LinuxQuestions.org
Register a domain and help support LQ
Go Back   LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Hardware
User Name
Password
Linux - Hardware This forum is for Hardware issues.
Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?

Notices

Reply
 
LinkBack Search this Thread
Old 08-21-2009, 07:30 AM   #1
archish
Member
 
Registered: Apr 2003
Location: India
Distribution: Slackware 9.1
Posts: 94

Rep: Reputation: 15
ati 4xxx gfx card compatibility


I am planning to get a new laptop and found many good deals with ATI 4XXX graphics cards.

My current laptop is based on nvidia 8400gs chipset and the nvidia proprietary drivers are quite good with no problmes in 2D and 3D performance. The VDPAU support for HD content decoding is also very nice.

Since I am not used or experienced ATI and heard of lot of driver issues, how safe is it to get a ATI 4xxx series based laptop. Are there any performance issues? Will compiz and and 3D run fine? I did search on HD content decoding support with ATI and found XvMC but I fear its not properly implemented?

Please do chip in with your comments. Thanks!!
 
Old 08-22-2009, 06:50 PM   #2
MBybee
Member
 
Registered: Jan 2009
Location: wherever I can make a living
Distribution: PC-BSD / FreeBSD / Debian / Ubuntu / Win7 / OpenVMS
Posts: 438

Rep: Reputation: 57
I have one, and it can be a serious PITA to get working. Just fair warning.
There are some good guides, and with patience you'll get there. If you don't want hardware accelerated 3D it's pretty straight-forward. If you do, and you need the proprietary fglrx drivers... well, then it depends on your distro how much pain you'll go through.
 
Old 08-22-2009, 08:04 PM   #3
i92guboj
Gentoo support team
 
Registered: May 2008
Location: Lucena, Córdoba (Spain)
Distribution: Gentoo
Posts: 4,029

Rep: Reputation: 368Reputation: 368Reputation: 368Reputation: 368
Bad, very bad.

Your only option for opengl stuff is fglrx, open source drivers will not give you any 3d acceleration with anything based on a 6xx chip (or above).

They always lag behind when it comes to kernels and X, you will have to live with an outdated system forever, and the quality of the driver in general just sucks. Right now, I am stuck with 9.6 because 9.7 and 9.8 simply won't work with my dual head setup (go figure, 9.6 works with the same setup). That means that I am bound to live with a 2.6.28 kernel forever. The pity is that I can't really find an nvidia card for agp any longer. So I will have to live with this crap forever, unless amd can fix that silly bug or wahtever that is. But guess what, there's no bug tracker so they will *never* know about my problem.

In my case, not even 2d works ok with the open source drivers. But that's another story.

So, my advice is against ati.
 
Old 08-22-2009, 08:39 PM   #4
Electro
Guru
 
Registered: Jan 2002
Posts: 6,042

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
I disagree that you state nVidia has good performance for 2D. It is actually poor.

When I tested 780G/SB700 or ATI Radeon HD 3200 series (R600), it works OK. When switching from GUI to console and console to GUI, it is not reliable. It was using fglrx module or driver. I was testing it using Sabayon. If I had to test it again, I would use the open source module for ATI cards because it has better support or it is more reliable and stable although it does not have 3D support for the latest ATI cards. ATI has never write good drivers for any operating system, so I suggest stick with the open source code for ATI graphics. My ATI Radeon 64 VIVO (R100) works better than my nVidia card when using open source ATI modules or drivers.

I have not read any latest news about ATI's UVD (similar to VDPAU), so you still have to use a fast processor for decoding HD video.

Linux is not tailor for notebooks, so I suggest buy an Apple Macbook or Macbook Pro. Sure they are costly, but they are worth it. Even if you do setup Linux on a notebook computer, you will always have reliability and stability problems for power management. A Macbook Pro lasts up to 8 hours on batter and anandtech have stated as a true fact. MAC OS X has the same UNIX commands that Linux has and it uses BASH. Also MAC OS X logging is similar to Linux but in a different location. Linux programs can run in MAC OS X. I have Dell Inspiron 1520 and still have problems with power management, so my next computer will be a MAC and the reason why I am suggesting it.

If you insist on using Linux for your next notebook computer, stick with nVidia graphics. nVidia provides an easy utility to setup multiple monitors. Also nVidia includes hardware video decoding to help process HD videos.

I recommend Gentoo because it is easier to install proprietary modules from nVidia or ATI since it is already in the package database. When using other distributions, you have to add a package server to your database to use proprietary modules. Using other servers can hurt the stability and reliability of your setup because they may not have as much strict control that your distribution puts on their package server.

