At the end of our ATI Year in Review for 2006, we had stated, "next year will be a very interesting time for ATI/AMD Linux users." Looking back upon that statement, it has certainly turned out to be true, but perhaps an understatement for all of the AMD Linux work that has actually went on this year. The Catalyst Control Center was finally ported to Linux; there is now AIGLX support for use with Compiz, and the most substantial improvement being a brand new code-base for their proprietary Linux driver. Aside from their binary driver, they have developed a strong interest in better enabling the open-source community through releasing GPU documentation to the public (without NDAs!) and collaborating with Novell on the development of the RadeonHD driver. It has been one hell of a year for AMD, and in this article, we are going to look back at their twelve major driver releases from the year as well as re-benchmark all of these different versions.
In 2005 we started our annual AYiR (A Year in Review) articles for looking at the progress of the proprietary ATI and NVIDIA Linux display drivers over time. Now in our third year of doing this, it's time to see how NVIDIA's binary driver has panned out over the past year. NVIDIA had introduced GeForce 8 support this year as well as a few other features, but nothing major like in past years, and how has the OpenGL performance changed? With benchmarks in hand, we have the scoop for you today.
To end off the year, the developers behind the open-source 2D/3D NVIDIA driver known as Nouveau have an update on their recent progress. This issue of the Nouveau Companion covers the RandR 1.2 improvements, GPU overclocking possibilities through Nouveau, and a Gallium3D driver for NVIDIA NV4x and NV5x hardware. However, before jumping out of your seat with joy, this Gallium3D driver has much work ahead. Google Earth and Quake 3 are running with the Gallium3D Nouveau driver, but it's not rendering correctly as you can see from the screenshots. Nevertheless, this is a great open-source achievement.
Yesterday the NVIDIA proprietary driver was updated as well as the ATI proprietary driver and the open-source Radeon driver. Continuing in this holiday excitement, the Novell developers have released the RadeonHD 1.1.0 driver just moments ago. This open-source R500/600 driver contains a few new features and fixes since the RadeonHD 1.0.0 release last month.
It's that time of the month again where we get to share with you all of the details on the latest ATI/AMD Linux driver release. This month, the ATI Catalyst 7.12 Linux driver (formally, what is known as fglrx 8.44) brings a host of new changes, mostly in the form of bug fixes. In total, there are just under a dozen noteworthy bug fixes in this release -- including addressing 3D acceleration issues on AGP graphics cards and the well-known OpenGL memory leak that was introduced with the new driver code-base. In addition, the FireGL graphics cards are now supported on this new driver code-base.
Just in time for the holidays, NVIDIA has released a new Linux display driver, which is a stable version of their previous 169.04 beta last month. In addition, the new NVIDIA 169.07 Linux driver has a few changes, while most of the release highlights were already found in the 169.04 release. We are preparing additional Linux tests with this new driver, but for right now we have the details on this proprietary display driver.
One of the special abilities of ATI's R600 GPU family is the integrated 5.1 surround sound audio support through HDMI. Many Radeon HD 2000 and HD 3800 series graphics cards also ship with a DVI to HDMI dongle, so that one can experience the full video playback capabilities of these discrete graphics cards. But what level of HDMI support can Linux users expect when using these latest ATI graphics cards? We have done some testing internally and have the initial ATI Linux HDMI video and audio results to report in this article.
Earlier this week we published benchmarks of the XRender extension using NVIDIA's latest beta Linux driver, which had a substantial performance boost thanks to Render improvements with this latest driver. One of the questions that have since come up is how ATI/AMD's binary Linux driver compares when using this X extension. Well, right now, it lags behind NVIDIA, but a Phoronix Forums member has discovered a hidden ATI Linux option that should yield XRender performance gains.
Towards the middle of last month, NVIDIA had released the 169.04 Beta Linux Driver. The change-log was quite lengthy and what we had discovered while benchmarking the GeForce 8 series was that there were improvements to be found in this release and it was far more than a simple version bump. One of the reported changes for this driver release was "improved RENDER performance", and out of requests from readers and interest by the Linux desktop community at large, we have conducted XRender benchmarks using render_bench and have the NVIDIA results available today.
It was just a week ago that the RadeonHD v0.0.4 driver was released, but today it has been replaced by v1.0! RadeonHD 1.0.0 was just pushed out to the public, and while it's still lacking 3D support and isn't bug-free, it's matured quite a bit over the past two and a half months that it's been available to the public.
