Q on videocards

hrm… this seems the best place to ask as folks here have the most
experience…

my 3dfx/banshee’s fan just died - and it uses custom fan so I’ve had to
remove it until I get it figured out…

I need a new videocard. Now there’s plenty out there on what kind of
videocards are good for linux and I’ve got pretty good leads on what’s
supported under linux… outside of 3D graphics.

What, REALLY is a good card (or cards) for linux/opengl/SDL dev?
Budget isn’t a tremendous concern (although I do have an upper limit)
Support for OpenGL accel + SDL + X (+ fbdev if possible) are all what I’m
looking for.

Thanks in advance :slight_smile:
- Teunis

PS: and maybe to keep this in topic - has anyone got any nightmares
involving SDL and videocards? The only trouble I’ve had is that SDL
doesn’t recover nicely under svgalib right now (CVS as of ummm yesterday
morning I think). ATI Mach64 + S3-ViRGE + 3dfx/banshee all check out.

I would not suggest 3dfx cause the company dropped the video card
business, so ATI, nvidia and MAtrox are the most important left offs.
I would suggest a nvidia Geforce which has the best damn linux drivers
although you are dependent from the company since the drivers are not
opensource. Matrox cards have very low performance compared with the
nvidia ones so sticking to Nvidia is the best choice according to my
opinion.

I am devoping under Xfree 4.0.1/ Geforce256 / SDL 1.1.6 / Opengl and
everything works fine. I load dynamically the opengl driver (libGL.so) and
it works fine under linux, although when I port to windows the app crashes
when I use the SDL_GL_GetProcAddress() (maybe bug???).On Thu, 14 Dec 2000, winterlion wrote:

hrm… this seems the best place to ask as folks here have the most
experience…

my 3dfx/banshee’s fan just died - and it uses custom fan so I’ve had to
remove it until I get it figured out…

I need a new videocard. Now there’s plenty out there on what kind of
videocards are good for linux and I’ve got pretty good leads on what’s
supported under linux… outside of 3D graphics.

What, REALLY is a good card (or cards) for linux/opengl/SDL dev?
Budget isn’t a tremendous concern (although I do have an upper limit)
Support for OpenGL accel + SDL + X (+ fbdev if possible) are all what I’m
looking for.

Thanks in advance :slight_smile:

  • Teunis

PS: and maybe to keep this in topic - has anyone got any nightmares
involving SDL and videocards? The only trouble I’ve had is that SDL
doesn’t recover nicely under svgalib right now (CVS as of ummm yesterday
morning I think). ATI Mach64 + S3-ViRGE + 3dfx/banshee all check out.

At the risk of starting more off-topic gibberish…

I would not suggest 3dfx cause the company dropped the video card
business, so ATI, nvidia and MAtrox are the most important left offs.
That statement is just so wrong. I can’t remember the exact details, however,
not buying 3dfx hardware just because they don’t the cards anymore doesn’t
make sense. Nvidia don’t make graphics cards either, btw.

I would suggest a nvidia Geforce which has the best damn linux drivers
although you are dependent from the company since the drivers are not
opensource. Matrox cards have very low performance compared with the
nvidia ones so sticking to Nvidia is the best choice according to my
opinion.

I’m not gonna suggest a card because that always leads to trouble. However, if
at some stage in your life you run into a driver related problem, you may wish
you had a card with opensourced specs and drivers. I’m sure Ray can vouch for
this, as he digs through the nv driver:)

When buying any kind of computer hardware, consider your own needs and try to
read online reviews objectively. Not everyone needs 120 fps in Quake3. In
fact, nobody needs more than 72fps, but try and tell that to them…On Fri, Dec 15, 2000 at 02:45:14PM +0200, Vasileiou Nikolaos wrote:


Martin

Bother! said Pooh, as the plot device was re-used again.

At the risk of starting more off-topic gibberish…

I would not suggest 3dfx cause the company dropped the video card
business, so ATI, nvidia and MAtrox are the most important left offs.
That statement is just so wrong. I can’t remember the exact details, however,
not buying 3dfx hardware just because they don’t the cards anymore doesn’t
make sense. Nvidia don’t make graphics cards either, btw.

