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Thread: Any Arch users advice on choosing a graphics card..?

  1. #1
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    Default Any Arch users advice on choosing a graphics card..?

    Hi there

    I am planning on a new rig based on Intel i5-750. Any suggestions on whether to go the NVIDIA way or try ATI..? I have read that while ATI offers better specs and the like, NVIDIA still has better support for linux.

    Since I will be using Arch Linux any Archers' advice on this would be of immense help to me.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    roughly speaking, ATI currently has the better hardware (faster, less power draw) and is more Open Source friendly (offering specs, developing drivers), but when you compare the binary drivers nvidia's are still better.

    However, the question is: what are you going to use the card for? simple 2d work, compositing, 3d apps, native games, wine games, dual-booting to windows, watching videos, watching HD videos, ...?

    The best choice of card and driver differs depending on your usage.

  3. #3
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    nVidia's binary driver is very good as far as binary drivers go. If you are not bothered by binary drivers (and the poor integration with certain other parts of the system, like the lack of proper xrandr, still needing xorg.conf, etc.), it is a good choice, from a technical perspective.

    ATi is better if you want a really open system, as they publish specs and also support open source drivers. But be careful -- the HD5xxx generation still does not have functioning 2D and 3D acceleration -- it is coming soon, but no final dates.

    For all other ATi cards, the open drivers are surprisingly stable, have great 2D, decent 3D up to OpenGL 2.1 (enough for casual gaming, but not a speed demon), KMS, and the final powersaving bits are falling into place as we speak. I am personally very happy with them.

    ATi also has a binary driver, which is quite full-featured and fast, but full of minor annoyances which make it particularly hated among the userbase. Apparently, they have been putting their act together recently, but it's still not as reliable as the nVidia blob.

    The good thing about arch is that you can use bleeding edge open source drivers with very little effort, so if the current level is sufficient for you, it might be a good choice.

  4. #4
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    if you are a linux user. Choose ATI. If you are a windows user using linux, you might be happy with nvidia.
    But apart from their non-existing support for opensource drivers, do you really want to support a company renaming hardware to rip of customers? 330 anyone? Or blackmails reviewers? Or lies to investors, oems and people stupid enough to buy a laptop with nvidia graphics?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by energyman View Post
    do you really want to support a company renaming hardware to rip of customers? 330 anyone? Or blackmails reviewers? Or lies to investors, oems and people
    Enough about intel...

  6. #6
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    Or lies to investors, oems and people stupid enough to buy a laptop with nvidia graphics?
    And apple, no?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by curaga View Post
    And apple, no?
    Pretty much every corporation does rebrands including AMD /HP / Dell etc.

  8. #8
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    As the GTX 465 is much slower but nearly as expensive as a GTX 470 maybe get a GTX 470, but that's not for budget card users

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by energyman View Post
    if you are a linux user. Choose ATI. If you are a windows user using linux, you might be happy with nvidia.
    But apart from their non-existing support for opensource drivers, do you really want to support a company renaming hardware to rip of customers? 330 anyone? Or blackmails reviewers? Or lies to investors, oems and people stupid enough to buy a laptop with nvidia graphics?
    Sometimes, you have no choice. I thought it was the other way around, if you're a Linux user, get a Nvidia card. If you dual boot Windows, get ATI.

    With all the specific-distro forums, that's what they tend to say, generally.

    I still don't know how you or others justify this recommendation to choose an ATI card. I want to, but the constant 'this fails' from ATI card owners suggests otherwise. Even with the FOSS drivers, 2D is stated to give tearing or other issues. Definitely with fglrx and 3D is good but not good for gaming in Linux. The newest Evergreen don't have open source drivers yet so the binary driver bugs are what you get.

    Nvidia's worst aspect is everything is closed. Of course, that is a problem but when the other alternative doesn't have signicant support, what option do you have?

    I've gone to the Ubuntu, OpenSUSE and Fedora forums and the consensus seems to be 'not much choice but to go with Nvidia.' That's because the ATI support is 1) slow and 2) they don't care. Resources aren't there (because they don't care).

  10. #10
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    In theory they care, but mainly the oss devs, for R800 this is still at the beginning stage and of course you lose many features of gaming gpus. fglrx is way behind, especially when you know that xvba was there BEFORE vdpau and it still does not work fully correctly - and for R800 it seems to do just nothing usefull at all. Of course GTX 465/470 are not htpc cards, but you can expect that opengl 4 will work better than with fglrx.

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