Last week NVIDIA introduced the 169.04 Beta Linux driver for their GeForce and Quadro graphics cards. This X.Org driver contained a number of GeForce 8 fixes, initial support for the GeForce 8800GT graphics card, monitoring of PowerMizer state information, and other changes. What we had not tested, however, at that time was a performance comparison of the new driver and the previous 100.14.23 driver. The undocumented fact we have found is that this 169.04 Beta driver does deliver performance improvements for the GeForce 8 series on Linux.
For the past month we had been running the 2007 Linux Graphics Survey at Phoronix where we polled users to find out what display hardware they use, what their driver choice(s) are, and their other preferences as it pertains to Linux desktop users on the visual front. We received over 20,000 submissions from this survey and have the results to share with you on this Thanksgiving here in the United States.
In this Thanksgiving Day issue of the Nouveau Companion, the Nouveau team goes over what's left to do for a 2D stable driver release, the current work being done on the driver, and an assortment of Gallium3D and RandR 1.2 work. The stable 2D Nouveau driver wasn't announced in this issue, but it's coming soon.
For the past two months, the AMD release train has been running full speed ahead as they introduced their new driver code-base and last month had dropped in the AIGLX support. However, this month the AMD train has taken an intermediate stop as this closed-source driver embarks on its next journey. As always, we have all of the details for you on this month's ATI Catalyst 7.11 Linux display driver release.
Back in September when the RadeonHD Linux driver was finally introduced, it offered support for both the R500 and R600 series. On the first day of the driver's availability, we couldn't help but to use the RadeonHD with the 2900XT, which has been ATI's flagship graphics card. While this xf86-video-radeonhd driver still doesn't support 3D, it was a glorious sight seeing an open-source driver working with this high-end ATI graphics card. Today David Airlie announced that the Radeon driver would be supporting the ATI R500/600 series. David Airlie and Alex Deucher had been working on an AtomBIOS branch of the Radeon driver in xf86-video-ati, and this morning it finally went public.
Late last month NVIDIA released the GeForce 8800GT graphics card, however, today NVIDIA has finally delivered an updated Linux display driver to add this new product support as well as correct other outstanding issues. This new Linux display driver is version 169.04 Beta, which is a large version bump from the previous 100.14 series.
Back on September 6th of this year AMD shocked the open-source community by committing to the development of a new open-source display driver (this driver is now known as RadeonHD) and that they would be providing specifications to the development community. A week later, they set precedence by not only releasing the documentation to the developers but to the everyone! Their first batch of documentation covered the basics for the RV630 and M56 GPUs and was released freely to the public without any Non-Disclosure Agreement! However, they still have much more GPU documentation that has yet to be released. Some simply believe AMD is doing this as a publicity stunt, but today we have new details to share as they prepare for their next GPU documentation release.
It's been nearly seven months since I wrote my first article about ATI drivers and how they literally crippled my computer and my daily life. Last month, ATI had finally released their latest drivers which contains the new OpenGL component and AIGLX support. Was this release worth the amount of hype and did it solve everyone's problems? For me, simply, no. After seven months of waiting, updating, and struggling, things are not good for me, in every possible feature of the ATI Linux driver I use.
Over the past two weeks there has been a number of new developments in regards to the open-source NVIDIA driver, Nouveau. In fact, the Nouveau team is preparing for the first stable release! This stable open-source NVIDIA driver will support 2D, X-Video, and EXA acceleration with all graphics cards from the NV05 to NV40 (GeForce 7) series. Read more in the 30th edition of the Nouveau Companion.
With all of our coverage at Phoronix of the different ATI and NVIDIA graphics drivers, if you're new to Linux or just get caught off guard by all of the different open and closed-source drivers, it can be confusing to know which driver is right for you and your needs. At the request of many readers, and the obvious need for a concise article explaining the different solutions, we have written a synopsis of the Linux graphics drivers currently available. This is really to let those new to Linux know what choices are available for them and their graphics card.
This past Friday we had delivered benchmarks comparing the performance of the open-source Radeon driver against the new closed-source fglrx driver from AMD. These benchmarks had just looked at the AIGLX performance when using Compiz on an Ubuntu 7.10 desktop. In all of the benchmarks except one, the fglrx driver had carried a staggering lead over the open-source competition. In addition to these Compiz benchmarks, on the same system we had also ran some additional benchmarks to see for gaming and 2D rendering how the two ATI Linux drivers compare.
