600 are a lot faster.

There's only a few reasons to use nouveau over nvidia: If you want a nice full res console out the box, if you're one of those against proprietary stuff, or if you use hardened.
Other than that, nvidia drivers are better in every way in terms of performance, power management, extra features (vdpau, cuda)
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Gusar
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gentoo64 wrote:
Same with my card (GTX 460) nouveau isnt that fast on fermi based cards (afaik) and older cards like the 8600 are a lot faster.

This is because nouveau lacks reclocking support (what Nvidia calls PowerMizer). The difference between lowest and highest performance level on a 8600 is a lot smaller than on Fermi card. An example of a Fermi card: lowest level - 50MHz graphics clock, highest level - 810MHz graphics clock. A 16x difference!
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C-TZ
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gusar,

Can you please tell me which options I need to use in grub.conf to get vesafb or uvesafb working? I want to see if I can get my framebuffer console to work.
I've allready compiled VESA into the kernel. My card is a 8600 GTS from Nvidia.

Kollin, are you able to play the latest games on that using nouveau drivers? It seems to me a lot of people (including me) experience problems even getting
them to work, let alone getting nice results while playing. Seems others also have issues using 3d modeling software and rendering issues using those drivers.

I personally am not against "proprietary stuff", I don't care if the drivers I use are open or closed source. I payed for the card, and the drivers, and no matter
what OS I use on my PC, I want full support. So if that means using closed source, so be it. If the open source driver lacks the means of even starting a game,
I don't want it.
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Gusar
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vesafb is quite simple. Add this to the kernel line in your grub config:
Code:
video=vesafb:mtrr:3,ywrap vga=0x0YYY
Replace the YYY with the correct value. To get that, install hwinfo and run "hwinfo --framebuffer"

uvesafb is a bit more complex, but there's documentation around.
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