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Thread: Best Integrated GPU for Linux

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    18

    Default Best Integrated GPU for Linux

    Hey all, long time reader, first time poster

    I've been using Linux (as a Windows replacement) on-and-off for a few years now, but recently I've been considering upgrading one of my machines to very Linux friendly hardware (no binary drivers / etc).

    The machine wouldn't be used for gaming, only simple desktop work (likely with compositing) and using XBMC or the likes for watching movies and such (unlikely HD stuff though), so 2D speed is the most important thing.

    I've been considering going down the integrated GPU route as the machine will likely be online 24/7 and as such I'm looking for low power usage / heat too.

    I'd originally planned to build a system using an Intel GMA X4500/HD but I'm unsure as to how well the Intel GPU's can handle compiz and displaying video when using a composited desktop.

    Support for dual monitors is important too as I'd like to use my large Dell screen for watching media and extending my desktop to when I need more room. One screen is a 20" Viewsonic (1600x1200), the other is a 27" Dell (1920x1200).

    So I guess my question is, which would be better for my needs. An Intel board with either the G3x or G4x chipset (GMA X3xxx or GMA X4xxx), or perhaps an AMD chipset with an ATi GPU? Are the open source drivers even capable of displaying an OpenGL application in a composited desktop? Obviously shutting down Compiz just to run XBMC would be a little tedious :P

    Many thanks for taking the time to read this.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    403

    Default

    Until DRI2 makes it into drivers no card will be *really* good at displaying video on a composited desktop.

    Older (r500) ATI cards are pretty good at compositing and opengl works to some degree in a composited environment.

    I would recommend not getting an integrated ATI chip, as they tend to be not well supported. Get a discrete chip insted.

    My gut feeling is, if you're looking for reliability and don't care as much about high performance, Intel IGPs are the way to go. I would think the newer Intel chips ought to do fine with compiz and video (at least as much as any chip until DRI2 makes it)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    California, USA
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    Default

    I'd build this thing with DRI2 in mind, as even a GMA 950 should be able to handle video. In fact, I did video under composite by using the X11/Xshm driver on my old machine.

    So I would go with a GMA 4500MHD.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    18

    Default

    Thank you both for your input. I was thinking of something along these lines; please bear in mind the machine will be used solely for web / email, compiz, video within mplayer or the likes and something like xbmc for use as a media centre.

    Celeron E1400
    Asus or Gigabyte G45 motherboard
    Corsair 2GB DDR2

    I'm sure I read somewhere that the existing problems with flickering video is due to the shortcomings of DRI and that DRI2 will correct these with time, which I can live with. As I said in my first post though, disabling desktop compositing just to launch XMBC (which is an OpenGL app) would be inconvenient.

    Although AMD / ATi have made great strides on the open source side of things, the Intel cards seem to be what I'm after, I'm just unsure of any shortcomings with them (I've exclusively used nvidia under Linux in the past) and I don't want any nasty surprises after I've shelled out money for the hardware

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Austria
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    Default

    You should really opt for a Pentium Dual Core at least; don't touch Celerons these days.

  6. #6
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    Aug 2007
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    Well thats true, those are much faster, there is even a new one out there: E5200 with 2.5 GHz.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Kano View Post
    Well thats true, those are much faster, there is even a new one out there: E5200 with 2.5 GHz.
    Thanks, I didn't realise they were based off of the Core architecture as opposed to the NetBurst one; I thought it was the other way around :P

    After much reading about I've found that you can indeed use an OpenGL application on a composited desktop but that there is problems with the layering of such windows because of the limitations of DRI1. Even then, I don't think it'd be an issue as I can live with it knowing that DRI2 and the associated code that will come with it will make things much better

    Thank you all for your help. I'm fairly set in mind what I'm looking at buying now and I've learned a lot in the process.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Linuxland
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    The Pentium E2xxx are very good. Like Tom's found out over a year ago, they're extremely overclockable. I built my current system based on that, and my E2160 (sold as 1.8Ghz) is running great at 3Ghz with nothing else OC'd, to be on the safe side.

    My temps have never gone over 55C, to reach even that I needed 8 hours of cpuburn-in or 2h of GCC stress-testing.

    Don't take a Celeron if you can avoid it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by curaga View Post
    The Pentium E2xxx are very good. Like Tom's found out over a year ago, they're extremely overclockable. I built my current system based on that, and my E2160 (sold as 1.8Ghz) is running great at 3Ghz with nothing else OC'd, to be on the safe side.

    My temps have never gone over 55C, to reach even that I needed 8 hours of cpuburn-in or 2h of GCC stress-testing.

    Don't take a Celeron if you can avoid it.
    I placed an order this morning for the following:

    Intel DG45ID G45 Express Motherboard
    2GB Corsair PC6400 DDR2 RAM
    E2180 Pentium Dual Core CPU

    The other components I will have left over from the machine this is replacing.

    Thanks again to everyone for the great input and bring on DRI2

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    6,607

    Default

    Well E2180 is still 65 nm, therefore I mentioned the E5200 with 45 nm.

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