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Thread: Which (high end) graphics card to buy?

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  1. #1
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    Default Which (high end) graphics card to buy?

    Hi guys,

    I'm planning to get a new Gaming PC later this year (waiting for new hexa/octa core CPUs to come out). But I definitely need a new graphics card right now (still using my bloody HD2600XT). And therefore I have three questions so far:

    There are differences in benchmarks (from videocardbenchmark.net and tomshardware.com). The first says the Nvidia GTX 580 was superior (even better than the GTX 590?!?!), and tomshardware says the AMD HD 6990 is best, and the GTX 590 is better than the 580. Now which one is really better?

    The next question is: Is it a good idea to buy the card half an year before the rest of the PC? It's likely new GPUs will be released meanwhile, so I'm not sure if it's a big failure to buy the card now, as it would be out of date. On the other hand I'm willing to spend around 500 Euro and the top end cards are more expensive when they are just released. So I still might get one of the current graphics cards. The question is, is there any big reason to not buy the card right now?

    And the final question is: Is AMD really an option regarding the current state of their Linux drivers? It works quite well with my low end graphics card, but will it perform awesome with the new card? I saw some promising Windows/Linux benchmarks here, so I'm not sure about this any more...

    Thank you for your answers!
    Daniel

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spitfire View Post
    Hi guys,

    I'm planning to get a new Gaming PC later this year (waiting for new hexa/octa core CPUs to come out). But I definitely need a new graphics card right now (still using my bloody HD2600XT). And therefore I have three questions so far:

    There are differences in benchmarks (from videocardbenchmark.net and tomshardware.com). The first says the Nvidia GTX 580 was superior (even better than the GTX 590?!?!), and tomshardware says the AMD HD 6990 is best, and the GTX 590 is better than the 580. Now which one is really better?
    Well since you are posting to a linux forum here is the breakdown from a linux perspective. Getting a dual gpu card (nvidia or amd) is a waste of money as far as linux is concerned unless you intend to do some GPGPU work. As it stands right now there is no games out there for linux that come remotely close to pushing the system hard enough to see any kind of performance boost. Almost every game out there for linux will run fine with all eye candy enabled at high resolutions with even a card that is 3 years old. Maybe if Rage comes out for linux there will be an app that will finally raise the bar on system requirements and even then it should run just fine on a single GPU card. Having said all that, you will not find a faster more capable card then the GTX-580 for linux use right now. AMD and Nvidia really don't do much for dual gpu optimizing of their drivers in linux and a single fast GPU will pretty much always trounce on a dual gpu solution in linux. Pretty much all linux games out there are cpu bound right now.

    The next question is: Is it a good idea to buy the card half an year before the rest of the PC? It's likely new GPUs will be released meanwhile, so I'm not sure if it's a big failure to buy the card now, as it would be out of date. On the other hand I'm willing to spend around 500 Euro and the top end cards are more expensive when they are just released. So I still might get one of the current graphics cards. The question is, is there any big reason to not buy the card right now?
    Video cards like harddrives should not really be ever bought before they are ready to use. Besides the fact of losing warranty time for no reason, those parts tend to increase their capabilities very rapidly. Six months from now it is not unreasonable to expect that the parts you are looking at will be cheaper and AMD's and Nvidia's next "kings of the hill" cards to come out. Prices of the top of the line stay relatively static until the next best thing comes out and then the prices of the older "kings" drop.

    And the final question is: Is AMD really an option regarding the current state of their Linux drivers? It works quite well with my low end graphics card, but will it perform awesome with the new card? I saw some promising Windows/Linux benchmarks here, so I'm not sure about this any more...
    After struggling with a 6870 system yesterday with catalyst drivers and a 2.6.39 kernel my personal preference is by far is still nvidia.

