Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
AMD Graphics Operating Systems Windows Linux

AMD Catalyst Linux Driver Catching Up To and Beating Windows 136

An anonymous reader writes: Along with the open-source AMD Linux driver having a great 2014, the AMD Catalyst proprietary driver for Linux has also improved a lot. Beyond the open-source Radeon Gallium3D driver closing in on Catalyst, the latest Phoronix end-of-year tests show the AMD Catalyst Linux driver is beating Catalyst on Windows for some OpenGL benchmarks. The proprietary driver tests were done with the new Catalyst "OMEGA" driver. Is AMD beginning to lead real Linux driver innovations or is OpenGL on Windows just struggling?
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

AMD Catalyst Linux Driver Catching Up To and Beating Windows

Comments Filter:
  • by fozzmeister ( 160968 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @10:54AM (#48724751) Homepage

    ... So with OSS drivers this will almost certainly be my next graphics card / chipset.

    • I hope you enjoy your system crashing and acting erratically.

      • by bhcompy ( 1877290 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @11:00AM (#48724773)
        1998 called and wanted its joke back
        • by Bigbutt ( 65939 )

          Well, 2008 anyway. My AMD 4870's blue screen'd Windows XP and then Windows 7 on boot pretty regularly (and yes, I sent them back for testing but all appeared okay per DiamondMM). I finally replaced them with a pair of nVidia boards which just has the driver bail every once in a while and killed Firefox until I disabled the hardware acceleration option in Firefox.

          [John]

        • by aquabat ( 724032 )
      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 03, 2015 @11:20AM (#48724861)

        you whippersnappers these days, we had to ctrl alt delete 5 times a day and liked it! no one had ever even gotten one to run for 40 days uptime anywhere. did i mention our clock speed was 120mhz and we had to reinstall windows from 54 floppy diskettes and had a 1 gb hdd!

        • you whippersnappers these days, we had to ctrl alt delete 5 times a day and liked it! no one had ever even gotten one to run for 40 days uptime anywhere. did i mention our clock speed was 120mhz and we had to reinstall windows from 54 floppy diskettes and had a 1 gb hdd!

          You hipsters - we had to do a power cycle to restart, and no windows, floppies, of hard disks - just a 1mhz cpu, a couple of tape drives, and a serial port. And we had FUN!

          • by Kichigai Mentat ( 588759 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @11:35AM (#48724947) Journal
            Crimney, back in my day we had a paper and a pen! And when the paper crashed we had to abandon all our work and start over! We didn't have any of that "non-volatile" storage space beyond the pressed pulp!
            • Paper? Paper? Back in my day all we had was clay and stone tablets!

              • Stone tablets!?

                All we had back in the day was a few nitrogen-containing nucleobases, deoxyribose and maybe a phosphate group if you were lucky! And we liked it that way!

                Computers? Bah humbug!

          • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 03, 2015 @11:57AM (#48725041)

            you whippersnappers these days, we had to ctrl alt delete 5 times a day and liked it! no one had ever even gotten one to run for 40 days uptime anywhere. did i mention our clock speed was 120mhz and we had to reinstall windows from 54 floppy diskettes and had a 1 gb hdd!

            You hipsters - we had to do a power cycle to restart, and no windows, floppies, of hard disks - just a 1mhz cpu, a couple of tape drives, and a serial port. And we had FUN!

            You really don't want to hear what booting a PDP-8/e involved. Oh, you do!

            First, utter magic incantations (perhaps under one's breath or inaudibly) while turning the key switch which powered it on. Check for no error lights (hence the magic incantations) recalling that this was in the days before LEDs. Next, toggle in an address on the binary switches on the front panel and latch it. It's best if this is a fairly low address, as this will save some time. Then toggle in an instruction and latch it. Luckily, this was a 12-bit machine, so addresses and instructions were short, being limited to 0-4095. Increment the toggled address, and toggle in another instruction. Repeat for a short while, then set the toggle switches to the first address, and execute the program. Now it's in read-in mode! Toggle in an address which is above the last one used, and latch it. Then toggle in and latch a succession of instructions (read-in mode automatically increments the addresses for you). After sufficient instructions have been entered, the toggles are set to the start of this program, and execute the program is commanded!

