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Old 05-03-08, 07:18 PM   #313
gigiita
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Default Re: FreeBSD-amd64 driver ?

It seems that all done by nVidia to support FreeBSD is in fact no more than a personal care of Zander (who anyway must be thanked for his work for us).
The facts are that there is still no driver for AMD64 and the i386 one is still based on a very old FreeBSD 5 kernel and a very old too Xfree86 infrastructure. On modern 7.x kernel, this driver is still sticked to the famous compat5x package.
But now things are changing: AMD/Ati is doing a new aggressive policy about their driver, and sooner or later there could be a new graphic leader in Unix world. Time has not yet come, but this should be an alarm to nVidia guys.
I think there is no doubt that the Unix users will prefer open source things if performances will be at the level of the closed source ones.
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Old 05-03-08, 10:25 PM   #314
zander
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Default Re: FreeBSD-amd64 driver ?

@gigiita: although other engineers' efforts towards improving the FreeBSD specific parts of the NVIDIA FreeBSD graphics driver set may be less visible, I'm not the only contributor; please also keep in mind that the NVIDIA graphics driver code base is shared between platforms, so the FreeBSD graphics driver benefits from a large developer base.

As to the NVIDIA FreeBSD graphics driver being based on old kernels, etc., I would like to clarify a few points:
1) the closed source component of the NVIDIA FreeBSD kernel module is FreeBSD kernel version independent; in fact, the nv-kernel.o ELF binary shipped with current FreeBSD driver releases is operating system independent and can also be used on Linux and Solaris. The open source component can be built against all stable FreeBSD kernels >= FreeBSD 5.3-RELEASE and is flexible enough to allow compatibility changes necessary for future kernels.

2) the NVIDIA X driver supports practically all XFree86 and X.Org X servers since XFree86 4.0.2, but this does not mean that it can't take advantage of or support features specific to current X.Org X servers; there are a variety of examples for this (e.g. XRandR, COMPOSITE, etc.).

3) until there is a good reason not to, the NVIDIA FreeBSD graphics drivers will continue to be built on FreeBSD 5.3-RELEASE to maintain compatibility with all FreeBSD releases >= FreeBSD 5.3-RELEASE; the user-space driver components' dependency on the compat5x-i386 package does not limit their feature set(s).
@ksudziarski: NVIDIA has been in touch with FreeBSD developers since I initially posted the feature requests and some progress has been made towards enabling FreeBSD amd64. However, the missing features are non-trivial to implement fully and so far no FreeBSD developer has stepped up to drive the effort. This may change over the next few weeks/months, but there are no firm schedules that I'm aware of.

@Aragon: although NVIDIA is aware of end user demand and, as stated many times before, interested in supporting FreeBSD amd64 and improving support for FreeBSD i386, the NVIDIA Linux/UNIX graphics driver team has other responsibilities and can't easily undertake FreeBSD core kernel development projects of this complexity. If you feel the progress made so far is inadequate, please bring this up on the relevant FreeBSD development mailing lists.
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Old 05-04-08, 03:44 AM   #315
Grogan
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Default Re: FreeBSD-amd64 driver ?

Aragon, I passionately dislike ATI (because of their drivers in any OS) so I won't be going there. Sure they are turning over a new leaf, but right now there's still a pile of crap under that leaf. I have an 8800GTS 640 Mb card and I was thinking of upgrading to a 9800 GX2, but I don't think I'll bother right now because then I wouldn't be able to use this FreeBSD install at all (don't think the nv driver would work)

I could do the 32 bit FreeBSD 7, but I've done a lot of work on this 64 bit install now (compiling and tweaking and stuff) and it's an awesome system. I'm very happy with it, other than the fact that I have to use nv. So no games and I can't use Mplayer because it can't use Xvideo or Vidix for playback (Xine works though). I would use this all the time if I could.

Btw... last time I tried building a PAE kernel (FreeBSD 7 snapshot several months ago) it was a horrible kludge. No KLD's and so many drivers weren't PAE safe it wasn't even worth it just to gain access to all of my 4 Gigs of RAM. It worked, but I had no USB and something else that escapes my memory right now.

This also isn't the only OS on here. I can boot silly Windows Vista for games (COD4, Crysis, Unreal Tournament 3, Bioshock etc.) and I've got a respectable x86_64 Linux from Scratch setup on here too where I can play games like UT2004. (and anything I can compile)

Zander, thanks for answering this thread again. I'm glad to see there is at least some interest. It sure would be nice to have a driver.
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Old 05-04-08, 09:52 AM   #316
gigiita
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Default Re: FreeBSD-amd64 driver ?

@Zander: thanks for your fast reply, Zander.
I understand nVidia policy about compatibility with past FreeBSD versions, but it must be cleared that 5.3 is pratically discontinued, soon there will be no more official support for 5.x branch and other projects have already abandoned it (one for all: Wine. Current version required at least 6.2 kernel to run).
Official documentation suggest to leave 5.x branch and upgrade at least to 6.x.
Why do not keep legacy drivers for older systems and try updated drivers for new systems?
My limited experience say that in 5.x era, everything worked perfectly (OpenGL, video, Linux layer..), now there are a lot of things which don't work anymore. Where is the trick? I don't know, but nVidia is here, FreeBSD developers are here and graphic competitors are coming.
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Old 05-05-08, 05:24 AM   #317
Aragon
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Default Re: FreeBSD-amd64 driver ?

Grogan, I've never been keen on ATI too, for the same reasons as you. Like you said though things are starting to look different and now I have a good reason to give ATI another try. My first choice will probably remain nVidia unless ATI blows me away. I'm hoping their driver situation will get sorted out eventually, however they do it.

