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#1 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 04:15 PM

I am. I admit it.
Why this is I am not totally sure:
  • Maybe it's all those K6 and 1st generation Athlons I saw in the budget desktops that were donated to me years ago. They were such solid performers.
  • Maybe I like to cheer for the underdog, keep Intel honest.
  • Maybe because ATI used to be a Canadian company before AMD took them over.
  • Maybe because AMD at least tries to play nice with the Linux community on video.
  • Maybe because AMD accomplished something really innovative in putting the GPU and CPU together.
  • Maybe because I like hitting my head with a brick and feeling good when I stop.
It certainly isn't because I cut my teeth on AMD hardware. Both at work and at home for 25 years it was Intel all the way, and even my video cards were Nvidia GeForce. The first machine I converted to Linux was a Dell Dimension 4100 - it was so easy I couldn't believe it, I realized after the fact a Dell desktop was a dream machine for Ubuntu.
My AMD journey began back when I had a clone built in Ottawa for Linux only. Bruno was building a beast of a system then with a core quad Q6600 - but I couldn't afford that. So I settled for an Athlon 64 X2 and a new AMD 690G chipset. Bruno's unit blew me away on bench tests but I was pretty happy with the way my unit ran. Its CPU was an AMD classic and it still chugs along today - a great ASUS motherboard helps.
Of course i soon ran into the AMD rabbit hole - they dropped support for my video and i was forced to use the FOSS driver - which in 2010 was pretty crappy. No problem. In went a GeForce card and sanity returned.
A few years later I decided to try my luck at building my own Linux machine and so went with - guess who? A Gigabyte FM2 mobo and an AMD A8 APU with built in video. By now the FOSS AMD Radeon driver was really nice so I never implemented the Catalyst proprietary driver at all. I suppose these were my AMD golden years, and everything worked until I decided to upgrade my AMD video with a low cost R7 360 card. What could go wrong?
Well a lot as you may recall. My card was too new for the FOSS driver to be supported in old kernels. And AMD was developing a new driver for new kernels that didn't work for my card. I had a world of video hurt until I discovered that if I stuck with old Linux releases and went back to the proprietary driver I could at least get a video screen. Shades of 2008 but it worked.
Well things are sorta fixed now. The latest kernels in Ubuntu 16.10 and Linux Mint 18.1 support the older FOSS radeon driver - the bleeding edge amdgpu driver is still on the horizon for anything but the latest AMD cards (and I sure don't want to go there.) It'll probably take another year to get everything sorted out but for now I can use a true FOSS driver that works great.
AMD fanboy - trailing edge Linux user - still banging my head against the wall. Oy... :smashcomp:

Edited by raymac46, 22 February 2017 - 04:21 PM.

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#2 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 06:27 PM

I used radeon cards for years before switching back to nvidia last year. Mostly the reason I used them were due to the cost and the availability of over 4 outputs on one desktop/gaming card. The reason I say "desktop/gaming" card is because you could do that with nvidia before but you would have to go the Quadro workstation line to get lots of outputs. Those work great for things like CAD and such but I also like to game once in a while so I need lots of GPU memory.

The only major issue I had with AMD was that every time Xorg got updated, it would take months for AMD to release a new version that worked with Xorg; so you would have to blacklist Xorg for months at a time. The Testing version of the Catalyst package was a bit faster to update but it still took a month or so. The opensource Radeon driver works beautifully with most things and is even on par with the Catalyst driver as f ar as gaming but the closed driver worked better with multiple displays.

When I upgraded last year, I had a nice budget so I was able to get an i7-4790k (8 cores and 8 threads) and a Nvidia GTX 970 (4gb overclocked).

All that said, some AMD lines are good but they do make some godawful integrated CPU/GPUs.

For instance, the standard laptop at my work is the HP Probook 645 which has an AMD A6-5350M with 8gb of ram and they are complete garbage IMO. I know they are the lower series and they work fine for light office work but other than that, they are completely useless. The bottleneck in those devices is clearly the CPU and loading a large excel documents take a second to fully load. They have 8gb of ram and a 7200rpm hdd so its neither one of those.

Luckily we have multiple models of laptops that we give out which have various configurations with different cpu's, ssd or sata drives, etc. depending on your position That said most of the high end machines or executive models (mostly execs or people who travel a lot) have i5s and i7s and some even have SSDs in them. Luckily my main work machine has a i7 with 32gb of ram but it also weighs like 7-8lbs. They are made for technical workers who require high end laptops even though most of their work is done on the blades. Luckily I managed to get one of the technical machines although I would actually prefer the thin and light 1040s
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#3 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 07:14 PM

I have a Lenovo Flex2 - 15D laptop here which has an A8-6410 in it and it's not something I'd want to do much gaming on. It has R5 graphics but it has only a 5400 RPM hard drive. It has 8 GB of RAM. It's OK for light web surfing and I suppose I could do office work on it if I didn't have a  far better desktop available.
The desktop APUs are far more powerful and snappy than the laptop ones. Of course they draw a lot more power.

