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[Rant]: RX 5700... a frustrating experience
tuubi commented on 16 February 2020 at 12:23 pm UTC

Does using Nvidia on Ubuntu still require the user to switch to the proprietary driver manually? Not exactly a great OOTB experience either if that's the case, especially for someone who doesn't know about these things.

Personally I would recommend an AMD GPU over Nvidia to friends and family on Linux, for several reasons I won't go into here. I would help them get started though. (And yeah, I'd probably recommend Mint as their first distro over something Arch based.) As for strangers on the Internet trying out Linux, surely they're not buying new hardware for that purpose alone. Either they've already got Nvidia or AMD and that's what they'll be running until they're familiar enough with the system to add a PPA or whatever.

This is a bit off topic, but I still don't get why I never experienced a single powerplay problem with my 5700 XT on Mint 19, even when I ran the stock 5.3 kernel, if they're so common for others. I had already enabled the Kisak PPA for Mesa when I upgraded from my old RX580, but that shouldn't have anything to do with it. I since switched to Ubuntu's mainline 5.4 and now 5.5, and it's been smooth running on both.

Tuxee commented on 16 February 2020 at 5:44 pm UTC

tuubiDoes using Nvidia on Ubuntu still require the user to switch to the proprietary driver manually? Not exactly a great OOTB experience either if that's the case, especially for someone who doesn't know about these things.
IIRC it was checking a "use proprietary driver" in the "Applications and Updates" (whatever that is called in English). Maybe you get already asked for that during install. However, I assume you always have to or should ask when installing proprietary drivers.


QuotePersonally I would recommend an AMD GPU over Nvidia to friends and family on Linux, for several reasons I won't go into here. I would help them get started though. (And yeah, I'd probably recommend Mint as their first distro over something Arch based.) As for strangers on the Internet trying out Linux, surely they're not buying new hardware for that purpose alone. Either they've already got Nvidia or AMD and that's what they'll be running until they're familiar enough with the system to add a PPA or whatever.

That's exactly my point. Apart from checking the aforementioned option your NVidia experience on Ubuntu will be smooth. I've used GTX660, 950, 960, 1060 on several machines for the last 7+ years. Swapping the cards gave me never any problems, driver updates worked without any problems.

QuoteThis is a bit off topic, but I still don't get why I never experienced a single powerplay problem with my 5700 XT on Mint 19, even when I ran the stock 5.3 kernel, if they're so common for others. I had already enabled the Kisak PPA for Mesa when I upgraded from my old RX580, but that shouldn't have anything to do with it. I since switched to Ubuntu's mainline 5.4 and now 5.5, and it's been smooth running on both.

As already stated: The 5.3 kernel with Kisak's PPA on Ubuntu 18.04 works. No problems to speak of. (Well, as long as you don't need OpenGL. And that it took quite some time to figure out the proper kernel/Mesa PPA combination.) However, with 5.4 I get the above mentioned problems (I already had them on 19.10). And just searching the web for RX 5700 issues on Linux gave me the impression that I am neither the sole exception nor that it is restricted to Ubuntu as distribution.
Interesting, how many seem eager to let AMD off the hook, by suggesting that everything works oh so smooth with Kernel 5.5. Kernel 5.5 was released more than 6 months after the hardware could be bought, which was released pretty much the same day Kernel 5.2 turned stable. We don't want to force one of the two main GPU vendors showing something like "commitment" and provide day one support, right? But with 5.3 the driver should be there, ok? It sort of made it into 5.3, but then I have to read here that 5.4 is completely borked when it comes to Navi10. Who needs this with an LTS kernel anyway. So 5.5 fixes everything. Obviously not with my setup, because 5.5 also gave me powerplay issues on startup (I'll give it another try, just to be sure). Shall I wait for 5.6? Or should I file it under "lesson learned" and turn to the green side again? After all, I switched from ATI/AMD to NVidia 7 years ago because the drivers were just atrocious.

Shmerl commented on 16 February 2020 at 5:55 pm UTC

TuxeeI know. However, whoever is confronted with the question "how to game on Linux" will inevitably have to decide which distro to use.

My recommendation for gamers would be a rolling distro, or any periodic release based one which keeps kernel and Mesa up to date out of the box. So not Ubuntu.

Last edited by Shmerl on 16 February 2020 at 5:55 pm UTC

Tuxee commented on 16 February 2020 at 6:30 pm UTC

Shmerl
TuxeeI know. However, whoever is confronted with the question "how to game on Linux" will inevitably have to decide which distro to use.

My recommendation for gamers would be a rolling distro, or any periodic release based one which keeps kernel and Mesa up to date out of the box. So not Ubuntu.

