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Thread: ATI or Nvidia?

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  1. #1
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    Default ATI or Nvidia?

    It's been a while since I've been following which binary drivers (and their cards) have the best performance under Linux. I've been a die-hard ATI/AMD fan for a long time, but last I heard (which was over a year ago) ATI had really fallen behind in the 3D support under Linux. Is this still the case? I am interested in AIGLX and XGL... which one of these is best support and by which driver/card combo?

  2. #2
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    Personally, I've had nothing but trouble and headaches with previous ATI cards, so my suggestion is to stay as far away from them as possible. I know some will say "but hey, they're improving constantly etc.", but fact of the matter is NVIDIA is still lightyears ahead of them in both speed and ease of installation.

  3. #3

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    Well, you want AIGLX so at this very moment you would need to use NVIDIA or the open-source Radeon driver for R200/R300 graphics.

    At this time you would also want NVIDIA if you are after pure frame-rate in gaming. The image quality for the Radeon X1000 series has absolutely no problems under Linux.

    I don't really think there is a installation problem with the fglrx drivers. Except for a few scenarios where you get a few problems, the installation is easier than NVIDIA's installer. NVIDIA's installer also has a few problems of its own.

    You may also want to keep in mind when upgrading the rumors of AMD open-sourcing parts of the driver.

    If you have any other questions just post, and I am sure many others will also share their opinions.

  4. #4

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    Short answer, nVidia.

    Long answer, you have to see what you are after with your graphics card. I agree with Michael's assessment but I'd rather not think about AMD open-sourcing drivers because rumors are rumors and should be treated with a grain of salt. But, if you are going to chose ATi, you might consider checking out the R200 cards as the hardware support is quite good. It's even easier to setup than nVIDIA's own drivers.

    As far as newer ATi hardware goes, you're out of luck with the framerates.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by niniendowarrior View Post
    I agree with Michael's assessment but I'd rather not think about AMD open-sourcing drivers because rumors are rumors and should be treated with a grain of salt.
    Indeed. It's naught but a rumor right at the moment and I don't see that changing from my perspective... We'll just have to see, won't we? (But I'm not holding MY breath for it- I look terrible in blues and purples...)

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Svartalf View Post
    Indeed. It's naught but a rumor right at the moment and I don't see that changing from my perspective... We'll just have to see, won't we? (But I'm not holding MY breath for it- I look terrible in blues and purples...)
    I agree about not holding your (or my own) breath. I'm buying one of the 8800 series cards (cheapest one I can find) since the benchmarks I've found all show a huge increase in performance with these cards (most likely a GTS version though to save as much money as possible). Although I've put together a couple of desktop computers for family and friends, it's been years since I've had a desktop of my own... I feel good about spending the needed money after waiting so long.
    Last edited by joshuapurcell; 11-15-2006 at 12:21 AM.

  7. #7
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    Hopefully this is not thread hi-jacking

    I have an Asus P5W DH board which has 2x16x PCI-e slots. When I built the computer, I bought an X1900XT 256MB card, and I am for the most part very happy with it. I enjoy CS:S, so I would like to have decent performance, but I have to agree that Nvidia works better on Linux. My question is this: How difficult would it be if I decided to keep my ATI for the main card and used my 2nd slot ONLY for Linux? It would be easy to disable the Nvidia 2nd slot card in Windows, but I'm not sure how I would go about setting up the Xorg config file. Anyone tried this or see a problem with it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by afterburntdw View Post
    Hopefully this is not thread hi-jacking

    I have an Asus P5W DH board which has 2x16x PCI-e slots. When I built the computer, I bought an X1900XT 256MB card, and I am for the most part very happy with it. I enjoy CS:S, so I would like to have decent performance, but I have to agree that Nvidia works better on Linux. My question is this: How difficult would it be if I decided to keep my ATI for the main card and used my 2nd slot ONLY for Linux? It would be easy to disable the Nvidia 2nd slot card in Windows, but I'm not sure how I would go about setting up the Xorg config file. Anyone tried this or see a problem with it?
    You have to physically disable the card in the "first" PCIe slot or else you will not see anything on the monitor until the OS loads the GPU drivers. Before that, the BIOS determines the graphics adapter to output the boot-up screens on.

    If I were you, just install the ATi Linux drivers and use the x1900XT under Linux. The drivers are pretty decent- I run an x1900GT under Gentoo 2006.1 AMD64 and am happy with it. Or else you can always just run the ATi card with the generic 2D "radeon" driver. You do not need to get another card to use Linux on your box and I think that it would not be the panacea you seek.

  9. #9
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    The whole idea of ATI/AMD open-sourcing their graphics drivers is almost enough for me to wait around. But I remember a couple of years ago how much ATI had to go in catching up with Nvidia on Linux 3D video performance... it doesn't sound like it's changed much in this amount of time. I may be buying my first Nvidia card this year.

  10. #10

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    ATI has quickly caught up when it comes to features (e.g. dynamic display management, aticonfig, PowerPlay, etc....) but they still lack when it comes to performance. The installer is likely much better as well since the last time you looked at them.

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