Valve is preparing the ground with Intel and nVIDIA

It is felling night, and usual thoughts have been troubling my mind once again. Not as usual as the most ordinary people might say, but as usual as most Linux users can ever think; after all thoughts being what they are. In the back room a computer’s hard drive is thinking too, reading and writing information all over the place, smiling as it listened the echo of a familiar tone – my Raid controller’s beep. Next to that, Windows 8 disc is still waiting on the top of my desk, craving for installation. Everyone calls them Windows ‘8’, despite the fact that they year is 2012 and even Microsoft knows that this version is already l8 — late/leight. Because it’s too late for Windows to get into the tablet’s market, where Google and Apple already conquer the place up. Following the stream, it’s a sensible thing to do and Valve knows that. In a matter of fact, more game makers lean forward to that, glad for the chance to elaborate with Linux market. From the other side, Linux users are eagerly waiting to kill Zombies… while even GNU stepped to the edge, looked down and stepped out into the Open air… aaargh me and my thoughts.

It has been about a month now since Valve announced their Steam port in Linux (which comes in Ubuntu first by the way) and people are acting crazy. Despite the fact that Valve is not porting their games correctly into Linux, they are achieving an impressive performance scoring 300 FPS. I guess anyone would give a good piece for such a good performance. You see… everyone knows that something good is happening out of Windows epic release, but since it’s not currently available yet, we could only feel its presence. So thank you Microsoft for releasing Windows 8, because you’ve accidentally made your big mistake.

For months now, there is a debate about GPU drivers in Linux and how much they suck in contrast to Windows. Yes, I’ve heard old faerie stories too, legends about X and Desktop too. Then I began to search, trial and error and see myself out of blindness on how bad things where in Linux 10 years ago. But then, it’s time to wake up and pop the question, how bad things are going to be in 10 years from now…

… like I’m chasing ghosts with this though, trying to piece together this story is a fool’s game. I wish I’d never started it. Although, I can’t deny the facts that all the signs point to it, like a dozen bug fixes have come into Linux drivers this month. Well, comparing Linux drivers to Windows is a disturbing analogy but you’re welcome to comment below and share your thoughts. Yeah, I’ve heard lot’s of stories about Valve sitting in a table with their friends; nVIDIA, AMD and Intel all present there, discussing on how they could materialize this new market. First thing you need to know is they are actually have started to plot and plan the future of Linux and preparing the ground…

Intel recently announced their Sandy Bridge precompile improvements forward to L4D2. Simply put, you will be able to play L4D2 with your laptop’s embedded graphics. According to Mr.Kenneth Grauke, new Intel processors that come with HD3000/4000 series will be able to play any Valve’s game via Steam engine.

“The result is pretty good: we now guess correctly most of the time. On Sandybridge, my L4D2 timedemo has only 39 recompiles, as opposed to 206 before the SamplerUnits rework began. With that in mind, I’ve reenabled the precompile, which avoids a lot of stuttering on startup.”

Furthermore, bare in mind that Intel yesterday released the new version of their gpu-tool that comes with … 177 changes! Freaking lord, 177 changes in just single version is not something that passes easily ignored. But the good news don’t stop here, since the new Linux Kernel 3.6 (currently under development) improves dramatically Intel GPUs performance.

All in all, what Intel assumes is that you have to buy a new modern laptop with Ivy bridge technology in order to experience the game. But what about Desktop users that could account for differences in discrete graphics? Grumbled something or not, nVIDIA is leading the way while AMD is still sleeping in their own runlevel. First off, Valve is benching with nVIDIA graphics cards; secondly, nVIDIA shows more interested in their Unified Linux drivers, since they tend to release new features and bug fixes every couple of weeks.

Unfortunately, open source drivers are not going to be supported here, simply because they can’t keep up with technology. For example, the latest improvement of AMD open source driver (Gallium 3D) is MSAA support. It’s always good to be romantic and  put your faith upon open and free technologies, but I am sorry to say that Steam engine will be the grave of open source drivers.

It is night again, and usual thoughts are still troubling my mind, but ‘nough said. I am passing the microphone to you…

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1 Comment

  1. Needless to say that the linux steam client attempts to reshare the market’s figures and surely the linux users will contribute to that. Not only with faith and support but also with money. I know its hard to think free and open source when money is thrown on the table.Lets Face it!!! they get paid to bring performance drivers to the consumer and fast, but i believe that a new balance will come after the initial thrill which overcame some of us. Time will tell and my opinion is that open source community will benefit from this in the future as long as both sides stay open minded!!

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