3dfx has exited producing graphics cards for the videogaming industry…
Their last chipset’s power and cooling requirements were… excessive and
apparently have gone to either the research or one of the other
industries.
Technically while they still support existing chipsets they will be
producing no more new ones if I read the announcement correctly. Of
course, the way the industry works, this could easily change.

I’ve had a wonderful experience with the 3dfx/banshee. Quite impressive.
Maybe not as powerful as the nVidia TNT2 but quite a site more stable (I
have a number of friends and relatives with TNT2’s running both windows
and linux…) windows stability is higher but most of these systems need
a daily reboot regardless. I don’t really trust nVidia’s drivers - past
experience (thankfully not directly) suggests they are bad driver writers.
And I at one point wrote a patch to the 3dfx/glide2/3 drivers that made
them work under fb/console :slight_smile: I dinna think that’s too likely with
nVidia.
the 3dfx drivers under linux are -very- reliable.
the windows ones are prone to umm the occasional “feature” but still
good.

I will say this though - if nVidia allows a corporation to license under
nondisclosure agreement access to device driver support I think I would
attempt to gain such and repair their drivers. They’re a very public
company with a lot of press in their favour so it would do me poor not to
pay attention to them.

Encounters with Matrox suggests they have good hardware - but I have no
idea what their current chipset’s like under Linux. Reviews suggest their
performance is not much slower than GeForce2.

ATI has long been a slow but somewhat reliable card… (they used to
regularily change chipsets without notifying anyone and the bugs in every
one changed… not as bad as the 3com network cards but :slight_smile:
performance reviews suggest this one’s faster than the current Matrox and
GeForce but slower than the GeForce2. Impressive considering that my
3dfx/banshee made the ATI series that preceded it look slow…

as far as I know, ATI Radon and all the Matrox cards are well supported by
linux. The same folks that handle the DRI driver system (Precision
Insite) that were originally contracted by 3dfx expanded to include these
cards plus others last I heard.

What do I need?
fast OpenGL texturing; complete OpenGL 1.2+ support under
both Windows and Linux. Macintosh’d be nice too :slight_smile:
Stability (this pretty much suggests not nVidia)
something relatively close to cutting edge
AGP G. (all my ISA and PCI slots are full… also umm AGP
has enough bandwidth for highres media streaming :slight_smile:

I’m doing multimedia streaming and videogame development under multiple
platforms. SDL nicely supports most I/O I need :slight_smile:

There’s very little public information on cutting edge videocards under
linux. (I actually wasn’t aware until now nVidia actually released
OpenGL-capable geForce drivers for linux…)

G’day, eh? :slight_smile:
- TeunisOn Fri, 15 Dec 2000, Martin Donlon wrote:

On Fri, Dec 15, 2000 at 02:45:14PM +0200, Vasileiou Nikolaos wrote:

I don’t think 3dfx dropped the video card business, they just went
back to licensing out chipsets to 3rd parties like they did prior to
the Voodoo 3.

Vasileiou Nikolaos wrote:>

I would not suggest 3dfx cause the company dropped the video card
business, so ATI, nvidia and MAtrox are the most important left offs.
I would suggest a nvidia Geforce which has the best damn linux drivers
although you are dependent from the company since the drivers are not
opensource. Matrox cards have very low performance compared with the
nvidia ones so sticking to Nvidia is the best choice according to my
opinion.

I am devoping under Xfree 4.0.1/ Geforce256 / SDL 1.1.6 / Opengl and
everything works fine. I load dynamically the opengl driver (libGL.so) and
it works fine under linux, although when I port to windows the app crashes
when I use the SDL_GL_GetProcAddress() (maybe bug???).

On Thu, 14 Dec 2000, winterlion wrote:

hrm… this seems the best place to ask as folks here have the most
experience…

my 3dfx/banshee’s fan just died - and it uses custom fan so I’ve had to
remove it until I get it figured out…

I need a new videocard. Now there’s plenty out there on what kind of
videocards are good for linux and I’ve got pretty good leads on what’s
supported under linux… outside of 3D graphics.

What, REALLY is a good card (or cards) for linux/opengl/SDL dev?
Budget isn’t a tremendous concern (although I do have an upper limit)
Support for OpenGL accel + SDL + X (+ fbdev if possible) are all what I’m
looking for.

