dfussell at byu.edu
Fri Mar 8 18:09:57 MST 2013
On 03/05/2013 09:10 AM, Levi Pearson wrote:
> On Mon, Mar 4, 2013 at 6:00 PM, Joshua Marsh<joshua at themarshians.com>wrote:
> If you are not one to keep your computers up-to-date with the latest video
> hardware (or if you get a laptop and plan on using it for a few years)
> don't expect to continue using the ATI closed-source driver long-term.
> They're pretty aggressive at deprecating older cards, and an OS upgrade
> could suddenly break your video rendering. Unless your laptop is close to
> obsolescence when you buy it, its useful life will extend well beyond the
> range of ATI binary driver support. Fortunately, the open-source driver is
> pretty good these days, so once you realize why X won't start anymore you
> can switch to it and get back to business.
"Pretty Aggressive" is putting it lightly. I bought a Core 2 Duo at
surplus expecting (based on my experience with nvidia and S3) to
continue using it with the same performance. Only to find out the
included ATI card had been deprecated at a life of less than 5 years.
The opensource drivers suck in comparison. Finding an nvidia card for a
system that old has also been surprisingly difficult (PCI-e 1.0). There
are some ATI cards I could get, but it looks like they were all release
about 4 years ago. I don't want to pay for another card that it going
abandon-ware within a year. It's a bit of a hot button.
I had hoped the ATI driver would go straight opensource with significant
company contribution when AMD bought them; I hoped it would put some
pressure on nvidia to better support projects like nouveau, among
others. But then AMD's best designers left the company, they shot
themselves in the foot with Bulldozer, shafted mature cards to
deprecated status, and I've been crying over AMD's grave ever since.
I had to buy a new laptop this year for work, and the specs I was
limited to was ATI (for some strange reason). A friend had the same
laptop I was leaning towards, so I figured I'd give it a go. The open
source drivers sucked on this new laptop's video card as well. The
proprietary driver's performance is more along what I would expect from
new hardware. I have had occasional problems with corrupted video,
particularly after resuming from suspend two or three times. But, I've
had that problem on nvidia-based laptops as well, so it's par for the
> I haven't used nvidia cards enough to comment on how well their binary
> drivers support older cards.
Honestly, I've had more problems in the recent past with the capacitors
on nvidia-based boards blowing out long before the drivers ceased to
work. Most recently, I lost a 10 year old nForce2 motherboard, and the
drivers were always there and working in new distros. When I have a
choice, I stick with nvidia, despite the loss of my everlasting soul. I
wasn't using it anyway.
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