Edited by raymac46, 22 February 2017 - 08:07 PM.

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#4 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 07:33 PM

At least your company is intelligent enough to give decent equipment to its technical people. I was never in IT but I was by far the most literate computer person in the science laboratory.
I got a 3rd rate Pentium III 500 desktop recycled from the accounting dept downtown. The big boss got a high end laptop and he was barely able to get his email on it.
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#5 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 08:29 PM

View Postraymac46, on 22 February 2017 - 07:33 PM, said:

At least your company is intelligent enough to give decent equipment to its technical people. I was never in IT but I was by far the most literate computer person in the science laboratory.
I got a 3rd rate Pentium III 500 desktop recycled from the accounting dept downtown. The big boss got a high end laptop and he was barely able to get his email on it.

Well the actual technical workers (reservoir engineers, subsurface engineers, etc.)  get zbook 15 or 17 workstations. Most people are on laptops but there are some high end workstations as well like the z820s. The z820s come with 96gb of ram (max out at 220gb) so they are a bit of an overkill as most of the engineers do fine on the zbooks with 32gb of ram and do the heavy lifting on the blade (linux) servers.

Since I work in IT, we are not usually able to get the latest, high end machines. They give those out to the technical workers getting paid 100+ thousand a year. Luckily I was able to get one of the 3 year old technical machines as some of the IT people have standard laptops.

In the Enterprise market (like the government) everything is inflated in price. For instance, a high end mobile workstation would normally cost us about $2500 from HP or Amazon online but may cost the enterprise company 5 or 8,000 depending on configuration.

I work for one of the major oil companies as an HP Contractor (on site support)  so I do get to play with a lot of different HP hardware..
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#6 OFFLINE   V.T. Eric Layton

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 08:59 PM

I saw the thread title and thought, "someone is posting about me!" Heh!

I have always been a proponent and big fan of AMD processors. I still hold to the belief that the AMD K-7 Thunderbird was one of the greatest cpus ever in the history of personal computing. I've used many, many different AMD processors in my main systems over the years. I've never had a dud. I still have most of those cpus and they're still in working condition.

I have had experience with Intel, mostly in my laptops. I haven't had any complaints about them either. I just prefer AMD for price, performance, etc.

About Ati Radeon... I've never, that I remember, used Radeon vid capabilities (mostly onboard version) on any of my mobos. I always run discrete Nvidia cards on my systems. Originally, it was just because Nvidia gave much better performance; later it was because Nvidia supported Linux much better than Ati ever did. That situation may have changed these days... I dunno.

Anywho, count me in Scot's Newsletter Forums AMD Fanboi's club! :w00t:

Edited by V.T. Eric Layton, 22 February 2017 - 09:54 PM.


#7 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 09:31 PM

I think it depends how committed you are to going with FOSS. Nvidia still probably has the best Linux video support if you don't mind ripping out the FOSS stack and going proprietary. Nouveau is still nowhere close.
AMD has a great FOSS implementation if it works. The problem is they keep tweaking it for their newer hardware and unless you are on a bleeding edge distro you might get borked when you least expect it. Right now I am definitely trailing edge and I think I'll be OK for quite a while. I don't game with this machine, and from what I've seen on Phoronix the older radeon FOSS driver is just as good with my video card as the newest amdgpu driver.
I just have to keep this older GPU working as long as possible.
I'm not using the GPU portion of my AMD A8-5600K but it continues to be a fast and effective CPU.
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#8 OFFLINE   V.T. Eric Layton

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 09:55 PM

I can get away with Noveau in Slackware because I don't game in Linux. I definitely run proprietary Nvidia in Windows, though.

#9 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 23 February 2017 - 09:03 AM

With Nvidia their legacy driver will support stuff all the way back to the 8000 series of 2006 so I have usually switched over to some proprietary solution. I don't have any cards older than that.
Where I've had trouble is going back to Nouveau after I used the Driver Manager in Linux Mint to install the Nvidia driver. If you just switch back you get a problem where your 3D desktop is running off software rather than direct rendering. I think you have to remove any xorg.conf file that the Nvidia driver uses before switching.
Nouveau runs OK on older hardware though. At the end of the day you could probably install a system and leave it running Nouveau for most situations. That is what I did when I fixed up an old Dell desktop for use at my granddaughter's preschool. It had a cranky old Nvidia 8400GS video card in it.

Edited by raymac46, 23 February 2017 - 09:05 AM.

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#10 OFFLINE   V.T. Eric Layton

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Posted 23 February 2017 - 11:00 AM

When you install Nvidia drivers in Linux via direct download from Nvidia and installation via command line, the Nvidia ncurses installer will sense and alert you that Nouveau must be removed and blacklisted. It gives you the choice to do so. I think what's happening in your Mint is that the Mint driver manager is automatically blacklisting Nouveau when you choose to install the Nvidia proprietary drivers.

Why don't you just stick with Nvidia? I don't understand the need to switch back and forth.

