[svlug] Red Hat 5.0: 2 Qs
rick at hugin.imat.com
Sun Mar 22 21:06:51 PST 1998
Raj <rdatta at crossaccess.com> wrote:
> Hi guys, does anyone have experience of running RH 5.0 with:
> (i) Matrox Millenium II video card
> (ii) Adaptec 7880 SCSI adapter.
> I read in the RH compatibility list that support for (i) is
> *experimental* & for (ii) it is partial. What does that translate to, in
> actual experience?
Raj, I'm responding in spite of not having direct experience with
the indicated components under Linux. (Perhaps others will relate
> I'm building a m/c for my home with these components. I believe these
> are the components best suited to my needs. I wouldn't mind waiting a
> few if the appropriate driver support isn't available as yet.
The problem with recent Adaptec SCSI chipsets is that they keep changing
them (and thus changing their APIs), and cooperate not at all with the
freeware community's efforts to keep up. Therefore, people wanting
high-performance SCSI on Linux (and several other OSes) have been
turning to Mylex (formerly Buslogic), especially the MultiMaster
series such as the BT-948 and BT-958 models. I hear nothing but reports
of high levels of satisfaction with such equipment.
Similarly, Matrox has been less than cooperative with the XFree86
Project staff. As you may (or may not) know, freeware Unixes can
use either of two commercial X server families, or the freeware
servers from XFree86. Links follow:
http://www.xfree86.org/ XFree86 Project, Inc.
http://www.xig.com/ Xi Graphics, Inc.
http://www.metrolink.com/ Metrolink, Inc.
Every time a new graphics-engine chip comes out, all three of these
organisations get to work writing X servers to support it. The two
commercial companies have the initial advantage of being able to get
technical information under non-disclosure agreements. Thus, they
often release a supporting X server first. However, the eventual
server from XFree is often faster and more RAM-thrifty, and thus
When a given Linux distribution (such as Red Hat 5.0) comes out, it
will include what is _then_ the latest XFree86 offerings. However,
by the time you wish to buy and install the distribution, XFree86 has
often produced improved servers. Such is the case at present: RH 5.0
incorporates XFree86's 3.3.1 servers, but XFree's current release is
now 3.3.2. This can be a significant difference with bleeding-edge
graphics processors such as the Millenium II.
Thus, if you decide to go ahead with the Millenium II, I would strongly
recommend upgrading XFree manually, after installing RH 5.0.
Additionally, if you buy _Official_ Red Hat 5.0 (the package sold only
by Red Hat Software, itself), you are furnished a copy of the Metrolink
Software "MetroX" server, as an alternative to XFree. This bundle
is cheaper than buying MetroX separately ($99), by the way.
Many people choose video cards on the basis of their rankings in
consumer magazines. Those ratings are based almost entirely on Windows
drivers and Windows-centric benchmarks. Unfortunately, they are thus
almost useless as a indicator of performance on better OSes, where
the robustness and speed of drivers can be of overwhelming importance.
As of half a year ago, when I last considered the question seriously,
I would not have considered any Matrox card, specifically because
their non-Windows driver support was notably poor. At that time, I
would have vastly preferred an Imagine 128 from Number Nine Corporation,
which has (and had) both excellent raw performance and superior driver
support across a broad range of OSes.
At _this_ date, I'm not sure I'd come to the exact same conclusion
(times change), but as a shirt-tail guess, I'd hazard that Matrox
cards would _still_ come up short, for the same reasons as before.
Cheers, The box said "Windows 95, Windows NT
Rick Moen 4.0, or better", so I installed Linux.
rick (at) hugin.imat.com
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