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XBMC's Thoughts On XvBA: AMD Catalyst Has Problems

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  • XBMC's Thoughts On XvBA: AMD Catalyst Has Problems

    Phoronix: XBMC's Thoughts On XvBA: AMD Catalyst Has Problems

    It's not only NVIDIA with Linux problems that cause upstream developers to publicly bash companies, but AMD has come under scrutiny too. The developers of the popular cross-platform XBMC multimedia project shared a little story about enthusiasm, hope, and disappointment. In this guest posting by Peter Fruhberger on Phoronix, XvBA is what is principally talked about, which is AMD's lead choice for video acceleration when using their proprietary Catalyst driver. Unfortunately the XBMC developers aren't too happy about the state of video acceleration using AMD's Catalyst driver for Radeon graphics hardware, hence why they have reached out to Phoronix with this rather lengthy public message. Whether AMD even cares about Linux users and when XvBA will support missing functionality are among their open questions for AMD.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=17499

  • #2
    Which one is worse: AMD or nVidia?

    Seeing Linus showing the finger to nVidia was fun, but I have always been more concerned about AMD (ATI).

    The nVidia proprietary drivers are fine, VDPAU was a huge win for the community - that's why I have an XBMC + ION based HTPC. The quality is good, feature-wise it's also good. However, fglrx is a different story: my notebook's ATI chipset is no longer supported (when I bought it, it wasn't supported YET, now it's not supported ANY MORE... madness!), video acceleration is still a mess. Next time I buy a notebook, I'll go with a pure Intel solution - AMD and nVidia can only blame themselves.

    So AMD: F.U. too!

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    • #3
      AMD: what a joke.
      FGLRX: what a piece of crap.

      NVIDIA: they are bastards, but are sure to do things the "right" way. They decide however what is right for you.

      So what hardware to buy in year 2012? Like always for Linux since 10 years the answer is and must be NVIDIA at least for 99% cases of the time.

      So yes, AMD fuck you too. I'm sorry but we have to be honest.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by bulletxt View Post
        AMD: what a joke.
        So what hardware to buy in year 2012? Like always for Linux since 10 years the answer is and must be NVIDIA at least for 99% cases of the time.
        If you don't need powerful graphics I would go with Intel APUs without a question. Their work on open source drivers and the rest of the stack is phenomenal.

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        • #5
          It just boggles my mind that AMD doesn't see the Linux community's potential. It seems so many in the community want to love AMD, but can't totally commit because of their shortcomings. These are the people who would buy AMD processors and graphics chips over Intel and NVIDIA because they like AMD's underdog status and have been buying their stuff for years. These are also the people that would build HTPC's for themselves and friends using something like an AMD Fusion chip. I know I would use the E-450 for low power Linux based HTPCs over the aging ION-2 systems. That type of system seems like a quality alternative to having to shell out an extra $100 dollars or so to use Windows because it offers full support for AMD hardware. It seems like a no brainer that AMD would want their software to be top notch so that the tech savvy system builders would buy tons of their hardware.

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          • #6
            I only ever had to use one machine with ATI on it. This was still Windows and they would only let me download a driver if I knew which incomprehensible sequence of digits and letters the card was. In the end I actually had to take the machine apart to find out, and try about 3 different drivers before one worked (remember the days when every card had "128" and "Rage" in the name?)

            I've heard they may have got their act together on that issue although there still seems to be numerous different drivers mentioned. (Hint I want one that works, not a choice of lots of differently broken ones.)

            In the mean time I have stuck with Nvidia (binary) for over a decade since it just works (Windows and Linux) and I don't have to know or care about model numbers. Until Ubuntu 12.04 where the Nvidia binary driver repeatedly crashes, and the Noveau driver scribbles the wrong things in the wrong places. Forcing a binary driver version downgrade fixed the issue, but it was still annoying and a heck of a lot of people are affected: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+s...rs/+bug/973096

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            • #7
              Well i tested xvba since the beginning. gb will know how many mails i wrote about bugs i found. Well he fixed the lockups by filtering h264 l5.1 and even had to reorder the picture for some driver releases... As soon as xmbc xvba was developed i tested it as well (and worte a script to do so), but not that long as before because i knew basically before what will happen. At least partly, it was still a bit weird that my hd 5670 had rendering errors for 1/4 year. As xvba can not decode h251 l5.1, i even suggested to add a hotkey to switch off the accelleration. This would help vaapi sometimes as well as live tv is not always optimal with intel vaapi. But somebody must be absolutely stupid to buy NEW hardware to use with xvba. xbmc xbva is certainly the best you can use the hardware you have got already for htpc purpose but please do not buy it for that purpose.
              Last edited by Kano; 06-21-2012, 06:49 PM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by lakerssuperman View Post
                It seems so many in the community want to love AMD, but can't totally commit because of their shortcomings.
                This.


                AMD(back with it was ATI) was constantly railed for it's poor drivers even on windows. I never expect too much but love what I get(when it works). I have no loyalty to AMD or NVIDIA just buy what makes sense at the time and I would love video decoding to factor in especially since my QC processor seems to do it on it's own.

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                • #9
                  What a wasted opportunity for AMD's APUs.

                  I couldn't imagine building a pure HTPC and being forced to buy a Windows license for it. Yikes.

