[Beowulf] visualization machine

Joe Landman landman at scalableinformatics.com
Mon Mar 31 06:17:02 PDT 2008

Geoff Jacobs wrote:

> No nvidia for me unless they open up driver specs. Open drivers have a
> history of being very, very stable if not as fast. Nvidia does have good
> drivers, but I have definitely seen them experience problems.

Silicon Image SATA drivers are great examples of open drivers that have 
been (in the past) terrible.  The tg3 drivers have been very bad (start 
sending lots of packets and watch your CSW climb and climb and climb). 
Forcedeth are still terrible, and are open.  The nv driver in X often 
breaks on newer hardware (the laptop I type this on is a testament to 
this problem).

No, open-ness doesn't equate to good-ness.  Open-ness equates to 
portability, ability to hunt for problems on your own and correct them 
if need be.

For the platforms I have used them on the nVidia drivers (the closed 
source ones) have been *fantastic* in performance, compatibility, and so 
forth.  I have not (ever) had a good experience with ATI graphics 
drivers ... so much so that I conciously avoid buying their products 
(which is hard in the laptop space, as nVidia doesn't have as many 
design wins).

This said, one area we would have liked to have seen open nVidia drivers 
is on our Itanium2 box.  Yeah, it is a relic in the making, and no, I 
don't blame nVidia for dropping support for it.  It would be nice to be 
able to see graphics on it though ... well ... accelerated graphics 
(there is a nice Quadro FX 1100 in there now).  Oh well (move that card 
somewhere else).

Just my $0.01 (used to be $0.02, but the dollar is dropping in value).

Joseph Landman, Ph.D
Founder and CEO
Scalable Informatics LLC,
email: landman at scalableinformatics.com
web  : http://www.scalableinformatics.com
phone: +1 734 786 8423
fax  : +1 866 888 3112
cell : +1 734 612 4615

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