NVIDIA claims to have the best Linux driver support under Linux. This might be true, but how good is it really? And And what makes it better than ATI’s? Especially spec conformance, stability, speed and extension support.
And how good are these drivers compared to the Windows versions?
I can’t comment on ATI drivers because I never tried ATI with Linux.
For nVidia, I don’t have any problems with the current driver version. The only issue is it is mostly closed source and it doesn’t use the standard rendering interface in Linux but provides a special libGL.so, but that shouldn’t be a problem…
Regarding extension support, Linux drivers are always a few versions behind Windows drivers, so you don’t have the newest extensions. For example, GLSL beta support is available for Windows only at the moment.
Performance with Linux is great. I tried a few demos on both Windows and Linux and Linux always was faster on identical hardware.
I’m gonna ditto Overmind.
NVIDIA’s drivers work great. Haven’t tried ATI’s. A lot of the time demos run faster on Linux than Windows.
Nvidia drivers are fine for use and developping. However, the drivers are not free. When you’ll use it, you’ll be advertised by the linux kernel that you insert a module that is non free. Then your linux is no more GNU.
In term of performances, there’s no real difference between W32 gl programs and Linux ones (try the UT2004 demos for both OS). But shader language seems not ready yet for linux (and some wonder if they will a day). Nothing else to say about that.
For ATI, I could only say from what I could read, or what we said to me.
ATI proposes several ways regarding what card you have. Most recent cards have proprietary drivers as NV (I don’t know if they use DRI or not). But it seems it works. Free ATI drivers use DRI, and seem to not provide real GL acceleration.
Hope this helps.
I have a friend which is very experienced to linux (he’s a sysadmin) and he told me getting his ATi to work accelerated has been a painstaking experience.
I don’t know anything about OSs (only what I need to code them). I am scared by the console (not really, just to give you an idea).
NV drivers installed them correctly in a bunch of minutes. They tell you
1- Do that.
2- Do that.
We’ve been very pleased with NVIDIA driver support over the last few years. We now use NVIDIA exclusively for Linux developement. 3DLabs and ATI Linux support has been disappointing – seemingly an afterthought.
The only issue (minor one) that I might have with NVIDIA is it takes a little longer for their Linux versions vs. Windows. But, that’s understandable considering market share.
So do you mean there’s no way for the moment to have ATI’s drivers as fast as Nvidia ones ?
It’s a shame…
Unfortunately, I can second that. I use both, ATI (radeon9800pro) and NV(gf2mx,gf4ti) cards on linux. NV ones for some years now. They are pretty solid and, for a non ms operating system, quite up to date. I also experienced higher framerates on linux compared to windows. For ATI things are a bit different. Although they support most extensions in the latest drivers OGL version is still at 1.3 (though, with ARB_vp,fp…). Update cycles are somewhat long. Installing was quite complicated, compared to NV driver setup. I had to alter the kernel driver source to get 3d accelration. Speed is ok.
I hope both vendors provide GLslang support soon, i talked to a nv person on cebit04 and he said it will be available as soon as the windows version leaves beta status.
Conclusion: NVidia is imho still the better choice on linux.
Originally posted by jide:
[b] [quote]Originally posted by stephanh:
I had to alter the kernel driver source to get 3d accelration. Speed is ok.
You had to modify the free drivers then ? Ok it’s interresting.
regards.[/b][/QUOTE]No. The one from ATI. But the Kernel driver part is available in source form. Was a Problem with AGP support on VIA KT600 mainboards.
Installing the ATi drivers isn’t such a breeze as installing the nVidia drivers is nowadays, but the latest version of it (3.7.6) works rather well, stably and performs well at least on my Radeon Mobility 9000. The instructions are rather straightforward, though, plus the proprietary ATi driver (fglrx) does come preinstalled in at least some of the more desktop-oriented distros (Mandrake and SUSE), as does nVidia’s.
My experience with ATI and Linux was a disaster.
I download the linux drivers for my radeon 9200 and after installing (following step by step the instructions) and restarting the system crashes in the login screen. I tried to repair it but finally I reinstalled all the system.
Now i am running with the standard drivers (with no acceleration) When I have time I will try to install the drivers again, but not today.
On my desktop(my 3D/gaming system) I have a nvidia FX 5900 Ultra and on my laptop(for school/work) I have an ATI Radeon Mobility 7500. Both running gentoo linux. Getting nvidia drivers to work on my desktop was a snap like it was said before do this this edit your XF86Config file your done. It was a hole different story on my laptop. ATI only supports offical linux drivers for the 8000+ cards. I had to use DRI which I had no problem with. Since I use the 2.6.x kernel I used the drivers that are in the kernel not xfree-drm. I got it all installed correctly but I still had no Direct Rendering. I played with my XF86Config/Kernel Config for awhile till I finally got it working(I have no idea what I did) it really was a pain in the ass to get it working.
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