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Sipos
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 12:05 am    Post subject: NVidia or AMD graphics card Reply with quote

I'm planning to upgrade my desktop soon and, I'm wondering which graphics card manufacturer to go with this time. I'll be wasting my money on a high-end graphics card (though, not on 2 cards). The main thing that will probably swing it is how good the Linux drivers are. Unless the open source drivers have made a substantial leap forwards since I last used them (i.e. can provide similar performance and compatibility/functionality to the closed source ones) I'll probably use the closed source drivers. In the past I've had worse experiences with AMD/Ati drivers but, it's been a while so, my question is, what are people's recent experiences with the NVidia and AMD closed source drivers? Which company is being least useless when it comes to Linux drivers at the moment?
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You may want to check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nvidia_PureVideo to see which nVidia card might meet your needs, I'm no fan of AMD, although they may have improved.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 7:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nvidia drivers are superior all the time. Actually I had to buy nvidia card due to poor amd drivers (open or closed doesn't matter)
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 11:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have systems with Amd and Nvidia cards and definitely Nvidia drivers are far superior to Amd ones.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Closed-source drivers for nVidia are better than than closed-source drivers for AMD.

Open-source drivers for AMD are better than open-source drivers for nVidia.

In terms of sheer speed, closed source drivers for either beat open source for either, although the open-source drivers for AMD are getting closer to the closed-source drivers.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my experience

Nvidia proprietary drivers > AMD proprietary drivers > AMD open source drivers (in recent models, otherwise open source drivers tend to perform better on legacy cards) > Intel > Nouveau drivers
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nvidia started to contribute to nouveau & release documentation about specifications. steam os broke their strangle hold.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 1:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

666threesixes666 wrote:
nvidia started to contribute to nouveau & release documentation about specifications. steam os broke their strangle hold.


We've seen the start of this - there hasn't been any time yet to see the fruits of the releases.

Valve (Steam) is fighting a serious trend in the industry here, started by Apple and followed quickly by Microsoft. They're closing their ecosystems and eating their aftermarkets. (and ISVs) For that matter, Intel is doing the same. The "little guys" like nVidia and Valve are fighting back, and Linux is the most viable place to circle the wagons. Heck, compared to Apple, Microsoft, and Intel, AMD is a "little guy" too. They saw the pressure just from Intel, and took this move a few years ago. The fruits of the AMD releases can be shown in the progress the Radeon driver has made vs Catalyst.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies everyone.

It's encouraging to hear progress is being made in open source drivers and that AMD and NVidia are helping. Hopefully graphics drivers will be less of a irritation in the future.

[quote=666threesixes666]nvidia started to contribute to nouveau & release documentation about specifications. steam os broke their strangle hold.[/quote]

How is SteamOS helping open source drivers? Are Valve not using the closed source drivers?
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Amds open source driver are really good. Its was bad a few year ago, but they got better. [1] German link.

UVD is now available in the opensource driver [2], 3D is working pretty well but its not yet as performant as the proprietary driver.


[1] http://www.heise.de/open/artikel/Die-Woche-AMDs-Grafiktreiber-machen-sich-1950703.html
[2] http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTA2ODk
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As with most things it depends on which video card one is using.
It's not as simple as nvidia is better than amd or intel.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sipos you failed to mention what it is you want to do with this graphics card. Just run a smooth KDE4? Play modern games like Far Cry 3? Run GPU computations such as generating bitcoins or decryption? Use it for stitching images together? You can't choose the right card if you don't decide on it's primary purpose.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting and relevant article today on Phoronix:
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=amd_catalyst_gallium80&num=1
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chopstix wrote:
Sipos you failed to mention what it is you want to do with this graphics card. Just run a smooth KDE4? Play modern games like Far Cry 3? Run GPU computations such as generating bitcoins or decryption? Use it for stitching images together? You can't choose the right card if you don't decide on it's primary purpose.


Primarily I'm buying the card for gaming. If it wasn't for that, I wouldn't be buying a new card at all. That said, I'm mainly asking though not about performance but, about how frequently there are problems building the drivers, with the drivers working etc.

As an example of what I am trying to avoid: in the past, when I've used AMD closed source drivers, I either had hard to fix problems with X crashing or, more recently, I had no problem with them working for kernels they built against but, found that they didn't build against newer kernels until a long time after they were released. In particular, I was stuck for a long time with wanting to use a newer kernel (for which there were gentoo-sources so, not a git kernel or anything) because it had drivers that worked for my wireless card but, not being able to use it with the closed source AMD drivers. Back then, I'd happily have traded that card for an NVidia one with worse performance if it would have worked sooner with the kernel release that had the wireless drivers I needed.