The following is what the open source ATI module supports depending on the model.

http://www.x.org/wiki/RadeonFeature
 
Old 08-22-2009, 10:59 PM   #5
MBybee
Member
 
Registered: Jan 2009
Location: wherever I can make a living
Distribution: PC-BSD / FreeBSD / Debian / Ubuntu / Win7 / OpenVMS
Posts: 438

Rep: Reputation: 57
Electro, I would have to disagree with using the opensource drivers - I have 3 systems using ATI cards (2 desktops with the HD4670, one laptop with X1300), and the opensource drivers are so flaky. The proprietary driver at least gives me the ability to consistently play LOTRO with very few issues and my framerate is extremely good. The opensource ones only do 2D, and not even that well. I mean, I respect that writing drivers is no fun, and I suppose it is good that it even works at all.

The proprietary driver is no picnic, but the opensource driver is so bad, you might as well just use VESA.
 
Old 08-22-2009, 11:08 PM   #6
padlamoij
Member
 
Registered: Oct 2002
Location: East Point, GA
Posts: 188

Rep: Reputation: 30
oh flame war... i've been using the oss drivers with all kinds of x600-x1300 for years.... NEVER had a problem. in the last month i've used a x600 x1550 x1300 and x1900... out of the box didn't do anything. just works.(debian)

yes... that's 3d.
 
Old 08-22-2009, 11:37 PM   #7
i92guboj
Gentoo support team
 
Registered: May 2008
Location: Lucena, Córdoba (Spain)
Distribution: Gentoo
Posts: 4,029

Rep: Reputation: 368Reputation: 368Reputation: 368Reputation: 368
There's no reason to fight. Everyone is right.

I am glad that the OSS drivers works for a lot of people. But the truth is that 3d only works on old cards (pre-r600 chips, and period). It's also truth that 2d works ok for a lot of people with these driver, and it's true that it works *pitifully* in par with vesa for others, and that's out of the question, are facts. Everyone is right, no one is inventing anything.

fglrx 2d sucks, yes, but it's usable enough. In my case, both radeon and radeonhd works much slower in 2d. I can't even enable dri because that completely corrupts my screens to the point of making it unusable.

fglrx fails for a lot of people, right now I can only use 9.6, anything higher will screw my dual head setting, making my 2nd screen go into standby mode as soon as I fire up X.

I am having issues with the three available drivers, so no one is gonna convince me that either of them is perfect. Of course, if you are using a 5 years old card you have better chances with the OSS drivers, that's for sure.
 
Old 08-22-2009, 11:43 PM   #8
MBybee
Member
 
Registered: Jan 2009
Location: wherever I can make a living
Distribution: PC-BSD / FreeBSD / Debian / Ubuntu / Win7 / OpenVMS
Posts: 438

Rep: Reputation: 57
Wink

Quote:
Originally Posted by padlamoij View Post
oh flame war... i've been using the oss drivers with all kinds of x600-x1300 for years.... NEVER had a problem. in the last month i've used a x600 x1550 x1300 and x1900... out of the box didn't do anything. just works.(debian)

yes... that's 3d.
No need for a flame war
I believe there is consensus here that the ATI drivers are awful, right?
I'm just stating that I have had better luck with the proprietary than the open source drivers. Nothing else.

I continue to purchase ATI cards and run with ATI. I'm used to the steps required to make them run, and I don't mind. I haven't bought an NVidia in years, just out of luck of the draw.
But someone who isn't used to it? It's a real pain the first time.
 
Old 08-22-2009, 11:50 PM   #9
padlamoij
Member
 
Registered: Oct 2002
Location: East Point, GA
Posts: 188

Rep: Reputation: 30
ya, its this thing i like to say... 'you wouldn't buy a windows supported device that wasn't supported by os x if you were using a mac. i _know_ its old tech sometimes, but i just(a month ago) built a system... video card is an x1550(i know 5 years old) and wifi is a bg that is based on a 3 year old chipset... but you know what... it works. period. i haven't done s**t. i just turned on my computer. 5 hours of troubleshooting would be less than googling stuff that you know works. vote with you wallet. not saying i won't help you get your stuff working... remember its the _license_ not the technology that makes linux work. f**k this is not meant to start the flame wars... i just can't help myself.

Last edited by padlamoij; 08-22-2009 at 11:51 PM.
 
Old 08-23-2009, 12:01 AM   #10
MBybee
Member
 
Registered: Jan 2009
Location: wherever I can make a living
Distribution: PC-BSD / FreeBSD / Debian / Ubuntu / Win7 / OpenVMS
Posts: 438

Rep: Reputation: 57
I totally hear what you're saying padlamoij - and I completely agree. I have for example, an Acer Aspire 5100 that works perfectly on some distros, right out of the gate. On others, nothing works.

On my distro of choice (see icon LOL), I had to tweak the B43 drivers and run the brilliant "install-fglrx-debian.sh" that some guy wrote before it worked properly.

Since then, all I have to do is repair my custom Splashy screen when the kernel is updated, and Lenny has been a rock.

On my Wife's Acer Aspire One, only Mint worked properly with the suspend/resume features. Ironically, nearly everyone else had no issue with that, so it's head scratcher.

On my most recent ThinkPad, everything except the thumbprint reader worked just perfectly on install.

All I'm saying is - I have no argument or bone to pick here, and if somebody created a truly Open Source Friendly card that was price and performance comparable, I'd buy it in a moment!
 
