Subject: Graphics Cards | December 29, 2015 - 12:05 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: opengl, mesa, linux, Intel
The open-source driver for Intel is known to be a little behind on Linux. Because Intel does not provide as much support as they should, the driver still does not support OpenGL 4.0, although that is changing. One large chunk of that API is support for tessellation, which comes from DirectX 11, and recent patches are adding it for supported hardware. Proprietary drivers exist, at least for some platforms, but they have their own issues.
According to the Phoronix article, once the driver succeeds in supporting OpenGL 4.0, it will not be too long to open the path to 4.2. Tessellation is a huge hurdle, partially because it involves adding two whole shading stages to the rendering pipeline. Broadwell GPUs were recently added, but a patch that was committed yesterday will expand that to Ivy Bridge and Haswell. On Windows, Intel is far ahead -- pushing OpenGL 4.4 for Skylake-based graphics, although that platform only has proprietary drivers. AMD and NVIDIA are up to OpenGL 4.5, which is the latest version.
While all of this is happening, Valve is working on an open-source Vulkan driver for Intel on Linux. This API will be released adjacent to OpenGL, and is built for high-performance graphics and compute. (Note that OpenCL is more sophisticated than Vulkan "1.0" will be on the compute side of things.) As nice as it would be to get high-end OpenGL support, especially for developers who want a more simplified structure to communicate to GPUs with, Vulkan will probably be the API that matters most for high-end video games. But again, that only applies to games that are developed for it.
Subject: Processors | November 12, 2015 - 06:22 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: linux, Skylake, Intel, i5-6600K, hd 530, Ubuntu 15.10
A great way to shave money off of a minimalist system is to skip buying a GPU and using the one present on modern processors, as well as installing Linux instead of buying a Windows license. The problem with doing so is that playing demanding games is going to be beyond your computers ability, at least without turning off most of the features that make the game look good. To help you figure out what your machine would be capable of is this article from Phoronix. Their tests show that Windows 10 currently has a very large performance lead compared to the same hardware running on Ubuntu as the Windows OpenGL driver is superior to the open-source Linux driver. This may change sooner rather than later but you should be aware that for now you will not get the most out of your Skylakes GPU on Linux at this time.
"As it's been a while since my last Windows vs. Linux graphics comparison and haven't yet done such a comparison for Intel's latest-generation Skylake HD Graphics, the past few days I was running Windows 10 Pro x64 versus Ubuntu 15.10 graphics benchmarks with a Core i5 6600K sporting HD Graphics 530."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- Intel Core i5 6500: A Great Skylake CPU For $200, Works Well On Linux @ Phoronix
- CPU Battle - Old and High-End vs. New and Entry-Level @ Hardware Secrets
- Which is the faster CPU: old but high-end or entry-level and new? - Part 2 @ Hardware Secrets
- AMD FX 8320E CPU Review @ Neoseeker
Subject: Graphics Cards | October 23, 2015 - 07:19 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: linux, amd, nvidia, steam os
Steam Machines powered by SteamOS are due to hit stores in the coming months and in order to get the best performance you need to make sure that the GPU inside the machine plays nicely with the new OS. To that end Phoronix has tested 22 GPUs, 15 NVIDIA ranging from a GTX 460 straight through to a TITAN X and seven AMD cards from an HD 6570 through to the new R9 Fury. Part of the reason they used less AMD cards in the testing stems from driver issues which prevented some models from functioning properly. They tested Bioshock Infinite, both Metro 2033 games, CS:GO and one of Josh's favourites, DiRT Showdown. The performance results may not be what you expect and are worth checking out fully. As well Phoronix put in cost to performance findings, for budget conscious gamers.
"With Steam Machines set to begin shipping next month and SteamOS beginning to interest more gamers as an alternative to Windows for building a living room gaming PC, in this article I've carried out a twenty-two graphics card comparison with various NVIDIA GeForce and AMD Radeon GPUs while testing them on the Debian Linux-based SteamOS 2.0 "Brewmaster" operating system using a variety of Steam Linux games."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- MSI GeForce GTX 980 Ti LIGHTNING @ [H]ard|OCP
- Gigabyte GTX 950 Xtreme @ Modders-Inc
- The EVGA GTX 980 Ti Hybrid Review @ Hardware Canucks
- MSI GTX 980 Ti Sea Hawk Review @ Hardware Canucks
- EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti FTW Graphics Card Review @ Techgage
- PNY GTX 950 2GB @ eTeknix
- MSI GTX 980 Ti Lightning 6GB @ Kitguru
- PowerColor Devil 13 Dual Core R9 390 @ [H]ard|OCP
Subject: Systems | October 13, 2015 - 07:23 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: server farm, linux, DIY
Phoronix recently built a server farm and bar, a perfect use for a basement. In building the server farm they learned quite a bit about the process of creating your own server farm as well as the costs involved. For instance their power bill has gone up somewhat, including the air conditioning they are seeing usage of 3,000 kWh a month so you might want to do some calculations before setting up your own. Take a look at how the mostly finished design worked out and if you are interested you can find a link to the original article covering the build on the last page.
