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Linux and ATI/AMD

Last response: in Linux/Free BSD
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February 5, 2010 11:57:31 PM

I just got an Asus Laptop with the i7 and Radeon M 5730. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I will be using it for work, and will be installing Linux on it.

I have read enough to know that Mint 8/Ubuntu will run on it, However I have heard nothing but bad about ATI supporting Linux, or their lack thereof.

I've been looking all over the web for an update (if there is on) on ATI and their Linux customer base, more specifically if they are going to at least try to be competitive with Nvidia and put some effort in to their drivers.



More about : linux ati amd

February 6, 2010 3:34:59 AM

For linux the short and simple answer is no. However there are some open source drivers that in many cases can get the job done.

ATI hates us. True story
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February 7, 2010 11:50:00 AM

AMD support on Linux is... Strange.

There is currently no better Free driver on older hardware than the ones from Ati/AMD: having freed their hardware specs and dedicating some developer time on it, I must say that comfort of use on R500 and older hardware is breathtaking:
- no setup at all: it's built in most distros
- no glitches: use of kernel mode setting makes booting as seamless as possible
- very fast 2D, compositing, screen management and video: all 2D functions, and randr1.3 support make watching a piece of movie a dream, and working on that is like sitting on a pinky cloud.

But 3D is rather slow and/or incomplete. Don't misunderstand me, games like billiard, Quake 3, or stuff like Google Earth will be well supported, but stuff like Wine games or Wolfenstein:ET, or Nexuiz (in full details mode) won't cut it.

On more recent hardware (R600, R700), built-in support in 2D is quite good, apart from video which is still glitchy, and rudimentary, experimental 3D support. R800 is still unsupported (it has started, but is not in official releases yet).

This is where the 'proprietary' fglrx driver comes into play: it supports more recent hardware and has much better 3D support. But:
- since version 9.4, it won't support anything older than HD3xxx/R600.
- up until version 9.11, it was very unstable; it got better on 9.12 and yet again on 10.1, but it can still freeze your system on Wine games, for example.
- it has dreadful 2D acceleration.

Compared with Nvidia:
- the free driver is better in 2D. No question about it.
- older hardware is much better supported.
- out of the box experience is much better (Nvidia's free driver 'nv' just plain sucks; nouveau should make things better, but it's not default yet and 3D support is still rather hectic)
- the proprietary driver has comparable 2D and 3D speed, especially since AMD made a little audit of their OpenGL interfaces for 9.8 (and solved all WoW bugs in a single pass, for example)

Compared with Intel:
- the Intel driver squeezes quite a lot of power out of those chips. Unfortunately, a puny chip stays puny.
- the Intel driver is rather temperamental. On my netbook, a recent update made performance and reliability much better, but now screen back light power management can go crazy.

If yo intend to work: AMD is good, better than Nvidia even.
If you intend to game: you can get by with AMD, but Nvidia's better.
If you intend to do a bit of both: it's a coin toss.
If you have older hardware: Ati/AMD FTW
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February 15, 2010 4:25:59 AM

I downloaded drivers for ATI here. They do everything that I need. In Ubuntu they come up under System > Preferences > ATI Catalyst Control Centre. I only have integrated graphics processor but it's working without any dramas. Other people might have more demanding requirements than me.

stevo
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February 15, 2010 7:34:57 AM

stevo56 said:
I downloaded drivers for ATI here. They do everything that I need. In Ubuntu they come up under System > Preferences > ATI Catalyst Control Centre. I only have integrated graphics processor but it's working without any dramas. Other people might have more demanding requirements than me.

stevo

linux isn't windows, a rule of thumb when using linux, always install via the package manager, it keeps your system clean and organized.
installing packages from outside may cause problems when upgrading your distribution later.
both mint and ubuntu are a variation of debian, thus get deb from debian's repositories at http://packages.debian.org/sid/fglrx-driver
also, the oss driver will support that card soon as amd have released the needed docs.
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February 15, 2010 9:00:39 AM

daggs said:
linux isn't windows, a rule of thumb when using linux, always install via the package manager, it keeps your system clean and organized.
installing packages from outside may cause problems when upgrading your distribution later.
both mint and ubuntu are a variation of debian, thus get deb from debian's repositories at http://packages.debian.org/sid/fglrx-driver
also, the oss driver will support that card soon as amd have released the needed docs.


I agree that using the package manager is the ideal approach, but if I can get a driver from AMD and it improves the way the computer operates then I will. If I could only use the package manager then I couldn't use Linux. I still run Windows software under Wine or even VirtualBox because it's the best software for the task and Linux doesn't have anything that comes close.

stevo
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February 15, 2010 10:04:05 AM

stevo56 said:
I agree that using the package manager is the ideal approach, but if I can get a driver from AMD and it improves the way the computer operates then I will. If I could only use the package manager then I couldn't use Linux. I still run Windows software under Wine or even VirtualBox because it's the best software for the task and Linux doesn't have anything that comes close.

stevo

always check backport repositories. for example, the deb I've have given for mint/ubuntu/debian.
if you will seek, then you will find for rpm too.
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