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                  • #10
                    Well xbmc on win is not painless. I still have got test files that can not decoded correctly via dxva2. one file for example was recorded by a sony handycam and is 1080i m2ts with subtitles (those are timecodes). I think vc1 was not accellerated as well. vlc has got also issues with dxva2. In theory tools that use system codecs work better but xbmc and vlc do definitely not work 100% correct on win as well. vdpau is most likely the best way and vaapi (via intel snb/ivb) the 2nd best choice. Hint: the xbmc xvba build should be compiled against libva-dev as it has got another feature as well: it is the xbmc pvr branch and not the default and can be used together with vdr or tvheadend.

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                    • #11
                      Here we go again.

                      Even though AMD also has it's shortcomings, it still _feels_ as they are actually really trying. Just ask bridgeman how much they are churning in the Linux front, which AMD actively supports!

                      Yes, there should be more support, 10% of their dev time on Linux instead of windows would be awesome. In time, maybe we'll get those 10%.

                      See it like this. Intel has loads of cash to burn, does care about Linux and knows it's (embedded amongst others) potential and see's the benefit of pumping some extra cash into Linux. Even if Intel pumps in 3 times more money than AMD, that's still pocket change to them. And it's not like Intel massively cares. Think plulsbo or wtf that was again. I think it won't even be that wrong to say, that percentage wise, Intel's Linux bits are smaller then AMD's, but because it's just so huge, there's more resources.

                      AMD on the other hand also see's there's some benefit (Coreboot, r600g etc) and wants to help the community. However due to much smaller budgets, they simply don't have the amount of resources. If your smaller and have less spare change, justifying the Linux dev team gets harder.

                      Both these companies however, do actually care about open source, or see that it's far more beneficial to just pretend to care, and at least release their stuff in an open source manner.

                      nVidia however has written an excellent windows driver. They've written it so well, that it was quite easily portable for them to several platforms. Because of that, nVidia may seem like this awesome Linux friendly company, that has like the best video driver. The truth however, is that nVidia simply doesn't really care about opensource. They realize there's some extra sales to be made by having and releasing a Linux driver, but that's it. "Open source is a wrong business model" or something the like (I really have to find that interview again).

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by oliver View Post
                        AMD on the other hand also see's there's some benefit (Coreboot, r600g etc) and wants to help the community. However due to much smaller budgets, they simply don't have the amount of resources. If your smaller and have less spare change, justifying the Linux dev team gets harder.
                        They're crazy: they have great APUs and are ceding potential HTPC sales because they don't want to make the investment.

                        nVidia however has written an excellent windows driver. They've written it so well, that it was quite easily portable for them to several platforms. Because of that, nVidia may seem like this awesome Linux friendly company, that has like the best video driver. The truth however, is that nVidia simply doesn't really care about opensource. They realize there's some extra sales to be made by having and releasing a Linux driver, but that's it. "Open source is a wrong business model" or something the like (I really have to find that interview again).
                        Maybe. But NVIDIA wrote VDPAU from the ground up for us UNIX and Linux folk, open sourced it, and made it better than DXVA.

                        Words and intentions are great, but at the end of the day I need something that just works.

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                        • #13
                          My current laptop is a Lenovo Ideapad S205 with E-350 APU.

                          Very cool machine, but I'm massively disappointed with gpu. Video playback has been incredibly hard to get working (and when you have a not-very-advanced dual-core 1.6ghz cpu, you do need GPU help sometimes). Xbmc-xvba is as close as it gets, but I have to keep toggling it off and on between videos, because of artifacts in a lot of them (I'm guessing because of missing 5.1 support).

                          Would I buy AMD APU again? While the famous atom + sandy bridge graphics doesn't come out, yes. After that, goodbye AMD APUs, and good riddance, honestly. It seems all I get from AMD in the GPU side are bugs and disappointments. No problems in the CPU department, which is a pity, because when you glue a GPU to your CPU, and the GPU sucks to use, well then the hole package falls apart.

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                          • #14
                            I've got an Asus E45M1-I machine that I just put together, and it really does work amazing. Besides the obvious shortcomings that have been mentioned. This is mostly a testiment to the XBMC guys rather than AMD though. It's too bad because it's -almost- perfect, but not quite. I personally bought this machine with the intention of dumping fglrx as soon as the open source drivers get up to snuff. Sure, it may take a few years, but I don't think there is any need to update htpc hardware that often. Not unless the next level of HD content comes along (post 1080p).

                            I agree it does suck for Desktop users, but thanks again XBMC guys for an awesome AMD experience. And thanks Michael for this article, which hopefully gets AMD to step up to the plate.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by [Knuckles] View Post
                              My current laptop is a Lenovo Ideapad S205 with E-350 APU.

                              Very cool machine, but I'm massively disappointed with gpu. Video playback has been incredibly hard to get working (and when you have a not-very-advanced dual-core 1.6ghz cpu, you do need GPU help sometimes). Xbmc-xvba is as close as it gets, but I have to keep toggling it off and on between videos, because of artifacts in a lot of them (I'm guessing because of missing 5.1 support).

                              Would I buy AMD APU again? While the famous atom + sandy bridge graphics doesn't come out, yes. After that, goodbye AMD APUs, and good riddance, honestly. It seems all I get from AMD in the GPU side are bugs and disappointments. No problems in the CPU department, which is a pity, because when you glue a GPU to your CPU, and the GPU sucks to use, well then the hole package falls apart.
                              well Knuckles, you can always buy a cheap Raspberry Pi and get full Hardware decode with that as all the ARM devices today will probably play all 1080P video using full Hardware decode/encode unlike AMD and their non functional UVD decode block while you wait for the sandy bridge SOC to appear.
                              http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=113824 or perhaps you prefer an allwinner 10 instead http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=Allwinner_A10
                              Last edited by popper; 06-21-2012, 10:33 PM.

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