Wednesday, September 05, 2007

New ATI Linux Drivers Coming!

According to this article at Phronix, the long promised improved ATI drivers are coming this month. They have had access to the early drivers and have been testing it extensively against the R400, R500 and R600 cards. This includes my graphics card. I'm so happy I cannot wait to give the driver a try. If it works well, I might even go out to purchase some FPS titles.

According to ATI, the coming 8.41 drivers are based on an entirely new driver architecture. This new graphics driver has been in development for a whole year. All this while, they had to divide their work between developing the new driver and maintaining the old one. That is why there has not been any significant updates to the ATI graphics drivers for months.

The article comes with benchmarks that show an improvement of between 50%-90% for different graphics chips. This release is supposedly focused on the R600 chip. So, the other chips may not experience as much improvements until the following release. However, all chips are guaranteed a performance boost.

My graphics chip is supposed to be a cross between the R400 and R500 chips. It's supposedly a R400 with certain R500 extensions tacked on. So, looking at the mobility R400 benchmarks, Doom 3 gets a massive boost from 5+ FPS to 20+ FPS. Maybe it's time for me to go buy a copy of Doom 3 and Quake 4 to try out. Afterall, they're currently selling them for £7.50 only at GAME.

Most importantly, I hope that the new drivers would address the problem with XVideo acceleration, for watching DVDs! I hate having to pump up my processor speed or switch to software rendering in order to watch DVDs at full screen. Well, the drivers are supposedly coming out next week. So, I'll have a chance to test them out.

PS: According to the article: "Accompanying this new proprietary driver announcement, AMD will be making another very special announcement in the near future. Stay tuned for the Phoronix article on that event." I wonder what that will be about. Hmmm.

UPDATE@2030: Seems like AMD is going to open up the specs for their ATI graphics chips! This will allow anyone and everyone to write drivers for their chips. I'm sure that the developers working on the AVIVO drivers will be happy with this news. It would allow them to accelerate their driver development and finally integrate it directly into the kernel. I wonder how NVidia will respond.

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