GeForce And Radeon Take On Linux

Radeon and Crossfire on Linux

Much to the chagrin of Linux/ATI gaming enthusiasts, Crossfire is not yet supported on this platform. That also means that all Crossfire-related functionality, such as Crossfire Alternate Frame Rate (AFR) and Super Anti-Aliasing (Super AA), also do not work on Linux yet, either. The cards are excellent performers in and of themselves, however, and still appeal to the majority of users who don't pair up GPUs.

Current ATI Linux Driver Benefits

ATI's current Linux proprietary driver set works with kernel versions 2.4 and 2.6, and supports native 24-bit true color with hardware acceleration for 3D rendering and playback using AGP or PCI Express graphics cards (both Radeon and FireGL product lines). ATI Mobility graphics processors are also supported in the latest driver set, along with support for TV-out on some Radeon chipsets with enhanced video processing capabilities. For those intrepid Linux users and early adopters who use 64-bit platforms, the proprietary driver installs under both Intel's EM64T and AMD64 derived systems.

The new ATI graphical installer is slightly improved over previous versions, and includes an option to create a distribution-specific driver set that works with native package management utilities. This installer also works in text mode, should incompatibility issues or misconfigurations cripple the graphics subsystem. ATI is also making inroads with distribution maintainers in including their proprietary driver set in mainstream repositories using individualized package management formats.

For the record, ATI drivers no longer cause stability issues when switching between console and X Server mode. Nevertheless, there are some occasions when the console takes a while to appear, or doesn't appear at all. Recovering from hibernation also remains a problem, and TV-out support is still lacking for X1000-series chips. Other than these issues, stability and performance within Unreal Tournament 2004 Demo is excellent. The latest features also support a variety of dual-monitor display configurations, including the mirror mode option, previously unsupported.

Overclocking X1000-series cards remains something of a black art. The only visible utility to surface in the community for overclocking ATI cards on the Linux platform is rovclock, which has not been updated since before the release of X1000-series cards. The only clear choice is to use ATI's native aticonfig utility to tweak any available parameters.

Ed Tittel

Ed Tittel is a long-time IT writer, researcher and consultant, and occasional contributor to Tom’s Hardware. A Windows Insider MVP since 2018, he likes to cover OS-related driver, troubleshooting, and security topics.