ATI v8.20.8 Display Drivers
Earlier this week we finally published our initial reports of NVIDIA SLI under Linux as well as its Rel80 performance through the 1.0-8174 drivers. Overall we were somewhat pleased by our SLI results but the multi-GPU abilities were brought late to the table by the green developers and it continues to lack critical features such as any sort of game/application profile or SLI management. In addition, it has yet to offer any compatibility with TwinView. This is all to keep in mind that the December 5 launch was the first release since the 1.0-7676 August 9 display drivers. In this void, the red developers over at ATI have presented the Linux community with four Linux drivers (8.16.20, 8.18.6, 8.18.8, 8.19.10). In this time, some of the features implemented have been aticonfig and ATI PowerPlay most recently. Just as we had documented the previous ATI, and NVIDIA, driver changes at hand today are our findings pertaining to the 8.20.8 driver set. The only new item with the 8.20.8 Linux x86 and x86_64 drivers is simply the ability to tune into ATI's new RSS feed for keeping users informed on Linux driver announcements. With that said, this release is basically a maintenance build. Some of the issues resolved are the system no longer failing to respond when attempting to resume from system suspension and fixes with the kernel module compile for the stock 2.6.13 and 2.6.14 kernels. One of the undocumented distributions appended to the 8.20.8 drivers is package support for Mandriva/Mandrake 2006. Of course, there are still a few known issues with the 8.20.8 drivers that have yet to be corrected. Like previous ATI drivers, the x86 version of the 8.20.8 ATI drivers with installer, weigh in at 69.1MB, which is approximately 8MB more than the previous 8.19.10 release.
As today's driver release is mainly a maintenance update, we simply compared its Linux performance against that of the previous ATI proprietary drivers from November 11, 2005 that was version 8.19.10. As with our last ATI article for the November drivers as well as our ATI PowerPlay testing, we went with the IBM/Lenovo ThinkPad R52 that was loaded up with OpenSuSE 10.0 OSS and a Pentium M processor accompanied by the X300 with 64MB dedicated video memory. Unfortunately, ATI's Linux drivers have yet to implement 3D support for the X1K series of PCI Express graphics cards but we can only hope they will be implemented soon. For benchmarking the 8.19.10 and 8.20.8 drivers, we used Enemy Territory, Doom 3, Quake 4, and Unreal Tournament 2004 with UMark Linux BETA 3. Due to this build mainly being a maintenance release, we swayed marginally from some of our other intensive benchmarks as well as opting for any other gaming and application benchmarks.
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