my old PC had a nvidia 8800 GTS, and that was working nicely with Linux for years.
Now I have an Ivy bridge i7-3370 with a wonderful open source driver.
the truth is I can't play anymore very simple games like the one in the humble indie bundle (Trine 2 and Shank for example).
and due to the S3TC issue, I find it easier to install & configure nividia binary blob than intel driver.

So nvidia has closed source driver which is bad, but at least you can play 3D games with it.