Ubuntu keeps kernel and Mesa "periodical" up to date. An 18.04 is now at kernel 5.3 (as was 19.10) and on Mesa 19.2 (which again is the same as 19.10). Yes, it's not bleeding edge and Ubuntu 20.04 will stick to kernel 5.4 - otherwise they'd get blasted for NOT using an LTS kernel. Apart from that you can alwaays install a mainline kernel.
Anyway, I do have several options at hand:

  • Use a rolling release distro - not good. I work as a web developer and I prefer my local setup to somehow resemble my server setup (and according to the stats two thirds of the patrons here use a non-rolling distro)

  • Use a rolling release distro beside my "distro for work" - what for? In this case I could just use Windows as my "gaming distro"

  • Keep the current setup as long as possible - feasible for the time being

  • Throw out the AMD card and get an NVidia again - why not? Considering how much time I've already spent on this topic these extra 350 Euros are a steal. Plus: I get properly working CUDA. And in the case something doesn't work as expected, I have the gratification to know who is to blame.


As noted above: It seems again, that not AMD is to blame but "the distribution" or "the user" (who can't pick the proper distro).

Pangaea commented on 16 February 2020 at 6:35 pm UTC

Ubuntu and Mint are the most popular distros, however, and we should probably deal with the reality. And if we are to hope for a development in which more people switch to Linux, it will likely be to those distros, or other "stable" releases. Not bleeding edge stuff that can break any moment.

I saw the video this article linked above is based upon (or the other way around), and now even read a good lot of the comments in the comment section (it's not the usual madhouse, surprisingly). It's discouraging reading. I feel like in a minority here, but I keep repeating it nevertheless: not everybody are as comfortable with command line, config files and limitless tinkering as many on this domain. We just want to get hardware and software, and have the bloody thing work. That is precisely why I use Linux Mint. It simply works out of the box with minimum fuzz. Wouldn't know what to do to get all this talked about stuff working anyway, like self-compiled patches from github or one of the oh so many bug trackers. This is out of reach for probably 90%+ of people, and goes right back to the typical comment about Linux (we've heard it for years, tinker-tinker-tinker, only for nerds).

I'm very much a potential AMD customer, but all this stuff makes me very wary to invest. It's not a small amount of money, and the last thing I want is for the new computer to work worse than the one I currently have. It's such a darn shame too. The hardware seems to be really good, but for the n-th time the software/driver side is letting AMD down, and letting their customers down. When retailers interviewed say the return rate for AMD GPUs is 5 times higher than for Nvidia, something is seriously fucking wrong. It's not something that can easily be blamed on user error.

Yes, most of those numbers will be Windows users, but it's pretty clear it applies to Linux too, since we're still talking about "next kernel will solve it".

At this point it seems wise to postpone purchasing if you can, and go for Nvidia if you can't.

Shmerl commented on 16 February 2020 at 7:51 pm UTC

TuxeeApart from that you can alwaays install a mainline kernel.

You can always add some repo and install something, sure. But we were talking about out of the box experience, right? (At least you were complaining about that)? And as far as I can tell, Ubuntu / Mint do a poor a job at keeping gaming related stack up to date out of the box, unless you configure things explicitly.

TuxeeThrow out the AMD card and get an NVidia again - why not?

Garbage blob experience. AMD might be behind in timely support (so downside - you need to wait until drivers stabilize), but they are light years ahead in support in general. I.e. they support all Linux use cases, not "what we sanctioned" that Nvidia do.

I wouldn't take blob vs AMD's delayed support. No way.

Last edited by Shmerl on 16 February 2020 at 7:59 pm UTC

sub commented on 17 February 2020 at 8:15 am UTC

Seriously, I bought a Sapphire 5700 XT Pulse running on an regularly updated Arch installation (+ Dual Boot Windows 10) and so far everything runs flawless with amazing performance.

I really wonder what's wrong with you system. :/

Shmerl commented on 17 February 2020 at 8:23 am UTC

subSeriously, I bought a Sapphire 5700 XT Pulse running on an regularly updated Arch installation (+ Dual Boot Windows 10) and so far everything runs flawless with amazing performance.

I really wonder what's wrong with you system. :/

Rolling distro is the key. That's simply the best option for up to date hardware support.

Last edited by Shmerl on 17 February 2020 at 8:24 am UTC

Tuxee commented on 17 February 2020 at 8:50 am UTC

subSeriously, I bought a Sapphire 5700 XT Pulse running on an regularly updated Arch installation (+ Dual Boot Windows 10) and so far everything runs flawless with amazing performance.

I really wonder what's wrong with you system. :/

Well, since the setup runs ok with Kernel 5.3 and the Kisak Mesa PPA it is hardly a hardware issue. My (or the) issue is - how to put that? - the overall air of "expect regressions in the future".

ShmerlRolling distro is the key. That's simply the best option for up to date hardware support.

Erm... So Kernel 5.3 was ok, 5.4 total disaster (so sad), 5.5 nice again... Am I supposed to see the benefit of a rolling release here? The "always the newest kernel" doesn't sound like a bullet-proof recipe here.
To sum it up: It boils down to "rolling release" or "no AMD GPU". I already stated that a rolling release distro is a far from optimal solution for me. At the very same time I'm told, that NVidia is pure evil. I'm sure that Windows fans would gloat over such exchanges...

Shmerl commented on 17 February 2020 at 9:03 am UTC

5.3 was bad, 5.4 was semi-usable, 5.5 was mostly OK. 5.6 is stable. So I've seen quite gradual progression here. Rolling distro nails this.

Last edited by Shmerl on 17 February 2020 at 9:03 am UTC

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