For those that may have missed it, the ATI/AMD fglrx 8.42 display driver that was released last month had introduced AIGLX support. The open-source "Radeon" driver for ATI graphics cards going up to the R400 generation has supported AIGLX for quite some time, but the ATI binary display driver hadn't until last month. However, one of the complaints about the fglrx implementation of AIGLX is that in the 8.42.3 driver, some are encountering slow performance in Compiz / Compiz Fusion. We have taken an ATI Radeon X800XL 256MB PCI-E graphics card, which is supported by both the Radeon and fglrx drivers, and have compared their Compiz performance in a few different scenarios.
Since AMD introduced their new Linux display driver last month, we have published a number of different articles looking at the Radeon performance across their different GPU product generations. This ATI/AMD Linux driver testing and exploration continued this month with the release of the 8.42 driver, which finally introduced AIGLX support for the fglrx driver. One area though we haven't yet analyzed is how their official Linux driver now compares to their much-optimized Windows Catalyst driver. Today, however, we will be looking just at that as we compare the ATI Radeon HD 2900XT 512MB performance under Linux and Microsoft Windows Vista.
In this edition of the Nouveau Companion, the developers of the open-source 2D/3D NVIDIA display driver talk about IRC color coding, NV04 performance improvements, texture fixes, EXA advancements, register combiners, and more. Also being worked on by the Nouveau camp has been a NV4x TTM and Gallium prototype. The Nouveau developers are still in need of some additional testing, so be sure to give them a hand if you're able to do so.
This past Sunday we started our first-ever Linux Graphics Survey that looked at the usage of X.Org display drivers, hardware, and the display features being sought after by Linux desktop users. In less than four days, we received over 10,000 survey submissions! This survey will be going on until November 21, so if you haven't yet participated you still have plenty of time to do so. But for those of you that have already taken the survey, what are the results so far? Well, below are the percentages from all of the responses collected before 10:00AM PST today. In Late November when the survey has ended, we will present the final results.
Today it's now time where the fglrx driver reaches yet another milestone. Not only does today's release address many of the outstanding bugs for the earlier GPU generations while also introducing a few new features, but it also delivers AIGLX support! Yes, you read that right. You can finally run your ATI graphics card with the fglrx driver and run Compiz, Beryl, or Compiz Fusion without using XGL! This is coming 13 months after NVIDIA had introduced its AIGLX support, but now just days after the release of Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon it's here for ATI hardware. Granted, if you were using an older ATI GPU with the open-source Radeon driver, you could have been benefiting from AIGLX already.
While Linux desktop surveys are nothing new, no recent polls have looked specifically at Linux graphics when it comes to X.Org video drivers, hardware, and related video features. We, however, at Phoronix see a need for this information to be profiled and have launched the first-annual Linux graphics survey. This survey is intended to allow the development community to get a better understanding of the video hardware in use, what open-source and closed-source drivers are being used, and other relevant information.
It's time for another issue of the Nouveau Companion, which talks about the development work done on the open-source 2D/3D NVIDIA driver over the past two weeks. Among the topics talked about in this issue include PlayStation 3 graphics via Nouveau, using TTM memory manager, and the Gallium3D architecture. A stable 2D Nouveau driver is about completed with EXA support but currently lacks an EXA implementation on the older NVIDIA hardware and there are still problems with NVIDIA's GeForce 8 hardware.
It's going on two weeks since the RadeonHD driver was made available, which is AMD's sanctioned open-source driver for the Radeon X1000 (R500) and Radeon HD 2000 (R600) series (as well as future generations of AMD GPUs). In this time, we have seen some great progress made with this open-source driver and have a few additional remarks to share about its status and the first bits of this driver's roadmap.
It's been about a month since the last Nouveau Companion, the development newsletter talking about the work going into the open-source 3D NVIDIA display driver, but today the latest edition is now available. Covered in the 27th edition of the Nouveau Companion are details on the progress made in the past month such as with porting the driver to using libpciaccess, bug squashing, 2D acceleration working for NVIDIA's GeForce 8800GTX, X-Video fixes, and RandR 1.2 support was merged back into the Nouveau master branch. The Nouveau developers have received a few new graphics card donations but are still in need of development help and testing.
772 display drivers articles published on Phoronix.