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Ok, I'm getting more than a little annoyed, but I have a very rational mind and I'm willing to compromise a little where necessary.
There are TONS of games I could be playing in windows, but I'm trying to go cold turkey and use Linux only, which means sacrificing the playability of the games that will only work in Windows. It seems to me that support for 3D accelerated gaming is weak in the Linux game development space, but let me clarify that before it gets misinterpreted. I can't find hardly any 3D accelerated game in Linux that is playable without using old hardware or an Nvidia card.
I have a 9700 Pro card that I got recently, which, of course works in Windows because ATI supports 100%, and doesn't officially support Linux, which means it comes close to a cold day in hell before we see any drivers from ATI for Linux. Well, anyway, I decided what the hell, I'll drop in my Radeon 8500, which is supposed to have drivers that work in Linux. I found out that I need to be running an earlier version of Xfree86 or the stupid driver will have issues, and also my damn Kernel was compiled with gcc 3.x and the drivers were compiled with gcc 2.x, which the error returned to the compiler so garciously returned. Talk about annoying...... I tried to compile and install the ati.2 drivers from gatos and they broke my system beyond my ability to fix it, so I formatted the / and /boot mounts and reinstalled.
I'm getting pissed off about not being able to play anything without dual booting. I can't blame Linux for it, and I'm trying to resist setting up a dual booting system, but it might be the cheaper alternative to buying an Nvidia Ti4600, which I'm SURE has drivers that will work.
Now, let me just ask you guys.... Can I play descent 3, Quake, Couterstrike (at decent frame rates), and a few other native Linux games with the same level of performance I see on Windows with a Radeon 8500? I know that the firegl drivers were released that were supposed to work with the 8500, but if I get them to work by means of black magic will they suck anyway? The 9700 Pro that I upgraded to is a lost cause on Linux for anything more than 2D using a vesa driver, which obviously doesn't support 3D acceleration, so I wont even go there.
Will the 8500 drivers suck or will they work with most of the "good" games for Linux (I don't mean solitare, chess, and the like here)? If it's a waste of time, which I'm beginning to feel it is, then I'm going to just call it a day and buy a Ti4600 and abandon ATI no matter what they release. The 9700 Pro will be sold for 300 bucks and I'll eat the 100 dollar loss if I have to and just buy Nvidia cards from here on out since I can get drivers that work.
Anyone care to offer some imput on this? I'm sick of trying to get the stupid card to work. I tried using the drivers that were included with Redhat 8, but I couldn't even see the menu in Descent 3 anymore, and when I did get into the game once, the frame rate was so bad that it took me a few minutes to quit because I could hardly move.
I don't want to sound rude, or anything, but here's my 2 cents on the ATI vs. nVidia issue: First of all, by buying nVidia cards, you will not lose money. If you care about quality go with nVidia. If you care about saving cash, why not get an S3 card? It's even cheaper than ATI! The only reason the latest ATI card beat nVidia at the benchmarks, is because their drivers are hard coded with game-specific optimizations. Change the executable name of the game, and ATI sucks miserably, compared to nVidia. This is not the first time ATI has oddities like this in their drivers. On top of that ATI cards have numerous visual quality issues, such as crappy shading, but that's a totally different story.
It is true that at this point that Linux is not the first choice when it comes to gaming. I think that it is currently the perfect choice for day-to-day office/home tasks, such as word processing, presentations, databases, spreadsheets, e-mail and Internet, but when it comes to gaming, stick to Windoze.
Even if you get the hardware accellerated drivers to work, you still need to worry about getting your game to run under WINE of WineX, which is no easy task, believe me. Some old (DirectX 6 and earlier) games may run smoothly (more or less) under WINE, as well as OpenGL games, but DirectX 7+ games are usually a major pain to set up. At this point, if you're not a developer, the best thing to do is to just wait for WINE/WineX to mature. I expect that to be a very long time... one of the reasons being Micro$oft not cooperating by even properly documenting their core Windoze API.
Also, before you try anything, check out the WINE application compatibility database here.
I have always thought highly of Nvidia and ATI and I have always considered ATI the second in the race for the 3D crown until the 9700 came to the surface. I have enjoyed ATI cards since the 7500 vivo because they offer an excellent price to performance ratio on windows. I was also pleased with the graphics quality as well. I really can't say that they do a bad job on their cards at all from my experiences, but the drivers had been an issue from time to time. The drivers had some issues, and yes, I remember the conspiracy where they sneaked some code into drivers for the 8500s that scored higher frame rates on Quake, but I haven't heard of them doing anything like that recently. It was pretty funny when they got busted and tried to play it off.
Anyway, decided to buy a Ti4600 and to sell my 9700 pro primarily because the 9700 pro doesnt work in Linux, ATI doesnt support Linux, and the card can't capture video. Nvidia really impresses me with their attention to detail and the way they maintain Linux drivers, so I bought a Ti4600 today. This will be the first time I went back to an Nvidia card since the TNT 2, which is still in my wife's machine as a pass-me-down.
I needed a vivo card anyway to capture my anime VHS tapes and re-encode them and burn them to DVD/SVCD. Buying another device to capture video would be pretty damn annoying.
Also, the games I'm talking about playing on Linux are games like Tux Racer, Neverwinter Nights (Linux client due next month), Shogo, Descent 3, Quake, Doom 3, UT, and a few others. They are all native Linux games, so I wouldn't have to mess with wine, but then again I might try and run a game or two with Transgaming's WineX that was Windows based in the short term.
I just refuse to make my system another dual boot machine. It gets to be a pain in the arse and I want to abandon Windows forever and just live with what is available on Linux.