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My horrible experience with ATI

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  • My horrible experience with ATI

    Hi,

    I have a rather old system with AGP graphics (ASUS P4P-800) & nvidia 7600GT. I only boot into Windows once in a while for games and i wanted to replace my nvidia card with something more powerful, more current. So i bought the AGP version of ATI's HD 3850 (RV670).

    Now, not only did it not work with kernel 2.6.27 out of the box (Catalyst 8.10) but it also gives me bad performance and unstable FPS. The only improvement Catalyst 8.11 brought to the table was, that at least it compiled against 2.6.27.6 without having to patch anything besides the "tainted" license.

    I won't even go into the details of what i went through to get OpenGL and direct rendering to work. The "installation process" of ATI's drivers is atrocious compared to nvidia. I spend hours on end to find documentation, HOWtos that weren't outdated etc. and still can't switch to a text console, switch from a full-screen OpenGL app to any other process without screen corruption AND get bad FPS.

    Frankly, i'm p***** off beyond words. I'm hoping to buy a new rig early next year and I will sure has hell never ever touch anything ATI, not with a 10-foot pole. Meanwhile my old graphics card does a better job, gives me at least decent, constant FPS in OpenGL games and installation of new drivers is easy as pie.

  • #2
    Well the install of ATI drivers can be a bit challengeing, even for experience users, when some things break from one release to the next one. I have got no idea how many people test those drivers, but at least they test different things than I do and my tests often show failures of the driver of it's installer. For a new box Nvidia is certainly a better choice. That's why I would _never_ recommand buying a AGP upgrade card, much better is to replace the rest too. Thats 200 € about more expensive but you can choose a much better card.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Fafnir View Post
      Now, not only did it not work with kernel 2.6.27 out of the box (Catalyst 8.10) but it also gives me bad performance and unstable FPS. The only improvement Catalyst 8.11 brought to the table was, that at least it compiled against 2.6.27.6 without having to patch anything besides the "tainted" license.
      Try to use 8.9 version of driver. I am not sure about 2.6.27 (Is that stable Fedora release?) but 8.10 and 8.11 are useless for gaming
      for me using my low end X1250, at least.

      Comment


      • #4
        Much as I appreciate Bridgeman's presence here, ATI fglrx drivers will in my opinion continue to be broken by design until the two following consistent problems are fixed:

        1. the monthly release needs to be dropped in favor of a more rational release model, ie: release it when it works. See nVidia stable and beta release method, coupled with timely, well written patches, for an example of a method that works, is proven, and fits how most of the professional software world works.

        2. stop releasing broken installer scripts in the package. If ATI cannot test an installer script and verify that it works for the distro, it should not be allowed to be in the package in the first place. That anyone even has to say something this basic and obvious is really astounding to me. I cannot understand how AMD/ATI expects anyone to take them seriously when the code they release in their packages, even if they do not write it, doesn't work. Why is this so hard to understand?

        I said about 1 year ago that I'd wait to see how ATI was doing last summer before drawing any final conclusions, but the problems all persist, ATI continues to release code that does not work, and rather than either fix it or remove it, they make excuses.

        Nobody is interested in hearing more ATI excuses I'm sad to say.

        On the bright side, for any very low end requirement, ie, server/office machine video card, etc, the cheapest ATI card you can find, plus the free radeonhd drivers, are now an acceptable option, but you are in my opinion throwing your money away if you spend more than $40 on an ATI card for Linux, not until the first two points are addressed would I consider recommending ati cards to anyone, except as basic desktop display if the mobo has no built in graphics, or if the xorg driver does an adequate job for your needs.

        After watching ATI for years now, I feel fairly comfortable narrowing the problems down to the top two points, both of which to me indicate ongoing procedural errors in how ATI is developing their drivers. Excuses are not interesting to hear any longer.
        Last edited by gfxdrone; 11-19-2008, 02:21 PM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Kano View Post
          I have got no idea how many people test those drivers
          *We* test those drivers. Of course they're not telling us that they turn us into beta testers.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by gfxdrone View Post
            Much as I appreciate Bridgeman's presence here, ATI fglrx drivers will in my opinion continue to be broken by design until the two following consistent problems are fixed:

            1. the monthly release needs to be dropped in favor of a more rational release model, ie: release it when it works. See nVidia stable and beta release method, coupled with timely, well written patches, for an example of a method that works, is proven, and fits how most of the professional software world works.

            2. stop releasing broken installer scripts in the package. If ATI cannot test an installer script and verify that it works for the distro, it should not be allowed to be in the package in the first place. That anyone even has to say something this basic and obvious is really astounding to me. I cannot understand how AMD/ATI expects anyone to take them seriously when the code they release in their packages, even if they do not write it, doesn't work. Why is this so hard to understand?

            I said about 1 year ago that I'd wait to see how ATI was doing last summer before drawing any final conclusions, but the problems all persist, ATI continues to release code that does not work, and rather than either fix it or remove it, they make excuses.

            Nobody is interested in hearing more ATI excuses I'm sad to say.