            The machine will now read in the bootstrap card (a card full of resistors and capacitors which had traces cut to provide ones and zeroes), and execute the bootstrap loader program which it finds there. On our PDP-8, this had a simple driver for a tape and would read in the OS from a tape drive. You did remember to load the correct tape, didn't you? If not, it's back to square one.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Hate AMD's linux drivers. Only go Intel or NVIDIA unless you are absolutely certain the driver works well on Linux. I suffer daily on Linux with AMD drivers. Only reason went AMD was because I was suckered by AMD fanboys assuring me that the shitty drivers are a thing of the past. NOPE! Their drivers still suck ass!

    • by rainmaestro ( 996549 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @02:06PM (#48725701)

      If you ever want to see just how bad nvidia is in Linux, get a laptop that has their Optimus abortion. My laptop at work regrettably has that.
      With stock Intel drivers, display works but there's no acceleration, so performance is shit.
      With stock nvidia or nouveau drivers, performance is great but can't use external monitors (because they are tied to the Intel chip)

      Getting both working at once required a kernel built from source, a backported package from the testing build, a package from a PPA from a child distro, three dependencies built from source because of conflicts between the distro packages and the bleeding edge kernel I had to use, and the nightmare that is bumblebee. I don't dare run an update on this system because fuck knows what will break.

      Meanwhile, my last three laptops at home have been AMD-based. Install Catalyst, reboot, everything is beautiful. It is remarkable how far things have swung. I remember AMD being verboten back when I first got into linux because of how godawful the support was.

      • I've managed to have some stability with Optimus in OpenSuse, but then I can't figure out if steam launches games with the right card or not.

        Not to mention using Steam on PlayOnLinux... yeah, it's a pain.
        • It is possible that Optimus has improved a bit in the past year. A large part of my woes stemmed from my particular card being relatively new and hence requiring a bunch of bleeding edge packages for support, and trying to get bleeding edge stuff to play nicely together is often painful.

          I'm sticking with AMD for my Linux boxes for the time being, and NVidia for my gaming PC. I've had more troubles with AMD in Windows than in Linux the past few years.

      • Meanwhile, my last three laptops at home have been AMD-based.

        ...and don't do what Optimus does. So yeah, they don't have that problem, but they don't have that feature, either.

        Optimus on Linux is pathetic, no question. But AMD doesn't even offer the same functionality.

        • Sure they do. AMD has had hybrid graphics for years, and both Catalyst and the open-source driver have had support for quite some time. I've used laptops that had AMD's hybrid setup and it was far simpler to set up.

      • by rdnetto ( 955205 )

        I have a laptop with optimus (Lenovo T440p with GeForce GT 730M), and external monitors work fine for me. (I just tested this with 'optirun glxgears'.)
        I'm using Sabayon, and the only thing I had to do was install the Nvidia drivers - after that it worked perfectly. Sabayon made optimus support one of their selling points back in 2013, so it's possible it has a better default configuration than Ubuntu / whatever you're using.

        Of course, it's entirely possible that your specific laptop is designed such that th

      • by McLoud ( 92118 )

        My note also has optiumus and works properly, testes with Skyrim over wine. The only thing that doesn't work is sound over HDMI using the nvidia card.

  • by jones_supa ( 887896 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @10:58AM (#48724769)

    Who does all this hard work? Didn't AMD just fire a bunch of Linux developers?

    Either way, at this point both the FGLRX and RADEON driver seem to be almost as good choice as Intel HD Graphics for Linux use. Good job.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The "Community"!

      That's the beauty of Open Source and especially Linux. Stuff just happens (at no cost)!

  • by Kichigai Mentat ( 588759 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @11:04AM (#48724787) Journal
    AMD's Linux drivers are catching up to, and beating, the Windows drivers? That shouldn't be hard, given that the Windows drivers are a steaming load of fetid moose crap. The drivers are the reason I switched back to Nvidia. Their Linux drivers may be proprietary and a little fidgity, and the FOSS Linux drivers may be worse than junk, but at least I don't have to nuke a whole system install just to upgrade Catalyst, and once they're installed the friggin' work!
    • Well, what you say is actually related to the truth. Very vaguely related. It's like truth's second counsin's wife's nephew. They met once, in passing, when you had the idea of saying Catalyst on Windows isn't hard to surpass, then never saw each other again. Considering how crass, dismissive and injust what you said was, it's no wonder truth didn't want to see it again. Which is funny, since pretty much everyone, after some thought, seems to think truth has those exact same characteristics.

