This past week AMD raised the Linux graphics bar by not only announcing their new fglrx graphics driver, which delivers Radeon HD 2000 support, immense performance improvements, and AIGLX, but it was accompanied by an announcement that they will be delivering specifications to the X.Org development community. These two announcements came after intense work internally at AMD and over a long period of time, but literally overnight it changed the minds of many Linux users on how they judge this company with its once notorious binary blob. AMD has really set a precedence for showing that a semiconductor company once criticized to no end with their proprietary software can update their views to assist and embrace the open-source Linux community while remaining competitive as a company in a triopoloy market. They have also thus reaffirmed that Linux is a viable desktop operating system. But the ball has now landed in NVIDIA's court. NVIDIA can either play ball by pushing forward with a similar effort, and then all of the big three GPU manufacturers would be cradling an open-source strategy, or they may find themselves in trouble down the road.
10 September 2007 - 14 Comments
Mark Shuttleworth, the self-made millionaire and leader of the Ubuntu project, has been very vocal about the adoption of free software and that "the free software approach is a better device driver development model." But what does Mark think about AMD's announcements this week with the 8.41 display driver and the just-announced program where AMD will be handing out specifications under NDA and helping out the open-source community? Mark Shuttleworth has provided Phoronix some of his initial thoughts on ATI/AMD's new Linux push.
6 September 2007 - 10 Comments
Rumors and speculations have been flying around for months about ATI/AMD opening up the source-code to their Linux display driver or providing their GPU specifications to community developers. This for the most part had started after Henri Richard's statement at the Red Hat Summit earlier this year. Well, those rumors can finally be put to rest. AMD will be providing NDA specifications, an open-source library, and there is a new open-source graphics driver as a result. AMD will continue producing a closed-source proprietary driver; however, they are opening the source-code to a critical library with accompanying GPU specifications for X.Org developers. To get the ball rolling, AMD is also funding the development of a new open-source R500/600 driver.
6 September 2007 - 14 Comments
So far today at Phoronix we've published the AMD 8.41 Display Driver Preview, ATI R300/400 Linux Performance, ATI R500 Linux Performance, and ATI Radeon HD 2900XT Linux Performance -- yet, it's only ten minutes past midnight! However, looking at AMD's official statement on the Linux driver, there is a rather interesting sentence about good things to come...
5 September 2007 - 27 Comments
Since Linux support for the Radeon X1000 "R500" series was introduced some 17 months ago, there has been a performance imbalance. The past fglrx drivers have worked, but they've had a difficult time competing with the competition presented by NVIDIA and their Linux driver when it comes to the frame-rate performance. Though as we have been sharing in all of our articles today, the new ATI/AMD Linux driver will be made available in the coming days and it offers some striking performance improvements. In our Mobility Radeon X300 testing, the new driver allowed Doom 3 and Quake 4 to run at playable frame-rates, which simply wasn't possible with the previous 8.40.4 fglrx driver a month ago! The Radeon X800XL performance was also improved significantly, which allowed it to outperform the NVIDIA competition. Now onto the Radeon X1000 family, as you can probably suspect, there are massive performance improvements to be found with these graphics cards as well. In this article we have tested the Radeon X1300PRO, X1800XL, X1800XT, and X1950PRO with the new ATI Linux driver and have found significant performance improvements.
5 September 2007
To some extent, ATI's R300 and R400 series is more popular than the R500 (and now R600) series for Linux users. The R300/400 series has a reliable open-source driver and while the performance of the X.Org Radeon driver lags behind ATI's binary driver, it's currently the fastest for offering open-source 3D performance on dedicated graphics cards. With the cards being around much longer, they are also much cheaper and have become somewhat popular for Linux desktops that can power Compiz and Beryl "eye candy" effects. However, it's just not the R500 and R600 series that receive a nice performance boost from the new ATI/AMD Linux driver, but so does the R300/400 series. Using the fglrx 8.41 driver on this older graphics hardware will allow for a sizable performance improvement compared to the older binary drivers. Much of AMD's focus is on the R500 and R600 series, as is our focus, but we've completed some benchmarks comparing the new and old fglrx drivers using an ATI Mobility Radeon X300 64MB and ATI Radeon X800XL 256MB graphics card.
5 September 2007 - 5 Comments
While many thought this day would never come or that it was some form of propaganda, it's coming and it's coming this month. The AMD fglrx 8.41 driver features a brand new underlying code-base that has been under development for well over a year. At Phoronix we have literally spent hundreds of hours using and testing this new driver, and to say the least it is truly a new experience on the ATI Linux front. The new driver delivers massive performance improvements, Radeon HD 2000 (R600) support, and a whole lot more. This article is the first of five articles that will be published today at Phoronix as we examine the new AMD Linux driver extensively on all fronts from seeing how it can handle the flagship ATI Radeon HD 2900XT graphics card to going back to past graphics card families to show the dramatic performance improvements.
5 September 2007 - 60 Comments
On the Phoronix Forums we have been running a Q&A with the developers of the Nouveau project. For those out of the loop or new to Linux, the Nouveau project aims to provide an open-source 2D/3D graphics driver for NVIDIA hardware. After collecting a number of questions from our readers, KoalaBR and Marcheu have answered these questions. The questions range from whether there will be open-source SLI support to asking if NVIDIA has ever contacted the Nouveau developers.
3 September 2007 - 1 Comment
Back in April of 2006, a proprietary driver from ATI that had supported the Radeon X1000 "R500" product family had finally greeted Linux users. This driver, v8.24.8, had supported the entire desktop and mobile Radeon X1000 lineup with 3D support and even Avivo video playback capabilities. For the six months prior, Linux users were stuck in the dark without any Linux support for the R500 series while the ATI Windows Catalyst customers had support that was continually improved. Of course, back in 2006 there was no open-source R500 driver either. Over the past 16 months with R500 support in the fglrx driver, the features have continually improved with an AMD Catalyst Control Center for Linux, support for the newer R500 graphics cards, and there are far less bugs in the driver now then there was in the past. However, these changes really have not affected the performance as it has stayed the same for the most part with minimal improvements. In this article today we are going back to test the original 8.24.8 display driver and compare it directly against the latest driver available as of today, the 8.40.4 fglrx release.
30 August 2007
Scheduled for release tomorrow is X.Org 7.3. Among the new features for X.Org 7.3 include the Xorg server 1.4, an application for adjusting a display's backlight, updated display drivers, and support for font catalog directories. Version 1.4 of the X.Org server contains such features as RandR 1.2 support, input hot-plugging, KDrive enhancements, Solaris DTrace support, and EXA improvements. In this article today, we will briefly go over some of the changes found in X.Org 7.3 and we will follow up with some benchmarks in early September.
28 August 2007 - 5 Comments
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