It's easier to get an idea of performance from review/benchmark articles but, not so easy to know if I'll be constantly having problems with the drivers so, it's how problematic drivers are that I'm asking about here.

I said that I was primarily interested in the closed source drivers because I've always viewed the open source ones as too slow for gaming or, not supporting enough of the features of cards but, it sounds like the open source drivers have improved a lot since I tried either (actually, I never got the open source radeon driver to work when I had an AMD card) to the point where I should be considering using them instead. I will definitely be trying the open source drivers for whatever card I go with. Even if I don't use the open source drivers, I'm a bit loathed to buy a card from a manufacturer that hasn't helped enough for the open source drivers for their cards to be reasonable so, even if I don't actually end up using them, how good the open source drivers are is a factor. I just don't really want to give my money to someone who is making it harder to use only free software on my computer (well, both major manufacturers are but, given I am going to buy a card from one of them for gaming, I'd rather it be from the most cooperative).
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 10:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sipos wrote:
Chopstix wrote:
Sipos you failed to mention what it is you want to do with this graphics card. Just run a smooth KDE4? Play modern games like Far Cry 3? Run GPU computations such as generating bitcoins or decryption? Use it for stitching images together? You can't choose the right card if you don't decide on it's primary purpose.


Primarily I'm buying the card for gaming. If it wasn't for that, I wouldn't be buying a new card at all. That said, I'm mainly asking though not about performance but, about how frequently there are problems building the drivers, with the drivers working etc.


Duh, I would have thought that, by now, everyone would assume that's the only legitimate reason to by a top-notch card. If you want to do number crunching you are probably better investing in a multicore motherboard or setting up a cluster. :lol:

Jokes aside, depontius basically summed it all up. The open "radeon" driver has really caught up for most purposes. In some regards (kms framebuffer being the one I use the most) it largely surpases the fglrx blob.

I'll just add that, if you choose closed drivers you are tied to whatever the manufacturer decides at a given moment. That, sometimes, means you'll be many kernel versions behind. Or even that you won't be able to use some feature (kms).

But that's probably unimportant for gaming purposes. I really don't know.

So, to sum up, in my view nvidia has always had better hardware, so you probably want that for gaming. And with nvidia you really have no option but the blob. If you'll use ati then the thing is slightly more complicated, since both drivers have their drawbacks, but I'd say that overall the radeon driver is much less painful to deal with and nowadays works very well.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i92guboj wrote:
The open "radeon" driver has really catch up for most purposes


*caught up?

I agree, radeon hands down, (when choosing open sauce)

The only meaningful argument against not using open source AMD card was the lack of hardware accel for pirated movies. Even then -lavdopts threads=N does a damn well job. But now that amd has release uvd code for pirated movies accel it's a done deal.

Radeon has better overall due to power management at this point.

Both open source projects are nice, so in the end I'd take a card from both.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also when mentioning the AMD open source drivers, you should mention that they are "good" for cards that are no longer sold (6870 and older). Anything newer uses the SI driver which is rubbish. Which IMO when answering questions about new cards, the AMD open source should rate lower than both Intel/nouveau.

Also worth mentioning with the AMD closed source driver is that the performance even with the latest beta (13.11 beta6) is rubbish in quite a few native Steam games. They are improving it, but the focus
seems to be on Valve source engine games at the moment.

EDIT: Also also worth mentioning, AMD open/closed is rubbish for Wine games and such. It can work, but the performance is much worse than nvidia, and is driver version sensitive for the closed.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2013 12:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

shazeal wrote:
Also when mentioning the AMD open source drivers, you should mention that they are "good" for cards that are no longer sold (6870 and older). Anything newer uses the SI driver which is rubbish. Which IMO when answering questions about new cards, the AMD open source should rate lower than both Intel/nouveau.

Also worth mentioning with the AMD closed source driver is that the performance even with the latest beta (13.11 beta6) is rubbish in quite a few native Steam games. They are improving it, but the focus
seems to be on Valve source engine games at the moment.

EDIT: Also also worth mentioning, AMD open/closed is rubbish for Wine games and such. It can work, but the performance is much worse than nvidia, and is driver version sensitive for the closed.


Thanks. I wasn't aware that the newer cards used a different driver at all.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2013 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

shazeal wrote:
EDIT: Also also worth mentioning, AMD open/closed is rubbish for Wine games and such. It can work, but the performance is much worse than nvidia, and is driver version sensitive for the closed.


You know, I was wondering about this.

