17 October, 2014

AMD FGLRX + Steam for Linux

During these past 2 years of testing Steam-for-Linux betas and various Linux-based/-ported games I have been using a mid-range nvidia graphics-accelerator. Which has been fine. But I wanted a little more kick from the GPU.
DOOM 3: BFG Edition (non-steam version) - running natively on Linux.
After visiting a gamer-friend with years of bleeding-edge hardware experience, especially related to full HD 3D-rendering, I decided to go over to AMD-based stream-processor gfx-cards. My friend really recommended AMD due to their aqcuirement of the graphics-company ATi in 2006. Having both CPU-production and GPU-production under the same company really put them ahead of other CPU-vendors in terms of graphics-performance, both in integrated and discrete graphics-solutions.

I have to note that laptops sporting AMD GPU's (integrated graphics-cards) don't work so well with the proprietary Catalyst-driver, I have tried to make it work on several occasions, but the driver (Catalyst) always seems to crap out. Unless you REALLY know what you are doing (manually tuning the Catalyst-driver), I would not recommend using Catalyst on laptops or notebooks.

ONLY use the Catalyst-driver if you are using a gaming-rig (desktop PC) with a discrete (separate component) graphics-card installed.
Space Hulk - running natively on Linux.
AMDs Catalyst graphics-driver had quite a few improvements the last few years as well, so I was eager to test it out on Linux and see for myself.
Left 4 Dead 2 - running natively on Linux.
The proprietary driver worked rather well (for the most part), but it still suffers from a set of annoying bugs (window-manager artifacts, exiting fullscreen HD video won't reset to default resolution, etc.), but not as annoying as they used to be in the start... believe me (video-tearing, 3D-tearing, kernel panics, etc.).
Trine 2 - running natively on Linux.
For 3D-accelerated games, it works really good. Impressively good. The lower high-end card I decided to opt for raised my rigs eyecandy-potential at least tenfold(!). After realizing this, I would really recommend AMD's graphics to any serious gaming-enthusiast looking for OP graphics that does not compromise the gaming-experience.
Darwinia - running natively on Linux.
To put it rather simply: it just works, better than I expected, but not without the odd bug or two...
DOTA 2 - running natively on Linux.
My final verdict: I would recommend AMD graphics-cards to hardcore gaming-enthusiasts who doesn't get shocked by an odd bug or two (at least, not serious bugs anyway), however, I would NOT recommend it to average-joe.
FEZ - running natively on Linux.

To enable video-accelerator (VA-)chips on discrete AMD-based (Radeon/HD) graphics-cards (on Linux), run the following command in a terminal on Ubuntu Desktop or Linux Mint:
sudo apt-get install xvba-va-driver libva-glx1 libva-egl1 vainfo
These libraries and drivers prevents video-artifacts/-tearing, stabilizes video-movement, de-processes video-interlacing and similar video-issues.

I will be testing and experimenting with the open-source 3D/video driver for AMD-based cards at a later date, namely the Gallium3D-driver. And I'll be posting about it too, so stay tuned...

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