AMD Fusion based hardware for a HTPC? - Printable Version
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AMD Fusion based hardware for a HTPC? - Robotica - 2010-09-16 21:03
Fusion products (Ontario & Zacate to start) are soon starting to ship to OEM's. How ready is XBMC for this new architecture? I am especially interested in Linux...
Is XvBA and / or vaapi implementation in XBMC ready for this new hardware? Will ALSA drivers handle sound?
And what about the drivers for the GPU? Catalyst drivers? Or the open source drivers are easier with XBMC? Luckily, normally Ati is a lot more open than NVidia regaring GPU specifications so I won't foresee any troubles related to Fusion GPU drivers.
Thanks for them who provide inside information. (I know most knowledge in this forum is based around VDPAU and NVidia but hopefully this thread will expand readers views on hardware acceleration related to AMD/Ati and XBMC)
btw: It seems that Fusion has an ION-like tdp and performance-wise blows away CORE i5!
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?p=19190748 (with some specs)
http://www.anandtech.com/show/3920/amd-benchmarks-zacate-apu-2x-faster-gpu-performance-than-core-i5 (don't forget the follow-up article)
Thnx in advance!
- PatrickVogeli - 2010-09-16 21:29
ati graphics and linux still don't play nice.. for an HTPC I wouldn't get anything other than nvidia graphics.
- Robotica - 2010-09-16 21:34
PatrickVogeli Wrote:ati graphics and linux still don't play nice.. for an HTPC I wouldn't get anything other than nvidia graphics.
This all has to do with drivers and hardware acceleration in XBMC. If mentioned techniques are in place, you won't hear a thing about ION and NVidia.
- teaguecl - 2010-09-16 22:06
Robotica Wrote:Luckily, normally Ati is a lot more open than NVidia regaring GPU specifications so I won't foresee any troubles related to Fusion GPU drivers.I was a bit taken aback when I read that! Neither company releases much technical info regarding their GPU's for fear of giving away their proprietary advantage. However, Nvidia has been much (much, much, much, much) better at supporting Linux than ATI. Running an ATI card is a nightmare on Windows, doing it on Linux brings new meaning to the word "masochism". I'd thoroughly enjoy being wrong about these new chips, but there's been no evidence in the past of ATI being anything other than second rate (at best) on Linux hosts.
- takoi - 2010-09-16 22:07
ati have never cared much about the linux community. What makes you think the suddenly do now? Just dont get your hopes up
- poofyhairguy - 2010-09-16 22:19
teaguecl Wrote:I'd thoroughly enjoy being wrong about these new chips, but there's been no evidence in the past of ATI being anything other than second rate (at best) on Linux hosts.
That isn't completely true. AMD and Nvidia take different paths with Linux.
Nvidia puts out ONLY their closed source driver for Xorg (Linux's display system). But this closed source driver is full featured: Nvidia had composite in their driver before anyone else, OpenCl in their driver before anyone else, and VDPAU working a year before VAAPI mattered.
Nvidia is bad for Open Source fans because they don't open up their specs or driver code, but they are awesome for HTPC fans because quite simply when their feature work, then work better than anywhere else.
AMD (post ATI purchase) puts out (a pretty crappy) closed source driver, and then releases all the specs of their cards so that open source developers can make proper open source drivers.
This opening of the specifications on their cards is the where the OP gets the claim that "ATI is more open."
But with all that said, I personally will NEVER buy an AMD GPU. Why?
Because time has shown that the old Open Source adage of "open up the specs and the community will write the drivers" has turned out to not apply to GPUs as it does simpler things like NICs. Despite AMD's specs being in the open, more than a year after the specs were opened AMD's open source drivers still don't have all the features that AMD's closed source drivers have, let alone Nvidia's drivers.
I don't want to take anything away from the AMD team that makes the driver- they have done amazing work! But making a graphics driver is hard, and its difficult to dedicate enough time unless you are getting paid to do it. Nvidia pays a pretty large and talented team to create their closed source driver, and for that reason it remains the best Linux GPU driver (by features) in existence.
