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Ante Posts: 3

I'm about to buy a brand new spanking video card for my same-old-brand-new rig

I just wanted to ask which company supports linux drivers better.

So far I'm on the list for the next batch of 4770s in my local store.

but should I go with nvidia?


  • bofhorg
    bofhorg Posts: 11
    It depends: if you want a completely opensource solution, go for the ATI board; the ATI opensource video drivers are *much* more mature than the opensource nvidia drivers. Mind, neither opensource driver works good enough in my opinion.
    If you want to allow closed source software being installed, go for NVIDIA. their video driver is imho very good especially compared to ATI's fglrx driver.
    I don't know what distro you're running, but opensuse for instance has community repo's (say, online installation trees) which provide the right driver for your rig automatically.
    To sum it up: if you want to game,use 3d graphics, want nice desktop effects etc, go for an nvidia board with closed source drivers. if you want to live in 2D land and hate big corporations, go for ATI with the opensource drivers.
  • Goineasy9
    Goineasy9 Posts: 1,114
    I still buy nvidia for my new boxes, while proprietary, their drivers (binary blobs) are the easiest to install. Right now I'm using the Open Source nouveau driver on one of my Fedora installs and am pleasantly pleased with the way that project has progressed.
    ATI on the other hand (if you read the assorted distro forums) is problematic in Linux. The fglrx install method in Debian is hit or miss, and the fedora forums are full of ATI driver install problems.
    Intel, which has been quite solid in Linux, has recently had problems because of a rewrite of their drivers. Setting the correct graphics acceleration method is a bit tricky at the moment, but their new drivers are suppose to fix the problems, at least I hope so, because I bought a Dell Studio 17 with Intel graphics and I'd like to see their 3D effects stable again.

    All in all, I'd vote for nvidia.
  • Ante
    Ante Posts: 3
    I'm not too icky with allowing closed source thingamajigs in my machine

    ATI prices are lower compared to NVIDIA cards with the same power.
    the 4670 is like 20USD cheaper than the 9600GT
    although with what you guys have been saying, the GTS 250 green edition from Palit is about the same price as the 4770 here in my parts.

    I still switch to and from windows. I think you're not gonna stone me to death if I say gaming in linux is :dry:
    and heck, I paid for that windows license, might as well use it, no?

    windows=gaming session
    linux = everything else.

    I guess the most graphic intensive thing I'm doing in linux is watching subbed anime.
    my onboard video memory makes my video playback stutter...

    did what I say make any sense, and does that change your opinion on what I should get?
  • As other have said, if you don't care about the closed nature of the nvidia drivers, then go nvidia. fglrx (ati) is a pain and you will always live in troubleland with them. Ati is usually lacking a couple of kernel versons behind most of the time as well, and they get worse if you have a multiple head setup.

    Ati can be an option if you plan to use an older card, for r5xx based cards and below, 3d acceleration works out of the box with the OSS driver, so you don't depend on fglrx to get 3d. But all the newer cards are based on r6xx and r7xx chips. There's a branch in the git repository of the radeon driver that have some preliminar support for 3d acceleration, and some people are even using it for some purposes right now, but it's highly experimental stuff and you can only expect pain from them unless you enjoy testing and reporting bugs.

    So, the 3d support is coming soon for the ati radeon open source driver, but *right now* nvidia has better support if you don't mind using a close source driver.
  • woboyle
    woboyle Posts: 501
    Even though ATI open source drivers are better than the open source ones for nvidia, the nvidia proprietary drivers are FAR superior to anything available on Linux for ATI cards. They have made a real effort to provide serious support for Linux and the drivers are first class. For this reason alone I usually recommend nVidia boards for serious Linux graphics needs. Yes, they are, on average a bit more expensive, but not seriously so.
  • Ante
    Ante Posts: 3
    well, I don't think I do anything intense in linux.

    general web browsing, openoffice, etc...

    are the available drivers for ATI good enough?

    I have my eye on the 4670 from ATI, budget constraints...:S
  • No the ATi drivers are not good enough to use at this point in time. The open source driver only has support for 2D and the propitary does not have support for compositing. That meaning if you want to play any game or use an application that uses OpenGL you will have to turn of your flashy compiz desktop. And if you're running Gnome you will very soon find that Gnome is totally worthless without Compiz.

    So take it from me who bought an ATi HD4850 about a half year ago when my nVidia card broke. Do not buy ATi if you want to use Linux in an efficient way.
  • Goineasy9
    Goineasy9 Posts: 1,114
    Ahh, Geez. Not to start a flame war, but my Gnome works perfectly fine without compiz. Stable and fully functional. Eye candy may be functional for some, but it gets in my way. Especially when playing with stock charts, level II's, multiple twitter feeds etc.. Everyone uses Linux differently, that's what choice is all about.
  • Am I missing something or can you set Gnome to switch desktops when you drag windows off the edge of one desktop or can you switch desktops by scrolling the background like in KDE?

    I'm a Gnome user by default but I must say that 3.5 is great as less resource-taking UI and that 4.3 feels better than the previous 4.X versions.
  • Goineasy9
    Goineasy9 Posts: 1,114
    I have dual 22" screens, so I never really need to drag across workspaces, but, I can right click on the panel and move whatever windows I want to the next workspace easily. So, you drag, I right click, I still have no need for compiz. :)
  • The ati radeon cards have long been the best gaming graphics cards money can buy.
    Both the nvidia and the ati proprietary Linux drivers break quite frequently and if you update and run current, you find yourself on the back foot on occasions in relation to kernel updates.

    The truth is that the newer nvidia cards have reasonable non free Linux drivers but older nvidia cards have none that work any more. It seems that nvidia just drop Linux support when they can't be bothered any more. So bare in mind that if you buy nvidia, they may decide to stop releasing a working proprietary driver for your card in three or four years time.

    Neither of the free versions of the nvidia and ati Linux drivers have proper 3d support yet, so it's utterly useless at this point to buy a powerful card and try to use those drivers.

    I say don't bother with ati or nvidia for maybe two years until the opensource drivers gain 3d support.
    It's a well known fact that the Intel graphics drivers are the best among the xorg drivers and although the hardware is slightly underpowered in comparison to ati or nvidia's offerings, built in Intel graphics are your best choice right now. They are actively developed, support 3d and also open source. That means no messing.
  • jdep
    jdep Posts: 1
    I would always buy NVidia....just better than ATI in my opinion.

    I had a compaq desktop with ATI and it was horrible...switched to NVidia and will never go back.
  • I've never had too big of issues with NVIDIA.
  • Goineasy9
    Goineasy9 Posts: 1,114
    While Open Source Radeon drivers are more advanced than the Open Source nv or nouveau drivers, they still leave a lot to be desired. If using closed source drivers, stay with nvidia, at least for now.
  • I have a Dell 1501 Laptop, with an ATI IPG Xpress 1150, and it doesn't play well with most distro's. I can only install Centos and Ubuntu so far. I managed Suzie for a bit, but then I got the gray multiple colored lined screen, and couldnt do anything. So now I run Ubuntu because if does run pretty good on it.

    I have tried Fedora, Mandriva, no luck...I would go with Nvidia based on my experiance with my laptop..


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