      But I digress. I

    • Additionally, I've always had very good experiences with the nvidia driver supporting relatively old cards without much fuss. Older Radeon cards, on the other hand, have given me a fair amount of trouble with the closed-source drivers.
    • If you bench one of the few games that do both DX and GL on Windows (like Earth 2150 or something) you find that the program will run at equal speeds on nVidia drivers. nVidia has declared both DX and GL to be native APIs and they both have first flight support. Then you try it on AMD an you find GL running slower. This is never mind feature issues, crashing or anything else.

      AMD just doesn't do well for OpenGL. I dunno why they haven't fixed it, but it is a real issue. Most gamers don't care since not a lot

  • by crow ( 16139 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @11:11AM (#48724817) Homepage Journal

    The OpenGL stuff is nice for gamers, but what about for the HTPC? How well do the drivers do on video playback acceleration? Can they do MPEG-2 and H264 in HD resolutions with minimal CPU?

    I don't suppose they can play a 1080i video and get the fields consistently correct for letting the TV handle the deinterlacing (or keep it interlaced if the TV is an old tube HDTV)?

    • Re:Video Playback? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Djoulihen ( 1805868 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @11:23AM (#48724889)
      Well, the xbmc team did completely give up on trying to use hardware acceleration with the AMD prioprietary fglrx driver and switched to the OSS radeon driver [forum.kodi.tv] in late 2013.
      • Well, the xbmc team did completely give up on trying to use hardware acceleration with the AMD prioprietary fglrx driver and switched to the OSS radeon driver in late 2013.

        Which means, for those who aren't paying attention to the radeon driver, that it will only work properly on a minuscule subset of AMD hardware. Caveat emptor. I feel the same way about Linux lovers who bought hardware with Optimus in it. What are they, total fucking idiots?

    • by Lose ( 1901896 )
      I've been running with the open source radeon driver with my 7870 for at least a year now. It's 2D performance is pretty smooth and vdpau decoding pretty much eliminates CPU bottlenecks on Linux for me. Don't really have any experience with the latter question in your post, though.
      • by crow ( 16139 )

        Thanks, that's good to know. So many people talk about gaming performance, and at one point the open source drivers were getting good at some 3D without the video acceleration piece.

        As to the other question, I'm probably one of the few people with a HTPC who has a tube HDTV that is 1080i. It's really a great TV (36"), and I don't have to worry about the little one knocking it over. Or maybe the HTPC crowd has lots of early adopters, but the rest have moved on to bigger and thinner.

    • I run MythTV and use nvidia. I tried to use amd but it was real laggy. Nvidia gt410 has no problem with 1080i.
  • I am very glad that AMD is improving the performance of their driver on Linux but I wish they would focus more on adding features that have been present on Windows for years. For instance, support for hybrid AMD/Intel graphics really sucks on linux laptops. You have to manually select the graphics card you want to use and restart your computer each time you want to switch between desktop use and gaming. On windows you can select which card to use for each application. Overheating and battery usage is also
  • This description could have been phrased much more coherently. Quick info: Open source Linux driver still much slower than proprietary. Closed source Linux driver "catching up" to Windows driver. Basically, we're still the same time-frame away from gaming/graphical work disappearing from the checklist of functional applications on Linux.
  • What games on Windows even use OpenGL?

  • by CajunArson ( 465943 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @12:15PM (#48725127) Journal

    All that was shown here is that AMD's *OpenGL* drivers on Linux aren't too far off from AMD's *OpenGL* performance on Windows.

    Considering that AMD's OpenGL Implementation on Windows is kind of a joke compared to D3D, and considering that AMD is now even dumping D3D in favor of its proprietary* Mantle platform, this article basically proved that AMD's Windows OpenGL support is also lacking badly.

