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Graphics Hardware Hacking Upgrades Build Hardware Linux

Open Source Graphics Card Available For Advance Orders 262

mollyhackit writes "The Open Graphics Project, which we've been following since it first started looking for experts four years ago, has just announced that the OGD1 is available for preorder now. The design features 2 DVI, 256MB RAM, PCI-X, and a Xilinx Spartan-3 FPGA along with a nonvolatile FPGA for programming on boot. FPGAs are reprogrammable hardware which means the graphics card can be optimized for specific tasks and execute them faster than a general purpose CPU. The card could be programmed for certain codecs to speed up encoding or decoding. An open hardware design means potential for better driver support. Of course you could always use the FPGA for something else... say crypto cracking."
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Open Source Graphics Card Available For Advance Orders

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  • Pretty crappy FPGA (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @06:24PM (#23498306)
    The SPARTAN 3 is a hobbyist FPGA. Cheap, and a lot of gates, but slow. A Virtex 4 would've been nicer :)
    • by RattFink ( 93631 ) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @07:24PM (#23498814) Journal

      The SPARTAN 3 is a hobbyist FPGA. Cheap, and a lot of gates, but slow. A Virtex 4 would've been nicer :)
      The thing is already $1500, quadruple the cost of the most expensive part on the board. Yikes!
    • by _merlin ( 160982 ) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @07:53PM (#23499036) Homepage Journal
      The SPARTAN 3 is a hobbyist FPGA. Cheap, and a lot of gates, but slow. A Virtex 4 would've been nicer :)

      Kind of appropriate considering it's basically a graphics card designed by hobbyists, don't you think? I don't think a Virtex is the best choice, either: it uses a lot of power and has an onboard PowerPC core that wouldn't really be that useful. Any graphics card implemented on FPGAs will use a lot of power for relatively poor performance. To compete, you'll need enough orders to get your design fab'ed by TSMC or someone.

    • and this one isn't that big either, only 8K logic units (disclaimer: i've been working mostly with altera stuff and i'm not sure how spartan 3 logic units compare to cyclone 3 logic units but I would guess they are reasonablly similar).
      • by Eric Smith ( 4379 ) * on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @10:05PM (#23500000) Homepage Journal
        It's unclear to me where you're getting your information, but the card uses a 3S4000, which is the second-largest Spartan-3 FPGA. It has over 60,000 logic elements, each of which has a 4-LUT and a FF. The part also has 96 parallel multipliers (18x18 two's complement) and 96 18-Kbit dual-port RAMs.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by petermgreen ( 876956 )
          sorry my mistake, I read the 3S400 entry rather than the 3S4000 entry by mistake.
    • by mobby_6kl ( 668092 ) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @08:40PM (#23499382)
      Well, hopefully the next version will upgrade to the SPARTAN 300 FPGA instead. Not exactly cheap, but much more efficient.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Standard reply:

      "If you aren't happy with this Open Source project, fork it and do something better."
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by OrangeTide ( 124937 )
      spartan-3 is good. But it's not going to be much use for high-bandwidth designs or designs that need lots of I/Os. An affordable choice for an FPGA though.
    • by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) <akaimbatmanNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @10:07PM (#23500024) Homepage Journal

      The SPARTAN 3 is a hobbyist FPGA. A Virtex 4 would've been nicer
      I'm actually impressed! Back when they started this project, I made a suggestion here on Slashdot that it would be more accessible if they used a Spartan 3. A member of the project told me they couldn't use anything smaller than the latest Virtex because they needed the size and performance. Their reasons were good at the time, so I'm really impressed that they made the effort to fit it in such a small FPGA. Great work, guys! =)
    • by Eric Smith ( 4379 ) * on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @10:12PM (#23500056) Homepage Journal
      The Spartan 3 is a professional FPGA. It happens to be relatively inexpensive as it is targeted at ASIC replacement. The performance is lower than a Virtex 4 or 5, but the price/performance ratio is much better. The last time I got quotes, Virtex 4 parts cost about ten times as much per logic element as Spartan 3 parts.

      What most people seem to have overlooked is that this isn't an expensive video card. It's a midrange FPGA development card, that happens to be suitable for prototyping video card functionality. It is NOT intended that average users or even power users would buy this to use it as a video card.

