Posted 04 October 2012 - 12:51
One of my wife's machines is a mid-range unit, nothing fancy but it's no slouch, video's a bit on the older side though, an ATI HD 3850 AGP 512MB. (It actually holds its own quite well despite its age with gaming in Windows.) Anyways, ATI has "legacied" a bunch of their cards, this one included. Under Windows it's not a big deal; even under Windows 8 it's running the older Catalyst 11.10 drivers (seems to be that cards "sweet spot" driver wise) and going on its happy way. With Linux though it's been nothing but problematic, at best.
The open source drivers do work, decent 2D acceleration and all that, quite acceptable, multiple monitors work, etc, but it's borderline abysmal with 3D, even with a current build pulled out of their Git repo.. I know the card can do much better, right now it's like watching a slideshow sometimes. If that machine was just going to run desktop apps it wouldn't even be an issue. The problem is the Catalyst drivers aren't getting updated anymore. The latest ones won't work with the card anymore, the older ones will apparently run into compatibility issues with the newer kernel (or so I read), older ones also have problems with multiple displays and such. Last time I personally worked with an ATI card under Linux was a few years back, so pretty much anything I know about it is out of date. I did try an older Catalyst driver, think it was 11.10, it kinda/sorta worked, but dual displays didn't, got some bizarre corruption with the mouse cursor, etc.
I suspect she's pretty much boned with it as it's just not worth replacing, for what that machine is getting used for it'll probably just wind up using Win7 or 8, but does anyone have any practical experience with an ATI AGP board with a current distro? I could just throw on an older Ubuntu build but really would like to avoid that if I can. I frankly don't care which distro, prefer Arch or even one of the 'Buntu's, but whatever, if it works it works.