I will add that in my years of being a Xorg nerd, I have always been impressed with the Nvidia developers. Look up the contributions the VDPAU developer has made in the community- they make Nvidia seem like a genius factory!
In summary, even though AMD is more open for HTPC use Nvidia is currently the most practical option and it looks like it will stay the most practical option in the near future.
- poofyhairguy - 2010-09-16 22:33
Robotica Wrote:And what about the drivers for the GPU? Catalyst drivers? Or the open source drivers are easier with XBMC? Luckily, normally Ati is a lot more open than NVidia regaring GPU specifications so I won't foresee any troubles related to Fusion GPU drivers.
Xorg GPU acceleration outside of VDPAU is a nightmare.
VAAPI is nothing more than a shim for other various backends (such as VDPAU) so its no magic bullet. What matter is what happens underneath.
And underneath AMD's closed source driver still completely sucks compared to NVidias. Those who try to use VAAPI still run into tons of rendering errors, now almost a year after VAAPI has been in the open.
Is it getting better? Yes.
Will one day it work like VDPAU? Hopefully.
Does it today? No way.
I don't suspect that AMD's open driver effort will help much- the specs have been out for more than a year and just recently have decent drivers for 3D been released by the community. Since it took so long to master 3D, I'm pretty sure it will be a few more years until the open driver has VAAPI support with near VDPAU performance.
You are talking like the open drivers are like a light at the end of a tunnel, when really the only thing that has been proven in the time since AMD released the specs is that Nvidia might have been right that GPU drivers are too hard for the community to produce at a high level.
Honestly I think these new AMD nettops will accelerate the community focus towards the Windows editions. I am sure most will come with Windows 7, which means easy XBMC support without fighting. Add in the fact that the Windows version (eventually) will have a monopoly on HD bitstreaming support and I don't think AMD's poor Linux support will be a problem.
Of couse obviously you want to run Linux, as do I. We need to stick to Nvidia hardware for the time being, unless your purpose for buying is to help development.
Its like composite with Xorg. Nvidia had Xorg composite support in 2004. The community drivers had decent composite support by around 2007/2008. I imagine the community will have an equal or larger lag for GPU decoding support.
- PatrickVogeli - 2010-09-16 23:02
Robotica Wrote:This all has to do with drivers and hardware acceleration in XBMC. If mentioned techniques are in place, you won't hear a thing about ION and NVidia.
if they are in place.. which I highly doubt. I might be wrong, though.
- Robotica - 2010-09-16 23:20
Thanks for your valuable answer poofyhairguy.. Lot's of inside info. I was looking for.....
Hopefully, this Fusion platform will speed up development off those open source drivers since hardware specs look awfully good.... Either way, I don't expect problems in playing 50 Gb Blu rays by either CPU or GPU so this platform has my attention for now.
- Robotica - 2010-09-17 00:45
Just checked some development highlights regarding this subject:
Quote:The hopes with VA-API are to ultimately replace X-Video Motion Compensation as being the predominate video API for Linux systems. Unlike XvMC that is limited to MPEG-2 and IDCT / Motion Compensation, VA-API is designed to support other standards such as MPEG-4 and VC-1 along with accelerating IDCT, Motion Compensation, VLC, bitstream processing, spatial-temporal deinterlacing, inverse quantization, and other functions.
1> vaapi decoding in XBMC relies on FFmpeg;
2> vaapi is implemented in FFMPEG/Mplayer in december 2008; The libVa library provides the VA-API implementation (also in Ubuntu Mobile, Intel's Moblin)
3> vaapi is activly developed: http://www.splitted-desktop.com/~gbeauchesne/mplayer-vaapi/
4> there is some XvBA development named xvba-video, which is an XvBA back-end for VA-API.
5> VAAPI/XvBA playback in XBMC is much worse then in Mplayer: Looking at XBMC forum support or dev trunk that isn't strange.
6> FFMPEG isn't very active on VAAPI/XvBA
I think AMD hardware acceleration can be a lot better if devs are willing.... Besides, AMD attitude towards Linux is likely to change since releasing the Fusion platform (in answer to ION), will create a lot more (not just gaming) Linux demand for hardware acc. Just look at the HTPC possibilities....