    * Before anyone says Mantle is "open": AMD's executives promised an SDK published by the end of 2014... didn't happen. AMD has made zero efforts to make Mantle work on any OS other than Windows... hell, while DX11 ain't an open standard at least I can go online and get docs on how to write a program using DX11 and make it work on Windows... you can't even do that with Mantle!

    • If it is actually "close to the core" like AMD claims, then it is something that'll only work on their GCN hardware, and when they change that, it'll stop working. Realistically they are probably lying and it is just another API, particularly since game performance has been very mixed, being only slightly faster at best and slower occasionally.

  • Gaming on linux (Score:2, Informative)

    I've got both Windows and Linux boxes in my house. Basically my windows boxes are for gaming because... well... Linux sucks for Gaming.

    But recently my 7yr old got his first computer so I gave him Kbuntu. Wow... I was really suprised how well it's performing game wise. Thanks to Valve there's a huge number of games available on Linux. New games are almost guaranteed to be OS agnostic. And the games that aren't... Wine has made amazing progress at emulation. With a relatively small amount of effort you can ge

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Wine has made amazing progress at emulation.

      Wine is NOT an emulator.

      It's a set of API that provide Win32 interface - it's a different implementation. Calling it an emulator is like calling Mono an emulator for .Net

    • by hufter ( 542690 )
      The number of commercial games that run natively on linux may still suck, but generally Linux is an OK gaming OS, if you have good driver for your graphics. Proprietary nVidia drivers are quite good, and I'm glad if AMD drivers will be good too. In last few years Radeon proprietary radeon drivers have had trouble installing, and had some problems even if you do. So my advice has been buy nVidia if you want to game on Linux and install the proprietary drivers. If you want all open source, get a radeon but do
  • I'm really glad they're making strides on the performance of their Linux driver, but I really wish they'd focus on making it easier to install. On Fedora the Radeon driver is darn near impossible (without some serious binary hacking) to get the thing installed. They "officially support" CentOS 7, but not Fedora? Is it really that hard to support a modern kernel and modern version of X?

    I usually end up just running the open source driver because the Radeon driver is so complicated to get working on a modern

  • Gone are the days of instable, crashing Windows. Linux was a great idea for an alternative desktop for its stability, but nowadays there's really no issue with keeping a Windows system stable and running without any issue. Games run exceptionally well, and all the supporting software to go along with it (ie, TwitchTV streaming tools, chat, music, etc) are generally Windows only. Can you get things that run on Linux as well? Sure... but you're basically running Linux because you want to advocate for that as

    • My experience is that games for Linux run surprisingly well, but the Linux desktop has become complete garbage.
      • My experience is that games for Linux run surprisingly well, but the Linux desktop has become complete garbage.

        Not much has changed in fifteen years.

      • How has linux "become garbage" on the desktop?

        Are you referring to Ubuntu's default window manager? Or is there something that switching to better window managers doesn't fix?

        (I have my list of pet hates of things which are worse nowm but I'm curious about yours)

        • Small graphical glitches everywhere, crashes, buttons not working at all, unimplemented features, slow performance. Laptop brightness adjustment goes in multiple steps in Mint and Ubuntu.
  • I admit that I don't play many games, the only one I play at the moment is Left4Dead2 (though previous measurements when playing Counterstrike where similar).

    All my testing show, in a highly scientific study of 2 computers, that playing Left4Dead2 in Linux (Fedora 20 and 21) uses less processor power, and less ram than playing in Windows 7(which both computers came with).
    I don't have a program that tracks GPU usage, but tracking the temperature of the GPU's shows that they run cooler in Linux.

    So using the s

  • Having multiple options is good. For years, nVidia has lead the way on the Unix/Linux platform with its graphics driver support (despite it being proprietary software). The Nouveau project has supplied the free and open alternative to the proprietary driver. It is good to know there is some momentum for the ATI line, time will tell how close it can get or if it can exist at the same level as nVidia. Personally, due to the excellent support, I only buy nVidia graphics hardware so they have gained my busi

I like work; it fascinates me; I can sit and look at it for hours.

Working...