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It's been a little while since I last posted here.
I'm getting a new laptop computer and am having a hard time to find one that meets all of my criteria. Most modern laptops come with ATI Radeon HD series video. My last experience with a Radeon (Radeon X1300) was quite frustrating in getting 3d acceleration, specially on -current.
So, how is support for the Radeon HD series on Slackware64-current? I know there has been some work on the intel video, but it scares me even more...
As far as I know, with basic Slack install, you won't get good 3D with the open source driver. The binary driver can get you better 3D, but will probably add weird behaviour and slow 2D.
Using self compiled libdrm, xf86-video-ati and mesa from git, as well as 2.6.32 kernel if you want KMS support, you should get usable 3D and good 2D and XV support with the open-source driver, as things have greatly improved recently (well apart from a recent commit in mesa which seems to ruin Kwin, see Phoronix threads).
Look for dolphin77 posts about that here.
I have a Radeon 4770. The proprietary catalyst driver works pretty good for the most part, 2D and 3D acceleration both have good performance. My main gripe is mostly with wine. If you plan on doing a fair amount of gaming through wine, plan on a few headaches with a Radeon both open and closed drivers. Wine still has a lot nvidisms in their OpenGL rendering dept.
Personally I would avoid any onboard intel graphics. I know a lot of people champion their full disclosure of documentation and what not, but really they are just abysmal gpus.
I applaud their attempt to 'open source' their drivers. However, as it has been stated before in this post, to get any good performance out of them requires alot/some compiling, additions, and workarounds, that may or may not work.
The 'closed source' seems to do a decent job. Still a bit more steps, in my opinion, but has gotten closer to Nvidia's simple proprietary install. (Doesn't get easier than answering "Yes" to everything to install the Nvidia driver).
Is there any project in the works to 'combine' all the steps needed for the ATi open-source/kms solution? I would LOVE to see ATi's Linux speed/performance get to their Windows counterparts level. This (the 'combined open source/kms' install) may get them there. Add to that, being open-sourced, would be a HUGE boost for ATi in the Linux arena.
I'd like to work on that solution, but since I don't use ATi (due to past difficulties, I'm pure Nvidia now), I cannot.
I am not an expert in graphics etc. But my experience shows that ATI opensource drivers are still under heavy development. ALmost each day they bring new things to work inside the driver area and kernel driver is also improving fast. Of course it depends very much on what are your targets. If you want to play some crazy 3d games and etc - I do not know anything about it. But if you want nice looking desktop with some 3d effects, you want to be able to watch movies by connecting your laptop to big TV, and stable X (without unexpectd crashes due to graphics) - in this case I think you may choose ATI card. But you will have to do some building and tuning yourself. (fresh kernel, libdrm, ati-ddx from git).
The 2.6.32 looks very promising in this respect, once it will be released. But I already seen that 2.6.33 should has even more features for R600/R700 based ati cards.
PS I do not know anything about the status of nvidia, intel or other opensource drivers.
The thing is what you value most from an graphics card.
I use ATI on most my machines and it works as i need it to.
An on my laptop i use the open-source driver, it handles 3D good enough for what i need from an laptop.
But on my stationary i use ATI proprietary driver and it handles games and everything i need with great results.
So ATI works okey now, but i hope for the open-source drivers to gain better 3D soon.
It's really not that confusing when talking about 3D acceleration on AMD/ATI GPUs with Slackware 13.0:
For HD2***+ cards, fglrx should be used unless you are an advanced user, comfortable with compiling and running code from git. For any other radeons, 3D acceleration should work out of the box in Slackware 13 with the included open source radeon driver.
Now, if you are going to go the more complicated route, things do get more confusing, but dolphin77's thread on the topic is really quite good:
Again, I'm not doubting the work being done, just the 'convoluted way' you have to do it.
Simplicity and ease of use are the hallmarks on most other chipsets.
Examples (Open Source):
Intel: Included in the kernel. Unfortunately, the chipset themselves leave alot to be desired. Speedy, they are not.
S3/Savage: Again, in the kernel, and again, not speedy (Chipset just isn't up to snuff)
Nvidia: Open source (No 3D) are included.
All three of the above drivers install and work from xorgsetup. Those are easy.
I'll admit, 3D from open source is cool. Just more difficult to get going.
Now for proprietary:
Nvidia: Download, and run as root. Always answer "Yes". Done
Via/Chrome: Don't know. Not much out there on them. So won't comment.
ATi: Well, maybe the closed source will work. Maybe not. If you have an older chip, you're out of luck. And there are more setup steps involved than Nvidia. And wine still has issues w/ATi
None of the above are good, nor bad. They just ARE.
If the open-source/kms route becomes simple, KUDOS!
If the closed-source becomes as easy as Nvidia, and programs like wine work correctly, then KUDOS TOO!
I'm just wondering when/if the open/kms route will be more streamlined anytime soon, and if the closed source becomes simpler to install.
Sure, the open source drivers with KMS will be more streamlined in the next few releases of the kernel (2.6.32 will improve things) and the next few releases of Mesa. I imagine that by spring if next year, most distributions will include support for KMS and 3D acceleration on r100 through r700 radeons (up-to the HD4950) with the open source drivers out-of-the-box. Because of it's tradition of stability, Slackware will probably take a little longer to include/enable the necessary features.
As for the closed source driver becoming simpler to install... What's so difficult about downloading the driver, running 3 commands, and rebooting? Heck, I'll make it even easier. As root (or with sudo, for the last three commands):
Heh... Run through an interactive script and answer yes to everything? I'd rather just create slackware packages, something the nvidia installer is incapable of doing. And, last time I checked, you still have to create an xorg.conf file either manually or using one of the nvidia's utilities. To be fair, you don't have to reboot with the AMD drivers unless you had the radeon kernel module loaded (which wouldn't happen by default on Slackware 13.0 with HD cards), I just threw that in to be safe. Similarly, if you had nouveau enabled on your nvidia card, you would need to reboot, but that also doesn't happen by default on Slackware 13.0.
First I'd like to thank you all for contributing to this thread. I know 3D acceleration has been thorougly explored by many that have answered here, again thank you all for your time!
Secondly, I'm too am fond of the next-next-finish based nVidia installator, and that's part of the reason I posted this thread. I'm not into hardcore gaming. For that I'll have a decent desktop running windows at home - let's just be fair: even though there are some great efforts on Linux, gaming is windows realm.
Thirdly, I live in Brazil and when it comes to good affordable hardware choices rarify - specially if I want to have a powerful processor (say C2D P8xxx+ series) with ddr3 memory and high resolution screen. And it's even harder when I dislike 16:9 screens (okay, 1600x900 and 1920x1080 aren't that bad, but 1366x768 is lame ).
I always knew ATi 3D acceleration on Linux was doable. After all, what the heck?! If Ubuntu does it, why wouldn't Slackware?
adamk75 and dolphin77, even thoug glxgears isn't a very reliable parameter, can you guys inform what radeon card you have and what glxgears scores?