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Re: [vox-tech] graphics card suggestion for 1920x1200
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Re: [vox-tech] graphics card suggestion for 1920x1200

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On Thu, May 29, 2003 at 08:14:53PM -0700, Troy Arnold wrote:
> On Thu, May 29, 2003 at 04:02:55PM -0400, Mike Simons wrote:
> >   Not being very into graphics cards, I would recommend some ATI brand
> > card, since they have open 3D drivers, which will be better for you
> > long term.  I would avoid NVidia since they have closed 3D drivers.
> >   Performance to day is not as important as being able to use your card
> > in 2 years when NVidia decides to stop forward porting their fast (but
> > proprietary) crap.
> Not open !=3D crap.  At least, not in the sense it usually used in, i.e.
> buggy or feature-impaired.  And their drivers *are* fast, damn fast.
> As for Nvidia not supporting their cards down the road?  Highly friggin'
> unlikely.  They use a "unified driver architecture" (their buzzwords)
> and their current drivers support everything from the original tnt up to
> the current GeForce FX.  I don't know exactly when the tnt chip came
> out, but I used a tnt *2* one helluva lot longer back than 2 years ago.


  I agree their proprietary drivers currently fast and functional.

  Many people don't see how something that works well can be crap...=20
but at some point in the future their currently fast and functional
drivers will stop working, and at that time their drivers will be crap
to anyone trying to use them.

  I still maintain NVidia will 'de-support' it's old products, the main=20
question is how far in the future.  What will happen to there users
when that happens, I see to likely results:
  a) they open source the driver code as is and let interested people
     learn and maintain it (with practically no public documentation or
     experience in the code this will take some time)=20
  b) they stop putting out newer code (which will leave the users of
     their cards frozen in time, unable to upgrade certain parts of
     their own software, without forward porting old kernel APIs or
     forward porting old X APIs the older drivers use).

  The video card drivers need to work closely with both the kernel and
the XFree86 core.  Both of those have undergone major changes in the
last 4 years, and there is no sign these changes are going to stop...=20

  When working with a proprietary kernel module *every time* you do a
kernel upgrade there is a chance the driver will break, and you will
have to manually find and update the driver from some obscure vendor site
(since it will never be integrated into the core kernel).  Since video=20
drivers also have to work with X core, any upgrades there may also=20
make you go find a new driver... in the best case one is available for
your choice of kernel/X Server, but not guaranteed.

  Using proprietary drivers often means problems if you try run cutting=20
edge kernels or X... because you have to wait for your vendor to release
drivers before you can effectively use their device.  You may be
prevented from using the device in a different architecture (like Itanium
or Opteron (1)) since the vendor may not make binaries available for them. =
You may also not be able to use the device in a SMP system, if they don't
make available their kernel driver compile with some required options.

  For all those reasons I recommend people running open source systems
stick with hardware that has open drivers... I think it is good policy.

> Trying not to sound like a groupie here but Nvidia shows a dedicated
> interest in supporting their hardware on Linux, most unlike ATI who
> tack on truly "crappy" drivers to their woefully standards-miscompliant
> web site as an afterthought.

  As I understand things ATI has historically made documentation
available for there cards and so they have had very good XFree86 support.

  Right now there are 4 sources for ATI Radeon drivers three=20
open source: Xfree86 team (2d), DRI project (2d&3d), Gatos=20
project (2d&3d).  ATI also started providing a mix of open/closed=20
drivers on their site which plug into the XFree86 core to do 2d/3d.

Two good sites for this info are:

  I am surprised to hear the quality of the ATI provided drivers is low=20
(perhaps DRI or Gatos versions are better).  Since there are multiple=20
sources I expect that they will continue to get better and be some
drivers will continue to be made available for the useful life of=20
the hardware, instead of just as long as the hardware maker wants to=20
continue supporting older hardware.


1: NVidia does make Itanium and Opteron binary drivers available, the=20
   point was you can only operate the device on platforms your hardware=20
   makers feel like supporting when using proprietary drivers.

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