            On the bright side, for any very low end requirement, ie, server/office machine video card, etc, the cheapest ATI card you can find, plus the free radeonhd drivers, are now an acceptable option, but you are in my opinion throwing your money away if you spend more than $40 on an ATI card for Linux, not until the first two points are addressed would I consider recommending ati cards to anyone, except as basic desktop display if the mobo has no built in graphics, or if the xorg driver does an adequate job for your needs.

            After watching ATI for years now, I feel fairly comfortable narrowing the problems down to the top two points, both of which to me indicate ongoing procedural errors in how ATI is developing their drivers. Excuses are not interesting to hear any longer.
            +1 ATI needs a more robust release strategy for its driver

            Comment


            • #7
              Actually there is a fairly large beta test group which does try out the drivers before you see them.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by bridgman View Post
                Actually there is a fairly large beta test group which does try out the drivers before you see them.

                Attacking the beta testers for being incompetent in 3... 2.. 1...

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                • #9
                  Nope, not at all. They do find problems and we usually get the problems fixed before release.

                  The reality here is that we will probably follow the same path as all the other Linux driver vendors -- gradually accumulate functionality and compatibility over time (we've come a long way in the last year) then lock in that behaviour and keep it good going forward. Our testing focus is still relatively heavily biased towards CAD workstation users although we are increasing consumer coverage over time.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bridgman View Post
                    Nope, not at all. They do find problems and we usually get the problems fixed before release.
                    Maybe you live in a parallel universe. That's definitely not true as I always find errors, just times I am too annoyed to repeat me everytime and nothing gets fixed. 8-11 release showed definitely that _nobody_ cared about a fixed Ubuntu build script - as I use it in my script I found it out the hard way - and fixed it. Also there are lots of other error in there which have been introduced some month ago or even more than a year ago. That's absolutely nothing I would call fixing problems.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by bridgman View Post
                      Nope, not at all. They do find problems and we usually get the problems fixed before release.

                      The reality here is that we will probably follow the same path as all the other Linux driver vendors -- gradually accumulate functionality and compatibility over time (we've come a long way in the last year) then lock in that behaviour and keep it good going forward. Our testing focus is still relatively heavily biased towards CAD workstation users although we are increasing consumer coverage over time.
                      Oh I know what goes on in the mailing list all the time. It's just that I have no doubt that the natural progression of this "discussion" right here will lead to the blame being placed on the beta program. The driver team is already getting a bad rap for it, so people need someone else to blame.
                      The problem seems to be in the rather "eccentric" nature of Linux distros. No two are the same, with everyone putting their own spin on the finished product. It's not Windows, were you only have Windows, so it's no surprise that the driver works for many and does not for many others. The only solutions I think would be to do it like nvidia with their binary (don't depend on X) or do testing on every conceivable distro out there.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by bridgman View Post
                        Actually there is a fairly large beta test group which does try out the drivers before you see them.
                        Tell those beta testers to try to start another x-session while the first is still running (eg. switch user). A lot of people get a complete freeze when they do. That bug isn't even in the "Known issues" section in the drivers release note!

                        Or you can make me a beta tester and I'll report that bug...

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                        • #13
                          Make me, too !!! Make me, too !!!! SooooOOoooo many bugs to report !

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Odur View Post
                            Tell those beta testers to try to start another x-session while the first is still running (eg. switch user). A lot of people get a complete freeze when they do. That bug isn't even in the "Known issues" section in the drivers release note!

                            Or you can make me a beta tester and I'll report that bug...
                            +1

                            It DID actually work with ~8.43 or so, but the newer ones fail at it, quite disturbing IMO... Well, I always wondered why there was no "minimizing support" under Linux/Xorg...

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                            • #15
                              I do not agree that "winth windows there is just windows" and Linux distributions differs a lot.

                              There is "stable" Linux distro releases (like my 64bit Xubuntu 8.04 LTS release) that are supported by ATI driver.. BUt...

                              During my usage of integrated graphics in 690G chipset (X1250) I was using all fglrx drivers that were released.
                              I was waiting for things to settle with drivers, bugs to be fixed etc..
                              Every release after another bring more bugs and more problems while old bugs and problems were solved very slowly.
                              There were multiple releases that broke my LTS system from even booting, etc..
                              So my conclusion is that AMD releases Graphics hardware and in years
                              to come turns its Linux production users into beta testers.
                              I want to have finished driver by the time hardware is released!
                              Not 2 years after release!

                              So there are fat chances that I will buy any more powerful AMD graphics now.
                              They didnot pass my X1250 test for years, I had multiple problems with every new release of fglrx and I will certenly NOT going to wait
                              for any new 4890 or 4870X2 or something to be supported in Linux
                              like they should in the first day the GPU`s are released.

                              My GPU money is on Nvidia ande saying that, I will consider my next machine to be with Intel CPU, also,
                              since My Biostar (690GAM2) motherboard manufacturer didn`t release newer bios to support Phenom, too,
                              I conclude that AMD platform lacks propper support overall to be used by me anymore.
                              Last edited by Markore; 07-18-2009, 02:14 AM.

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