"It's been just over six months since I completed construction on the large 60+ system server room where a ton of Linux benchmarking takes place just not for Phoronix.com but also the new LinuxBenchmarking.com daily performance tracking initiative and testing and development around our Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org software. Here's a look back, a few recommendations to reiterate for those aspiring to turn their cellar into a server farm, and a few things I'd do differently next time around."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- TechPowerUp 4K Gaming Build Guide @ techPowerUp
- OCUK Titan Electron Intel Core i3 Mini-ITX gaming PC @ Kitguru
- ASRock Beebox Mini PC @ techPowerUp
- Scan 3XS GW-HTX35 Workstation (w/ Quadro M6000) @ Kitguru
Subject: General Tech | October 5, 2015 - 05:14 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: LinuxCon Europe, linux, open source
LinuxCon Europe has just kicked off and there are some interesting projects being discussed at the event. ARM, Cisco, NexB, Qualcomm, SanDisk and Wind River have formed the Openchain workgroup to bring some standardization to Linux software development, such as exists in Debian, to ensure that multiple companies are not attempting design their own wheels simultaneously. The Real-Time Linux Collaborative Project is developing software for application in robotics, telecom, and aviation and includes members such as Google, Texas Instruments, Intel, ARM and Altera. They will be working towards developing Linux applications for those industries where shaving a few milliseconds off of transaction times can be worth millions of dollars. The last major project announced at the convention will be FOSSology 3.0 which will enable you quickly and easily run licence and copyright scans, something near and dear to the heart of the Free and Open Source Software community. Check out more at The Inquirer.
"Tim Zemlin, chief executive of the Foundation, said in his opening remarks that this year's opening day falls on the 24th anniversary of Linux itself and the 30th of the Free Software Foundation, giving credit to delegates for their part in the success of both."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Apple's A9 impresses and the Nexus strikes back: The TR Podcast 188
- Shutdowngate: iPhone 6S handsets are randomly turning off @ The Inquirer
- Google spews out Alphabet. Alphabet gobbles Google @ The Register
- Mega Giveaway #7 : LEAGOO Elite 4 Smartphone @ Tech ARP
Subject: Graphics Cards | September 23, 2015 - 01:09 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, linux, graphics drivers
In the NVIDIA driver control panel, there is a slider that controls Performance vs Quality. On Windows, I leave it set to “Let the 3D application decide” and change my 3D settings individually, as needed. I haven't used NVIDIA's control panel on Linux too much, mostly because my laptop is what I usually install Linux on, which runs an AMD GPU, but the UI seems to put a little more weight on it.
Or is that GTux?
Phoronix decided to test how each of these settings affects a few titles, and the only benchmark they bothered reporting is Team Fortress 2. It turns out that other titles see basically zero variance. TF2 saw a difference of 6FPS though, from 115 FPS at High Quality to 121 FPS at Quality. Oddly enough, Performance and High Performance were worse performance than Quality.
To me, this sounds like NVIDIA has basically forgot about the feature. It barely affects any title, the game it changes anything measureable in is from 2007, and it contradicts what the company is doing on other platforms. I predict that Quality is the default, which is the same as Windows (albeit with only 3 choices: “Performance”, “Balanced”, and the default “Quality”). If it is, you probably should just leave it there 24/7 in case NVIDIA has literally not thought about tweaking the other settings. On Windows, it is kind-of redundant with GeForce Experience, anyway.
Final note: Phoronix has only tested the GTX 980. Results may vary elsewhere, but probably don't.
Subject: General Tech | September 22, 2015 - 05:06 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: azure, microsoft, linux
It is a strange new world we find ourselves, where part of Microsoft's Azure infrastructure will be built on Linux. Azure Cloud Switch will allow software-defined networking to be used on Azure for those who are brave enough to dabble in SDN. Microsoft will be incorporating the OpenCompute developed Switch Abstraction Interface based on Linux, as The Register points out this is likely due to a lack of similar functionality in Windows software. In this particular case Microsoft will not be reinventing the wheel but will wisely focus on improving the functionality of Azure and Azure based products such as Office 365 which they have developed in house. The 'cloud' is a strange place and it just got a little bit stranger.