      The plan is that this card will be used for development of the logic for a video card, which will then be realized in an ASIC in order to produce actual video cards.

  • by WarwickRyan ( 780794 ) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @06:24PM (#23498314)
    They're probably going to own 100% of the high-price videocard market with that.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @06:29PM (#23498364)
      Yeah but there's a $100 discount for early orders, and they're throwing in a $65 programming interface cable absolutely free! So $1500 is a gross exaggeration ... it's really only a $1335 video card.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by TypoNAM ( 695420 )
      I need help deciding, spend $1,500 on:
      A) Open source video card which uses a PCI[-X] port...
      B) Build a new gaming rig (MB, Q6600, 2GB DDR3, GeForce 8800 GTS, etc..)

      Such a difficult choice, decisions decisions... :/
      • by x_MeRLiN_x ( 935994 ) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @07:01PM (#23498644) Homepage
        I'm not sure which choice you think should be obvious, but do you really think this graphics card is aimed at the gaming market, and if so, what gave you that idea?
        • Re:$1500 video card! (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Excelcia ( 906188 ) <kfitzner@excelcia.ca> on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @09:24PM (#23499700) Homepage Journal
          Do you really think this graphics card is even a graphics card? The producers don't seem to think so. They describe it as "an FPGA development platform." They go on to say that it is sold as a "blank," and is "preprogrammed only with basic diagnostic logic." Does it even have drivers?

          Is it really a graphics card, or is it something that might possibly become one with the right FPGA programming.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Yetihehe ( 971185 )
            Yes, it MAY become graphics card, for example when they finally develop framebuffer logic (to act as card without acceleration). Then they plan to make vga emulation, so you could boot your computer with this card. You can read more in their FAQ [traversaltech.com]
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by OrangeTide ( 124937 )
        If you're a hobbyist software/electronic person, the choice is pretty damn obvious. (games are boooooring anyways)
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mustafap ( 452510 )
        The original post was misleading. This is not a video card, but an FPGA development platform that has some video output capability.

        The developers must be cursing slashdot at the moment :o)
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Kjella ( 173770 )
      Nowhere near 100%, I think that market is pretty well covered by tri/quad-SLI to push the very last frames out of the games that benefit. The kilowatt PSU and other goodies required means it'll surely cost you more than 1500$...
    • by Veggiesama ( 1203068 ) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @06:35PM (#23498418)
      Hey, I thought open-source was supposed to be free!

      I call shenanigans!

      Guess it's time to go back to my cheaper boot-legged graphics card [cf.ac.uk].
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        It is, but then you have to compile it yourself.
    • Priced a Quadro FX lately?
    • Re:$1500 video card! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @07:54PM (#23499042)
      But it's not a video card:

      OGD1 is a high-end FPGA prototyping kit and hardware engineering platform, equipped with the peripherals needed to develop and test computer graphics architectures.
      At least it's video-card-specific, right?

      Because of the generalized nature of its core, OGD1 is very versatile and can be used for a wide variety of purposes requiring a large FPGA, PCI, fast memory, and user I/O.
      Whatever, as long as it kicks butt at Doom3 -- it *is* built for gamers, right?

      It is designed to be used by students learning FPGA programming, engineers needing a development platform or product base, hobbyists that want to hack their own hardware designs, users who want to the benefits of open hardware, and users who need custom peripheral devices.
      Damn! It's like the whole slashdot summary was not only wrong, but completely misleading! I had to go all the way to the first paragraph of the first question of their FAQ to find out the hidden truth.
      • Except it is. (Score:5, Informative)

        by pavon ( 30274 ) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @09:01PM (#23499552)
        There are literally thousands of FPGA prototyping boards [fpga-faq.com] on the market, many of which cost much less than this one. So while you could use this for other things, I can't imagine why anyone would spend the extra money unless they wanted to use the video specific features like the dual DVI interface. Furthermore, the purpose of the project is to develop an open source video card, and this card was created as a tool for those developers to experiment with.

        So, it was created to prototype a video card, and it's only practical uses are real-time video (output) processing, thus it is a video card.
  • PCI-X (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nuzak ( 959558 ) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @06:30PM (#23498370) Journal
    That's PCI-X, not PCI-E. The rest of the stats are also a retro-blast as well.

