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ATI or NVIDIA?

Link to this post 30 Aug 09

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?

Link to this post 30 Aug 09

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.

Link to this post 30 Aug 09

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.

Link to this post 31 Aug 09

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?


basically:
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?

Link to this post 31 Aug 09

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.

Link to this post 01 Sep 09

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.

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