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ATI dropping support for <R600 - wtf!?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Saist View Post
    okay. I honestly didn't ready the numbers that way.
    That's the beauty of numbers; there are so many ways to read them

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    • #17
      Originally posted by bridgman View Post
      The biggest focus of the Catalyst Linux drivers has always been professional workstation graphics (FireGL, FirePRO etc..) although over the last year we have been putting more effort into some consumer features as well.

      From a technical point of view Catalyst Linux is our vehicle for letting Linux users see the performance and features from our proprietary shared-across-OSes code base. Practically speaking, for Linux users that means spiffy 3D performance and features, including things like Crossfire and Multiview. These are super-important for the professional workstation market but seem to be less interesting for consumer Linux users with the exception of running Wine.

      In most other respects, the open source drivers have the advantage of staying current with the evolving framework (and it is evolving REALLY quickly right now) since new framework features (like EXA improvements) are usually worked out by making simultaneous changes to the open source drivers and the X/DRI framework. You can't do that kind of thing with closed-source drivers.

      Anyways, bottom line is that the Catalyst Linux driver will continue to be extremely important for some market segments, but will probably never be a perfect fit for all of them -- but the open source drivers will be a good solution for the rest.
      For 4xxx owners like myself, that "choice" is a choice between no 3D acceleration whatsoever, and many glaring non-OpenGL problems. Using radeonhd, I can't even play Quake 3. Using fglrx, I have black lines on my windows that shouldn't be there, panning in GQView is embarassingly slow, there's big tearing lines in Xv video playback, and I have to calculate custom modelines if I want a refresh rate higher than 75Hz. If I had an nV card, or even an Intel GMA or something ancient, I wouldn't have to deal with this. Based on my experience with this card, I probably won't be buying ATI in the future.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by RealNC View Post
        A Phenom II is not a GPU :P
        I think the point was that the high end GPUs are so fast that you end up CPU-limited on benchmarks, not GPU-limited. You can see that when the framerate stops increasing as you lower the resolution.

        Originally posted by RealNC View Post
        NVidia is pretty much stomping on the 4870. I don't see how the 4870 outperforms NVidia. Not by any stretch of the imagination.
        You can spend your whole life arguing this; every time prices change the relative price-performance of the competitors changes completely. The very high end performance is primarily for bragging rights; all of the other purchase decisions are made on bang-for-the-buck.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by roothorick View Post
          If I had an nV card, or even an Intel GMA or something ancient, I wouldn't have to deal with this.
          Right now if you had an older GPU from anyone including ATI you would have an easier time -- the newest GPUs from all vendors have the most problems with Linux. That is changing pretty quickly though.

          Originally posted by roothorick View Post
          Using radeonhd, I can't even play Quake 3.
          Agreed, but that's why we're focusing *more* resources on fglrx support for newer GPUs in parallel with finishing the open source support for 6xx/7xx. This is about shifting resources, not cutting them.

          Originally posted by roothorick View Post
          Using fglrx, I have black lines on my windows that shouldn't be there, panning in GQView is embarassingly slow, there's big tearing lines in Xv video playback, and I have to calculate custom modelines if I want a refresh rate higher than 75Hz.
          I don't remember seeing these issues reported before; tearing in Xv is a known issue (for most vendors, not just us) but you should be able to get good tear-free playback through OpenGL. If you haven't already posted details about the black lines on your windows can you start a thread or point to a bug ticket somewhere ?

          Thanks,
          JB
          Last edited by bridgman; 03-05-2009, 11:40 AM.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by bridgman View Post
            I think the point was that the high end GPUs are so fast that you end up CPU-limited on benchmarks, not GPU-limited. You can see that when the framerate stops increasing as you lower the resolution.



            You can spend your whole life arguing this; every time prices change the relative price-performance of the competitors changes completely. The very high end performance is primarily for bragging rights; all of the other purchase decisions are made on bang-for-the-buck.

            You're not seeing cpu limiting. Things haven't been cpu limited for years. You're seeing parallel limiting. The framerate stops increasing as you lower the resolution because the cards are designed to handle x number of calculations as well as they can handle y number of calculations. The biggest cards are able to do max resolution or less than max resolution with alot of post processing (Anitropic filtering, Anti aliasing, etc.) You'll only hit bump ups in framerate when you hit sweet spots on resolution, post processing etc being able to be divided down into streams or rop's that don't stall very often.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by RealNC View Post
              ...



              Go through the pages here:

              http://www.driverheaven.net/reviews....d=711&pageid=8

              NVidia is pretty much stomping on the 4870. I don't see how the 4870 outperforms NVidia. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

              Think he meant the HD4870X2. The HD4870 is at a much lower price bracket and is not meant to compete with neither of nvidia's high end.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by bridgman View Post
                Right now if you had an older GPU from anyone including ATI you would have an easier time -- the newest GPUs from all vendors have the most problems with Linux. That is changing pretty quickly though.
                There's major documented problems with older ATI cards going back to the X1300 and beyond. After all, how was this thread started? Right. I'm fairly confident that if I had bought a GTX280 instead, I'd have good video playback and 2D performance.

