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Expensive "Free/Libre Software Laptop" Uses A NVIDIA GPU

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  • Expensive "Free/Libre Software Laptop" Uses A NVIDIA GPU

    Phoronix: Expensive "Free/Libre Software Laptop" Uses A NVIDIA GPU

    While there's been an ongoing discussion this week about delivering a $500 "open to the core" laptop that runs Ubuntu Linux and would be comprised of open-source software down to the firmware and Coreboot, announced last week was a high-end laptop that also aims to promote free/libre software. Though don't get out your wallets quite yet...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTg0Nzc

  • #2
    Why not AMD? With nvidia you are almost forced to use the blob in order to get at least part of the GPU....

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    • #3
      Say hello to nVidia's proprietary drivers. That puts a lot of smile on AMD's face when it comes to open source 3D gaming performance.

      Oh, wait! You have to have a proprietary microcode... Not Catalyst but binary microcode that powers the open source radeon driver for providing gaming performance.+

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      • #4
        nouveau doesn't use firmwares, as Intel/AMD drivers do.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by asdfblah View Post
          nouveau doesn't use firmwares, as Intel/AMD drivers do.
          Exactly.
          Without firmware the free AMD driver does exactly nothing.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by user82 View Post
            Exactly.
            Without firmware the free AMD driver does exactly nothing.
            AMD driver does everything, firmware is needed for reclocking(?), UVD, 3d pipeline.
            Dont fool yourself, its a few kilobytes big and it does not make kernel tainted - works as a key to open GPU capabilities from what Ive seen.
            So long, its strictly hardware (and not software or not OS-in-microcode) its fine. The talk is not about libre hardware. None of the three are.
            And nouveau extracts firmware from nvidia driver? And today with nvidia on-gpu firmware checksumming, it is guaranteed that nvidia will lock nouveau out of some features which will be "nvidia exclusive" and "will grow larger over time".

            And doesnt Intel load firmware via UEFI anyway?

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            • #7
              Michael's critique is spot on. Nobody is expecting AAA 3D gaming on 100% free software for a long time, so it makes little practical sense to ship this with a high-end (for mobile) GPU. For now, Intel provides the only viable free GPU (no firmware blob required!) for everyday computing. And the price ... ouch.

              Why can't the world be perfect.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by phoronix View Post
                While Nouveau continues improving a lot, it's insanity at this point to use NVIDIA graphics on Nouveau in what's advertised as a high-end laptop that promotes free software.
                With Kepler reclocking, available experimentally since 3.16, your own testing showed that nouveau hits about 80% of the blob's performance in TF2 and... whatever other game you tested was. The higher end cards don't reclock to max because they have GDDR5, but laptops tend to have DDR3 which usually works fine.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by imirkin View Post
                  With Kepler reclocking, available experimentally since 3.16, your own testing showed that nouveau hits about 80% of the blob's performance in TF2 and... whatever other game you tested was. The higher end cards don't reclock to max because they have GDDR5, but laptops tend to have DDR3 which usually works fine.
                  Except... they didn't use a Kepler. They used a Maxwell chip. According to the lspci results, it's 10de:1341, which pci ids lists as a GM108 (http://pci-ids.ucw.cz/read/PC/10de/1341). This is not at all supported by nouveau (because we haven't been able to get our hands on one), but with a tiny hack it should be easy to get it to GM107 support levels. However that still requires blob context switching firmware, so I'm a bit confused as to how they achieved their blob-free 'certification'. Perhaps the pci ids site is wrong and it really is some Kepler chip?

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                  • #10
                    It would be better if there was an option to leave out the NVIDIA graphics card in any configuration.
                    For many casual games and users, the Intel graphics are good enough.
                    The freedom to have this choice in GPU options would be most welcome.

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