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SteamOS beta "Alchemist" arrives

SteamOS beta "Alchemist" arrives

Posted Dec 19, 2013 16:11 UTC (Thu) by ewan (subscriber, #5533)
In reply to: SteamOS beta "Alchemist" arrives by mathstuf
Parent article: SteamOS beta "Alchemist" arrives

Having had recent experience of all three, I'm not sure why anyone would choose, for preference, an AMD graphics card for Linux use. If you have relatively undemanding speed requirements, the Intels are fine, if you really need the best performance you're going to have to use the proprietary drivers, and AMD's ones are rubbish, and nVidia's ones are not.

If there's a middle ground where an Intel isn't enough, but an AMD with the Free drivers is, it's got to be pretty small.

Given that anyone running Steam is already accepting proprietary software, I can't see any reason why someone building a Steambox would care about anything but nVidia support.


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SteamOS beta "Alchemist" arrives

Posted Dec 19, 2013 16:45 UTC (Thu) by mathstuf (subscriber, #69389) [Link]

> I'm not sure why anyone would choose, for preference, an AMD graphics card for Linux use.

Multi-monitor support. nVidia tends to implement 4 monitor support as 2 separate GPUs which requires running 2 X servers (last I checked at least). Also OpenCL support is getting there with FOSS code.

SteamOS beta "Alchemist" arrives

Posted Dec 21, 2013 14:25 UTC (Sat) by Creideiki (subscriber, #38747) [Link]

Maybe they "tend to" do that, but they do in fact produce true 4-display cards, e.g. the Quadro K5000: http://www.nvidia.com/object/quadro-k5000.html

One of those connected to four 2560x1440 monitors is really neat, at least when my employer is paying for it all.

SteamOS beta "Alchemist" arrives

Posted Dec 19, 2013 18:46 UTC (Thu) by tjc (guest, #137) [Link]

> Given that anyone running Steam is already accepting proprietary software, I can't see any reason why someone building a Steambox would care about anything but nVidia support.

I think any opportunity to reduce the amount of proprietary software on my system is worth consideration, so I would be very interested in a Steam Machine with Intel graphics support.

SteamOS beta "Alchemist" arrives

Posted Dec 19, 2013 20:32 UTC (Thu) by pizza (subscriber, #46) [Link]

> I think any opportunity to reduce the amount of proprietary software on my system is worth consideration, so I would be very interested in a Steam Machine with Intel graphics support.

Given that the whole point of a "Steam Machine" is to run highly proprietary software (ie games) with a degree of performance that generally necessitates the use of something other than Intel graphics...

Especially when one can pick up an older Radeon 6000-series card for pretty cheap that will run circles around all but the newest Intel stuff, even when using the FOSS radeon drivers.

(That's what I'm doing, FWIW)

SteamOS beta "Alchemist" arrives

Posted Dec 20, 2013 22:08 UTC (Fri) by tjc (guest, #137) [Link]

> Especially when one can pick up an older Radeon 6000-series card for pretty cheap that will run circles around all but the newest Intel stuff, even when using the FOSS radeon drivers.

This doesn't appeal to me, since the Radeon drive is buggy, and Intel's is not.

SteamOS beta "Alchemist" arrives

Posted Dec 21, 2013 2:44 UTC (Sat) by pizza (subscriber, #46) [Link]

> This doesn't appeal to me, since the Radeon drive is buggy, and Intel's is not.

Your mileage may vary. Especially depending on your hardware generation.

For example, I have fewer graphics-related problems with the Radeon 6670 in this workstation than I do with the Ivy Bridge-class Intel thingey in my work laptop, using Gnome-shell and other such desktop tasks. And the former runs circles around the latter, despite the latter's significant CPU performance advantage.

Identical kernel/software/etc on both.

Anyway.

SteamOS beta "Alchemist" arrives

Posted Dec 19, 2013 23:04 UTC (Thu) by gidoca (subscriber, #62438) [Link]

> I'm not sure why anyone would choose, for preference, an AMD graphics card for Linux use.

Personally, I chose AMD because they offer sufficiently stable open source drivers on Linux and much better gaming performance than Intel on Windows. I'm sure I'm not the only one with that line of thinking.

SteamOS beta "Alchemist" arrives

Posted Dec 20, 2013 3:35 UTC (Fri) by raven667 (subscriber, #5198) [Link]

You aren't the only one who thinks the same way. I just tested Fedora 20 on my Mac Pro which has two AMD JUNIPER cards with two monitors each and everything just worked out of the box with accelerated graphics.

SteamOS beta "Alchemist" arrives

Posted Dec 20, 2013 8:11 UTC (Fri) by jezuch (subscriber, #52988) [Link]

> Personally, I chose AMD because they offer sufficiently stable open source drivers on Linux and much better gaming performance than Intel on Windows. I'm sure I'm not the only one with that line of thinking.

