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  • TheWounded - Monday, November 01, 2004 - link

    Its a nice test but i would have loved to see how the XGI volari cards would have done.
    I'm interested if the volari's could be a good choice for linux gamers. But unfortunatly there are no linux benchmarks involving the volaris.
    Reply
  • henca - Thursday, October 07, 2004 - link

    This was a very nice comparision of mid- and high-end cards. It would be interesting to also see a comparision with low-end cards like Matrox G550, Intel Extreme graphics and the Radeon 9200 family.

    The good news about these cards is that they are all supported by the opensource DRI drivers. An up-to-date Linux distribution should support them out of the box without having to download and install any binary drivers.
    Reply
  • MNKyDeth - Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - link

    I am a Linux gamer only so a benchmark comparison like this is great. I really enjoyed reading it. But, imo, there was a lack of games included in the benchmark roundup. I would like to see Savage, NWN, and either quake3 or Heretic 2 shown aswell.

    I also do not like the showing of wineX (Cedega) benchmarks as it defeats the purpose the gaming on linux. The only way I could recomend anyone to use wineX (Cedega) is if they don't own a copy of windows. If you do own a copy of windows do not use wineX for pete's sake, just dual boot, it is the better emulator after all.
    Reply
  • jerrysiebe - Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - link

    For anisotropic filtering, I did a strings search in libGL and came up with something.

    >strings /usr/lib/libGL.so | grep ANISO
    __GL_LOG_MAX_ANISO

    Setting that, I can see a visible difference and get a FPS hit, so I believe it works. On my GF4 4200, I can set __GL_LOG_MAX_ANISO to 1, 2, and 4 and see the difference. Set to anything else I get no anisotropic filtering.
    Reply
  • Thetargos - Monday, October 04, 2004 - link

    Excellent article, just a comment on the NVIDIA uninstaller... it plainly doesn't work as it should. The prlblem is that it substitutes (like the ATi driver) some libraries in the system, but unlike ATi's driver, NVIDIA's driver also makes a change in one library used for the Direct Redering Infrastructure, libdri.a specifically. So uninstalling the drivers with NVIDIA's uninstaller this won't be reverted (re-install of the XFree86 package or Xorg package is required, note only the core package is need).
    In favor of ATi's driver, the uninstallation is much easier and the system is restored to its previous stage, restoring the backup copy of libGL.so.1.2 that is the only system library it overwrites.
    Reply
  • plamalice - Monday, October 04, 2004 - link

    The Nvidia AGPgart driver is causing problems with ATI cards (perhaps other non-nVidia card as well) on both Win and Linux when used on an nForce based mobo (of course). Nforce3 (150, pro150) have both caused me problems when using an ATI card until the gart driver was uninstalled.

    A poor attempt by nVidia to make ATI card appear unstable ? :P

    Anyways, if you have an nForce-based motherboard and an ATI gfx card, do not use nvidia's gart driver.
    Reply
  • KristopherKubicki - Monday, October 04, 2004 - link

    directedition: i just symlink /mnt/cdrom to /media/dvdrecorder

    Kristopher
    Reply
  • mczak - Monday, October 04, 2004 - link

    "Keep in mind that we even run SuSE, a RPM derivative - not too different from Red Hat."
    That really doesn't make sense. RPM is just the package manager! If a dos version which uses rpm would exist, would you say that it is "not too different" too?

    "Below, you can see a screen grab from our ATI frame buffer playing Unreal Tournament at 800x600. The image should not be surrounded by a black border, but rather, stretched to the limits of the screen."
    This looks to me like you did not have configured 800x600 resolution in the Xfree config file (Sax2 will happily do that) - you cannot switch to fullscreen resolutions not configured usually with XFree/Xorg (though maybe the nvidia driver doesn't care).

    btw about aniso not working: I guess you could do that quite easily with framegetter? Just intercept the filter setting calls and replace them?
    Reply
  • mczak - Monday, October 04, 2004 - link

    "On our MSI nForce3 board, this should have been the nvidia_agp module. However, try as we could, we could not get nvidia_agp and fglrx to play well with each other."
    This is a mistake, you do not need (and it will not work) the nvidia-agp module. For all A64 based boards, no matter if the chipset is from sis, via, nvidia or someone else, you need the amd64-agp module instead. It might have just worked with that - suse 9.1 loads it automatically for K8T800 chipset, but I think for some reason it doesn't get automatically loaded for nforce3 chipsets. It might have just worked loading it manually, saving you some time :-).