Thanks in advance :slight_smile:
- Teunis

PS: and maybe to keep this in topic - has anyone got any nightmares
involving SDL and videocards? The only trouble I’ve had is that SDL
doesn’t recover nicely under svgalib right now (CVS as of ummm yesterday
morning I think). ATI Mach64 + S3-ViRGE + 3dfx/banshee all check out.

Vasileiou Nikolaos wrote:

I am devoping under Xfree 4.0.1/ Geforce256 / SDL 1.1.6 / Opengl and

And SDL is detecting your HW acceleration? I have the same config, and
it’s not working. For example, SGI performer uses the 3d acceleration…–
signed
derethor of centolos

business, so ATI, nvidia and MAtrox are the most important left offs.
That statement is just so wrong. I can’t remember the exact details,
however,
not buying 3dfx hardware just because they don’t the cards anymore doesn’t
make sense. Nvidia don’t make graphics cards either, btw.

Yes, the original statement is wrong. 3dfx has basically reverted back to
being a chip
supplier, like NVidia. Nevertheless, 3dfx’s shrinking market share, and the
fact
that their offerings since the Voodoo2 have generally been also-rans, should
give a bit
of pause to anyone considering buying a 3dfx-based card. And this is coming
from an early
adopter of Vooodoo1 and Voodoo2-SLI cards. Unfortunately for 3dfx, they are
currently
living off the brand they built with earlier cards. While I don’t want to
start a religious
war, I would personally suggest, if asked by a friend, going with Nvidia,
ATI or
Matrox.

I would suggest a nvidia Geforce which has the best damn linux drivers
although you are dependent from the company since the drivers are not
opensource. Matrox cards have very low performance compared with the
nvidia ones so sticking to Nvidia is the best choice according to my
opinion.

I’m not gonna suggest a card because that always leads to trouble.
However, if
at some stage in your life you run into a driver related problem, you may
wish
you had a card with opensourced specs and drivers. I’m sure Ray can vouch
for
this, as he digs through the nv driver:)
When buying any kind of computer hardware, consider your own needs and try
to
read online reviews objectively. Not everyone needs 120 fps in Quake3. In
fact, nobody needs more than 72fps, but try and tell that to them…

I agree with the above, mostly. I’m not completely convinced that having
an open source
driver is essential. As opposed to, say, a mail handling program, there’s a
fairly small group of programmers
that can write (usable) display drivers. In either case
most people are betting on other people to do the driver work for them,
whether its a team
of open source developers or the company that released the chipset.
I’d be happy to go along with closed sourced drivers
if I felt the company was really devoted to supporting alternative OSes.
Unfortunately, Nvidia’s
record has been a bit spotty on this in the past, though they have been
doing a fairly good job
lately. In any case, I still use a GeForce 2 because one of the two
projects I am currently working
on will not be completed for a couple years and GeForce 2 will be on the
lower end of the
cards supported for it.

I totally agree with the statement that you should consider your own needs.
Not everyone needs the
latest card. However, since there are more games than Quake3 and games
aren’t yet nearly
photo-realistic, buying in the high-end (if you can afford it, and want to
play high-end games), isn’t
a bad idea. Even if current games don’t take advantage of all your card has
to offer, next generation ones
will be around soon enough that do. Its good to plan ahead a bit, wallet
permitting. Also,
while 72fps is about the maximum fps that can be distinguished by even the
most discriminating
human eye, the reason people strive for much higher frame rates is that the
rated fps for these games
is merely an average (usually over some pre-recorded demo). If you have an
average frame-rate
of 72 fps, the actual frame rate will drop below that quite frequently, and
often FAR below the average if you
tend to play in large online matches with 16+ people all hurling rockets
around in a small arena. The
reason many Quake-fans like to get extremely high (200+fps) framerates is
that they want at least a consistent 70 fps
worse-case frame rate. But…I do agree that there are many people who
take this to a crazy extreme, much
like some extremist audiophiles.

Phoenix Kokido schrieb am 15 Dec 2000:

I would not suggest 3dfx cause the company dropped the video card
business, so ATI, nvidia and MAtrox are the most important left offs.
I would suggest a nvidia Geforce which has the best damn linux drivers
although you are dependent from the company since the drivers are not
opensource. Matrox cards have very low performance compared with the
nvidia ones so sticking to Nvidia is the best choice according to my
opinion.
I don’t think 3dfx dropped the video card business, they just went
back to licensing out chipsets to 3rd parties like they did prior to
the Voodoo 3.

Update: 3dfx has basically been bought by nVidia…
source: http://www.voodooextreme.com/#8986--
Check out my 3D lightcycle game: http://www.gltron.org
More than 90’000 Downloads of the latest version (0.59)

winterlion wrote:

hrm… this seems the best place to ask as folks here have the most
experience…

my 3dfx/banshee’s fan just died - and it uses custom fan so I’ve had to
remove it until I get it figured out…

I need a new videocard. Now there’s plenty out there on what kind of
videocards are good for linux and I’ve got pretty good leads on what’s
supported under linux… outside of 3D graphics.

What, REALLY is a good card (or cards) for linux/opengl/SDL dev?
Budget isn’t a tremendous concern (although I do have an upper limit)
Support for OpenGL accel + SDL + X (+ fbdev if possible) are all what I’m
looking for.

Thanks in advance :slight_smile:
- Teunis

PS: and maybe to keep this in topic - has anyone got any nightmares
involving SDL and videocards? The only trouble I’ve had is that SDL
doesn’t recover nicely under svgalib right now (CVS as of ummm yesterday
morning I think). ATI Mach64 + S3-ViRGE + 3dfx/banshee all check out.

I recently did a “deep dive” into the state of XFree86 video drivers.
SDL
can only support accelerated functions if the drivers support them.
I’m sad to say that NONE of the drivers for modern cards is sufficient.

Some of the drivers for older chipsets have better support for
acceleration, but alas, the chipsets aren’t very fast compared to
the newer cards.

So, I looked at the fbcon drivers. They’re not too bad, but there
is a much more limited set of chipsets supported.

Then I looked at GGI (kgi). Even less chipsets supported.

I’ve not yet looked at svgalib, but I will be soon.

So far, my conclusions have been kinda grim. The only way to get
2D linux performance equal to windows is to use an older card, which
is generally slower for all operations.

-Ray

[…]

Matrox cards have very low performance
compared with the nvidia ones so sticking to Nvidia is the best
choice according to my opinion.

However, the RAMDACs on the nVidia chips suck - they’re hardly good
enough for 1600x1200 at 85 Hz on a real monitor. I’ve been looking
around for a card with decent 3D acceleration and a better RAMDAC
than the 360 MHz one of the Matrox G400, but it just doesn’t seem to
exist, no matter what you want to pay for it. Surprizingly (to me
anyway), even $2,000+ high end cards have lower RAMDAC bandwidth than
the G400… :frowning:

Guess I’ll just have to wait for a serious card with both 3D
acceleration and usable RAMDAC for serious X desktop use, unless I
feel like building or modifying a card. (One could perhaps attach
some “2 scan lines in” ==> “one scan line out” cirquitry on the
outputs of a dual head card or something…)

I’d be happy to hear about a serious 3D card that can do 2048x1536 @
85 Hz, if anyone has seen one. Linux drivers are required, of course,
as I’m currently not interested in other OSes for quite a few reasons.

//David

.- M A I A -------------------------------------------------.
| Multimedia Application Integration Architecture |
| A Free/Open Source Plugin API for Professional Multimedia |
----------------------> http://www.linuxaudiodev.com/maia -' .- David Olofson -------------------------------------------. | Audio Hacker - Open Source Advocate - Singer - Songwriter |--------------------------------------> david at linuxdj.com -'On Friday 15 December 2000 13:45, Vasileiou Nikolaos wrote:

[…]

Encounters with Matrox suggests they have good hardware - but I
have no idea what their current chipset’s like under Linux.
Reviews suggest their performance is not much slower than GeForce2.

Yep; and the usual results indicate that the G400 is less affected by
higher resolutions, IIRC. However, as you can’t get a usable frame
rate with heavy 3D scenes on either of the cards anyway, that seems
to be a moot point for gaming at least…

It might be different with other games than those I play
occasionally, and I haven’t compared the G400 to the GeForce2
personally.

[…]

AGP G. (all my ISA and PCI slots are full… also umm AGP
has enough bandwidth for highres media streaming :slight_smile:

Speaking of which; you don’t happen to know if the OpenGL drivers
actually use the busmaster DMA for texture transfers?

