I've recently graduated from college with a broadcast and multimedia production degree. As of late I have been receiving commissions for corporate video productions, audio presentations, etc. and got to thinking of my non-linear editing desktop.

After compiling my own kernel with the latest stable version from the Linux Kernel Archives I have now built a bloody fast rig for multimedia production. My reasoning for building my own kernel rather than going with a prebuilt or stock version is because Debian GNU/Linux's out-of-the-box "Wheezy" Nouveau kernel implementation requires GRUB hand-hacking to boot properly with my GTX 550 Ti.

In terms of software I use Blender, kdenlive (possibly Lightworks if it is released under a Free Software license), Ardour, and other non-linear editing software to accomplish my projects. Blender and Kdenlive have proven to be quite GPU intensive (as well as Ardour when I have many compressors and plugins working concurrently). I am also thinking of taking up CAD work (e.g. LibreCad or FreeCad) for fun which I know to be very stressful on a discrete card.

Since I am using my GNU/Linux machine for professional work rather than gaming, should I switch to a workstation GPU from NVIDIA or AMD over my consumer grade GeForce card?

As I am a diehard Free Software supporter, I prefer the Nouveau driver over the proprietary offering from NVIDIA; this also applies to an AMD solution. Is it possible to use a professional card on GNU/Linux using a Free Software GPU driver?

Here are my workstation specifications:

  • Running Debian GNU/Linux x86-64 "Wheezy"
  • AMD Phenom II X4 960T overclocked @ 3.4GHz and unlocked as a Hex Core
  • GIGABYTE AM3 GA-MA78LMT-S2 motherboard
  • 8GB DDR3 RAM
  • ASUS NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti

Thank you in advance for any assistance you may offer me in this matter.