And you're right :) I have a cheapo passively-cooled AMD card and I'm happy with it. Sure, I won't play the latest and greatest GPU-melting FPS of today, but it's stable, fast enough for KDE, has an open driver. And is SILENT. What's not to love? :)

P.S.: I'd also buy a cheapo passively-cooled CPU for the same reasons, but AFACT there are none available. Which is sad, because we reached the "fast enough" point of CPUs long ago and we're still chasing the "more speed" side of Moore's Law instead of the "lower power" side.

SteamOS beta "Alchemist" arrives

Posted Dec 20, 2013 8:52 UTC (Fri) by TomH (subscriber, #56149) [Link]

In my case the answer would be that I want to use the open source drivers, and the AMD ones are (or were) better than the NVidia ones, and I need to drive a 2560x1600 monitor that is too large for the onboard Intel graphics.

SteamOS beta "Alchemist" arrives

Posted Dec 20, 2013 17:17 UTC (Fri) by Jonno (subscriber, #49613) [Link]

> If there's a middle ground where an Intel isn't enough, but an AMD with the Free drivers is, it's got to be pretty small.
In my experience, it is actually not that small at all...

I've tried playing Civ4 through Wine and CK2 through Steam on several computers, including an Intel HD 3000 (Gen 6) and an AMD HD 6310 (EG), two contemporary laptop APUs. With the Intel laptop both games was unplayable at 1280x720, while the AMD laptop plays both just fine at 1366x768. With an AMD desktop APU (HD 7660D) or PCIe card (HD 5670) they both play fine at 1920x1200, and while I haven't tried a Intel desktop APU, I highly doubt it would manage that...

SteamOS beta "Alchemist" arrives

Posted Dec 20, 2013 17:47 UTC (Fri) by raven667 (subscriber, #5198) [Link]

The newest Intel APU graphics (HD 5100) is two generations newer than the HD 3000 and has significantly more power (40 faster execution units intead of 12) so can probably handle the load just fine, presuming you are buying a buying a Core i5-4670R or Core i7-4770R. The AMD APU and discrete graphics are still faster though, and anything where you are installing a PCIe card instead of a new CPU the AMD makes a lot of sense if you prefer upstreamed integrated drivers.

SteamOS beta "Alchemist" arrives

Posted Dec 21, 2013 11:11 UTC (Sat) by Jonno (subscriber, #49613) [Link]

> The newest Intel APU graphics (HD 5100) is two generations newer than the HD 3000 and has significantly more power (40 faster execution units intead of 12) so can probably handle the load just fine

Actually they are only one generation newer (Gen 8 vs Gen 7), but that is beside the point, because the AMD APU I compared it to is equally old, and newer AMD APUs has made equivalent progress (384 vs 80 shader units).

So while a current Intel APU will likely have no problems with Civ4 or CK2 at 1280x720, it will still be no match to a current AMD APU, which even with free drivers handle 1920x1200 without any problems.

So my main point still stands: For most gaming an AMD APU or GPU with free drivers is enough, while an Intel APU isn't. Only hardcore gamers "need" proprietary drivers (and thus would prefer NVidia over AMD), for the rest of us an high end APU or mid-range GPU from AMD using free drivers is a better choice, while an Intel APU is only good-enough for non-gamers.

SteamOS beta "Alchemist" arrives

Posted Dec 21, 2013 15:18 UTC (Sat) by raven667 (subscriber, #5198) [Link]

You will only need an nVidia with proprietary drivers if you want to run the latest games on the highest quality settings, if you just want to play the game for the sake of the game and not to impress your friends then on lower quality settings the current Intel APU part should be able to give you a playable framerate of say 20FPS and so is _fast_enough_, even for AAA games and will do even better on the fantastic indie games which are being ported to Linux in droves. Valve has even been doing development on the Intel driver to make it work better for their first-party AAA games, I would expect Dota2 to work well, but I don't have a high-end Intel APU to test with.

SteamOS beta "Alchemist" arrives

Posted Dec 20, 2013 20:40 UTC (Fri) by The_Barbarian (subscriber, #48152) [Link]

>I'm not sure why anyone would choose, for preference, an AMD graphics card for Linux use

I will use AMD (oops, wrote ATI at first) or Intel graphics in my computers. No Nvidia unless/until they do a lot more towards opening up. (Note that would be with the OOS AMD drivers, not the blob)

My Ivy Bridge graphics work great for Steam games and others that I play...

SteamOS beta "Alchemist" arrives

Posted Dec 20, 2013 20:43 UTC (Fri) by The_Barbarian (subscriber, #48152) [Link]

OSS, even.


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