                I don't remember seeing these issues reported before; tearing in Xv is a known issue (for most vendors, not just us) but you should be able to get good tear-free playback through OpenGL. If you haven't already posted details about the black lines on your windows can you start a thread or point to a bug ticket somewhere ?
                Wait, you have a bug tracker?

                In any case, the Xv tearing is an fglrx-specific issue unlike what you think. It doesn't happen with radeonhd, it doesn't happen on Intel GMA with the DRI drivers, and it doesn't happen on nV cards with either their binary blobs or the nv driver. Yes, OpenGL is what I'm using now, but it requires that the player have a properly optimized OGL backend -- you can forget about MythTV.

                Oh, and I forgot to mention that fullscreen FLV playback via Adobe's Flash plugin for Firefox is unusably slow. The video is a slideshow and the controls are so unresponsive that every time I try it I have to resist the urge to tab out to a tty and kill X outright. This doesn't happen on nV cards with their binary blobs.

                -E- Another (minor) issue I just remembered: If I tab out to a tty and kill an OGL app, the screen is corrupted. It does correct itself when tabbing back to X, at least.
                Last edited by roothorick; 03-05-2009, 12:23 PM.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by roothorick View Post
                  There's major documented problems with older ATI cards going back to the X1300 and beyond. After all, how was this thread started? Right. I'm fairly confident that if I had bought a GTX280 instead, I'd have good video playback and 2D performance.
                  Understood; I was talking about the specific problems you mentioned.

                  Originally posted by roothorick View Post
                  Wait, you have a bug tracker?
                  It should be in the Catalyst Linux release notes, I'll check. Anyways, it's at http://ati.cchtml.com .

                  Originally posted by roothorick View Post
                  In any case, the Xv tearing is an fglrx-specific issue unlike what you think. It doesn't happen with radeonhd, it doesn't happen on Intel GMA with the DRI drivers, and it doesn't happen on nV cards with either their binary blobs or the nv driver.
                  Yes and no. Tear-free support only went into the radeonhd driver very recently and is still a bit problematic there (check IRC or mailing list). Tearing with Xv isn't an issue with any of the older GPUs (including both Intel and AMD/ATI) which use hardware overlay for video playback, but on the more recent GPUs (or older GPUs using textured video instead of overlay) I think even the latest Intel Xv code has tearing issues.

                  Originally posted by roothorick View Post
                  Oh, and I forgot to mention that fullscreen FLV playback via Adobe's Flash plugin for Firefox is unusably slow. The video is a slideshow and the controls are so unresponsive that every time I try it I have to resist the urge to tab out to a tty and kill X outright. This doesn't happen on nV cards with their binary blobs.
                  My guess is that it doesn't happen with the ATI open source drivers either, will check.

                  Anyways, I guess the main point here is that for the GPU generations which were dropped the open source drivers are in pretty good shape already and development work on those drivers is continuing to grow, including both AMD and community resources.
                  Last edited by bridgman; 03-05-2009, 12:47 PM.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by roothorick View Post
                    -E- Another (minor) issue I just remembered: If I tab out to a tty and kill an OGL app, the screen is corrupted. It does correct itself when tabbing back to X, at least.
                    This happens to me with fglrx too. And sometimes tabbing back to X doesn't fix the corruption.

                    That's why I'm looking forward to use open source drivers for my Mobility Radeon X1600. But now I expect FOSS drivers to have PowerPlay and OpenGL 2.1+ support for R500 cards by the June.

                    ATi, since now you are dropping support for R500 and older cards, feel free to open parts of fglrx that handle R500 and older cards. Now you don't have to hide that parts of fglrx code, as you don't support those chips anymore. And I'm sure that those bits of code could help FOSS driver developers a lot in making PowerPlay and OpenGL 2.1+ support for R500-based (and older) cards.

                    I think that'd be a good move for you, ATi.

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                    • #25
                      ATi, since now you are dropping support for R500 and older cards, feel free to open parts of fglrx that handle R500 and older cards. Now you don't have to hide that parts of fglrx code, as you don't support those chips anymore. And I'm sure that those bits of code could help FOSS driver developers a lot in making PowerPlay and OpenGL 2.1+ support for R500-based (and older) cards.

                      I think that'd be a good move for you, ATi.
                      They can't.

                      This was one of the reason's behind funding Novell's RadeonHD.

                      FGLRX contains several licensed technologies and patents that AMD doesn't own, with sources ranging from (old)SGI to IBM to (old Artx) to Intel. AMD can ONLY open up the Source Code to technology that AMD owns outright, or has created.

                      Sure, it's a nice idea to just open FGLRX up, but it's just not legally possibly.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by DoDoENT View Post
                        This happens to me with fglrx too. And sometimes tabbing back to X doesn't fix the corruption.

                        That's why I'm looking forward to use open source drivers for my Mobility Radeon X1600. But now I expect FOSS drivers to have PowerPlay and OpenGL 2.1+ support for R500 cards by the June.

