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Old 03-16-2012, 08:44 AM   #1
spudgunner
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ATI (AMD) vs Nvidia Proprietary Linux Graphics Drivers: what is the current state?


So I'm working on a new build and am at the point where I am choosing which brand of high-end graphics card I should include. I've tried searching the internet more than a few times now on this topic but most of what I find is either old or strictly about ATI (AMD) graphics or strictly about Nvidia graphics. I plan on using this computer to try to get games working in WINE (though this isn't necessary because I do my gaming in Windows, but I like to take a crack at it every now and then), run any fancy 3d graphics that are associated with the popular DE's, distributed projects, such as folding@home, which have GPU support, GPU hash/password cracking (in particular, I'd like to experiment with hashcat), and multi-monitor support.

So, which has better proprietary drivers, ATI (AMD) or Nvidia? And are the open-source drivers better or worse than the proprietary ones?
 
Old 03-16-2012, 11:48 AM   #2
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Last heard (and I don't follow this too well):

ATi/AMD: Delivery of Proprietary Graphics drivers is catching up on windoze drivers. The very latest generation of hardware usually has some issues. Driver performance is good, but slow.

Nvidia: Used to be faster, and still are if the right card is chosen. Nvidia Optimus products have issues. Kernels after 2.6.37 or something have issues with some/all drivers, but they may have fixed these. But if you're a gamer, your fastest card will probably be nvidia. Choose very carefully.

AMD/Intel - not at the races yet.

Generally: Linux graphics performance does not match the other OS. Sorry to be hard, but that's as I see it.

Try phoronix.com for speed tests.
 
Old 03-19-2012, 07:27 AM   #3
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Thanks, that's what I wanted to here, I'll keep that in mind.
 
Old 03-19-2012, 11:41 AM   #4
TobiSGD
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I have recently switched graphics-cards on my main system (from Nvidia Geforce GTX260-216 to AMD Radeon HD6870) and I can state that both proprietary drivers work well with Linux, no problems with all.
The free drivers still lack functionality and performance, but they are on their way catching up.
Quote:
distributed projects, such as folding@home, which have GPU support, GPU hash/password cracking (in particular, I'd like to experiment with hashcat)
I think that at this time more applications support Nvidia's CUDA than AMD's Stream, but this may change (or become irrelevant) when OpenCL becomes more popular.

Quote:
and multi-monitor support.
When you plan to have more than two monitors AMD is the only option for you, otherwise it shouldn't matter which brand you choose.

Quote:
But if you're a gamer, your fastest card will probably be nvidia.
Currently the fastest single-chip graphics card is the AMD Radeon HD 7970.
 
Old 03-20-2012, 06:57 AM   #5
spudgunner
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I've been with an AMD card for the past few years so I lean that way a little because I know what I'm doing with it. However, I've always found that more programs support CUDA rather than Stream. I'm fairly certain I'll be picking up an HD7970 but the GTX680 is being announced/coming out soon so I'm going to wait for some benchmarks.
 
Old 03-22-2012, 02:33 AM   #6
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GTX 680 (maybe GTX 780 if some rumours are correct) will probably be faster than HD 7970. You wont get anything for free, if the GTX 680 is faster, it will be more expensive. nVidia is typically more expensive for any given performance level than AMD GPUs anyway. Still, its probably not a bad idea to wait, there could be pirce cuts for the HD 7970 when the new GTX cards are released.
 
Old 03-22-2012, 07:07 AM   #7
brianL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spudgunner View Post
the GTX680 is being announced/coming out soon so I'm going to wait for some benchmarks.
Here's a review with benchmarks:
http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/462...iew/index.html
 
Old 03-23-2012, 10:15 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
You wont get anything for free, if the GTX 680 is faster, it will be more expensive.
As it turns out, it is both faster and cheaper than the HD7970 (for now). I spent tons of time reading reviews and benchmarks yesterday, and although the GTX680 is faster than the HD7970 at stock speeds, when you overclock both cards and compare, the cards are pretty much on par with each other. And as now of, the HD7970 has more VRAM (there are rumours of a 4GB version of the GTX680 coming out, but who knows when that will be).