I was about to make a posting somewhere that wine + fglrx closed source driver on my RadeonHD 5770 is not much different than my Intel HD3000 graphics in wine (OSS Intel driver, of course). It just feels that way for some reason...
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2013 3:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes the open source driver in Wine has the same problem as the closed. I cant remember the exact details but I think the Wine dev's based all their work on the nvidia driver implementation so its better optimized for nvidia than other opengl implementations. Also Wine tends to be CPU bound alot more than Native stuff so your CPU can often make more of a difference than GPU does.

As an example of NVidia vs AMD in Wine... In Final Fantasy XIV on wine I get ~32 FPS on my Nvidia 650 Ti, and on the same machine with an AMD Radeon HD7870 I get 29FPS. GPU wise the 7870 is much more powerful. In Windows 7 the Nvidia gets about 39 FPS, and the AMD gets Upwards of 60 FPS.

The only AMD driver that actually lets me run FF XIV in Wine is the 12.6 driver which is very old. Steam stuff does not work at all with this driver. Going to newer drivers improves the Steam side but breaks stuff in Wine. Skyrim for instance CTDs alot with the newer drivers on AMD, but is rock solid on the 12.6 or on Nvidia.

My recommendation for Closed source on a NEW card is Nvidia everytime, AMD isnt worth the trouble.
Open source on new cards I wouldnt bother with either AMD or Nvidia, Intel is "cheaper" and the driver is good enough for most things.

I am personally hoping AMD sort their stuff out, since technically their cards are way better than Nvidia IMO.

eccerr0r wrote:
shazeal wrote:
EDIT: Also also worth mentioning, AMD open/closed is rubbish for Wine games and such. It can work, but the performance is much worse than nvidia, and is driver version sensitive for the closed.


You know, I was wondering about this.

I was about to make a posting somewhere that wine + fglrx closed source driver on my RadeonHD 5770 is not much different than my Intel HD3000 graphics in wine (OSS Intel driver, of course). It just feels that way for some reason...

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2013 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My "Benchmark" is World of Warcrack, and it's strange that my RadeonHD 5770, which should be faster than the onchip IntelHD 3000 graphics on the i7-2700K. Yet they are virtually the same in terms of FPS which changes drastically in the scene it's showing. I have never figured out why but if that is true that wine is not quite tuned with fglrx, then that would make sense. The speed of the two is even more strange that I usually run my HD3000 in Direct3D9 mode and the RadeonHD works a bit faster in OpenGL mode - despite D3D9 mode should have higher overhead. And World of Warcrack draws more features with D3D9 too, making it an even more skewed comparison. One could even say that IntelHD3000 is faster (but it shouldn't be!)

I will need to check out how bad a Geforce 8400GS compares to the other two then, it being a really low end GeForce but software makes a difference.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2013 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

uh?

Portal, Mass Effect 2 plays fine with open source radeon in wine. In ME2 got until the final assault without any probs.

But you are right, I didn't take into account closed blobs. I have no interest in running those.

Support open source!!

Also I doubt most games make use of full opengl 4.1 exclusively yet.

I play, and have fun at the rate of open source :/
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2013 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

_______0 wrote:

Support open source!!


I really *don't* want to get on this soapbox because I do support getting as much as possible F/OSS, but here's the problem with the argument:

Is Mass Effect 2 FOSS?
Is Portal FOSS?
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2013 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I admit the OS AMD drivers with outdated graphics card do work well. But again you are using an old card, go out and buy a new Radeon R series and try your luck.

The AMD open source drivers are only relevant for those who already have, or want to risk an out dated second hand card. The OS drivers are now 2 Generations behind, 7xxx and Rxxx cards just dont compare, you may as well use the VESA driver.

And my list of games that work with my 7870 on the opensource driver is zero, heck I cant even get composite to work in KDE.

_______0 wrote:
uh?

Portal, Mass Effect 2 plays fine with open source radeon in wine. In ME2 got until the final assault without any probs.

But you are right, I didn't take into account closed blobs. I have no interest in running those.

Support open source!!

Also I doubt most games make use of full opengl 4.1 exclusively yet.

I play, and have fun at the rate of open source :/

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have yet to try out the opensource ATI drivers on my RadeonHD 5770, has anyone tried it for cards of this generation, and how does it compare to fglrx?

I have heard people using the OSS driver on 4350s and cards around that era, but not sure how well it works. I do have to say that the OSS Radeon driver on my old R200/RV250 cards (Radeon AIW 8500DV, Radeon 9250, Radeon 9000 Mobility) have major bitrot... Sproingies (in x11-misc/xscreensaver package with USE=opengl) doesn't show up properly on these cards anymore :(

Used to work fine... then again I don't use these cards much anymore.
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