Old 08-23-2009, 12:04 AM   #11
i92guboj
Gentoo support team
 
Registered: May 2008
Location: Lucena, Córdoba (Spain)
Distribution: Gentoo
Posts: 4,029

Rep: Reputation: 368Reputation: 368Reputation: 368Reputation: 368
This is all irrelevant, what the original poster wants to know is if the card of that laptop will work, and that's not a 5 years old card. We are commenting all the annoyances that he *will* find in the way if he buys *that* laptop, and not a 5 years old laptop.

Q: "how safe is it to get a ATI 4xxx series based laptop?"
A: "vey little, unless you only plan to use 2d with the OSS driver, and even then, you are not 100%, specially if you are going to use more than one monitor"

Just trying to concentrate on the topic at hand.
 
Old 08-23-2009, 12:17 AM   #12
MBybee
Member
 
Registered: Jan 2009
Location: wherever I can make a living
Distribution: PC-BSD / FreeBSD / Debian / Ubuntu / Win7 / OpenVMS
Posts: 438

Rep: Reputation: 57
Perfectly summarized.

BTW - *if* you happen to go for ATI proprietary on a debian based system, this is the best write up I've seen (in fact, I just followed it again while rebuilding a system this evening) http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.p...248679#p248679
 
Old 08-23-2009, 12:41 AM   #13
padlamoij
Member
 
Registered: Oct 2002
Location: East Point, GA
Posts: 188

Rep: Reputation: 30
Quote:
Perfectly summarized.
a little note to http://emailcustomercare.amd.com/ wouldn't hurt either.
 
Old 08-23-2009, 01:42 AM   #14
Electro
Guru
 
Registered: Jan 2002
Posts: 6,042

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
Quote:
Originally Posted by MBybee View Post
No need for a flame war
I believe there is consensus here that the ATI drivers are awful, right?
I'm just stating that I have had better luck with the proprietary than the open source drivers. Nothing else.

I continue to purchase ATI cards and run with ATI. I'm used to the steps required to make them run, and I don't mind. I haven't bought an NVidia in years, just out of luck of the draw.
But someone who isn't used to it? It's a real pain the first time.
You probably are using old drivers from Xorg and the proprietary ATI crap over write X11 libraries, so either of these or both cause your instability of your setup.

I will never recommend using any software from ATI because they wrote very, very buggy software in the past. Also they are writing buggy software now. ATI tried creating a program with the help of a company to encode video using their stream processors and they still screw that up. When I was using Windows several years ago with my ATI Radeon 64 VIVO, it crashed Windows upon boot up. It took multiple reboots until I can use my computer. Then when I use Linux or Mandrake 8.2 and 9, it works just fine using the open source modules. Also 3D was experimental at that time and it worked.

I will only trust the open source community for providing support for ATI cards. I will never trust ATI for making software for their products. The only company that I trust for writing proprietary graphic drivers for Linux is nVidia.

I definitely notice better 2D performance with my ATI Radeon 64 VIVO using open source modules compared to nVidia GeForceFX 5700 Ultra that is using proprietary modules. This was just a LIVE Linux DVD using Sabayon.

In order for GUI to be stable and reliable, the driver for the video have to be damn reliable and stable. If it is not, any program that you are working in will crash several times sooner than a driver that is written better.

The people that put their grief on here is most likely a stubborn person that does not want to change even though there are better devices. Go ahead and flame, but where it stands nVidia is the best company for the most reliable and stable software when working in GUI although they have poor 2D performance.

For my next computer build, I am going with a hybrid setup using both ATI and nVidia. The nVidia will be used for 3D and DVD/HD video play back while ATI will be only used for 2D (web browsing, email, office, desktop publishing, hulu.com, VMware). I will be using open source drivers for ATI and proprietary drivers for nVidia. The following is what I am thinking but I have to bite my lip to select a Biostar motherboard because there is a limit selection on the brands that I prefer and I prefer to use two PS/2 connectors for more reliability and stability in Linux.

http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/Pu...Number=8984714

I will be using the best of two worlds. I am not a fan of neither brand. I care more for a reliable and stable setup while providing good performance than sticking to a brand. However, I care more for using AMD processors than Intel because they do perform better in certain programs compared to Intel.
 
  


Reply

Tags
ati, drivers


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Emulate Tektronix 4xxx jcluthe Linux - General 3 10-30-2008 08:55 AM
What distro for a ATI Radeon HD 3600 GFX timboellis Linux - Distributions 6 04-17-2008 10:24 PM
ATI GFX Issues with Radeon 9550 unilynx Debian 0 09-24-2007 08:12 AM
256mb GFX card ATI or nVidia? Superme Linux - Hardware 1 02-14-2005 03:19 PM
want a new GFX card ChopSueyX Linux - Hardware 3 11-28-2003 08:59 PM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:28 AM.

Main Menu
My LQ
Write for LQ
LinuxQuestions.org is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
Syndicate
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
identi.ca: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration