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Graphics Technology

AMD's New Flagship HD 6970 Tested 152

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the more-pixels-please dept.
I.M.O.G. writes "Today AMD officially introduces their newest flagship GPU, the Radeon HD 6970, hot on the heels of the Radeon HD 6870 released at the end of October, then the NVIDIA GTX 580 in early November, which is Nvidia's current flagship card. Initial testing and overclocking results are publishing at first tier review sites now. While the HD 6970 is a strong performer and the price point is outstanding for consumers, the GTX 580 retains the flagship crown while the AMD 5970 keeps the single card performance crown with its dual GPUs on a single card."
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AMD's New Flagship HD 6970 Tested

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  • Confusing naming (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sonny Yatsen (603655) * on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @10:03AM (#34559936) Journal

    These video card naming schemes are just a confusing mess of numbers now. Are the 6000 series better than the 5000 series, or are they parallel series for different market segments?

    • Re:Confusing naming (Score:4, Interesting)

      by KillaGouge (973562) <gougec17NO@SPAMmsn.com> on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @10:09AM (#34559982)
      I agree 100%, I recently purchased an ATI 6850 with my new system, but it seems that the 5970 still outperforms it. They need to either stick with an incremental naming system, or start adding Good, Better, Best next to whatever name they can come up with.
      • by Pojut (1027544)

        ... ..... ...

        The 5970 is a dual-GPU card (layman's terms: it's the equivalent of two video cards sandwiched onto a single PCB), and costs nearly three times what the 6850 costs. Now, if you were complaining that a 6850 didn't outperform a 5850, that'd be different...but the 5970 is far more expensive for a reason :p

        • Re:Confusing naming (Score:4, Informative)

          by h4rm0ny (722443) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @10:58AM (#34560556) Journal
          Yeah, it's really not that confusing. The first number is the generation. So a 6xxx card is newer than a 5xxxx card. But a new low-end card is not necessarily better than last year's high-end card.
          • by MadTinfoilHatter (940931) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @11:01AM (#34560634)
            ...and a 9xxx card is older than either of them. It's all perfectly logical. :-)
            • I beg to differ, sir! For those are the Radeon HD 5000 & 6000 series, whereas the one you are referring to is the Radeon 9000 series. ;)
          • by tlhIngan (30335)

            Yeah, it's really not that confusing. The first number is the generation. So a 6xxx card is newer than a 5xxxx card. But a new low-end card is not necessarily better than last year's high-end card.

            Yeah, the first number is the generation - (HD) 4xxx, 5xxx, 6xxx. The second number is the relative performance within that generation - a 5950 will outperform a 5570, for example. The last two numbers are differeniators. The numbers only work within a generation - they do not tell you performance compared across

        • Except for the fact that the 5850 DOES usually outperform the 6850...just uses more juice to do it..

          http://tpucdn.com/reviews/HIS/Radeon_HD_6850/images/perfrel.jpg [tpucdn.com]

          I was really looking forward to the new spate of AMD cards...now not so much so. :-(
          • by Pojut (1027544)

            I was just using it as an example.

            As for the 6970 and 6950, they are AMAZING deals. The 6970 is, on average, only 5-10 FPS behind the nVidia 580, yet it costs roughly $140 less.

            • by nabsltd (1313397)

              As for the 6970 and 6950, they are AMAZING deals.

              As single cards, they are OK, but AMD was suffering badly on tesselation benchmarks, and the 69xx series was supposed to be a lot better. Unfortunately, a pair of 6850s do better on tesselation benchmarks [tomshardware.com] than the 6970.

              With the 6970 MSRP running $10 more than actual pricing on a pair of 6850s, and the real world pricing of the 6970 likely to be higher for a while until demand is met, you're better off with the older cards. Also, if you are on a bit of a budget, the 6850 doesn't suck as a single card, but

              • by ponos (122721)

                Would you care to name some major games using tesselation? The only one that I know of is HAWX2 and I don't even think it qualifies
                as a breakthrough game.

                Tesselation was touted as a feature back in the ATI 8500 era (2001!), for those of use who have longer memories. It did not catch up.

                By the time tesselation becomes a mainstream feature, I will have upgraded I think.

      • AMD/ATI have already tried the good better best system. The problem lies with the marketers always requiring new words for "best". For example, ATI first started with the "Graphics Solution" video card. After a few years, it became the "VGA Wonder" card, which was replaced by the "VGA Wonder Plus" card. After a few more years, ATI was selling an "Ultra Pro Turbo". When ATI started selling video cards with three different words for "best" and none for "graphics", it became obvious that a different namin

      • by tomz16 (992375)

        ATI's main competitor is Nvidia. In recent history they have :
        - Named several different cards the same thing (e.g. 8800 GTS)
        - Named the same card several different things (e.g. 8800 GT)

    • Sort them by price descending on Newegg. But yes the 5970s seem to outperform the 6870s and (I haven't RTFA yet) 6970s.
    • by alen (225700)

      due to OEM's manufacturers use higher model numbers but sometimes the chip is last generation or gimped. reason is that you make GPU's you're going to get a lot of chips that don't pass all tests. the best ones get the higher model numbers and highest prices. the rest have circuits disabled and go to lower performance and price tiers. this is why sometimes previous generation cards beat newer generation cards in performance

      • I understand that, but that isn't what I meant. I was wondering why they couldn't make a naming scheme that makes sense.

        • by ByOhTek (1181381)

          It really can't make much more sense than this.

          Each generation (first number) has different features.

          A good example.

          Lets say you have a few cards:

          Card 1: OpenGL 2.0 compatible, has a performance of [2] on OpenGL 2.0 applications
          Card 2: OpenGL 2.0 compatible, has a performance of [4] on OpenGL 2.0 applications

          Card 3: OpenGL 2.1 compatible, has a performance of [1] on OpenGL 2.0 applications and a performance of [3] on OpenGL 2.1 applications
          Card 4: OpenGL 2.1 compatible, has a performance of [3] on OpenGL 2.

          • Or they could use Alpha-numeric. A = Direct X 10 B= Direct X 11 ect, Then a 4 digit number in increments of 5 instead of their stupid 5750/5770/5850/5870 ect. They are leaving out a bunch of numbers they could use.
        • by 91degrees (207121)
          It does make sense.

          Anything starting with a 6 uses the same basic technology. They may have features disabled and/or use a different number of pipelines but the various parts are extremely similar. The second digit is a sub-version number and indicates which of these variants apply, and the third digit is a per-sub-version speed classification.

          It may not relate directly to speed, but it does give a better indication of whether a given chip will have certain features. Speed is somewhat application
          • by nabsltd (1313397)

            Anything starting with a 6 uses the same basic technology.

            Only if you mean "generally (but not always) uses the same mask size", because that's about the only thing that stays similar on a AMD "series", especially if you compare everything from the Nx3x to the N99x models.

            The 69xx series is radically differ from the 68xx series. A small snippet from the Tom's Hardware review [tomshardware.com]:

            Whereas the Barts GPUs used to build Radeon HD 6870 and 6850 centered on the same VLIW5 architecture that earned Radeon HD 5870 a place in infamy, the Cayman GPU consolidates functionality in

    • by Krneki (1192201)
      What about the 4000 series?

      Is my 4850 x2 faster or slower then the 6970?

      Unless you have some sort of performance chart you can't tell shit.

      This is what you get when the marketing department decide how to call a card. A fucked up world, where you never know what you get.
      • by Dracos (107777)

        This is what you get when the marketing department decides what to call anything.

        FTFY. I think.

      • there is no silver bullet here.

        name them by clockspeed, no, doesnt work either, see pentium 4 vs athlon XP, and dont get me started on shadernumbers etc..

        name them by shadercount/buswidth, once again, doesnt work, an ATI shaders != nvidia shader

        name them by the number of 3dmarks they score, doesnt work, 3dmark isnt representative of most games and might be biased towards some type of hardware

        So the same applies here as it does when buying anything, do some research before you buy, car analogy time, would yo

        • Parent post is quite correct in pointing out the flaws in simple comparisons with modern video cards. Definitely do lots of research, but you also have to make sure you aren't looking at biased sites. I happen to trust www.hardocp.com to be fairly neutral and accurate in their methodologies.
          • by Pojut (1027544)

            Their "apples to apples" comparisons alone make their reviews worth reading...not to mention their amazing forums [hardforum.com]. In case anyone else is on there, I can be found posting under the name "Pojut". I usually post in the Computer Audio, Video Card, Case Mod, and General Gaming sections, but I lurk everywhere else.

      • Re:Confusing naming (Score:5, Informative)

        by rwa2 (4391) * on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @10:59AM (#34560584) Homepage Journal

        Unless you have some sort of performance chart you can't tell shit.

        http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/ [videocardbenchmark.net] gives a pretty comprehensive overview of just about every video card out there... this new AMD/ti video card will probably be added within the next few days. It's a great starting point before heading over to http://tomshardware.com/ [tomshardware.com] or http://anandtech.com/ [anandtech.com] to read about all the details, caveats, and more comprehensive benchmark results.

        Also, it tends to be the only good resource out there when trying to make comparisons between different market segments (what notebook GPU could keep up with my desktop GPU?) or completely different generations (would this cheap embedded GPU actually be a decent upgrade from my ancient media player box?)

        • by Krneki (1192201)
          According to http://www.videocardbenchmark.net my 4850 x2 if about 1-2% faster then the 4850.

          I beg to differ.
          • by rwa2 (4391) *

            Yeah, the benchmark doesn't seem to use SLI.

            And since there are many ways to split the workload over multiple GPUs with different impacts on performance depending on your content, it's probably best to just leave it off for their general benchmark.

            So you could use their number to quantify the performance of a single core, and then try to figure out what the multiGPU scaling factor is with your particular settings.

        • I second tomshardware.com. There really is no way that a non-expert can spend the time really understanding all the different models, their differences, strengths, weaknesses, etc, so listen to (hopefully independent) people who make it their business to understand. Periodically, Toms Hardware runs a graphic card comparison called, naturally, 'Best Graphics Cards for the Money'. The latest was in November. The last page of the article has a chart of different cards and ranks them. Go with that.
      • by tibman (623933)

        They aren't labeled by performance but by iteration and then performance. You could have a later iteration with less performance in some situations. If the marketing department was in charge, each card would be called Xtreme Surpra 9000 with no relation to previous cards in the title.. it would be worse.

    • by Buggz (1187173)
      Cheggit [wikipedia.org]

      The first digit is the generation, higher is newer is better. The second digit is the series: 8 and 9 are for the enthusiasts, 5-7 are mainstream while 1-4 are budget cards. The last two digits is the relative quality within the same range of cards, i.e. 5970 (series 5 high-end card) is a tad stronger than 5950.
      • For the second digit: 8 and 9 for enthusiasts applied to the 5000 series. For the 6000 series, only the 9s are for enthusiasts, and the 8s are mainstream now.
    • by ByOhTek (1181381)

      In general:

      Look at the first digit: That tells you the feature set.
      Look at the remaining digits, that tells you the performance.

      Within the same feature set - higher set usually (always?) means higher performance.

      When comparing between feature sets, similar "performance" numbers are usually only slightly slower the next set down.

    • by jgtg32a (1173373)
      Honestly the naming/numbering conventions have never really bothered me, because I'm going to look up a lot of reviews before I buy a video card.

      And to answer your question yes they are more powerful, but as long as you are comparing apples to apples. 6000 --> ABCD. The A is the series the 6's being the latest and greatest; B is the "class" the launch of the series (A) there will be an 8 and a 5(IIRC) 8 being more powerful than the 5 and then later they will add a 9, 7, the 9's being two of the 8'
      • by cbhacking (979169)

        C can be a 9 as well, which usually indicates a late-in-the-generation (A) variant that has a slightly better clock speed or something similar. Typically the ab90 will be cheaper than the (a+1)b70 or even (a+1)b50, but perform better than the (now slightly obsolete) ab70.

        Newer generations aren't always about maximum performance, though. The 6bc0 series seems to be focused on efficiency, giving good but not revolutionary performance at lower power / heat production and generally good prices.

    • For comparison purposes, AMD has increased the 'hundreds' number by one. In their product tiers for the new generation (roughly speaking), 69xx = 58xx and 68xx = 57xx This is definitely a change from the last three generations, where the top-of-the-line were 38xx, 48xx and 58xx. Those were ATI though and now it's AMD, so they did make a numbering change when they took over. Another change will be the new dual-GPU card, which will is rumored to also be a 69xx number, where previously, the 59xx was dual-GP
    • by DarthVain (724186)

      Ya like they have been crystal clear for years now... sarcasm. These things stopped making sense a long time ago. CPU's gave up on meaningful names long ago also. I remember when AMD was still doing the +2200 thing trying to make literal comparisons to Intel.

      Today I don't think it is so much companies trying to advertise to customers is it is companies trying to fool customers into buying into their next product line whatever that might be. You have to do a ton of research to simply figure out what you are

      • But the 6000 series consumes so much less power than the 5000 series it's not funny. Same for heat.

      • by bored (40072)

        The 6xxx are in theory more power friendly, which they are, except for the 5850 which has roughly the same performance/power ratio as the newer 6xxx cards.

        I picked up one of the 5850's earlier this year for a small PC I was building because its performance/power ratio was far better than any of the other ATI/NVIDIA cards at the time. Nothing currently offered beats it by any significant margin in that regard.

        BTW: ATI is just taking a page out of the Nvidia playbook in this regard. For years they just rename

    • It used to be that every time they add a 1000 to the numbers, it means that its a card that has been upgraded to work with the most recent version of Direct X. Now it seems both the 5000 and 6000 series work with Direct X 11. A quick google shows us the difference (its not worth the number upgrade IMHO. It seems to me its an attempt at selling a new series that has minimal upgrades, i.e. more of a marketing decision rather than a consumer friendly one.

      This is the first series to be marketed solely under t

    • Ummm, kinda (Score:5, Informative)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @11:27AM (#34561026)

      They went more confusing than normal this time around. So let me try and break it down for you:

      The 6000 series are the replacements to the 5000 series. As time goes on, the 5000 series will be faded away. They use the same fabrication technology (TSMC 40nm) but are a redesign that is capable of accomplishing more on the same amount of silicon, mostly thanks to redesigned shaders.

      Ok clear enough? However the problem is they fucked with the in-generation naming. Previously the 5870 was the highest end single GPU card, now the 6970 is. As such the situation you have is:

      5750->6850
      5770->6870
      5850->6950
      5870->6970

      In each case the 6000 series part is faster by a reasonable bit, say 20ish%, than the 5000 series part it replaces. All features are supported by both generations of cards they are both DirectX11/Shader Model 5.0 cards.

      So the 6000 series is just a minor refresh, getting more out of the same amount of material basically, which is really nice. The confusing part is the change in making. If you buy a 6870 to replace a 5870, you'll be disappointed to find you have a small performance decrease because the 6870 is actually analogous to the 5770 part.

      As a practical matter if you already own a 5000 series card and are happy with it, keep it. The new cards are a bit faster but not so much as to be worth buying. If you are looking at a new card, then look at the 6000 series as they give you more performance at a given die size. If you are looking at a used or cheaper card, then maybe look at a 5000 series since people are in fact getting 6000 series cards and dumping their 5000 series.

      Either way you have a fully current part, one that supports all the latest graphics tech.

      • While most are not significant enough for someone to choose the new 6000 series over the 5000, especially if the latter is at a discount, like new AA modes etc it has to be reminded that only the 6000 series has HDMI 1.4a which is a requirement for 3D Bluray. So if you think that might be useful to you in the lifetime of the card and you are buying now, be aware that the HD 5000 series does not have it, while the HD 6000 (as well as nVidia 4xx/5xx) does.

        • I am not aware of any new AA modes. If you mean their "MLAA" filter that works on the 5000 series just fine, I've tried it, no hacked drivers or anything. HDMI 1.4 is only needed if you want 3D Blu-ray AND you are using it with a TV. For computer monitors, you use dual-link DVI or DisplayPort, both of which work fine on the 5000 series and which support 120Hz output to relevant monitors.

          I suppose in a media PC setup if you have a 3D TV and if you happen to think 3D Blu-ray isn't just a passing fad then yes,

      • by Kjella (173770)

        Ok clear enough? However the problem is they fucked with the in-generation naming. Previously the 5870 was the highest end single GPU card, now the 6970 is. As such the situation you have is:

        5750->6850
        5770->6870
        5850->6950
        5870->6970

        Stop pretending this is an accident, it's deceptive marketing quite simply. Check out this graph [anandtech.com]. The 5870 and 5850 outperform the 6870 and 6850 respectively, and I'm not cherry picking graphs either it's across the board. No matter what ABCD system you use people will assume A+1 with all else being equal as a better card. It's not, it's a worse card. The truth of the matter is that both AMD and nVidia is in a bit of a bend here, they didn't get the 32nm process from TMSC they expected so their last round o

  • Drivers! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bigbutt (65939)

    As long as AMD's driver writers can't come up with stable drivers, picking up an AMD is still a crapshoot.

    [John]

    • Actual AMD user here (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Haven't had a driver related problem in a while.

    • by lennier1 (264730)

      Too true, although this sometimes leads to some rather entertaining bugs.

      On Windows 7 systems with some Radeon versions and multiple displays the OS will sometimes switch to a garbled mouse pointer.
      In some cases wiggling the mouse pointer between screens will temporarily fix it, while in other cases it's necessary to enable a cursor trail to get a working cursor again. Only a reboot will lead to a more stable cursor behavior (until the bug occurs again).
      I've already had to deal with this on several unrelate

    • Re:Drivers! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by armanox (826486) <asherewindknight@yahoo.com> on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @10:26AM (#34560142) Homepage Journal

      Haven't had issues with ATi drivers since 2007.

      • by ndege (12658)

        Man, I haven't had any issues with ATI either, since about 2004 when I decided to go with nVidia. [ducks!]

        • As a counterpoint to your anecdote, every time I buy an Nvidia card (best bang/buck gets my buck usually), I have to deal with awful driver issues.
        • by Bigbutt (65939)

          I was running nvidia when I decided to build a new system. I'd had problems with the card and even sent it back for testing. It was returned as ok. Eventually I downloaded a driver set that worked for several months so I picked up a second Radeon to make it a pair. Since then the system hasn't worked right. I tried upgrading to 7 in order to use more current drivers and I couldn't even bring Windows 7 up. Finally, when Diamond MM stopped supporting them I went with ATI directly and got drivers that let me i

      • by Bigbutt (65939)

        Windows 7.

        I don't have the specific driver name in front of me, but I'm still getting ati driver blue screens on boot pretty much every time I bring the system up. Sometimes three or four in a row before the system comes up.

        Recently getting degraded graphics. Very very slow response. Powering down will clear it but rebooting won't.

        Occasionally get black screens. Everything seem to respond ok and I can see the mouse cursor on the other two screens but not the center, login screen. I can power the system down

        • by Bigbutt (65939)

          I just check my build pages. They're 4870's not 4750's.

          [John]

        • by armanox (826486)

          I switched back to ATi because of my last nvidia card (Galaxy GT240) blue screening during full screen video play. The XFX HD 5770 has yet to crash, and the Visiontek HD 4550 that I had before the nvidia still hasn't crashed (now in use in another system). Perhaps it's just Diamond MM that's the problem?

          • by Bigbutt (65939)

            I thought they just repackaged the drivers from ATI. Anyway, the system got better the first time when I stopped installing the ATI drivers specifically and installed the Diamond MM drivers. It's been two years of mucking with drivers just to get where I am now. I'm currently working (sort of) but reluctant to upgrade the driver again because it's such a pain to do.

            [John]

        • Hardware problem. I've got 3 Windows 7 Machines, all running with 4870s, one of which running with a 4870x2 CF setup. Not a single problem related to the video card across the board.

    • I've used AMD drivers since early catalyst 8.xx and haven't had problems with any of them that I can recall, FWIW.
    • by jgtg32a (1173373)
      Unless you are talking about Linux drivers your argument is well outdated.
      • by ByOhTek (1181381)

        I still get No FrameBuffer errors and flickering in my AMD based video card, which I don't get on my nVidia. I can only expect driver errors.

        That, and with notebooks, unless things have changed, you don't need driver hacks to use nVidia drivers on nVidia cards in notebooks, but you do for AMD.