                        ATi, since now you are dropping support for R500 and older cards, feel free to open parts of fglrx that handle R500 and older cards. Now you don't have to hide that parts of fglrx code, as you don't support those chips anymore. And I'm sure that those bits of code could help FOSS driver developers a lot in making PowerPlay and OpenGL 2.1+ support for R500-based (and older) cards.

                        I think that'd be a good move for you, ATi.

                        They already did. The licensed bits still have to remain closed, but that's not really ATI's fault. It's not at ATI now that you should be putting pressure at, but rather the radeonhd/radeon developers. The ball is in their court now.
                        I called previously how people would complain if fglrx ever dropped support for cards again, and it seems I called it right. It's really not a surprise. The drivers meant for the Linux desktop user are radeon/radeonhd (for ATI users), so if any pressure should be applied it should be towards these pair of drivers. Fglrx is a worstation driver that just so happens to support desktop GPUs. That's ATI's main market in Linux and it will always be.

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                        • #27
                          We haven't talked much about specific funding and staffing levels (and don't plan to do that in the future either), but "paying one developer" to work on open source drivers is pretty far from the truth. We funded a lot of the radeonhd work, and we currently have three in-house developers working on open source drivers (Alex, Richard, Cooper) in addition to the outside development community.
                          OK, glad you corrected me, bridgman, I only knew of Alex Deucher. Still, I don't feel good about this move. The opensource support is far from being perfect in my experience (not only on R500, but also R300); powerplay is not there (although dynamic clocks does an acceptable job for me), and on both chip generations, a lot of 3D stuff doesn't work as intended (including even some xscreensaver modules, try the ant ones like antinspect) yet. While I can live with this and certainly don't want to lament about non-functional xscreensaver modules, I don't like getting only half-baked support over more than two years and then official support being dropped completely, being left with the hope that the opensource drivers will be able to do with help of the "outside development community" in due time what the proprietary driver never delivered.
                          Last edited by DirtyHairy; 03-05-2009, 01:26 PM.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Saist View Post
                            FGLRX contains several licensed technologies and patents that AMD doesn't own, with sources ranging from (old)SGI to IBM to (old Artx) to Intel. AMD can ONLY open up the Source Code to technology that AMD owns outright, or has created.
                            So let me get this straight: Some parts of the chip I have in my laptop are not made by ATi, but by someone else??? Then how could have ATi sold me a chip that was only partly their? Is it so complicated to call those respective owners and ask them nicely for the permission of opening up the code (like e.g. Intel or IBM)? AFAIK, Intel and IBM support open source...

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by DoDoENT View Post
                              So let me get this straight: Some parts of the chip I have in my laptop are not made by ATi, but by someone else??? Then how could have ATi sold me a chip that was only partly their? Is it so complicated to call those respective owners and ask them nicely for the permission of opening up the code (like e.g. Intel or IBM)? AFAIK, Intel and IBM support open source...

                              Licensing. It's not an alien concept. Everyone does it to an extent. AMD has little power over things that they are licensing. They obviously can ask whoever is licensing to them, but it's usually not that straight forward, and the answer is usually "no".

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Melcar View Post
                                Originally Posted by DoDoENT View Post
                                So let me get this straight: Some parts of the chip I have in my laptop are not made by ATi, but by someone else??? Then how could have ATi sold me a chip that was only partly their? Is it so complicated to call those respective owners and ask them nicely for the permission of opening up the code (like e.g. Intel or IBM)? AFAIK, Intel and IBM support open source...
                                Licensing. It's not an alien concept. Everyone does it to an extent. AMD has little power over things that they are licensing. They obviously can ask whoever is licensing to them, but it's usually not that straight forward, and the answer is usually "no".
                                Melcar pretty much beat me to the answer. I touched on this back in my original post : http://www.bit-tech.net/news/hardwar...-for-x86-cpu/1 :: http://www.bit-tech.net/news/hardwar...ainst-nvidia/1

                                Intel basically owns x86 technology. Only companies with a license from Intel can make x86 chips. If you just want a taste of the fights that have occured over this, do a web search for the terms Intel x86 license

                                Many of the large tech companies hold various patents for hardware design that they allow other companies to use, sometimes in exchange for cash, and sometimes in exchange for equal technologies, like the AMD / Intel cross-license agreement on x86.

                                ***

                                The situation can quickly deteriorate when companies that some technology for go out of business, or are merged. Tracking down who owned what technology, at what time, can be a legal heart-ache. Even when a vendor is fairly certain they HAVE licensed the technology properly, somebody else may show up with a broad patent claim, or having bought up interest in a patent portfolio : Look up patent troll


                                ***

                                Also, there's a difference here between hardware and software. Yes, AMD / ATi designs the chip hardware, but that doesn't mean they use internal software for it. A good case in point is the old TV-output, which has been covered several times on Phoronix during the development of TV-output into the X.org ATi driver. Check out this post by Mr. Bridgman from 2007 for example : http://www.phoronix.com/forums/showp...65&postcount=2

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