Eric on 30 Apr 2009 05:17:29 -0700

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Re: [PLUG] The state of ATI vs. nVidia on Linux

I faced a similar decision right after Christmas when a second widescreen 
monitor arrived in my office.  My system is a Asus mobo with an Athlon X2 4400 
and 4GB of ECC RAM.  OS is Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid).

My video card was made by Diamond Multi Media with an ATI chip.  It never worked 
well with either the ATI binary driver or the open source driver.  Dual monitor 
support only worked with the "standard" driver - but barely.  Acceleration only 
worked with the fglrx driver - but barely.

I bought a "EVGA" brand card (8600 GTS) with an nVidia chip at MicroCenter for 
$82 (with a $40 rebate) and loaded the proprietary drivers.

I'm EXTREMELY happy with the result.

Dual monitors and acceleration are all working with no problems at all.  The 
performance can only be accurately described with terms like "spectacular".

I loaded compiz (for a few desirable UI features) and everything just works 

My conclusion is to buy what works NOW - not based on promises about what will 
work in the future.  If ATI is 100% open source supported and the drivers are 
available - and stable - then I'll think about switching when I build a new 

Good luck with your decision and your new system.


Gordon Dexter wrote:
> I'm preparing a parts list for a new computer.  Among the many decisions 
> I have to make (Core 2 vs Core i7, Gigabyte vs. Asus vs... you know, all 
> that), one stands out as being particularly suited for this list.  I 
> plan on primarily using Linux on the new computer, (probably Ubuntu) and 
> was trying to decide on a graphics card.
> As far as I know:
> *ATI has a really terrible binary blob driver, which is hard to get 
> working and even harder to get working with dual-monitor setups.
> *nVidia has a better binary blob, which I've used in dual-screen setups 
> and it works pretty well
> *nVidia open source drivers are generally lacking.  No 3D support, etc
> *ATI open source drivers are lacking as well, but are being rapidly 
> improved upon with ATI's release of the specs
> In general, what are you choosing these days?  The more principled ATI, 
> since they released their specs?  Or the generally more practical 
> nVidia?  How good are ATI's open source drivers, and how much are they 
> expected to be improved upon in the short- and long-term?
> What would you advise in my case?  I have nothing in particular against 
> binary blob drivers as long as they're easy to get working and they work 
> well.  I consider dual-screen support a must-have.  3D acceleration 
> isn't as important, but still desired.  As much as I love tinkering, I 
> don't have a particular desire to spend hours getting my video to work.  
> What's your advice?
> --Gordon
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#  Eric Lucas
#                "Oh, I have slipped the surly bond of earth
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