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AMD Linux Catalyst: Hardware Owners Screwed?

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  • #61
    I've been a BIG AMD supporter for years. I still am. I whole-heartily support their open-source strategy; however, I and almost every other Linux user believe they are dropping support for r600/r700 way too soon! The OSS drivers are nowhere near the performance that they need to be, and for many of us the binary driver is our only option for descent speeds.

    Now there would not be such an outcry if the OSS drivers were 60-70% of the speed of the binary drivers; however, in some cases the OSS driver can be 5-10x slower! That basically makes our hardware unusable for the things we bought it for! I've got a 4670 and a 4200 (integrated gfx). Using the OSS drivers is fine for daily computing (web browsing, etc) but comes nowhere near the performance needed for even some basic games. The only way my hardware is usable for gaming at all is through the closed-source driver. Now unless Bridgman knows something he's not telling us, the OSS drivers don't seem to be making the performance gains necessary to even reach this 60-70% goal this year or next.
    Last edited by gururise; 05-31-2012, 11:34 PM.

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    • #62
      I don't have a big problem with monthly releases being dropped, since trying to keep a schedule like that is kind of ridiculous.

      What I am concerned with is (with ratings) :
      * Chinese workforce. Distance and issues with innovation and passion for the company they'd work for. 8/10
      * The stop of support for not so old cards, R600/700. 6/10
      * The lack of public relations on a Linux level. 9/10
      * The management of AMD. 8/10

      What I would have done:
      * Press release on the changes
      * Had ready for release new drivers to make people happy with transition
      * A new naming convention, not based around 'months'
      * Said that R600/700 will still be supported, but owners will see fewer changes. This would have made those owners happy and maybe even spurred them on to buy an updated card
      * Then simply release drivers when you have good enough changes to warrant a release, be it for any card. If they got alot out in close proximity then this bad news article would be squashed and people would be thriving with AMD.

      I am currently waiting on the release of the Nvidia GTX660 before buying my next card. I wanted to compare between AMD and Nvidia for price and performance. That would have been GTX660 vs HD7870 OC. Now I'm leaning toward Nvidia, due to AMD's poor administration.

      Maybe this news article is too soon, before AMD has shown their cards. If not then AMD's management is shot.

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      • #63
        Originally posted by smitty3268 View Post
        AMD graphics and CPU divisions were both profitable last year. However, the company as a whole is still taking huge writeoffs on Global Foundries which push it into the red.
        I was contemplating buying an AMD mobo and CPU, next upgrade, as a test. I've always purchased Intel since they made the original technology of X86. I was getting concerned with Intel's attitude and dominance. Now with AMD I'm seeing them as a loser outfit.

        AMD needs to come out quickly with a press release, else they could lose the many customers.

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        • #64
          Originally posted by entropy View Post
          NVidia: My last NVidia card has been a 6600GT I bought in ~2004. I just checked the driver support.
          It's only now Nvidia has become generally attractive due to Kepler. In the past their hardware were power guzzlers and there were many horror stories of burn outs etc. ATI were renowned for quality, features, and price.

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          • #65
            AMD should split the drivers into two. 'Legacy' which gets basic updates to suit kernels and critical issues, and 'Mainstream' which get market attention, example: games, kernels, speed promotion, feature enhancements, etc.

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            • #66
              Originally posted by PsynoKhi0 View Post
              Here we go again.
              --snip--
              I'd say windows users are getting even more shafted. Difference is, on Linux AMD gives us the tools to fix drivers ourselves.

              HD4830 owner here, by the way.
              That was an unnecessarily inflammatory post, but I totally agree that Windows users are getting shafted worse. People with an r700 chip aren't going to continue to receive bugfixes and performance improvements that might be attainable for newer games, even if the new games are DX9 or DX10 and just happen to expose a bug in the existing code. AMD kinda hinted that they might occasionally provide driver updates for these situations, but since the support is "dropped", it'd have to be a pretty big-name publisher to get noticed on AMD's radar. In other words, if the Windows version of a Humble Indie Bundle game is crashing to desktop on HD4xxx and they release a fix in a Catalyst update for HD5xxx and later, you ain't getting the fix for HD4xxx. Sorry.

              On the other hand, the open drivers can only continue to improve. We still have people putting devel effort into R100, so I'm sure there are many years left in the community developer interest for r600 and r700. Fortunately, r600g already has pretty good feature parity with the other mesa drivers, and it will in all likelihood be receiving OpenCL and Hierarchical Z support sometime in 2012-2013 timeframe. Performance will probably continue to inch up, and you may be able to play new games (or old ones) that would otherwise not be playable with Catalyst. It's nice to have options.

              I wonder, if Gallium3d were closer to being able to provide a graphics driver solution on Windows, would the Windows old-Radeon crowd contribute to Mesa enough to enable a WDDM, D3D9/D3D10 open source driver on Windows? Kind of a crazy idea, I know, but if the support issue is such a huge deal, you'd think people would want to leverage the existing code that works well on Linux.

              Or, you know, actually run Linux instead of Windows...