//David

.- M A I A -------------------------------------------------.
| Multimedia Application Integration Architecture |
| A Free/Open Source Plugin API for Professional Multimedia |
----------------------> http://www.linuxaudiodev.com/maia -' .- David Olofson -------------------------------------------. | Audio Hacker - Open Source Advocate - Singer - Songwriter |--------------------------------------> david at linuxdj.com -'On Friday 15 December 2000 18:06, winterlion wrote:

[…]

When buying any kind of computer hardware, consider your own needs
and try to read online reviews objectively. Not everyone needs 120
fps in Quake3. In fact, nobody needs more than 72fps, but try and
tell that to them…

Well, considering the speed of Q3, you do need those 72 fps badly,
and preferable some detail as well. And only the fastest 3D
accelerators can handle that… :slight_smile:

(The G400 MAX is really in the low end, but then again, it works, and
I’m not a very serious gamer at all - I just tend to have very high
demands on all kinds of stuff.)

Meanwhile, see previuos mail if you wonder why I’m using a G400
rather than a Geforce2 based card…

//David

.- M A I A -------------------------------------------------.
| Multimedia Application Integration Architecture |
| A Free/Open Source Plugin API for Professional Multimedia |
----------------------> http://www.linuxaudiodev.com/maia -' .- David Olofson -------------------------------------------. | Audio Hacker - Open Source Advocate - Singer - Songwriter |--------------------------------------> david at linuxdj.com -'On Friday 15 December 2000 16:31, Martin Donlon wrote:

Yes I have hardware acceleration. I load the opengl driver on the fly.
You may check my 3d engine at http://utopia3d.sourceforge.net for a test.
It works fine on my machine and I get more than 100fps on my geforce under
linux.On Fri, 15 Dec 2000, Derethor wrote:

Vasileiou Nikolaos wrote:

I am devoping under Xfree 4.0.1/ Geforce256 / SDL 1.1.6 / Opengl and

And SDL is detecting your HW acceleration? I have the same config, and
it’s not working. For example, SGI performer uses the 3d acceleration…


signed
derethor of centolos

[…]

AGP *G*.  (all my ISA and PCI slots are full... also umm AGP
     has enough bandwidth for highres media streaming :)

Speaking of which; you don’t happen to know if the OpenGL drivers
actually use the busmaster DMA for texture transfers?

From watching driver inits & details with 3dfx:
I think it -does- do some AGP tuning at least under 2.4 kernels
busmaster DMA for texture transfer? checking… I suspect so
actually. not sure though… drivers are hard to read and
big :slight_smile:

G’day, eh? :slight_smile:
- TeunisOn Sun, 17 Dec 2000, David Olofson wrote:

On Friday 15 December 2000 18:06, winterlion wrote:

Sun, 17 Dec 2000 winterlion wrote:> On Sun, 17 Dec 2000, David Olofson wrote:

On Friday 15 December 2000 18:06, winterlion wrote:
[…]

AGP *G*.  (all my ISA and PCI slots are full... also umm AGP
     has enough bandwidth for highres media streaming :)

Speaking of which; you don’t happen to know if the OpenGL drivers
actually use the busmaster DMA for texture transfers?

From watching driver inits & details with 3dfx:
I think it -does- do some AGP tuning at least under 2.4 kernels
busmaster DMA for texture transfer? checking… I suspect so
actually. not sure though… drivers are hard to read and
big :slight_smile:

Yep. :slight_smile: That’s the same impression I got from looking at the G400 driver.

I’ll do some performance tests when I get the time - it should be quite obvious
whether or not DMA is used after looking at the figures.

Anyway, why is this so interesting? Well, if it works as expected;

1) we can do fast sysRAM->VRAM blits, and that
   without wasting CPU cycles, and

2) we could look at the code and see if it could
   be reused for 2D blitting in non-3D drivers.

//David

…- M A I A -------------------------------------------------.
| Multimedia Application Integration Architecture |
| A Free/Open Source Plugin API for Professional Multimedia |
----------------------> http://www.linuxaudiodev.com/maia -' ..- David Olofson -------------------------------------------. | Audio Hacker - Open Source Advocate - Singer - Songwriter |--------------------------------------> david at linuxdj.com -’