    I'm not sure what kind of architectures you could really test with this thing. It has slower memory on it than is on my motherboard. I honestly believe you could write software renderers faster than this thing.
    • Developers without deep pockets often choose older technology for development because it's much cheaper.

      This is a prototype! The final product can be realized on better silicon and a faster bus.
      • Re:PCI-X (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <`gro.uaeb' `ta' `sirromj'> on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @07:15PM (#23498744)
        > This is a prototype!

        But this 'product' makes no sense to me. They admit it is more useful at this point as an FPGA dev kit. But $1500 is a lot to plunk down for an introduction to FPGA develeopment.

        This [xilinx.com] product direct from xilink makes a lot more sense for someone getting started. Ok, it only has 128MB instead of 256M, a single VGA port instead of dual DVI and a smaller FPGA. On the upside though the cheaper board is PCIe instead of PCI-X which is getting hard to find a machine to stick it into. But it is in the same family and when ya actually have a design that won't fit in the smaller part is when you should think about buying a bigger one.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by SpacePunk ( 17960 )
        This product needs to be realized on PCI-E, other wise it'll just be a hobbyist item that will never become anyting more.
  • by Joe The Dragon ( 967727 ) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @06:32PM (#23498390)
    Pci and pci-x is dieing
    • by Uncle Focker ( 1277658 ) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @06:37PM (#23498442)
      Because it's a prototype card and not something meant to compete realistically with Nvidia and ATI.

      The first short-term goal is to implement a prototype PCI graphics card dubbed OGD1 using a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) chip. Although this card will not be able to compete with existing graphics cards on the market performance- or functionality-wise, it will be useful as a tool for prototyping the first application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) board, as well as for other professionals needing programmable graphics cards or FPGA-based prototyping boards. It is hoped that this prototype will attract enough interest to gain some profit and attract investors for the next card, since it is expected to cost around $2,000,000 to start the production of a specialized ASIC design. Later AGP and PCI Express variations will follow.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_graphics_project [wikipedia.org] If I had the money to spend I'd help support them because I'd love to see them get the money to build a truly open video card that could compete with it's modern rivals.
      • If I had the millions of dollar necesarry to develop a video card engine to compete with the other guys, the first think I would buy would be a fancy car, not an open source video card.

        And I would pay off my house too.... and take a vacation...

        • Good for you. I'm glad you shared this interesting anecdote with us.
        • the first think I would buy would be a fancy car

          A few hundred thousand should get you a damned nice car. Anything after that and you're just wanking.

          And I would pay off my house too.... and take a vacation...

          How much is that?

          I'm betting an open source video card is going to cost enough that unless you go out of your way [wikipedia.org] to spend money, you can afford pretty much all the stuff you listed, and it'd still be a drop in the bucket compared to development costs.

          If I had, say, ten or twenty million dollars, I'd spend a few hundred thousand on myself, and then think about how to benefit the world with the rest of it.

      • "If I had the money to spend I'd help support them because I'd love to see them get the money to build a truly open video card that could compete with it's modern rivals."

        This makes me wonder if someone could setup a foundation of some sort to act similar to Public Radio/Television. I don't have the money to build or run a radio or TV station, but when 15000 people donate 50 or 100 bucks, suddenly the money is there to run the radio station. The problem with this, however, is that public radio and televisio
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by billcopc ( 196330 )
          It also assumes we'll be able to find and keep top engineers on staff, and not lose them to a higher paid, higher profile job with NVidia.

