Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Ubuntu Linux - Nvidia Vs AMD Graphics Cards

nVidia Geforce 470 verses AMD Radeon 6870

I recently re-acquired a Geforce 470 from a friend. After reading many times how well nVidia supports x86_64 Linux I figured I'd replace the AMD Radeon 6870 in my main system. Their performance is roughly on par with each other so I'm not really gaining or losing anything, theoretically. The drivers I used nVidia's 295.59 and for AMD I used Catalyst 12.6 beta. Below is what I found out from my testing.

These tests and results are very not scientific. YMMV.

Driver Installation -
Both drivers required there be compilers and many dependencies installed to to compile their kernel module. I elected to install the newer driver packages from their official websites instead of using the older (but probably well tested) Ubuntu supplied drivers. Nvidia's driver was a pain in the ass as I had to drop to the console and kill the X server before using their text based installation. The AMD driver installed from the desktop just fine using a nice GUI, as long as the dependencies were installed first.

Driver Stability -
Even though the AMD used beta drivers, I found them to be much more stable than nVidia's in everyday use. The nVidia drivers lagged out after a couple of hours of use and the display becomes jerky and not smooth. I use my computer for gaming mostly and this is no good.

Compatibility -
nVidia takes the taco here. All of my games and OpenGL apps work great. But to be honest I only ran into a single application that didn't work with the AMD. The application was DC Universe Online running under wine.

Raw Speed -
Again, nVidia wins. Frame rates were 1.5 - 3x higher than with the AMD. Not saying that the AMD had low frame rates, but the nVidia were higher. For example World of Warcraft under wine would get ~30-60FPS with the AMD drivers and the nVidia would get ~60-120FPS. These are both with vsync off. The nVidia card had more wild fluctuation in frame rates than the AMD but maintained it's higher FPS.

Image Quality -
I'm no expert but they both looked pretty darned good. The AMD had a lot more options to tweak settings in it's control applet.

Support for Multi Monitor Setups -
AMD ftw on this one. On the nVidia a lot of my Humble Bundle games would try to span both monitors at a resolution of 3840x1080 when it should have been on one monitor at 1920x1080. If this is a flaw of the game or the drivers, I do not know. The AMD didn't have this problem. On a side note nVidia's control applet was easier to set up for multi monitor than AMDs.

I was also able to drive 4 monitors (2 on DVI + 2 on mini display port using adapters) on the AMD as opposed to 2 (2x DVI) on the nVidia.

Relevant System Specs -

  • Intel i7 2600k @ 4.6GHz
  • 16GB DDR3 RAM
  • 2x 27inch Monitors, 1920x1080 each
  • Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
  • Gnome 3 w/ Gnome-Shell
In closing I would probably say I prefer the AMD card a little better because of it's driver stability (I know, crazy statement). It doesn't matter how fast a card is if it becomes jerky and unresponsive after a couple of hours of use. I'm grateful to have either card though.

Monday, June 25, 2012

DCUO - Quick and dirty info about Exobit hunting

Using the below tips I am able to gather about 2.5 stacks of each type of exobit in a 1/2 hour of time. I used the R&D scanners purchased from the DCUO Marketplace, they cost 100 Sony points or roughly $1.00 USD. Paying real money for this type of item may seem a little crazy but I only purchase Sony points when they are on sale 3 for 1. This brings the price of R&D scanners down to about $0.33. But still, money is money. If spending real money on a game is not for you then you can always hunt Exobits the old fashioned way.