    "We are not entirely sure why, but even after completely removing the NVIDIA kernel module, we still had persistent errors installing the ATI drivers correctly."
    Removing the kernel module will do nothing. Nvidia drivers replace some of XFree/Xorg libraries, which are incompatible (I think libglx.a is affected by that, but there might be more), and ATI does not have its own version of these files. Uninstalling the nvidia driver with its own installer (which has an uninstall option) should get the original version back in place afaik.
    Reply
  • directedition - Monday, October 04, 2004 - link

    Oh, and a note on some SDL games on SUSE. On games like UT (original) and many other games using the same old installer, you need to create /mnt/cdrom and mount your cdrom there, as the installers don't tend to look for SuSE's /media/dvd nonsense, and it will often keep asking you to insert the CDROM. Reply
  • directedition - Monday, October 04, 2004 - link

    I can't belive noone's mentioned it yet, but Warcraft is an odd example of a game that tends to run better emulated under Cedega (SuSE 9.1) than natively on Windows. Blizzard has a decent relationship with Transgaming. While they won't do a native port of Warcraft III, they are willing to help Transgaming make their game compatible.

    I would definately like to see AnandTech take a look into this and why various Cedega games run better than others.
    Reply
  • Ardan - Monday, October 04, 2004 - link

    Gaming in linux doesn't take hours to achieve. If it took you hours to properly install something like, say, Enemy Territory, then you are doing it all wrong.

    I have set up gaming in linux on both an ATI and an nvidia card lately and neither are hassles. ATI's Linux development team has been making great strides, so don't sell them short. I fully expect them to start rolling along with new features and better support. Comparing them to when I used nvidia's older linux drivers to what they have now, it took a VERY long time to achieve. However, ATI is making strides in a shorter amount of time. Don't worry about that:)

    I loved the article a lot as well, but I would like to point out that the latest ATI drivers are 3.14.1. I do not think that everything has to be open-source to be good in linux. ATI and nvidia are clearly capable of engineering great cards and great drivers, so I am okay with closed-source. Surely it must be an even bigger benefit to them to be able to see the source of the OS they're programming for.

    Anandtech, keep up the good work on the Linux articles! They keep getting better and better.
    Reply
  • ballero - Monday, October 04, 2004 - link

    Great article.
    you can use "nvidia-settings" (the control panel) to set up both AA and AF
    Reply
  • Pannenkoek - Monday, October 04, 2004 - link

    UT is not a SDL game, but an OpenGL game in Linux. SDL is a library for making graphical applications easier (made by Epic, open source) and is comparable to DirectX excluding Direct3D.

    Graphics is a weak spot in Linux, mostly due to the fact that NVIDIA and ATi are paranoid to open their hardware spec so no open source cutting edge video drivers can be made. Stable video drivers, now that would be refreshing.

    A stable Linux system will never lock completely, but insert proprietary closed source drivers and redirect all input to X and you get pretty close to the Windows experience.

    Fortunately there is finally fast development in the X compartment now that Xfree is dying and with Xorg.
    Reply
  • Illissius - Monday, October 04, 2004 - link

    Nice article. Mostly mirrors my experience - I haven't been able to get ATi drivers to install at all (this was a few months ago) on either Mandrake, Knoppix (disk install), or Xandros, which was the point at which I gave up and got an nVidia card, and moved to Gentoo at the same time. Installing the drivers was pretty damn easy as far as Gentoo goes* - 'emerge nvidia-glx', add nvidia to the modules autoload list, change the driver in xorg.conf from 'nv' to 'nvidia', and I think that's about it. Of the games I tried (UT2003 demo, UT2004 demo, Wolfenstein: ET) all worked flawlessly, and as far as I can tell the same speed as under Windows. AA/AF worked also - nVidia has a nice graphical control panel for them too (called 'nvidia-settings' in portage); it's not as full featured as their Windows drivers, but it does the job.

    * What I like about Gentoo is that although you have to setup most things manually, you generally don't have to touch them again after you do. The distro gives you a lot more control over your entire system than 'user friendly' ones like SuSE/Mandrake/Fedora, as well. ie, if you're fascinated with customization, have tried far too many Windows tweak utilities, and can find your way around the registry well enough, there's a good chance it's the distro for you.
    Reply
  • Lonyo - Monday, October 04, 2004 - link

    #3, ATi is generally poorer with OpenGL games than nVidia, and Linux doesn't support DirectX (a Windows thing), so it's fairly obvious that the nVidia cards (which are better at OpenGL), will be better than the equivelant ATi cards (which are generally better at Direct 3D stuff - looking at NV3x vs R3xx) Reply
  • Lonyo - Monday, October 04, 2004 - link

    Have you been working with the 3Dc people? (I notice one of their forum members featuring in a screenshot, an immature one IMO at that ;))
    Congratulations for putting up a Linux gaming article, it would be nice if you could do older cards though (I was thinking of setting up a machine with a GF4 Ti4400 to run Linux).
    Reply
  • adt6247 - Monday, October 04, 2004 - link

    Good article. The one thing that I thought was lacking is the comparison to FPS's under Windows. That would be incredibly useful.