"Redmond's revealed that it's built something called Azure Cloud Switch (ACS), describing it as “a cross-platform modular operating system for data center networking built on Linux” and “our foray into building our own software for running network devices like switches.”"
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Office 2016 for Windows 10 arrives with cloud-first sway, and Sway @ The Inquirer
- Shattered Skype slowly staggers to its feet after 15-HOUR outage outrage @ The Register
- Microsoft starts to fix Start Menu in new Windows 10 preview @ The Register
- Mapin: Candy Crush Trojan horse threat hits Android @ The Inquirer
- Get to Know the Elementary OS Freya Firewall Tool @ Linux.com
- Design and Print a Passive Speaker for Your Phone @ MAKE:Blog
- 5 Fantastic Tabletop Gaming Props You Can Print @ MAKE:Blog
- Samsung announces first customer-facing M2 SSD drive and it's wicked-fast @ The Inquirer
- Rikomagic V5 4k Android TV Stick Review @ NikKTech
- Netgear Powerline 1200 PLP1200 Adapter Set Review @ NikKTech
- Apple iPhones, iPads BRICKED by iOS 9's 'slide-to-upgrade' bug @ The Register
- iOS9 Review @ Hardware Secrets
Subject: General Tech | September 21, 2015 - 01:21 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: linux, pc gaming, steam
While the number of games doesn't exactly mean much in isolation, a large amount of them have been making their way to Linux recently. Valve's first-party library is an obvious addition, as they have been jaded with Windows since 8.x scared just about anyone interested in back catalog support with their “Desktop as an App” attempts to isolate the Win32 APIs. Other developers have been following suit, especially since engines are being designed cross-platform as of late.
Milestones can be interesting, though. In this case, Steam crossed the 1,500 mark in games for Linux that are hosted on its service. Some equate this to “there exists 1500 games for Linux”, which isn't quite right, but the distribution platform is definitely a behemoth in the industry. It is the default way to purchase many new titles, and is a Linux host for ARK: Survival Evolved and Shadow of Mordor.
Unfortunately, I couldn't find anyone who listed what the 1500th title was. Sorry!
Subject: General Tech | September 20, 2015 - 12:28 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: microsoft, linux
Azure Cloud Switch is an operating system, which is based on Linux, that Microsoft has created for their data centers. This software will be installed on their network appliances, such as switches, to let them control the features that their data centers require. It also helps them interface hardware together, since they now control the software stack regardless of hardware vendor.
This is naturally making tech websites doodle on their calendars as the company uses Windows for just about everything. While basing a portion of their infrastructure in Linux is a sign that Microsoft is embracing open source, this is not the first time. Back in 2003, which is not a Linux-friendly year for the company, Microsoft used Linux-based infrastructure from Akamai to provide DDoS and malware protection. It worked. They have even been attributed as a top contributor to the Linux kernel in the past.
The OS is internal to Microsoft, but it is in affiliation with the Open Compute Project. I'm not sure if we will ever see the OS or its full source publicly.
Subject: Graphics Cards | September 17, 2015 - 07:34 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: linux, amd, nvidia
If you are using a 1080p monitor or perhaps even outputting to a large 1080p TV, there is no point in picking up a $500+ GPU as you will not be using the majority of its capabilities. Phoronix has just done research on what GPU offers you the best value for gaming at that resolution, putting five AMD GPUs from the Radeon R9 270X to the R9 Fury and six NVIDIA cards ranging from the GTX 950 to a GTX TITAN X into their test bench. The TITAN X is a bit of overkill, unless somehow your display is capable of 200+ fps. When you look at frames per second per dollar the GTX 950 came out on top, providing playable frame rates at a very low cost. These results may change as AMD's Linux driver improves but for now NVIDIA is the way to go for those who game on Linux.
"Earlier this week I posted a graphics card comparison using the open-source drivers and looking at the best value and power efficiency. In today's article is a larger range of AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards being tested under a variety of modern Linux OpenGL games/demos while using the proprietary AMD/NVIDIA Linux graphics drivers to see how not only the raw performance compares but also the performance-per-Watt, overall power consumption, and performance-per-dollar metrics."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- AMD R9 Nano @ Kitguru
- AMD Radeon R9 Nano @ Hardwareheaven
- AMD Radeon R9 Nano @ Legion Hardware
- The AMD R9 Nano Performance Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Asus R9 390X STRIX DC3 OC 8GB @ Kitguru
- Asus ROG Poseidon Platinum GTX 980 Ti Review @ Bjorn3d