          As if that weren't enough of a deterrent, what's the target market for this graphics card ? Clearly not the high end gamers, nor the professional rendering crowd. What, you want to market an open-source graphics card to Linux users ? A community that is built on the philosophy of making the most of older hardware... they're not going to pay anywhere near enough money t
    • It doesn't matter. This is a prototype. I am unsure of the actual reason, but I bet the development tools for PCI-X are more mature and less expensive than PCI-E. The final product can be PCI-E with relatively minor changes. The vast majority of the development for this card does not care a whit what the actual bus interface is.
    • by greg1104 ( 461138 ) <gsmith@gregsmith.com> on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @07:04PM (#23498682) Homepage
      There are two entries in the FAQ [traversaltech.com] about this. Short answer is "PCI is more popular with users of FPGA kits" and "PCI-X is backward compatible with your 32-bit 33MHz PCI slots".
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Opie812 ( 582663 ) *
      My motherboard is PCI you insensitive clod!
  • by the_humeister ( 922869 ) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @06:36PM (#23498426)
    And then have it run Linux (or some other free OS)? I think that'd be pretty neat.
    • by FranTaylor ( 164577 ) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @06:44PM (#23498502)
      Not the point. The processor is not designed for that. You stuff microcode and data into it from the normal CPU and turn it loose, and it does its thing WAY faster than the normal CPU can. This thing has no disk IO and would not run well at all as a general purpose CPU. It's like trying to go grocery shopping with a Formula 1 car.

      • by jnadke ( 907188 )

        It's like trying to go grocery shopping with a Formula 1 car.

        I wish... grocery shopping would be a whole lot more exciting then.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Gewalt ( 1200451 )
          The 297th lap is where you'll be changing your mind on that one.
        • I think shopping in a nice muscle car or even a ricejob would be a lot more exciting than a Formula 1.
          • I think shopping in a nice muscle car or even a ricejob would be a lot more exciting than a Formula 1.

            A nice muscle car, or a "ricejob" (offensive term?), is going to do more than one thing. It'll have heating, cooling, a radio, turn signals...

            A Formula 1 car might not even be street legal, let alone comfortable for anything other than racing.

            Right tool for the job, can't be said enough. Even CPUs have things like math coprocessors. It's no surprise that even if a video card technically can run Linux, it might not be very good at it. (A fair example: PS2 Linux.)

      • It's like trying to go grocery shopping with a Formula 1 car.

        This is such a fantastic analogy.

    • by daybot ( 911557 ) *

      And then have it run Linux (or some other free OS)? I think that'd be pretty neat.
      So what you're saying is "Great, but does it run Linux?"
    • A better question is: "Can you make an Open competitor in the Physics Card race?"

      Since its all FPGAs I'd think "yes".

      Might be an interesting spinoff project if it gets enough interest.
  • This is cool (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Paul Pierce ( 739303 ) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @06:36PM (#23498430) Homepage
    Having recently taken a graduate class where I had to write my own shaders for OpenGL, it was neat to play with the video card on that level; however most cards are quite limited with what is open API.

    This card, while too expensive for me, might spur some interesting projects - cypto stuff and Ray tracing come to mind. I hope someone does something great with this.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I'd love to see a graphics processor that could be programmed to create graphics that look like classical hand-drawn animation. I think you'd need to do some curve-fitting in X,Y,Z and T in order to achieve that. We all know there are cel-shaders and vector renderers that can render 2D stills that look authentic, but that's still a far cry from animating something that looks like a Disney classic, or like anime. Fitting 3D polys in X, Y, Z into curves in X and Y may be trivial, but figuring out how to turn
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        The Tachikomas [wikipedia.org] in Ghost in the Shell were all rendered with a software shader that makes them look hand-drawn. That type of specialized shader certainly seems like a great application for this.
  • by FranTaylor ( 164577 ) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @06:37PM (#23498440)
    At this stage of their development.

    This is not a finished product by any stretch of the imagination. These are prototypes. Back in the day prototypes were wirewrapped nightmares and they cost a lot more than $1500!
    • These are prototypes. Back in the day prototypes were wirewrapped nightmares and they cost a lot more than $1500!
      Hmm, I dunno what volumes theese guys are planning to do but my guess is it is sufficiant that even back in the days when wirewrap was feasible the design would have been committed to PCB.

      While in many ways progress is good most electronics hobbyists nowadays are left with the stark realisation that dealing with chips that are anywhere near performance competitive with PC hardware is a huge and e
  • by nfk ( 570056 ) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @06:45PM (#23498504)
    crypto cracking
  • by fpgaprogrammer ( 1086859 ) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @06:51PM (#23498562) Homepage
    you might be getting ripped off if you're paying $1500 for a Spartan-3 board.

    I guess they don't really have the board volume to get low prices. But If you want a graphics card for $1500 that's probably less functional than an NVidia commodity card, I'm not gonna stop you.