  3. #3
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    It is easy to install fglrx with the right script But if i had the choice i would go for a single chip nvidia card. I don't think that multigpu or sli is needed for current games up to full hd res. Dual gpu cards are mainly usefull for benchmarks - or maybe when you really use very high res displays or more than one for gaming. I can not afford a highend nv card, so my fastest card (with dx11) is an ati hd 5670, but i dont use that card all the day, basically it works too, it depends on the distro you use and the apps you want to run if you will like ati on Linux or not. Every card has got some drawbacks. One stupid one for Nvidia is the nvidia-settings tool that wants to write to the xorg.conf for some dual head configurations. Thats especially annoying with a netbook/laptop where you need to change that more often - for a desktop it should not matter that much. Oss drivers are usually better using xrandr but do not provide full performance and features yet. But you dont need to buy ati for oss drivers, nouveau is getting better too (just some firmware issues with absolutely latest cards).

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kano View Post
    It is easy to install fglrx with the right script
    Who said installation was the problem (although it was a pita as well)?

  5. #5
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    Thanks for your posts!

    Ok fine, I'll get a Nvidia card for sure. Just ran into some issues with my current card again. Maybe in 2 or 3 years the ATi drivers are equal to the Windows ones.

    I definitely want a dual GPU card. Sure the current games don't need it, but I do actually play the latest games on Windows. And for the Linux part: I always try to find recent games that perform well with Wine. I'll probably get Starcraft 2 once I received my card, seems to run pretty stable.

    Additionally I will indeed do some GPGPU stuff. For a starter I will read through the pyrit source code, that's some pretty interesting stuff.

    And finally I have hope with the work being done at Valve's (native Linux Steam client) and some other pretty amazing stuff going on in the Linux gaming area. I'm pretty sure I'll have some game(s) that will be able to use the dual GPU unit in the not-so-far future.

    But are you saying the Nvidia binary drivers absolutely lack support of those dual GPU cards? Like the performance is worse than on a single GPU card? Or is it just not ready yet? (If the card is too new, maybe the support will be better in a month or two?) - That saying: Is there a recent GTX-580 vs GTX-590 benchmark on Linux around?

    I really don't want a 580 if the 590 is faster (even if only slightly) as long as it's not _unstable_. I could make use of the dual GPU on Windows (while waiting for proper Linux game titles - OilRush e.g.) and later on Linux, when the drivers are more polished...

    Thanks again,
    Daniel

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spitfire View Post
    But are you saying the Nvidia binary drivers absolutely lack support of those dual GPU cards?
    No they are supported. Just don't expect any performance increases over a single card for anything but GPGPU computing.

    Like the performance is worse than on a single GPU card?
    Yes the performance is worse since net to nothing takes advantage of SLi in linux and the clock speeds are lower in the GTX-590 then they are on the GTX-580. The only exception being GPGPU applications that can utilize both GPU's.

    Or is it just not ready yet? (If the card is too new, maybe the support will be better in a month or two?) - That saying: Is there a recent GTX-580 vs GTX-590 benchmark on Linux around?
    Chicken and the egg thing happening here. There isn't really any demand for SLi optimization in linux because there isn't really anything in linux that needs it so it falls to the bottom of the "things to support" as far as the linux driver team is concerned.

    I really don't want a 580 if the 590 is faster (even if only slightly) as long as it's not _unstable_. I could make use of the dual GPU on Windows (while waiting for proper Linux game titles - OilRush e.g.) and later on Linux, when the drivers are more polished...

    Thanks again,
    Daniel
    Even for Oilrush the GTX-580 is overkill. It is nowhere close to being as demanding as even their Unigine benchmark apps (and even those are cpu limited when a single beefy GPU is used).

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    Just to give you an official response to SLi support in linux.....

    http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/show...98&postcount=3

    Quote Originally Posted by zander
    We've had tentative plans to improve SLI flexibility, configurability and (directly or indirectly through the former) on Linux/etc. for some time, and I still expect those plans will come to fruition at some point. However, for various reasons, I cannot even speculate when that might be. Unfortunately, there's a lot of higher-priority work that SLI improvements take a back seat to.

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