It is hard to go past an Nvidia G210 for general purpose Linux work. I have three and all are Gainward GeForce 210 with 512mb. I paid a measly $40 each for the cards. They are passively cooled thus absolutely silent. If you run 32bit they also support hardware flash acceleration with the Nvidia driver. The Nvidia driver also supports power saving functions. I have a Mini-ITX motherboard with an Intel i3 2120, 8GB DDR3, the G210, an Antec 80Plus certified power supply and a WD Green 2Tb HDD. For 98% of the time the whole box only pulls 44w. The power draw is the same using the onboard Intel Graphics HD2000 so the Nvidia board is very efficient.
And the G210 runs Gnome3 without any issues.
The G210 suits my purpose perfectly and is definitely worth consideration.
You might as well go with a GT-520 then. They come in passive versions as well and a better vdpau implementation.
let's have a look on : Appendix H. VDPAU Support (readme from nvidia drivers)
NVIDIA GPU product Device PCI ID* VDPAU features
GeForce G210 0x0A60 C
GeForce GT 520 0x1040 D
GPUs with VDPAU feature set C or D support at least the following VdpDecoderProfile values :
bla bla blabla..... : Complete acceleration.
Yes better vdpau support. The vdpau feature set D is capable of decoding 4K x 2K videos. This means that the existing dual stream acceleration for 1080p videos of previous vdpau feature sets has now been bumped up to quad stream acceleration. The vdpau decoder on the GT510 can also handle streams up to 110 Mbit @ 1080P60Hz without breaking a sweat.
I think we can safely say that any new low end Nvidia card will work very well for general Linux use.
My G210s play SD AVI full screen on a 1920x1080 monitor smoothly with zero tearing. They also play full screen YouTube videos smoothly with zero tearing. I also have low end ATI cards and they just do not play video as well using open source or FGLRX drivers.
If I was rebuilding my HTPC then you have me convinced to move up to a GT520 for the extra $16 as long as it is passively cooled - which some are. But I still would not pull out a perfectly working G210 for what is a minor performance increase that has no real world advantage.
g210 has got some problems with 1080p50+, but is it not that common for movies, some hd cams can record that however and if you use it it would be better to use something with a better decoder. there will be no commercial movie that will use those specs in the near future. I tried 1080p50 but did not see so much quality improvements so i set a hd cam to use 50i instead (to record much longer). its something you can use when your sd cards/hds are too empty
That Asus card is the one I have in all my HTPC's now Panix. No issues at all with them and they are ideally suited for HTPC use.
Thanks! Looks like a purely HTPC card. No real gaming capabilities whatsoever. I guess that's ok. I was looking in a used gtx 460 for $100 but when they come up, they get gobbled up quickly. Other used ones, ppl are asking for way too much.
I wanted a versatile card to do both but I might give up on that and just buy a HTPC and use it for video for the time being. I mostly use the card for that and for programs that don't need overly powerful cards (at least, not ones that utilize capabilities required for gaming). Want to try apps like Blender, GIMP, Cinelerra and others.