Thanks for posting, Zander!

Oh Grogan, I don't think the PAE documentation has been updated in a while. A lot of the drivers that were PAE unsafe are safe now. I had USB support compiled into my PAE kernel. But yes, it is a hack, and doesn't work with the 32bit nVidia drivers anyway.

Just ordered an ATI 3450 based card!
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Old 05-06-08, 01:31 AM   #318
tribble
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Default Re: FreeBSD-amd64 driver ?

Hi all.

Just registered in order to add my voice to the chorus here. I've been a FreeBSD user and admin for around 12 years now, and a loyal nvidia user for a very long time also (even after trying out a few ATI cards periodically, which i found to have excellent image quality but pathetic non-windows support and usually lagging behind their nvidia counterparts in performance... also they run really hot). My main desktop is now dual boot XP (32bit) and FreeBSD 7-STABLE amd64. I guess I assumed for some reason that by now there would be 64-bit nvidia support (silly me). I actually don't really care, for my part, about the 3D support at the moment. Just some accelerated 2D support would make me plenty happy.

I will look at posting something to freebsd-hardware or any more appropriate maillist to see what's going on with that.

In the meantime, thanks to everyone for all your posts here to let nvidia know how anxiously we are awaiting native amd64 drivers, and thanks to the one nvidia employee who seems to care enough to give us whiners some attention and updates.
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Old 05-06-08, 12:23 PM   #319
zBeeble42
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Default Re: FreeBSD-amd64 driver ?

One reason that I'll reiterateis that ATI has nothing to compare to the 8800 mobile and dual SLI 8800 mobile. Those of us with high end gaming laptops are forced to use NVidia.
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Old 05-09-08, 09:50 PM   #320
Aragon
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Default Re: FreeBSD-amd64 driver ?

Well, I'm posting from my new ATI/amd64 setup. So far it seems great. Haven't tried video or anything yet, though...
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Old 05-14-08, 10:57 PM   #321
ChuckAtkins
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Lightbulb Re: FreeBSD-amd64 driver ?

Quite frankly I could care less about gaming. What I do yearn for though, is a 64bit FreeBSD driver for HPC. I am a software developer for a manufacturing company and develop software for extremely high performance real-time data processing. Having a 64-bit driver would allow the FreeBSD clusters to harness the awesome processing capability of these GPUs (i.e. TESLA). 64-bit is absolutely a must in these environments. Not only do we need the huge amounts of memory not afforded to us by a 32-bit environment, but having twice the available General Purpose Registers and twice the available XMM Registers (SSE) give performance opportunities only imagined in the 32-bit environments. As it stands, the only option for GPU offloading requires a migration to Linux. FreeBSD was chosen for it's phenomenal stability and ease of management and the lack of GPU processing is a door that just can't be opened without these drivers. FreeBSD has long been known for it's stability, performance, and scalability but not being able to harness these new plateaus of processing is almost painful.
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Old 05-15-08, 12:47 AM   #322
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Default Re: FreeBSD-amd64 driver ?

My understanding is ATI ans SIS are being more open about their hardware - so that is always an option for different hardware.

For whatever reason NVIDIA doesn't want to provide working closed drivers - at least they are not the only firm/option in the market segment.
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Old 05-20-08, 01:26 PM   #323
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Default Re: FreeBSD-amd64 driver ?

Here's my personal request for the amd64 version of the nvidia driver.

The 32-bit address space is getting narrower by the day. On Windows, lots of applications are already too tight for 32-bit due to DLLs fragmenting the address space. On FreeBSD, not so much, but we're getting there; furthermore AMD processors seem to be much faster running 64-bit FreeBSD code.

When I got my desktop/part-time server board with GeForce 6150/nForce 430, I chose it exactly because of nvidia-drivers.
Today, my old laptop running AMD64 with the ATI Mobility X700 is doing 3D much, much faster than my desktop/part-time server using the open source radeon driver (EXA). Of course, it helps that ATI X700 is old...
But I'm beginning to question my choice for NVIDIA as a widely supported card.

Most people who use FreeBSD don't care so much for being in the bleeding edge. Most probably prefer to have conservative but supported hardware. Postscript printers, common sound card and a 3D card which is only good enough as long as it is easily supported. At this moment, the best choice for 64-bit is certainly an older ATI (one which the radeon driver supports).
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Old 06-16-08, 04:56 AM   #324
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Default Re: FreeBSD-amd64 driver ?

After upgrading to xorg 7.3_2 and nv 2.1.8_1, I have NO monitor support aside from vesa. To all of those who use the nv driver and deride it's abilities, be glad you have something that works. Most of my graphics on FreeBSD/amd64 are watching movies, and sometimes xorg over a wireless network, so no expectation of decent performance. Maybe it's just having a widescreen monitor, but the nv driver fails, horribly. Without setting `#Option "NoAccel" "true"` and `Option "CrtcNumber" "true"` it pretty much locks up the graphics.

If performance isn't great for some "kernel capability" reasons(and the driver does run in kernel mode, right?), why not just something that works?!

The motherboard is a Via K8M800, the video card is a GeForce 6200, and the monitor an Acer X191W. I know the card works since it works under ubuntu/i386(even though the nv driver doesn't work, the nvidia driver does), so all I'm really looking for is a driver that can make my GeForce 6200 beat my motherboard's graphics. Currently, on FreeBSD/amd64, Via's destroying Nvidia.

For some on this thread, it's "let's get a good performance driver," but for someone like me, it's "get something that works worth a damn."
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