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AMD Crossfire On Linux?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by rolandttg, Aug 6, 2013.

  1. rolandttg

    rolandttg Member

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    Anyone know for sure if cross fire works on linux?
  2. ThunderRd

    ThunderRd Irreverent Query Chairman Staff Member

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    Their drivers are so perpetually bad that I'm surprised it even works in Windows.

    I've asked a few of my mates about this before, they were all Radeon fanboys, and they told me to stop even considering it and use SLI. Most of them have come over to Nvidia as well, so that's enough proof for me.

    A couple of years ago I remember some scattered reports that a few people got it working, *kinda*, but most of them were saying stuff like, 'it's sort of working, but there are weird artifacts/graphics/glitches/crashes [choose one] in games'. Also, I remember lots of problems with dual monitor setups and ATI.

    Bottom line, I wouldn't count on it working at all until they get their drivers straightened out, and that has been a bone of contention with ATI users for some time now.
  3. rolandttg

    rolandttg Member

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    Thank you!
    I called MSI regarding my AMD based board. I was told SLI won't work with my system and I already knew it is a crossfire board.
    Many of my games start with a NVIDIA commercial so that should be a clue to me.
    So again back on the hunt for a good NVIDIA based card.
  4. booman

    booman Grand High Exalted Mystic Emperor of Linux Gaming Staff Member

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    What is your budget?
    GeForce 550 or 560 Ti will do ya good and its under $200
    The 550 Ti is about $120 on newegg.com
  5. rolandttg

    rolandttg Member

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    I am looking from $100 to $200. It is strongly looking like a GeForce type card. I hope a sale will come up.
  6. booman

    booman Grand High Exalted Mystic Emperor of Linux Gaming Staff Member

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    If you are planning on gaming in Linux its practically a requirement.
    Anything newer than my GeForce 550 Ti will work just fine.
    I am able to play Mass Effect 2 just fine
    You have seen my guides, those are all tested on the 550 Ti.
  7. rolandttg

    rolandttg Member

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    I am taking a hard look at the GeForce 650 Ti. I may be able to shave some cost as my board supports PCIe 2.0 rather than 3.0. Do I need 2gb vs 1gb or ram? And so on.
  8. booman

    booman Grand High Exalted Mystic Emperor of Linux Gaming Staff Member

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    PCI-E 3.0 "should" run on your board, but I would research first and make sure others got the 650 to run before buying it.
    2 Gig is always better, my 550 Ti has 2 Gigs and runs very smoothly in Linux.
  9. mikus

    mikus New Member

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    I wouldn't count on your motherboard supporting it. I had to upgrade my mobo when I'd gotten a 5870 as it "wanted" a 2.0, but my 1.x wouldn't run it, no vesa at boot. I now have a 2.1 mobo and upgraded from 5870 to 6970, now going to a 7970 and wondering if going to have the same issue as it is built for 3.0. Been almost afraid to try, the card is staring at me on the desk.

    I almost bought another one today, as I want to upgrade the mobo to a 3.0 bus anyways, so waiting on that, but was curious the state of crossfire. I've been running 6 1920x1200 displays @ 11520x1200 framebuffer for probably 2+ years now, using aforementioned cards, asus ones with 6 rtc's on them and dp/dvi bus cards on their variants. I'm toying with adding a row to go 5x2 displays, thinking crossfire *might* work. Most research I've done today yesterday and today says it *can* work, but probably not with monitors on each.

    Currently I can run apps like minecraft, secondlife, half-life, and team fortress on all 6 without much flaw (compiz disabled), but the 6970 supports 16384x16384 resolution, so thought to bump another row of displays, but wondering if one card can drive something like gl games on 10. I can go to ultra graphics in most without much problem windowed across all 6, but will lag if I do too much in secondlife that is probably the worst to crush video and cpu.

    I'd love to know someone that actually *tried* to do this, crossfire and using rtc's on both cards for 7+ displays. I might be inclined to try if I can sell off my old 5870 and 6970 cards for another 7970. Rather not find out $2k later *no*, due to driver bugs and such a niche corner case amd will never fix it for me. ;)

    FYI, ATI's the only vendor I've seen work pumping 6 displays, let alone in linux. After years of trial and error, I found their limitations (supported framebuffer, 5xxx was 8192x8192, 6xxx is 16384x16384), and created the best desktop experience I can get with Ubuntu linux. There are quirks, the driver destabilizes over time still, but only when antagonized by compiz or games (death comes fast with both). Without GL enabled, I've gone indefinitely stable with a wrap-around desktop experience. Linux can work like this, and it's amazing for the productive, yet ADD geeks like me.