    OTOH, If you're interested in FPGA programming and a novice at it, you'll want to get a MUCH MUCH MUCH cheaper Spartan board (like 50 to 150). See http://digilentinc.com/ [digilentinc.com] for good starter boards.
    If you're serious about FPGA programming (or just willing to pay $1500 to $3000) you will definitely want to get a board with a Virtex or Stratix on board:
    http://www.xilinx.com/products/devkits/HW-V5-ML501-UNI-G.htm [xilinx.com]

    If you want to have it on PCIx:
    http://www.xilinx.com/products/devkits/HW-V5-ML555-G.htm [xilinx.com]

    You can also get FPGAs socketted for AMD's Hypertransport bus and Intel's FSB:
    http://xtremedatainc.com/ [xtremedatainc.com] (Altera FPGAs)
    http://drccomputer.com/ [drccomputer.com] (Xilinx FPGAs)
    http://nallatech.com/ [nallatech.com]
    http://celoxica.com/ [celoxica.com]

    (some of these vendors also sell PCI solutions)

    FPGA programming environments still mostly suck. it's a market impeded by proprietary standards and a whole lot of NP-Hard algorithms. We're working on it...
    • by Uncle Focker ( 1277658 ) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @06:55PM (#23498596)

      I guess they don't really have the board volume to get low prices. But If you want a graphics card for $1500 that's probably less functional than an NVidia commodity card, I'm not gonna stop you.
      Because we all know that first generation prototypes are the most super powerful and cheap cards ever made.
    • Nice links there. I was wondering if you have an idea on where to get bargain basement priced DSP boards for audio. Mono 24 bit I/O is enough.
    • by Salsaman ( 141471 ) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @07:22PM (#23498798) Homepage
      Sure, it might be more expensive. But the point is, people who buy this are not just buying the hardware (yet). They are supporting the R&D these guys are doing, and enabling them to move closer to the production stage. It's an investment in future technology.

      Frankly, I think this is great. Once they reach the stage of being able to compete with a low-end Nvidia/ATI on features and price, I would consider buying one. The cards could be optimised to work with whatever operating system you would be running on the machine, and would be guaranteed to have no driver compatibility issues.

      I hope they are successful with this and can move into other areas. An open soundcard would also be very nice to have.

      • by fpgaprogrammer ( 1086859 ) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @08:04PM (#23499120) Homepage
        I really hope that same type of open-source economic irrationality will help fund my open-source FPGA tools startup!

        my point is that there are a dirth of FPGA boards with better cost/performance value that could be used to prototype a graphics rendering FPGA system. Physical hardware isn't the limiting factor to an open source graphics card; the open source FPGA 3-D rendering code is the real missing piece. In fact, making a board was probably a distraction for this project because by the time the firmware is ready for real graphics workloads the FPGA on-board will be obsolete.

        Here's some examples of 3-D engines for FPGA from the 6.111 lab at MIT:
        3-D Pong (using rasterization):
        http://web.mit.edu/6.111/www/s2006/PROJECT/7/main.html [mit.edu]

        Ray Tracing:
        http://web.mit.edu/6.111/www/s2007/PROJECTS/5/main.html [mit.edu]

        There are hundreds of videos and code for FPGA projects up at http://web.mit.edu/6.111 [mit.edu] (see project appendices for code).
        • OT: "dirth" (Score:3, Informative)

          by Tim C ( 15259 )
          Just to let you know (and because I'm a pedant ;) ) it's spelled "dearth", and it means "lack of" or "not large enough supply of".

          Basically, you said exactly the opposite of what you were trying to say :)
      • by guisar ( 69737 )
        that's a FANTASTIC idea. Sound cards advance at a much slower pace than graphics cards and as we all know drivers for them- esp drivers which allow us to address invidiual channels and hardware features, are sucky. A programmable multi-in, multi-out sound card with optical connections would be a great boon to the really sucky situation that currently exists.
  • by QX-Mat ( 460729 ) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @07:04PM (#23498676)
    I don't have the kind of cash they're asking for, for a graphics specific FPGA. If they could tailor the board towards the FGPA market in general, I'm sure they'd find people interested in more than just it's rendering capability (me!!).

    I'm concerned about the shelf-life after I'm done tinkering.

