[Novalug] OT: Gaming Video Cards
Bryan J. Smith
b.j.smith at ieee.org
Tue Jan 5 19:48:12 EST 2010
nVidia is still supporting legacy drivers for cards all the way back to the
NV0x-15 series / TNT2 - GeForce2 ('98-'00), although no new feature support
because, well, the architectures don't support them. The NV17-3x series /
GeForce2 MX, 3, 4 and FX ('01-03) were prior to the new texel/shader
redesign, and support has now been regulated to a legacy driver as well.
The FX was more of an experimental design which would become the new
texel/shader and did not sell well to anyone who knew much about them.
At the same time, nVidia is still releasing legacy drivers.
E.g., my 2001 Toshiba notebook with the original GeForce Go Mobile
(NV17, based on the MX) can still run OpenGL/GLX without issue, including
composite functions. Can't say the same about Vista/Aero (which requires
more of a NV4x for WGF).
The NV40+ / GeForce 6 on-ward ('04+) is the new texel/shader units and all
drivers work forward and back through the latest 200 series. That's six (6)
years of four (4) major generations and four (4) minor revisions with 50%-100%
performance increase. Don't know where you get 9-12 months?
Unless you're buying 3 year-old hardware and expecting support for 3+
more years? These are GPUs. GPUs evolve much faster than CPUs,
and are sacked with IP non-sense and all sorts of trade secrets. There is
no "open" GPU with any performance, and even Intel withholds access to
many of its GPU trade secrets (always has).
Compared to ATI's driver support (especially on Linux), sorry, disagree.
Unless, of course, you want a "dumb" framebuffer with few features. Even
the open source driver for ATI is basically the old, hacked R100 with little
hack here and there to get R200 and R300 support forward.
----- Original Message ----
From: Gregory Maxwell <gmaxwell at gmail.com>
I think you've misstated "nVidia's Law", which I think goes something like
"The duration a card will be correctly supported by the driver after
the release of the next generation is 9-12 months"
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