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Testing Out AMD's DRI2 Driver Stack

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  • Testing Out AMD's DRI2 Driver Stack

    Phoronix: Testing Out AMD's DRI2 Driver Stack

    For as long as I can recall, ATI/AMD video cards have typically had decent support in Linux. It's not hard to pick out points in time where drivers were slow to come (R300 sticks out in my mind), but that was not due to the lack of effort by the open-source community as it was the difficulty reverse engineering a chip with no documentation. Intel seems to be the one getting most of the press these days regarding their open-source graphics support, but AMD is putting forth its own notable effort as well. They have multiple full time employees working on open-source support and have released specifications and programming documentation for their entire range of chips. The past few months have seen a flurry of activity in graphics related development, and a fair amount of this is centered around AMD hardware.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=13825

  • #2
    Nice article, thanks for writing it. This way some users might see that this is still "work in progress" and that they should not expect too much when switching right now.

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    • #3
      Hoo... The transition will certainly be a hairy one.

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      • #4
        Nice to see an actual boost already in one area (Urban terror)

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        • #5
          Great article Michael. I like how you interpreted it as more of a "work in progress" rather than bashing its current regressions. I think a follow-up article on a new release would be awesome! (maybe you could use the same graphs as in this article to compare this dri2 version).

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          • #6
            It is exciting to watch all this unfold and I would say in another six to eight months you can expect some remarkable things.
            Considering the company involved and its previous history with linux software I seriously doubt that. But I will be happy if I am wrong.

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            • #7
              I'm sorry, I have to take issue to the first phrase in the article:

              "For as long as I can recall, ATI/AMD video cards have typically had decent support in Linux."

              Are you serious? Just a few years ago ATI cards were a _huge_ no-no for anybody wanting to use linux. 2D performance with the fglrx driver was complete crap IIRC; I had a Radeon 9500 (non-Pro) that was almost unusable in Linux due to the poor performance of the fglrx driver (and radeon had no 3D support, not to mention that 2D performance wasn't much better either). Let's face it, both Intel and Nvidia have far better places in the linux support category, even though Intel produces low 3D performance graphics cards.

              What does decent linux support mean? That they did have some crappy drivers out there? That's not decent IMHO.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by adyroman View Post
                I'm sorry, I have to take issue to the first phrase in the article:
                Maybe the author was talking about the open source drivers.
                Last edited by bridgman; 05-13-2009, 11:21 AM.

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                • #9
                  Very nice! Nice also to see an article that is not from michael (not that those are bad), too.

                  I'd like to see such benchmarks every few months when there was a change in the code that could cause more speed.

                  I also use DRI2 and KMS and it works quite okay.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bridgman View Post
                    Maybe the author was talking about the open source drivers.

                    Even the binaries were "usable". I remember running my old 9800 and 9600 cards on the old drivers; performance was lacking, but they got the job done. I honestly could never understand what all the fuss was about with ATI drivers even back then.

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                    • #11
                      One nice thing to see would be the same results for fglrx (or at least the fglrx results with the last working kernel/xorg that supports the hardware). This would give the community a baseline for where we are now and how much more we have to do.

                      Otherwise, all we have to go on is bridgman's pronouncement of 3D performance in the 70% range of current fglrx.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by GreatWalrus View Post
                        Great article Michael. I like how you interpreted it as more of a "work in progress" rather than bashing its current regressions.
                        I hate to burst your bubble, but that's only because he didn't write this article...

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by crumja View Post
                          Otherwise, all we have to go on is bridgman's pronouncement of 3D performance in the 70% range of current fglrx.
                          "Prognostication" is probably more accurate than "Pronouncement"

                          The "60-70%" number was an *estimate* about how far the development community is likely to take the drivers over time, based on discussions with community and in-house driver developers. The number is an average, so some apps will be faster and others slower, and is based on two things :

                          - estimates of the effort required to achieve increasing levels of performance
                          - estimates of the point where developers will decide to spend their time working on other areas of the graphics stack instead of improving 3D gaming

                          Again, this is not an estimate of what is POSSIBLE, just what is LIKELY.
                          Last edited by bridgman; 05-13-2009, 03:16 PM.

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                          • #14
                            For as long as I can recall, ATI/AMD video cards have typically had decent support in Linux.
                            Correction.
                            For as long as I can recall, ATI/AMD video cards have typically had very broken support in Linux.

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                            • #15
                              This is easily the most accurate article I've read in a while.

                              I'd just like to reaffirm the assertion that Mesa 7.5 will include Gallium Radeon code, and that that code is highly experimental and generally not useful for anything.

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