What they are
  • Exobits are a type of profession material used in DC Universe Online (DCUO) to create gear modifications. Modifications are used to raise the combat rating and add extra stats to your gear. 
What you need
  • 2 pack of R&D scanners, Purchased from the DCUO marketplace for 100 points (about $1.00)
  • 1/2 hour of time (2x 15 minute intervals)
Where to go
  • They randomly spawn all over Gotham, Metropolis and Central City.  Gotham seems to be the best place to hunt as the overall tone of the landscape is darker. The Exobits really stand out in the darkness with their rainbow color scheme. 
  • Exobits like to hide out in nooks and crannies of buildings. They are also fond of rooftops between and around air conditioner units.
  • Alleyways and the riverfronts are another favorite spot for Exobits.
  • Try to avoid the parking garages and construction sites, even though there will always be 3 or 4 Exobits detected in them it's hard to tell what floor they are on. It takes a lot of time to search 5 floors for one Exobite.
  • Avoid quest areas as the more fights you get into the less time you have for hunting. Remember you are paying real money for the R&D scanner, you'll want to make the most of your time to maximize the hunting intake.
  • Avoid PVP phase while hunting. Use the phase shifter to go into PVE phase to avoid player confrontation. Remember you are paying real money for the R&D scanner, you'll want to make the most of your time to maximize the hunting intake.
Which travel spec
  • Super speed, hands down. Flight is cumbersome while gathering, but if you're a skilled flyer you'll be OK. Acrobatics are slower but more versatile than the other two. Acrobatics' zip cord is really nice for ascending buildings, but super speed wins out for raw movement rate. The faster you move the more Exobits you can collect. I conducted all my tests on a nature powered character in wolf form for the super speed. While not the fastest form of super speed it edged out my other travel forms for hunting speed.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

DC Universe Online - Ubuntu 12.04 / Wine

Once again I am working on getting DC Universe Online working on my Ubuntu 12.04 install so I can ditch windows 7 all together. DC Is the only thing tethering me to Windows. There have been many reports of it working.

So far the installer installs the Launchpad application and asks to install a version of Direct X, I declined the Direct X install but went ahead with the rest of the install.

When starting launchpad, logging in and pressing play all I get is a garbled screen after my monitor switches screen modes. I'm not sure if it's because of my ATI video card (highly likely) or a problem with wine. I have access to a nVidia 9800. I'll try later tonight to see if it's the video card.

Same results with the wine packages from ppa:ubuntu-wine/ppa (version 1.5.6).

System specs -
i7 CPU @ 4.6GHz
AMD Radeon HD 6870 1GB video card
Audigy 2 PCI sound card

OS Version -
Ubuntu Linux 12.04 64-bit

Wine version(s) -
1.3.32 Playonlinux
1.4 stock Ubuntu 12.04
1.5.6 Ubuntu wine PPA

Wine Options
virtual desktop 1440x900

Winetricks options -

Progress so far -
launchpad installs and starts as normal
login works and you can press the play button
screen goes all grabled and you have to 'wineserver -k' in a terminal

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The AMD/ATI 12.6 beta driver for linux Includes new 2D acceleration architecture. Enable with:

amdconfig --set-pcs-u32=DDX,ShadowPrimary,1

It seems to snappy things up a bit on my system.

Friday, June 8, 2012

AMD Driver Ubuntu 12.04 - the long answer

All of this information was jacked from http://askubuntu.com/a/126513 . I just edited and am providing it here so I don't have to use Google every time I need to install AMD's drivers.

The following Instructions are how to install the latest ATI Catalyst Video driver on a fresh install of Ubuntu 12.04 Precise ONLY.

Caution: Only use these instructions if you have opted NOT to use the Official Ubuntu Binaries.

You need to install some dependencies to your system, do this by running these in Terminal:

sudo apt-get install build-essential cdbs fakeroot dh-make debhelper debconf libstdc++6 dkms libqtgui4 wget execstack libelfg0 dh-modaliases
sudo apt-get install ia32-libs

sudo apt-get install ia32-libs-multiarch

sudo apt-get install i386 lib32gcc1

sudo apt-get install libc6-i386 

Installation and building of the drivers

sudo sh amd-driver-installer-*.run --buildpkg Ubuntu/precise

sudo dpkg -i *.deb
sudo aticonfig --initial

After this command, reboot your system. If all is right, the fglrx driver will be installed and working on your system.

Again, All of this information was jacked from http://askubuntu.com/a/126513