    One more thing -- nVidia actually has a graphical configuration panel for Linux. I forget what it's called; I use it all the time to set AA/AF settings on my box, but my machine is at home, and I'm at work now. I'll post later with the name of the binary.
    Reply
  • adt6247 - Monday, October 04, 2004 - link

    Reply
  • KristopherKubicki - Monday, October 04, 2004 - link

    Ziast: Fixed.

    Kristopher
    Reply
  • Ziast - Monday, October 04, 2004 - link

    Nice article except for this glaring mistake:

    "All in all, just getting the ATI drivers on something that isn't Red Hat feels like way too much work for basic OpenGL support. Keep in mind that we even run SuSE, a Red Hat derivative."

    SuSe Linux was first released in 1993. Red Hat Linux was not released until 1994. Just because SuSe uses RPM doesn't mean it's a Red Hat derivative.
    Reply
  • Papineau - Monday, October 04, 2004 - link

    Two RFEs, one for the article, the other for FG.

    For the article: Would it be possible to graph the ratio of FPS from one card to the other one over time? That would help to know if a card is "always 1.5 times faster than the other", or "sometimes even, sometimes faster, usually slower than the other".

    For FG: Why modify the executable file? Why not use LD_PRELOAD/LD_LIBRARY_PATH to load the lib you want to insert (libFG), and then have it call the system's libGL and libSDL? It seems a bit "bad practice" to modify the benchmarked executable.
    Reply
  • Term - Monday, October 04, 2004 - link

    #6

    I get more FPS with Linux in both Quake1(World) and Quake3 (single and dual cpu) then with Windows2000. Thow I suspect that if you have a newer card then you might not, due to the drivers.
    Reply
  • Cygni - Monday, October 04, 2004 - link

    When 64bit Windows finally ships, and the entire Athlon64 and Opteron user base switches over, including many gamers, the pressure will be on for ATI, and judging by how good their driver team has been in the 32bit Win sector these last few months, hopefully they can rise to the challenge.

    As far as Linux drivers for speed? I hate to break the news to alot of people, but gaming on Linux is a HUGE chore with little payoff. Ive spent HOURS with clean installs of Mandrake to play games I already have for Windows... only to, of course, see that they are slower than their windows counterpart. Linux is great for alot of stuff, and ive always got a computer somewhere running Mandrake 9.1... but it just ISNT for gaming right now, which I think the review helped illustrate nicely.
    Reply
  • ViRGE - Monday, October 04, 2004 - link

    I wouldn't be too excited about ATI's 64bit Linux plans, let alone even their 64bit Windows plans. Their only 64bit drivers are over 4 months old, and don't support any of the X-series of cards, which really limits their usefulness. ATI has said before that they may not ship another build until some time in 2005. Reply
  • raylpc - Monday, October 04, 2004 - link

    "we received some information from ATI about some upcoming Linux announcements which they are working on"

    I remember ATi is working on some "plan", so the actual driver release could be way after. Well, nvidia is probably the next card I'm going to get.
    Reply
  • Saist - Monday, October 04, 2004 - link

    my first thought was:

    how in the world can an Geforce FX MATCH and BEAT the R300 architecture. I guess if you ever wanted empirical proof that ATi has ignored Linux, this is it.
    Reply
  • sprockkets - Monday, October 04, 2004 - link

    Yep, the SuSE 9.2 folder is really fresh and of course probably will work ok when 9.2 comes out.

    What do you mean when you say SuSE is a Red Hat derivative? Is that because of RPM?

    Did SATA work on SuSE 9.1 for the nforce3 board?

    Guess the only thing I can say is I run a Radeon 9200 with the built in drivers in SuSE 9.1 with no problem, but haven't tested a game with it yet...

    What sucks in Linux? Trying to change those wonderful settings for your x86config to use those spiffy AA/AF settings. Gettings real games to work. I wonder if SuSE will even use the newer xfree86 version, or what they will switch to as well.

    Sigh, need to keep good old win2k for such gaming purposes...
    Reply
  • gleb42 - Monday, October 04, 2004 - link

    Nice article, but

    "we want to look at some common graphics intensive applications for Linux and determine how well they run, particularly in relation to their Windows counterparts."

    where exactly is this windows/linux comparison. I only found a couple of words on the Wine section (and wine has it's own overhead, so that's not entirely fair comparison...)


    Reply

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