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Icculus Grows Fond Of Open-Source GPU Drivers

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  • #16
    Full functionality

    Well, I'd been happy if open-source graphics drivers would give at least half of closed source driver performance while providing the same (or more) level of functionality. Right now this not the case at all.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by whizse View Post
      Seriously? Seriously?

      This is just BS. I've played a load of Source titles with r600g, and it work's very well.
      The newer games (like CS: GO) are much more demanding than Left 4 Dead 2 etc., we'll see how the open source drivers will perform.

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      • #18
        At the moment the Source-based Left 4 Dead 2 natively on Linux with the proprietary AMD and NVIDIA drivers is running several times slower on Linux with the OpenGL renderer than under Microsoft Windows.
        What have I missed? Any _proof_ to back up this statement? Guess I have to wait until after Michael comes back from Valve, but presenting stuff like this as fact still leaves a bad taste in my mouth...

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        • #19
          Originally posted by d2kx View Post
          The newer games (like CS: GO) are much more demanding than Left 4 Dead 2 etc., we'll see how the open source drivers will perform.
          That's a title that isn't even released yet, so not really a fair comparison.

          I might also add that I played through HL2 (in Wine) with a Radeon 9200 using the r200 driver. Of course that was back when the game had a Direct3D 7 backend...

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Hamish Wilson View Post
            It is interesting... I was speculating on his current opinion on this matter in another thread if some of you would remember.

            As for why he did not mention AMD, it is probably just that he never had the opportunity to try out the free radeon drivers with the hardware he has. It does not really matter, as so much is shared (especially between the radeon and nouveau drivers, as well as Intel to a lesser extent) that if you have a good experince on one, it bodes well for the rest.

            Also, nouveau has arguably had the most progress in the past few years as AMD was so much more ahead. For instance, take my rather common onboard GeForce 6150 SE that came with my motherboard and then compare my external Radeon HD 4670. When Fedora 13 was released in 2010, the radeon could play Doom 3 and many other older titles, although it lack S3TC support at the time. Nouveau could not even launch glxgears.

            With Fedora 14 in November 2010, nouveau started rendering things, but it could not even get a game like Rune to draw right. Fedora 15 released last May proved to be the one to hit the jackpot for both. radeon switched to Gallium and got S3TC support, and nouveau could finally actually start handling 3D tasks. That is a fairly impressive transition.

            If you want to keep on trolling crazycheese, I suggest you ask Gordon first. He is very receptive to inquiry, as long as it is not about UT3.

            As for why he would not want to move, he only recently got married and now has a two month older daughter. He has a lot more on his plate now than he used to. I am not surprised if he is happy doing what he is doing now - porting Humble Bundle titles and living in North Carolina. It is time for the next generation of icculus's to emerge.
            No, no, I wasn´t trolling (do I ever troll?). I think you are right, maybe Gordon really has no AMD hardware, which is result of pre 2008´ actions of ATI. I also agree about noveau vs radeon. As for Valve, I think they do some sort of linux-powered closed source steam-box.

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            • #21
              Michael, don't assume that "slow on the binary drivers" == "slow on the open drivers".

              For one, you yourself know from many benchmark runs that VDrift is a sharp counterexample.

              Also, I know from personal experience that fglrx gets a lower framerate (and poorer framerate stability) in the recent-ish MMORPG Star Trek Online (with its DirectX 9.0c renderer which makes heavy use of the advanced post-DX9 features, especially shaders) compared to r600g on Evergreen. And that's going through Wine.

              In fact, the game was downright playable on r600g for me, after Jerome's 2D color tiling patches stabilized. On fglrx, there were huge latencies incurred within the graphics driver for certain operations, so you'd get a "micro-hang" of the entire system (kernel, audio, mouse, everything) several times per second. It'd render a small group of frames, then seize up for a couple msec, then render another group of frames (the groups appear to be about 15 frames big). This basically destroyed the audio because not even pulseaudio's timer-based scheduling can deal with a situation where ALSA randomly gets blocked for ~50ms for four intervals per second.

              In fact, both binary drivers seem to like to do that. It's like they're trying extra hard to optimize stuff and wrap their virtual heads around the context of the calls so that they can kick into "overdrive mode" where everything is super-optimized and the rate of transfers between the CPU and the card falls off the table because they're optimized out by the driver. In comparison, r600g doesn't really try to do this (except for when it queues up some batch buffers), so you normally don't see behavior with r600g where any component of it just blocks for egregious amounts of time. As long as you don't accidentally hit any software rendering paths, it's all about get in quickly, do your rendering and get out (i.e. return control to the caller in userspace). This may result in lower "top-end" FPS, but it does result in more consistent FPS, and more resilience to odd OpenGL call patterns (and wine, if anything, is definitely going to have an "odd" call sequence compared to native GL renderers).

              Also, you can't compare the performance of AAA games running through wine with the expected performance if they were ported to native. Especially if the Windows version is using Direct3D. There's just no comparison -- the D3D translation layer is an engine of its own, and if you eliminate that inner platform and use direct OpenGL, the results can be completely, stunningly different (missing features such as FSAA aside; but then again I never ever use that and I consider myself a hardcore AAA gamer).
              Last edited by allquixotic; 04-03-2012, 08:07 AM.

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              • #22
                VDrift has got a no shaders fallback which is triggered if a few bits are missing, like floating point textures. The difference is quite noticeable and logged in the output. The easiest way to make it a more fair benchmark is to force the game to run without shaders I guess.

                Vegastrike is another game which follows this scheme by offering a number of fallbacks and shader options.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by crazycheese View Post
                  No, no, I wasn´t trolling (do I ever troll?). I think you are right, maybe Gordon really has no AMD hardware, which is result of pre 2008´ actions of ATI. I also agree about noveau vs radeon. As for Valve, I think they do some sort of linux-powered closed source steam-box.
                  Well, if you were really not trying to get people riled up, I will take that back then.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by allquixotic View Post
                    On fglrx, there were huge latencies incurred within the graphics driver for certain operations, so you'd get a "micro-hang" of the entire system (kernel, audio, mouse, everything) several times per second. It'd render a small group of frames, then seize up for a couple msec, then render another group of frames (the groups appear to be about 15 frames big). This basically destroyed the audio because not even pulseaudio's timer-based scheduling can deal with a situation where ALSA randomly gets blocked for ~50ms for four intervals per second.
                    My friend noticed this micro lagging on Windows when he was playing Skyrim. He said this only occurs with latest Catalyst drivers.

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