Quote:
Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
Still, its probably not a bad idea to wait, there could be pirce cuts for the HD 7970 when the new GTX cards are released.
This is exactly what I'm doing, lots of people seem to think that AMD took advantage of being first-to-market with a new high-end card and will be chopping the prices in the coming weeks to compete with the Nvidia.
 
Old 03-23-2012, 10:54 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spudgunner View Post
As it turns out, it is both faster and cheaper than the HD7970 (for now).
If you can find one, maybe. All I can find right now is 'out of stock', 'preorder', etc..

Quote:
Originally Posted by spudgunner View Post
I spent tons of time reading reviews and benchmarks yesterday, and although the GTX680 is faster than the HD7970 at stock speeds, when you overclock both cards and compare, the cards are pretty much on par with each other. And as now of, the HD7970 has more VRAM (there are rumours of a 4GB version of the GTX680 coming out, but who knows when that will be).
I'd probably give the GTX 680 the edge, untill you start really pushing resolution and/or detail levels. IF I trusted the benchmarks that are getting around, which I dont really. AFAIK the GTX 680 NDA just finished, and most, if not all the testing/benchmarking is from GTX 680 samples sent out from nVidia. Those samples could be cherrypicked (would, really, if reports on the 28nm TSMC process is true).

Cherrypicking samples is something that lots of tech companies have done. It can make your product look better than it really is.

BTW, I'm not saying that the benchmarking is wrong, just I wouldnt 100% believe it til I see retail cards tested.

Quote:
Originally Posted by spudgunner View Post
This is exactly what I'm doing, lots of people seem to think that AMD took advantage of being first-to-market with a new high-end card and will be chopping the prices in the coming weeks to compete with the Nvidia.
IMO they will. Or the nVidia cards will end up being $550-600. Or AMD will get a new 7XXX revisions out using 28nm LP chips. Or AMD will push the release of the HD 8XXX GPUs, they were slated for a late 2012/early 2013 release before the GTX 680 came out.
 
Old 03-26-2012, 07:23 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
If you can find one, maybe. All I can find right now is 'out of stock', 'preorder', etc..

I'd probably give the GTX 680 the edge, untill you start really pushing resolution and/or detail levels. IF I trusted the benchmarks that are getting around, which I dont really. AFAIK the GTX 680 NDA just finished, and most, if not all the testing/benchmarking is from GTX 680 samples sent out from nVidia. Those samples could be cherrypicked (would, really, if reports on the 28nm TSMC process is true).

Cherrypicking samples is something that lots of tech companies have done. It can make your product look better than it really is.

BTW, I'm not saying that the benchmarking is wrong, just I wouldnt 100% believe it til I see retail cards tested.
I agree with you completely here, and I never thought of Nvidia having cherrypicked their sample cards that they sent out, but it makes perfect sense. I have to wait a few weeks regardless because I need a paycheck to pay off my credit card so I can buy the video card, so I'm hoping something will happen with prices.
 
Old 06-05-2012, 02:37 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
When you plan to have more than two monitors AMD is the only option for you, otherwise it shouldn't matter which brand you choose.
Why? There are 4 output ports on NVidia GTX680 card. Is number of monitors limited by nvidia proprietary drivers?

Last edited by Himilhil; 06-05-2012 at 02:39 AM.
 
Old 06-05-2012, 03:27 AM   #12
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Just because a card has more than 2 video output ports doesnt mean the card can use them all.

GTX 680 is the 1st nVidia 'desktop/gamers' card to support more than 2 monitors, it supports up to 4. Semi-limited though, one of them is counted as an 'accessory display', and cant be used for gaming. GTX 670 and GTX 690 will also run 4 monitors.

GT6XX...some might suport 2+ monitors, some possibly wont....seeing how nVidia has pulled is usual 'lets rebrand our older GPUs to the newest series'. Though its possible that nVidia will tweak the drivers for 2+ monitors on the GT6XX GPUs that are really older GT4XX/GT5XX/GTX5XX parts.
 
  


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