Radeon and Blender - Current Status?

I keep getting mixed messages about Radeon Cards’ compatibility with Blender. One place says it works fine now, others say it still stinks, and a few threads ago someone suggested needing to flash a BIOS. I’ve had bad experiences with that.

Basically, I’m building a new computer and am looking for a good mid-priced card and was heavily leaning towards the Radeon 4850 or 4870. If it requires severe tweaking or especially if it doesn’t work well at all with Blender, it’s a bit of a deal-breaker.

So I want to know, what’s the current status of Radeon cards’ compatibility with Blender?

I put a 4870 x2 in my recently built system, being under the impression that the driver problems had been resolved. But after noticing a few minor issues, I swapped it out for a GeForce … you might want to do the same.

I read it’s kind of a hit or miss depending on the model. If you do have issues it will probably be minor random things. The blender foundation makes their software to support even the most obscure operating systems, it’s ironic that they have driver issues with essentially half the video cards in the world. I would have thought those issues would have been resolved too.

If your serious with blender then it’s probably worth it to go with an nvidia card. The crappy part is that the 4870 is currently the best card in that price range (you can get that card new for 135 on newegg). The geforce equivelant would be the GTX 260 and it can be found for 170$. Perhaps you can move up or down a price bracket to get the best card for your money with nvidia.

These problems are not with Blender, but with ATI’s implementation of OpenGL in it’s drivers.

Im on a sapphire 4870, after flashing the bios with their provided bios and bat files, which was quite easy, and covered under warranty, i’m not experiencing any problems :slight_smile:

Does ATi have issues with all 3d apps or just Blender?

I’m not sure … some apps are or can be set to use hardware acceleration, and another option some (all?) have is to use DirectX for software acceleration. Since Blender uses OpenGL, and not just for the 3D view but the entire GUI, any issues are going to be very obvious and problematic.

Blender is using an outdated and not to be updated api (that is wrapped a few times by own layers…).

DirectX is hardware accelerated too, not software acceleration. Just another api.

The problem is entirely Blender’s, regardless whose ‘fault’ this is.

Thanks for the help so far - though I can see there’s slight controversy even within this topic. I’m particular about my video memory (I want at least 1 GB) and I’d rather not shoot up $100 in price to get an equivalent NVidia. Blender compatibility is pretty important for me right now, since I was recently “elected by skill” to be a game’s primary modeller.

I’m thinking probably a GeForce 250 GTS right now, especially if the Radeon has issues with openGL in general - afterall, that’s what the game will be running in, too! Good decision, or anyone else want throw their 2 cents in? (I’d love to hear that the Radeon’s drivers soon start liking OpenGL, but I certainly don’t want to be fed incorrect information.) :wink:

Some of my statements are based on limited experience/knowledge … back when I used Max, it gave the options of ‘accelerating’ (wrong term?) the 3D viewports using OpenGL, DirectX, or ‘hardware’.

On the ATI driver issues, I may have been misinformed … but whatever lack there may be in Blender’s OpenGL implementation, my question is: Why doesn’t this affect nVidia users?

I have been working with 3d apps for a long time now, and for years I was an ATI fan. However, during that time, depending on the specific app running, I encountered all kinds of problems with ATI’s consumer OpenGL drivers. My experience with PMG Messiah was horrible, for example. It seemed to be a hit and miss affair for the most part depending on the app in question, even forcing me at one time to install patched FireGL drivers to make it work.

Mind, I do admit that these problems may be circumvented by the software developers (Cinema4D had no problems whatsoever), but fact of life is that Nvidia’s consumer OpenGL drivers are generally superior to ATI’s - at least for serious 3d work.

So for my latest rig I built (last January) I bought a Nvidia 280GTX card - and never regretted this move (I used ATI for 9 years). Not only are the OpenGL drivers much more reliable, CUDA speeds up some of my software as well (such as 3dCoat - awesome). Everything just feels more stable now - all the apps that ran into trouble while running on ATI’s OpenGL drivers, now work without a hitch. Adobe’s software seems to run better too.

Although it pains me to say this (I am still a big fan of ATI; David against Goliath thing), If you intend to work with a lot of 3d animation packages/utilities, go for Nvidia.

Blender is using some outdated OpenGL api calls that are badly and faulty implemented by ATI drivers. As they are so old they won’t be fixed by the manufacturer, as no other product is using them anymore. Blender seems to be using them still because they are buried deep in (backwards-)compatibility layers and can’t be exchanged that easily.

The drivers are faulty for years. It has been clear - for years - that they won’t be fixed just to support one application while every other application works with ATI drivers quite well.

So… when Blender is a must, don’t risk to buy ATI. So this free software forces you to buy higher priced hardware… not free like in “free beer” in this case.

Thank you very much, everyone. NVidia it is. For my purposes at least, this thread is closed.

Well, now to make me look like an idiot, I am going to “reopen” this topic, though get a little off topic.

I have the notion that Blender likes it’s video RAM, though I may be incorrect in that. In your opinion would a GTX 260 with 1792 MB of vRam be better or worse for this application than a GTX 280 with only 1 GB? It’s the exact same price and I haven’t found many comparisons beween these two types of cards, so I’m somewhat at a loss.