    Nvidia still supports only 2 displays in native framebuffer, so they got the axe early. I wish they'd get with the program already, as their drivers were infinitely better than ati's, but at least I have my six displays with them.
  10. booman

    booman Grand High Exalted Mystic Emperor of Linux Gaming Staff Member

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    Welcome to the forum Mikus.
    Wow, I can't believe you are running 6 monitors in Linux!
    I've hooked up 5 in Windows before, but have no idea how to do it in Linux.
    I'm glad Crossfire is working which means AMD is paying a little attention to Linux drivers.
    I've never researched SLI for Linux and happen to have a machine with dual Geforce 9800's, so I could try it.

    What Distro are you using?

    I noticed that its hard to fine a PCI-Express 3.0 motherboard with AMD processors. Not sure why, but I looked on Newegg.com and couldn't find any. Maybe its just me.
  11. mikus

    mikus New Member

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    I use ubuntu. I can't use unity, as it relies on compiz, and frankly compiz does nothing but implode on itself if trying to use glx. I use cairo dock as a desktop environment from the lightdm login manager, and use a compiz switch widget to disable it. Using 6 displays then is perfect, and I suspect it could handle possibly the advertised 16384x16384 in non-composited mode. Really sucks that compiz is such a piece of crap still after all these years, I'm really hoping wayland/weston/mir overcome its limitations as a compositer.

    It is possible, linux has come a long way, but the compositer is the biggest limitation, as no one has obviously ever tested on a 11520x1200 framebuffer. I'm not sure if it's compiz or the card capabilities, but seeing as gl games not being redirected can do it, I'm assuming their code is just bunk.

    I'd be happy to share my xorg.config if it would help. It took some manual grooming to make it work right, but in the end with the 6970, I finally had the dream setup.

    Well, the dream is now 9600x2400. :)

    Attached is a pic of my rig. I have some of steam HL1, minecraft, and secondlife on the 6 too. Lets see a windoze box do that.

    Attached Files:

  12. booman

    booman Grand High Exalted Mystic Emperor of Linux Gaming Staff Member

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    Wow, pretty amazing!
    I wouldn't even know what to do with 6 monitors in Windows.

    Looks like you are quite the Linux expert and have spent many-a-hour messing with games, video & tweaking.
    We could really use your experience here in the forum as we grow.
    I would love to see a guide on how to play Half-Life or Minecraft with this setup.
    Not that many people use 6 monitors but maybe even three with Minecraft stretched across all of them?

    I can't believe you are shooting for 9600x2400!!!
    I'm impressed with 1920X1680...
  13. mikus

    mikus New Member

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    Sadly everything seems pretty variable. Hardest part is figuring out the amdcccle monitor order vs. xorg.conf, I had to draw out a mapping to make sense of it, but that was before drivers decently supported xrandr. Now it can dynamically adjust things, but I still let it rely on the xorg.conf vs. xrandr to set the displays. I had some weird issues until I rebuilt my gconf2 directory, including amdcccle settings, so I tend to trust it managing things now.

    I just updated from 12.04lts to 13.04, upgrading to 12.10 along the way incrementally, and perfect success, but I did have to built 13.8 drivers to get them working, as my prior 12.x wouldn't launch x with a newer version of xorg.

    The 13.8 drivers aren't as stable I'm finding, having run this now for about 3 weeks going to 13.04 ubuntu. Compiz is still kill on sight or crash, but even running glx apps are causing oddities to occur, and hard crashes. I've had lightdm crash me back to a tty, my mdraid's fall out of sync (grr), all kinds of fallout with the 3.8 kernel and 13.8 ati drivers.

