I'm in the market right now for a new video card and my Linux distro of preference is Fedora. Given that Fedora 13 is coming out in a month and GTX 470 cards should be available by then, I was wondering if I could get your opinions (I'm banking on people on this forum keeping abreast of the state of the latest drivers) on which of the two chipsets (AMD HD 5850 or Nvidia GTX 470) I should go with given the current state of graphics drivers for each now and in the weeks to come.
My main purpose for the video card would be to play 3D games with. Are any of the drivers available up-to-snuff with Xorg 1.8? Am I right in assuming that none of the present crop of native Linux games take advantage of OpenGL 4 (so that won't be a requirement)?
catalyst 10.4 will most probably support Xorg 1.8, at least the pre release supports it (pre release packages are available for Ubuntu, Arch Linux and maybe more I think). Probably catalyst 10.4 will be releast in one of the next two weeks.
Its pretty unlikely that you can easily get a GTX 470 before June. I read this german article and it will probably take until at least end of april until there are GTX 480 cards on the marked (in Germany) available.
I think the NVIDIA cards have only a considerable advantage for you, if you want to use tesselation in you games or if you wanna play games with wine (NVDIA support also xorg version ussually a bit earlier than ati). Disadvantages of the NVDIA cards: higher power consumption, higher temperatures, more noisy, much more expensive
I guess my main concern there was whether or not binary drivers for the HD 5850 and GTX 470 would work with Xorg 1.8 in the near future (say, Summer). I've had all Nvidias with Linux for as long as I can remember (from GeForce2's to the 8xxx series) but thought I'd give AMDs a try considering their better hardware, competitive prices and low power consumption. The only reason I haven't in the past was because of poor driver support. My understanding is that the Linux drivers are now nearly up to par with the Windows AMD drivers.
One issue that kept me from purchasing an AMD card this month and the last was that the driver doesn't work with Xorg 1.7 (and the upcoming 1.8). But if, as one of the previous posters said, the next version of the Catalyst driver will work with Xorg 1.8 and will likely be out in the next couple of weeks, then I think I'll go the AMD way.