#11 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 23 February 2017 - 11:42 AM

View PostV.T. Eric Layton, on 23 February 2017 - 11:00 AM, said:

Why don't you just stick with Nvidia? I don't understand the need to switch back and forth.

Right. In this case, the closed driver is 100% better than the open, noveau driver.
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#12 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 23 February 2017 - 02:02 PM

I do stick with Nvidia. I just tried to uninstall using the driver manager to see how Nouveau was working lately (this was on an older test machine.) When I ran into problems I switched back.
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#13 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 04 March 2017 - 10:37 AM

The APUs or Intel CPUs with integrated chip graphics are great for laptops and low end desktop builds. I built my latest Linux box with an A8 Trinity APU and it really simplified the process. No PCI slot needed (although the motherboard has one) and I didn't buy a discrete video card at first.
However I soon discovered some disadvantages:
  • The CPU is quite beefy but - although the graphics portion was better than Intel back in 2013 - it is still pretty wimpy when compared to a discrete card. It isn't even comparable to the $70 lowest end AMD discrete card and a cheap mid-range card that needs a power connector will just blow it away.
  • You are locked into the trailing edge graphics drivers and the AMD ecosystem. This is OK if you want to use the legacy FOSS driver stack but AMD has a history of leaving you behind in its driver development.
  • The integrated graphics tends to be the last generation of graphics hardware when it comes out and quickly falls further behind.
It's easy to solve the problem and disable the APU and put in a discrete card of your choice. That will speed things up even if you're not gaming and just want to run WebGL stuff more smoothly. But you could have bought an X4 Athlon CPU and discrete card at the outset. Save yourself $20 on the CPU portion and probably get a faster chip. Live and learn.
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#14 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 04 March 2017 - 10:48 AM

Try this in Google Chrome or Chromium:

http://webglsamples....m/aquarium.html

My R5 APU on the laptop starts running into problems with more than 500 fish in the picture. A discrete card will probably run 60 fps all the way up to 4000 fish and that's with a relatively cheap card.
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#15 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 04 March 2017 - 11:11 AM

View Postraymac46, on 04 March 2017 - 10:48 AM, said:

Try this in Google Chrome or Chromium:

http://webglsamples....m/aquarium.html

My R5 APU on the laptop starts running into problems with more than 500 fish in the picture. A discrete card will probably run 60 fps all the way up to 4000 fish and that's with a relatively cheap card.

That is pretty neat, especially the Different Views :thumbsup:

I had no problem with 4000 fish using my GTX 970

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#16 OFFLINE   V.T. Eric Layton

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Posted 04 March 2017 - 12:19 PM

4000 fishies zipping right along with Nvidia GeForce GTX 560. Zip! Zip! Zip! :w00t:

Oh, did this in Firefox, as I've sworn off all things Chrome/Chromium. :(

vtel57@ericsbane07~:$ glxgears
86069 frames in 5.0 seconds = 17213.689 FPS
86179 frames in 5.0 seconds = 17235.787 FPS
86271 frames in 5.0 seconds = 17254.115 FPS
86533 frames in 5.0 seconds = 17306.594 FPS
86299 frames in 5.0 seconds = 17259.609 FPS






.

Edited by V.T. Eric Layton, 04 March 2017 - 12:21 PM.


#17 ONLINE   mac

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Posted 05 March 2017 - 03:53 PM

Interesting. I'm using a EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST DirectX 11.1 02G-P4-3657-KR 2GB  and get this on both Chrome 64bit, and IE11 - Win 10 Pro, 64bit.. It gives 60FPS all the way up to 1000, then slips to 56 at 2000.  And you can see what happens at 4000. Intel I-5 on a Gigabyte B75 MB, and 8GB RAM. I built the PC in Jan 2014, so just over 3 years old.


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#18 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 05 March 2017 - 05:31 PM

It is an interesting experiment. I get similar results to mac with my low midrange cards (GTX950 and AMD R7 360) They can manage 60 fps up to 2000 fish and then drop to 30 fps at 4000. WebGL uses the GPU hardware to give 3D effects in browsers so it is an indirect test of the GPU's power I suppose.
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#19 OFFLINE   abarbarian

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 07:42 AM

Well I get a huge 14 fps with 10m fish.
Dropping to 7 fps at 4000 fish, if I speed up the fish tails this drops to 5 fps.
This is on the good old Dell with a Radeon HD 4670.
Looks pretty crisp and clear at all settings to me and no stuttering. Playing around with the advanced controlls is fun especially when outputting to a big screen tv. :breakfast:
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#20 OFFLINE   sunrat

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 08:31 PM

Interesting test. I tried it in Firefox and got 60fps with 1000 fish but dropped to 33fps at 4000 fish. Then tried in Chrome and had 60fps with 4000fish. Hmmm... GTX970, same as SB.
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#21 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 10:31 AM

I think Chrome runs the test better than Firefox. With my R7 360 card I get about 33 fps with 4000 fish in Chrome and about 24 fps in Firefox with 4000 fish.
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