    Honestly, hard part is even getting to the desktop, aside from that, kill compiz, setup a task manager (awn, cairodock, etc), and enjoy. Steam "just worked" mostly beyond that. Postal2 was bitchy, never quite got it to work in anything aside single display (their app assumes certain stupid defaults around single displays invoking sdl), but anything valve seems to work, windowed. Full screen without compiz assumes for some reason you have 6x 1920x1200 displays, but can/will window happily when stretched across all 6, which is how I play all games. Again, if only compiz didn't suck.

    Haven't tried HL2, DOTA, or L4D1/2, had a non-raid spindle disk die with my game saves and I sorta gave up on my pc game habits for a bit. :\

    Happy to help with questions, best to pm or anything that triggers an email notification. Not much of a forum dweller, but saw this thread on ati and crossfire on linux, I figured I could likely help others that try to make linux submit to their will with amazing results too. I use linux for home and work, laptops, androids running ubuntu, whatever can/will run linux.

    Been a network and systems engineer for 15 years now, full time linux user for 7 years, and unix user for a 14 of those building/maintaining systems.
  14. booman

    booman Grand High Exalted Mystic Emperor of Linux Gaming Staff Member

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    No problem. I'll remember to send you a question when someone has a serious problem.
    I can help to an extent, but I am no expert. If anything, I'm more of a game expert, specially with Windows. So I'm using that experience to run games in Linux.

    So far every game I have run in Steam on Linux, runs perfectly!
    Other native games like Double-Fine games, also run really well. Some audio problems, but otherwise, run very nicely.

    I use Ubuntu on my netbook and its obviously not a "gamer" but I am running some simple games on it like Torchlight.
    I've heard things about Ubuntu 13 being buggy...

    Actually I have been running newer games in Openbox windows manager because I can get a few more frames per second.
  15. DJYoshaBYD

    DJYoshaBYD New Member

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    It works. You can totally run multiple cards and multiple monitors. You dont need to use the xorg.conf file, but you can if you want. I find its easier to use CCC to do it, as you can map it out as one big screen (all on the same framebuffer) and get full rendering with OpenGL and whatnot.

    Nvidia is another story, but all of these issues with xorg and all of that will be cleared up when Wayland is implemented, as it wont care about framebuffer handling how X does.

    Keep in mind, that for AMD cards, right now, the highest X that AMDCCC supports is 1.13, so if you are running xorg-edgers or backports, be careful, as an upgrade to X 1.14 will stop the AMD driver from properly loading.

    I got over my multi-card, multi-screen blues by using xinerama with NO composite on Arch (all bleeding edge packages) and Enlightenment (Not using composite). I can play all of my games just fine on separate screens, using xinerama, but it does have a performance hit. My computer is fairly beefy, so its not too bad, but older systems could suffer more.

    Again, by next April or so, most of this should be worked out via Wayland. (At least I am hoping).

    Cheers :)
  16. DJYoshaBYD

    DJYoshaBYD New Member

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    "Again, if only compiz didn't suck."

    Its no compiz. Its X and how it handles graphics. :)
  17. DJYoshaBYD

    DJYoshaBYD New Member

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    My camera cant really capture my 4 screens running right now. Here is a screenshot of everything running,t hough. all different sizes and resolutions and connection-types.

    [​IMG]
  18. DJYoshaBYD

    DJYoshaBYD New Member

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    Oh, so for info. Nvidia Gefore cards WILL NOT WORK IN BASE-MOSAIC (run multiple cards, multiple monitors, all with opengl acceleration). Trust me. Even my dual GT 640's dont work (They are supposed to).

    You can get cards that EASILY run 4 monitors on ONE card (Any kepler series card) with no problems. Pretty much plug and play. Its when you try to span multiple cards is where you run into issues. You need to get at least GTX 6xx TI or higher to run that mode (until X gets phased out), or buy AMD cards, as they do this with ease. Ive lost hundreds of hours of sleep over the last year trying to get multiple Nvidia cards to rock the same framebuffer WITHOUT xinerama (Turning on xinerama disables composite extension in X. Well, actually, you CAN run both, but its still broken on 2 cards).
  19. Daniel~

    Daniel~ Chief BBS Administrator Staff Member

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    Let me guess...your not married? ":O}
  20. Daniel~

    Daniel~ Chief BBS Administrator Staff Member

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    Dude! Your the guy we created GOL For!!! Rock On!
    DJYoshaBYD likes this.

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