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Re: amd64 and video card experiences?

On Mon, Aug 16, 2004 at 12:01:39AM +0100, Hugo Mills wrote:

 >    I have an ATi Radeon 9600 Pro. It works (in the sense that I can
 > get X running acceptably). 2D works; 3D is unsupported. There are no
 > 64-bit capable drivers for the 3D parts of the card for linux yet.
 > ATi are being completely uncommunicative on the subject, and I'm
 > starting to regret buying the card, after having been a happy ATi
 > customer for many years.

 ATI treats the Linux community like crap (which is very sad, because
 the Linux community used to be very supportive of ATI).  Some months
 ago (March maybe) someone from ATI, which I'm not allowed to name, said
 a Linux driver for Opteron systems was under development, and I was led
 to understand that it would be unwise to hold your breath waiting for
 it to be available.  This driver would be of course binary-only.

 So, if you want current-generation hardware you have no choice but
 NVIDIA, which is available now and works.  They provide binary-only
 drivers, but if you ask the right people and do it nicely[0], you can
 get a reaction and with a bit of luck, a reply.  NVIDIA does staff
 and/or fund a certain number of people for doing Linux development.
 They have been hit repeatedly with a cluebat and they are getting
 better at it.

 There _are_ commercial ATI drivers for Linux, and IIRC, not only for
 i386 but Opteron, too.  My experience -- with i386 -- is that these
 drivers leave _a lot_ to be desired when compared against the latest
 XFree86.  They might be faster, that's true, but what they have in
 speed, they lack in the features department.

 So, either cough up US$50 for a current-but-not-so-hot ATI card, which
 is supported for the most basic stuff by a free driver, or spend US$100
 in a lowish-end NVIDIA card, with, dare I say, 95% of the functionality
 supported (TV-in Video-out is only so-so).  Be warned, you'll have to
 use a binary-only kernel driver, which will taint your kernel, which
 looses you brownie-points with kernel developers (without enough of
 these, you don't get support).


 [0] Hint, "nicely" somehow implies not asking them to "open source"
     their drivers.  It's their code, they get to do with it whatever
     they please.  You can try mentioning that you would have interest
     in them opening up the specs for their hardware, but again,
     _nicely_.  If you choose to spend money in hardware which you
     already know is _not_ open, it's _your_ fault, not theirs.

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