Back in June of this year, we had our first interview with Jeryuan Yan. For those unfamiliar, Jeryuan serves as the Business Development (BD) manager for XGI Technology. In this interview today, we focused primarily upon XGI's latest Linux driver advancements since our last interview with them. These questions range from the availability of their 64-bit Linux drivers to their latest hardware advancements. If there's a few points you should get out of reading excerpts from this exclusive interview, it's that 1.) XGI Technology will officially launch their Volari 8300 PCI-E cards on November 9 in Beijing, 2.) XGI has no public interest at this time of venturing into its own multi-GPU Technology, and 3.) their engineers are constantly working at improving the quality of their Linux, and Windows, display drivers. Continue reading on for this exclusive interview.
Phoronix (Michael Larabel): Since we last spoke with you for an interview a few months back, have there been any notable advancements over at XGI, whether it be software or hardware related, that you would like to share at this time?
XGI Tech (Jeryuan Yan): I would like to update that our Volari 8300 will support Linux in December. This product is going to launch in November in Beijing. The source code will also release to the OSS community very soon.
Phoronix (Michael Larabel): Recently you unveiled the Volari Linux v1.04.06, and Windows Reactor R1.09.60, drivers; how have these drivers faired in your internal testing as well as what sort of feedback have you received from the outside public if you don't mind sharing?
XGI Tech (Jeryuan Yan): Indeed, many reporters said the driver is stable in many ways except 3D gaming, for example, the texture is not correct in Quake 3. Our engineer is working on the issues that were reported outside. We will fix most of the issues in our next release.
Phoronix (Michael Larabel): When we last had spoken for an interview, your XGI Linux development team had expected to offer support for the Linux 2.6 kernel by September of 2005, now it's November and the general public still doesn't have any access to the 2.6 kernel support. Do you have any revised timetable until your drivers will support the kernel or what's the reason for this delay?
XGI Tech (Jeryuan Yan): Our current plan is 11/18/2005 but 11/E/2005 is safe. The delay was caused by resource conflicts with other projects.
Phoronix (Michael Larabel): Looking at your latest Linux display drivers, they continue to lack some of the many features that have been bundled with your Windows counterpart for quite sometime, such as a comprehensive control panel, overclocking abilities, and numerous other customizations. Can Linux users expect to attain these sorts of features anytime in the near future? If so, do you have any time frame until implementation?
XGI Tech (Jeryuan Yan): We have no further plans until the end of this year. However, there are many discussions in the OSS community regarding adding some extra features to the driver. We will work closely with outside developers for this.
Phoronix (Michael Larabel): When it comes to the XGI development team tuning and optimizing the 2D and 3D drivers, what are some of the Linux games and applications you work to support?
XGI Tech (Jeryuan Yan): Many titles for example American’s Army, GL Tron, UT2003, Soldier of Fortune, Quake III, Blender, etc...
Phoronix (Michael Larabel): Red Hat, Mandrake (Mandriva), and SuSE seem to be the major distributions that are compatible with your current-generation drivers, but are there any other distributions that have expressed interest in possible official XGI support at this time?
XGI Tech (Jeryuan Yan): Red Flag will be the next Linux distribution, they already tested our card. I believe Red Flag will officially support Volari shortly.
Phoronix (Michael Larabel): At this time your Volari Reactor drivers support Windows XP 64-bit capabilities, but your Linux binaries remain strictly 32-bit, when can we expect to see any 64-bit functionality and are there intentions of bringing multi-threaded support to the drivers for Symmetric Multi-Processing (SMP) systems?
XGI Tech (Jeryuan Yan): Our current plan is shooting for end of June in 2006, I mean the official Volari Linux driver. You are free to re-compile our open source code driver on any 64-bit platform.
Phoronix (Michael Larabel): Are you able to share at this time any of the items on your driver team's upcoming TODO list that may entice gamers or enthusiasts whether it be for your Windows or Linux drivers?
XGI Tech (Jeryuan Yan): Yes, there are many tasks in their todo list, as I know panel rotation, virtual desktop support, support kernel 2.6, true video feature enhancement, etc... are coming soon.
Phoronix (Michael Larabel): During our last interview with you there was several references made to XGI's upcoming Linux supporting plan, now that the time has elapsed are you able to share with us any of the dominate details for this plan or where anyone can read more about this implementation?
XGI Tech (Jeryuan Yan): There will be a majority change of driver architecture after Volari 8300 released. We plan to make a unified driver to support whole products. I cannot tell a schedule yet due to engineer still working on this feature. Meanwhile, this unified driver should support all the functions that the Windows driver has.
Phoronix (Michael Larabel): Since Computex of this year we've been enlightened by XGI Volari 8300 and 8600 series information, but up to this point we haven't seen any of your cards available in the retail channels, when do you expect these PCI Express cards to be available for the general public?
XGI Tech (Jeryuan Yan): At the time the reader reads this, Volari 8300 may already be released in Beijing China. The XGI Volari 8300 launch date is November 9, 2005.
Phoronix (Michael Larabel): The Volari 8300 graphics card is slated to be "perfect" when it comes to home-entertainment centers, especially with the GPU's low heat output, but will these cards be able to perform adequately when it comes to playing the latest game titles or 3D workstation applications?
XGI Tech (Jeryuan Yan): I will send you product specs of Volari 8300. The Volari 8300 is an entry level PCI-E GPU, it has sufficient 3D power to support online games but not for the hardcore gamer. Especially, the Volari 8300 comes with our new True-Video 2 technology, which provides very good video playback quality. I can say the video quality is only available with middle to high-end GPU in the market now.
Phoronix (Michael Larabel): With NVIDIA's Scalable Link Interface (SLI) Technology widely seen and ATI's CrossFire being available, does XGI have any interest in launching a similar type of Multi-GPU technology? If so, could you please elaborate? Likewise, you were first on the block with the Volari Duo are there any intentions of offering any other dual-GPU solutions?
XGI Tech (Jeryuan Yan): Currently XGI will not join the SLI/CrossFire war.
Phoronix (Michael Larabel): Thank you very much for taking the time to answer our questions, is there anything you would like to say to the public?
XGI Tech (Jeryuan Yan): Thank you for your interest in XGI products.
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