        • Perhaps you have a bad card? Also, you've been able to use generic ATI drivers with a notebook (except with certain notebook vendors, which I'd assume is more *their* fault than AMD's) since the HD2000 series at least. I think ATI started doing generic drivers before NVidia even did.

          • by ByOhTek (1181381)

            Interesting. About a year ago, ATI/AMDs web site didn't have any notebook card drivers (or at least, any for recent chips?). Now they have 4xxx, which covers my card. That's a nice change.

            nVidia has had Generic drivers since the GeForce256 days, which is before ATi, which, IIRC didn't have generic drivers until after the Radeons came out (and I believe, not even the early Radeons had them until later)

      • by Bigbutt (65939)

        Nope, Windows 7. And I'm still having problems despite others experiences. I'm not saying everyone has a problem but I do seem to see a lot of griping even on the ATI forums about driver issues and upgrade to 8.x or 9.x or 10.x to fix this problem or that.

        Doesn't sound all that outdated to me.

        [John]

    • by Chemisor (97276)

      On the other hand, with Radeons I can have KMS and DRI, so nVidia is still definitely out.

    • They are perfectly stable. Either I have gotten lucky for the past few years or you have been incredibly unlucky.
      • by Bigbutt (65939)

        Possibly both. I'd want to point to a flaky card but Diamond tested it and said it was ok. And considering that I've installed at least one set of drivers where the system was pretty stable (comparatively) for a couple of months, it still points to drivers being at fault.

        [John]

    • by MrHanky (141717)

      Yes, but even their closed source Linux drivers have passable quality these days. Robust and with great performance. Video is still a bit shit, though, with some tearing. The Windows drivers are great.

    • Now I'm speaking as a Windows user here, can't help you on Linux. However ATi's Windows drivers are acceptable. They are not as good an nVidia's, but it is mostly minor things or ease of use things, not any sort of major problems. I have a 5870, and have had it for a year now, and it is a stable card. I don't get BSODs or lockups from it. Initially it did have gray screen crashes, but they fixed that about a month in and it has never returned.

      I still like nVidia better, and if nVidia's offerings are good wh

      • by Bigbutt (65939)

        Well, I use various systems but this is an issue on Windows XP Pro originally and is still an issue with Windows 7. I have a pair of 4870's (put the wrong ones in a prior posting). One for two years now, the other I bought last year after the driver issue seemed resolved in order to run crossfire.

        As far as how well it works, after the system comes up, it seems to run fine. Games play, the screens look ok. Once in a great while one of the screens garbages out but I can't recall the last time and it might hav

  • by MojoKid (1002251) * on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @10:21AM (#34560094)
    HH has a ton of datapoints and additional coverage on the new AMD GPUs: http://hothardware.com/Reviews/AMD-Radeon-HD-6970--6950-GPU-Reviews-Enter-Cayman/ [hothardware.com] - Fill rate and memory bandwidth goes to AMD, while Tesselation (for DX11) advantages are strong in NVIDIAs architecture.
  • by tygerstripes (832644) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @10:25AM (#34560118)
    Just what I need to get my PC through a cold winter.
  • Linux Support? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Lord Byron II (671689) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @10:27AM (#34560144)

    After a terrible Linux driver experience a few years ago with AMD, I switched to NVidia and have been fairly happy ever since. But these latest cards have me thinking of switching back on my next upgrade. How is the AMD Linux driver?

    I currently have two NVidia cards driving three monitors; does anyone have experience doing the same thing with the AMD driver?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by crabboy.com (771982)
      I have a 5770 driving three monitors on Kubuntu and everything works as you would expect. Of course, I did have to pay an extra $100 for the active DisplayPort-to-DVI adapter...
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Per Wigren (5315)
        Does "everything" include hardware accelerated video playback, multichannel LPCM-audio over HDMI and 64-bit support?

        I haven't looked at the state of AMD video card support in Linux for a while but as recently as a couple of years ago, NVidia was the pretty much the only usable option for media centers.
        • Re:Linux Support? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by GooberToo (74388) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @11:26AM (#34561014)

          Hardware acceleration is available for both AMD and NVIDIA but is largely limited by whatever software you're running. So for example, flash is only accelerated on 32-bit NVIDIA for now.