    I'd like an I2C bus, a few led connectors, and some magic so that I can connect a general purpose daughter board the FPGA's address bus (ie: implement USB, LAN, audio support that way). Every FPGA should be able to run as a Tanenbaum CPU [opencores.org] by law!

    As far as rendering goes I can't see an FPGA being as fast as an ASIC - propagation delay is going to hammer it, and syncing will be a bitch - but I'm still interested in what it can do offline (assuming I can get a vesa console :D). If the card can do offline rendering efficiently enough to experiment with discrete pipelines (more gates = more fp precision!) I'd be a happy graphics geek.

    Good luck!

  • I'm more of a video card user. But I could try to learn what it takes to program this card. I'd just want to be sure that what I want to do is feasible. The actual designers might understand if it is or not.

    Much of my computer use, including almost all programming, is done in text mode with Linux virtual console semantics, which work better and faster than terminal emulation under X does (for people that are used to it having done it this way since Linux came out, and on other systems before that). The

    • Linux virtual console semantics, which work better and faster than terminal emulation under X does


      It must have been a very, very long time since you've tried terminal emulation under X. It's trivial now to get something like Konsole or gnome-terminal, or even a ton of aterms under Fluxbox, to run in a tabbed mode. Given the right combination of terminal emulation and window manager, you could probably get it as good or better than you've been using under a VT.

      Why force your video card to render text, when X can do it for you?

      Bonus -- no lag from switching modes (or anything else) when flipping

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @08:16PM (#23499214)
    There is no way in hell these people can compete with ATI/NVIDIA. Have you ever been to NVIDIA? Do you have *any* idea how many really smart people they have working on these problems 60 hours a week?

    This project would be so much better off reverse engineering Cuda to make an open source driver than trying to make their own graphics chip. Hell, even Intel is having a very hard time getting a high-end graphics chip to work, and they've got so many more resources than this project.

    Open source software works because anyone can hack on it and produce comparable stuff with zero initial investment. Hardware does not work that way. There is just way too much of an initial investment required. Even with FPGAs it's too expensive, and you're way too far behind to start with.

    These people are idiots to think they can succeed here unless one of them has a 90nm fab in his or her backyard. (Sorry -- this is qualitatively different than trying to write your own OS, which is done all the time in undergrad classes.)
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bersl2 ( 689221 )
      The project seems to be on a longer-term scale than you seem to be imagining. Also, reverse-engineering CUDA is rewarding bad behavior on the part of NVIDIA.

      Sure, hardware requires actual money, and that makes it harder to do in an open way than software. What's wrong with trying? What's wrong with experimentation? You don't know it's not possible until it doesn't work---and even then, that still doesn't fully prove that it isn't possible.

      Certainly you do hope that they succeed, don't you? Otherwise, what i
  • by Ant P. ( 974313 ) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @09:08PM (#23499600) Homepage
    This [mveas.com] sounds way more practical than the OpenGraphics thing. $1500 on top of having to find a PCI-X board? No thanks.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Runefox ( 905204 )
      While Project VGA does look very interesting (and much more practical than this particular project), I have to point out that PCI-X is almost always inherently compatible with PCI, and vice-versa. In this case, the manufacturer specifically states that it will work in a PCI slot. If you're having trouble finding a PCI motherboard, then maybe you're doing it wrong.
  • Card for Zealots (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Eskarel ( 565631 ) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @04:08AM (#23502078)
    I don't care if my drivers are closed source or open source, I care if they work. The nvidia drivers work perfectly well on Linux(at least Intel/AMD linux), they've worked perfectly well(excluding times when the kernel devs screw up the existing drivers), for years.

    If you really want totally open source drivers they'll be available for ATI cards in the not too distant future.

    This graphics card when it finishes won't be "open source" because you won't be able to change it, it might have open specifications, and it might have a good relationship with the open source community, but the open source community is just as bad at maintaining a relationship with hardware vendors as hardware vendors are at maintaining a relationship with open source.

    If you're willing to pay $1500 for your ideology that's your call, but I'd rather pay $500 and get a card that's substantially faster, and is actually programmed to do something other than diagnose itself and I don't really give a rats if the drivers are open or closed source.

Heuristics are bug ridden by definition. If they didn't have bugs, then they'd be algorithms.