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Posted Nov 2, 2012 3:28 UTC (Fri) by dlang (subscriber, #313)
In reply to: Nothing has been moved by Arker
Parent article: Airlie: raspberry pi drivers are NOT useful

did your 386 have a 1920x1080 32 bit screen? or was it a 640x480 8 bit screen (i.e.VGA)?

the added screen data does make a significant difference.

I agree that lots of stuff is very bloated today, but your 386 was not expected to do full motion HD video output without GPU assistance, and it would not have been able to do so.


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Posted Nov 2, 2012 3:43 UTC (Fri) by Arker (guest, #14205) [Link]

It would actually go up to 1024x768 but I didnt think the monitor looked as good like that, so I usually ran it in 800x600 instead. Of course it didnt do "HD" that buzzword wasnt invented yet, but full screen full motion video without dropping a frame it could definitely do and did many times, and 'accelerated graphics' was also something yet to come, at least in my price range.

Now I had a very special software setup to do this, of course. A 'stock' configuration on the same machine would crap itself trying to play much smaller videos, in fact I started that project as a dare because the buddy that owned that machine was complaining it was obsolete because it was performing just like you described with your pi - taking a minute to play a second or two of video - with tiny lowres files even. But the hardware was still perfectly capable of doing the job.

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Posted Nov 2, 2012 16:19 UTC (Fri) by bronson (subscriber, #4806) [Link]

The job being talked about is pushing 1920x1080x4x24 (24 at a minimum) = ~190MB/s to the screen. You're talking about pushing 800x600x2?x24 = ~20MB/s.

Time moves on, ya know?

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Posted Nov 2, 2012 23:44 UTC (Fri) by Arker (guest, #14205) [Link]

I dont want to beat it to death, but please. Using your figures the video has scaled up 9.5 times (190/20). Comparing the clock rates of the processors, the hardware has increased in the same amount of time by a factor of 83 1/3rd (1000/16.)

And this blunt comparison is a *severe* underestimate of the real difference, because an ARM11 can do a lot more with a clock cycle. That 386 chip didnt even have a floating point unit, let alone tricks like SIMD, branch prediction, out of order completion... clock for clock the ARM chip would still be far more powerful. And that's before you even consider the cache architecture, the system bus... over 500 times the main memory.

I have no doubt at all that if you could get a few thousand of those arm chips in the hands of promising young programmers WITHOUT the fancy GPU to fall back on, one of them would shock you all by making it do things you think are impossible. But if he's told instead he has to use the high level interface and pass OpenGL to a blob he cannot inspect or modify, he'll probably just pass messages until he gets bored, or finds a bug he cant fix, and then move onto something less frustrating than proprietary computing, like playing football with a bunch of guys twice his size or having molars extracted for fun.

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Posted Nov 3, 2012 0:19 UTC (Sat) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

> I have no doubt at all that if you could get a few thousand of those arm chips in the hands of promising young programmers WITHOUT the fancy GPU to fall back on, one of them would shock you all by making it do things you think are impossible. But if he's told instead he has to use the high level interface and pass OpenGL to a blob he cannot inspect or modify, he'll probably just pass messages until he gets bored, or finds a bug he cant fix, and then move onto something less frustrating than proprietary computing, like playing football with a bunch of guys twice his size or having molars extracted for fun.

nobody is disputing that more access would be better, but you are making the assumption that doing new and interesting things with the video is the primary purpose of all users of the device.

It may surprise you that most people who use computers aren't going to try and debug video drivers or firmware, even where they do have that capability. They will usually just download the latest version to see if it's fixed, live with the problem, or revert to a prior version.

We saw this with the Intel video drivers a few years ago, fully open-source drivers, but when there were problems in the drivers in a ubuntu release, 99.999+% of the people just stuck with an older version.

For those people, the difference between a high-level API and a low-level API is meaningless. To be fair, probably 90% of them wouldn't care if the entire driver was a binary blob, but that still leaves a very large group of people who benefit from having all the kernel and userspace stuff being open, even while the firmware is closed and has a high-level API

Nothing has been moved

Posted Nov 3, 2012 15:28 UTC (Sat) by bronson (subscriber, #4806) [Link]

Comparing processor clocks is just silly. The framebuffer is not stored in L1 cache.

On the Pi, the FB is in shared RAM clocked at 400MHz. RAM probably has a bandwidth of around 250MB/sec (wild ass guess based on parts). If you're driving 1080p, that doesn't leave much bandwidth for anything else. Plus ca change, eh?


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