          Generally speaking, NVIDIA still provides a superior driver experience and NVIDIA still have the far, far superior OpenGL implementation. AMD has come a long, long ways but it will likely be a year or two, or perhaps even more, before AMD can really challenge NVIDIA in both performance and quality on OpenGL/Linux.

          For the foreseeable future, NVIDIA is still the only sane option for 3D+Linux. Unless, of course, you're the gambling type.

          • by cbhacking (979169)

            Or if you want to support a company that releases specs for their hardware that enable open-source drivers. The proprietary-blob nVidia drivers are good on Linux, but the reverse-enginered OSS drivers are awful. ATI/AMD hardware has rapidly developing OSS drivers, although they're not yet better than nVidia's proprietary blobs.

            • by GooberToo (74388)

              I agree with you, but at the end of the day, many people, such as myself, are more interested in a high performance system rather than pushing an ideology.

    • by oranGoo (961287)

      AMD went a long way in supporting linux and it seems that they will stick to it for newer cards (Mobility HD 5650 running stable as a rock on Ubuntu 10.10; with Catalyst Control Center).

    • by daid303 (843777)

      Really depends on the card, don't buy something random from AMD and expect it to work in Linux.

      I have a laptop with a 1720 mobility something card, not a powerful thing. Windows works, but linux the closed source drivers refuse to do anything. And the open source drivers work, until you do anything 3D more complex then glxgears, then they just crash and burn X.

      If you want linux support you just better stick to NVidia right now, my desktop uses an NVidia card and stability and performance are the same for wi

    • by dstyle5 (702493)
      I had issues with my ATI 1650 (yes, a true powerhouse) in Fedora 9 and 10 attempting to use my 24" display or two smaller displays at once. I recently updated to Fedora 14 and decided to try again and much to my surprise I can now use my 24" and 22" display with the old 1650. I'm not using ATI drivers though since they stopped supporting my card a few years ago.
    • I think the tide has changed again, with AMD nee' ATI doing better than Nvidia - until some PHB gets a hair up the backside and it flips back the other way (again).
    • by SheeEttin (899897)
      Haven't tried the proprietary driver since they deprecated my X1600 Pro (I switched to the open-source one and didn't look back), so I can't talk about that, but otherwise...
      The OSS driver handles most things pretty well. I don't know if, say Flash video is GPU-accelerated, but it seems to handle most 3d performance pretty well. Video, too, pretty much up to 1080p (but not including it, unfortunately; I don't know how CPU-dependent this is, either).
      The proprietary driver is a bit better in terms of perfor
  • Honestly, this is kind of disappointing. The 5870 spanked Nvidia's ass for months while the Fermi hit more and more delays, and even when the GTX 480 came out, the 5870 still had the major advantage of not burning your house to the ground and eating far less power than the competition, and it was only a bit slower for a lot less money. Now, all AMD really has is...nothing, really. It's priced about the same as a GTX 570 with about the same performance and the power consumption/heat gap is pretty well gone.
    • by alvinrod (889928)
      They were stuck out of position on this one. Originally these cards were planned for a 32nm process, but TSMC cancelled it because it was having a lot of issues, so they had to make changes and shoehorn their design into a 40nm process again. To keep the die size down, things had to be cut.

      A lot of AMD's lead came form Nvidia making mistakes. The 5000 series was a great step forward, but it looked even better because Nvidia looked so bad. You can't count on your competition to keep shooting themselves in
      • Yeah, I figured it was because of TSMC sucking on the 32/28nm process, but that's a hurdle that Nvidia has also had to jump, although I'm not sure how dependent their plans have been on the die shrink. The GTX 500 line is what the 400 line should've been and it's handing AMD's ass to them on a platter.
    • by Luckyo (1726890)

      It's still a whole lot more performance/cost, which admittedly doesn't matter much on high end.

      • Than a GTX 580, sure, but a GTX 570? They're pretty evenly matched, and at that point, there's no major benefit to one or the other. The GTX 570 has the advantage of CUDA and better GPGPU support, too.
  • Now I can run farmville at 21,423 fps.

"Mach was the greatest intellectual fraud in the last ten years." "What about X?" "I said `intellectual'." ;login, 9/1990

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