Nvidia Info

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chasha420
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Nvidia Info

Post by chasha420 » Mon May 02, 2011 5:30

Hey guys, I'm making this thread to get to know more about Nvidia.

I've heard in some places that Nvidia hasn't released the source of their graphics card driver (claiming it as Intellectual Property), and that it's in binary form etc. so does it mean that they support Open-source or do they have Open-Sourced Drivers? I'm interested in knowing exactly their stand on this issue as what I've read on a lot of sites is quite ambiguous.

Also I've heard some where that Nvidia's Optimus Technology supported graphics card do not work on Linux & according to Nvidia they do not plan on making it work on Linux at the moment. So, if that fact is true, then would it mean that some people would just go for Ati-Radeon instead?

Anyway, I would like someone who knows more about it clarify some of the misconceptions that I have with valid proof.

Thanks a lot!

Stupot
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Re: Nvidia Info

Post by Stupot » Mon May 02, 2011 15:35

Here's the general overview.

nVidia does not open source their drivers, but their binary drivers are actually good. In fact, over the years, nVidia has been the GPU of choice of linux users because their drivers were generally better than everyone elses. There are some nVidia open source drivers, but they are not supported by nVidia themselves and typically aren't as good as the closed source binaries.

ATI/AMD is more in support of open source drivers, but they aren't quite as good as nVidia proprietary drivers, although that gap is closing. Some people might even say that their AMD card is better than nVidia, but on average you'll still find most people preferring nVidia as far as performance goes.

I don't know anything about Nvidia's Optimus Technology, so I can't help you out there.

chasha420
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Re: Nvidia Info

Post by chasha420 » Tue May 03, 2011 6:10

Thanks for clarifying some of my misconceptions...but the reason I'm worried about Nvidia Optimus technology is because I've heard from some people else where that nVidia graphics card(s) that come with this technology tend not to work on Linux at all...therefore it's a waste to even go for a laptop that has this technology...as all you would be using is the integrated graphics card & the dedicated card would just sit idle.

So, it would be great to hear from someone who knows more about this particular issue.

Stupot
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Re: Nvidia Info

Post by Stupot » Tue May 03, 2011 15:33

Just from a quick reading, Optimus is software set up to switch between graphics cards. So, if you don't have Optimus working, you have to pick one and use it. So, with linux, you would pick the better GPU and not use the onboard graphics at all.

EDIT: Apparently I was wrong. You won't have the choice, only one will work (the lower power one, typically intel).

micia
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Re: Nvidia Info

Post by micia » Wed May 04, 2011 10:04

I've been doing OpenGL programming for some years on both ATI and Nvidia cards, I don't know exactly the open source policy for both companies, honestly, as long as they keep a good and working support for Linux, I don't really care, what I can say for sure, is that both of them share a good amount of knowledge, advanced programming techniques and tutorials completely free.
As far as I know neither ATI, nor Nvidia open sources its drivers.

Another important aspect is that Nvidia has by far the stablest and most standard compliant implementation of OpenGL, with the Nvidia drivers, you simply are sure that it works, programming on an ATI card you will often come to bugs or inconsistencies in the API, of course, they will eventually fix it, but there are issues and, in my opinion, there are too much of them.
On Nvidia platforms, by contrast, if there is an issue, it is 99% of the times your own fault, to quote John Carmack: "Nvidia's OpenGL drivers are my 'gold standard', and it has been quite a while since I have had to report a problem to them, and even their brand new extensions work as documented the first time I try them. When I have a problem on an Nvidia, I assume that it is my fault. With anyone else's drivers, I assume it is their fault."

I don't know very well the Optimus Technology, but a fast reading of that technology, seems merely another name for GPU switching when graphics performance is not needed, if this is the case, it does not work on Linux simply because Linux is unable to do it... Yet :P
this is being worked on, see:
http://en.gentoo-wiki.com/wiki/Vga_switcheroo

chasha420
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Re: Nvidia Info

Post by chasha420 » Wed May 04, 2011 10:16

Thanks Micia, your post was quite informative. I never doubted the quality of nVidia drivers, as they do their job just fine & work flawlessly.

Anyway, according to what I've read about "Vga switcheroo" on the Gentoo forums...it seems like they're asking you to recompile the kernel just to switch your graphics card lol. Seems to me like too much work hehehe....& I thought technology was there to make life easier. :mrgreen:

micia
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Re: Nvidia Info

Post by micia » Wed May 04, 2011 10:30

On Gentoo, kernel recompiling is an everyday occurrence :twisted:

I was pointing you to that link because it is a Gentoo specific wiki article, so it is the closest thing to Sabayon, the kernel recompile is needed because that feature is quite new, so you have to do some black magic to try it now :lol:

there is ongoing work in Sabayon too:
http://bugs.sabayon.org/show_bug.cgi?id=2309

Currently a logout/login is needed to switch GPU, when I said that Linux is unable to do this I was not very clear, I am unsure if Linux can't currently do this or X Server can't currently do this, since the X Server loads the GPU drivers as it boots, so probably it will not be very happy switching them at runtime, this would explain the logout/login necessity... But I am not very expert on Linux Graphics drivers handling, so I could be wrong.

Another thing that I am unsure of is which cards are supported by this switching tool, I checked the list of supported (and future plans), as of now the support is for Intel, open source ATI and nouveau drivers, I don't know if there is any work for proprietary drivers support.
This link could be interesting:
http://linux-hybrid-graphics.blogspot.com/

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Re: Nvidia Info

Post by Fitzcarraldo » Sun May 08, 2011 23:14

:arrow: NVIDIA Optimus Unofficially Comes To Linux (third-party hack for at least some notebooks).

chasha420
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Re: Nvidia Info

Post by chasha420 » Mon May 09, 2011 1:27

Fitzcarraldo wrote: :arrow: NVIDIA Optimus Unofficially Comes To Linux (third-party hack for at least some notebooks).
Great news Fitz! I hope that encourages Nvidia to step up in bringing optimus technology to Linux. There are quite a lot of laptops out there that I'm interested in buying at the moment and a lot of them comes powered with Optimus technology, and the power saving features would be a lot useful since my country has power cut almost every day lol (damn third world country). :mrgreen:

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DanySK
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Re: Nvidia Info

Post by DanySK » Mon Sep 05, 2011 11:23


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