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              • #67
                From the questions and answers from bridgman on this forum in the past, I recall that he said AMD released all the info to write open source linux drivers that would perform at 100% of the speed and capabilities of the Radeon cards. I hope that's still true?

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                • #68
                  Originally posted by entropy View Post
                  Intel: You can still file bug reports, can't you? I don't know the specific issues of Intel HD GPUs.
                  You're implying something won't get supported/fixed while there are lots of bug reports, right?
                  No, I implying there is no big difference between Intel and AMD FOSS drivers. Yes, you still can fill bugreport to R600g developers too.

                  Originally posted by entropy View Post
                  NVidia: My last NVidia card has been a 6600GT I bought in ~2004. I just checked the driver support.
                  It's the oldest chipset supported by the non-legacy drivers. That's quite ok!
                  nVidia doesn't help nouveau developers, so they have no choice but support hardware as long as possible.

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                  • #69
                    Well amd just made up my mind for me! was going with a new amd cpu an ati card in a few months , i will have the money soon i'll just go with intel & nvidia this time no more stuffing about. plus intel has better cpu's an nvida has better gpu's. an less probs on linux.

                    ps: i'm comming home intel & nvida

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                    • #70
                      Originally posted by e8hffff View Post
                      AMD should split the drivers into two. 'Legacy' which gets basic updates to suit kernels and critical issues, and 'Mainstream' which get market attention, example: games, kernels, speed promotion, feature enhancements, etc.
                      the opensource driver radeon IS THERE Legacy solution for linux and remember ubuntu 12.04 LTS isn't the target on this kind of hardware for the opensource driver the plan is like this: the jon doe users use ubuntu 12.04 5 years then 17.04 the radeon driver for this hardware is ready and in the next LTS 17.04 can still use there hardware with linux.

                      thats the plan.

                      but in my point of view the catalyst driver is pointless for linux they should just stop the catalyst and go for radeon driver only for ALL hardware.

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                      • #71
                        Problem is....

                        ...My system has an old 3870, and it is honestly beginning to feel a little bit long in the tooth. By the time OSS drivers come up to relative parity for pretty much any 3D type gaming this system will be flat OLD!! I used to keep my "old" systems for guests etc. I am considering taking this one completely down and either donating it to a needy child or putting it in the closet. No need to pull all this power, when 90% of what will ever occur on it once I De-commission it will be web and maybe the rare Writer instance. Frankly, although I did not expect instant gratification, I was hoping for better than we have at this point for OSS drivers.

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                        • #72
                          Originally posted by linux5850 View Post
                          From the questions and answers from bridgman on this forum in the past, I recall that he said AMD released all the info to write open source linux drivers that would perform at 100% of the speed and capabilities of the Radeon cards. I hope that's still true?
                          i read all of bridgmans posts and this was never his point? there are some nasty hacks in hardware bits to get nasty speed up tricks and amd dosn't released the specs for this part of the hardware.

                          bridgman was telling us somthing like this without the nasty parts of the hardware the radeon driver can get 95% of the speed but right now there is no reason for amd to release the last bits of the spec because the driver is on level "60%" and not "95%"

                          also if power-management is required to get the speed for example for a "hd6550D-APU" the spec also lag some information to get the same powermanagment level than the catalyst.

                          also the stars microprozessor in the UVD unit is also requiered to get the maximum speed for a shader based video acceleration solution.

                          in other words your "100%" is just a "illusion"
                          Last edited by Qaridarium; 06-01-2012, 01:34 AM.

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                          • #73
                            bring on the updates !

                            I just tested the beta and I can confirm that it fixes a texture render problem with VDRIFT
                            the transparency for the textures of the trees and spectators does not work with 12.4, the beta renders them perfect.

                            Too bad the beta has the annoying watermark in the bottom corner.

                            One issue that is not fixed: my 7850 micro-stutters in the Unigine tropics benchmark.
                            Also i'd really like to see AMD add a function to query free/used memory to their ADL_SDK similar to cuda's cuMemGetInfo() or OpenGL's glGetIntegerv(GL_VBO_FREE_MEMORY_ATI)
                            It's a pain to implement the OpenGL query in a non-OpenGL progam, and impossible to implement a cuda call.
                            No function for this functionality is in OpenCL either last I checked.

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                            • #74
                              Originally posted by Soul_keeper View Post
                              Too bad the beta has the annoying watermark in the bottom corner.
                              Fix here.

                              Originally posted by Soul_keeper View Post
                              One issue that is not fixed: my 7850 micro-stutters in the Unigine tropics benchmark.
                              AMD Issue Reporting Form.

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                              • #75
                                AMD should really stop showing watermarks and creating hotfixes only validated for a small card range. The reason is that when you want to package these drivers you have to add a signature file from an old driver to remove the testing watermark. This would not be that hard, but as soon as you get a driver only "tested" (whatever that means in amd terms), you need to replace the control file as well. Ok, an old control file could be found as well, but as it contains binary code it looks even worse when you want to add it to a package. Next thing is the aticonfig tool, should somebody replace that as well or binary patch it to ignore the whitelist? Please remove that full watermark/whitelist code for validated hardware, its a piece of shit.

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