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-   -   Best low end graphics card for linux? (

switch007 02-11-2005 04:00 PM

Best low end graphics card for linux?
What low end graphics card works best with linux, as in out of the box, Fedora/Mandrake/Debian, or a perticular brand? XFree86/X11 doesnt like the card i have now, just want a good second hand one or a new one for a 733 celeron box. Wont be playing games or anything...just a GUI.

Thanks in advance :)

IsaacKuo 02-11-2005 04:12 PM

Try a cheap low end Radeon 7000. It'll work fine even with the generic "vesa" driver.

If you have an AGP slot, go ahead and get an AGP version rather than a PCI version. Even AGP 1x is twice as fast as PCI, which will make the GUI that much more responsive.

switch007 02-11-2005 04:13 PM

Thank you :)

vectordrake 02-11-2005 07:08 PM

What kind of card do you have now?

reddazz 02-11-2005 07:38 PM

If you want to use 3d, go for an Nvidia based graphics card. Nvidia drivers are a lot easier to install than ATI's (just do an ATI search on this site and you'll get my point).

switch007 02-12-2005 04:04 AM


I have a Rendition Verite at the moment, vectordrake

vectordrake 02-12-2005 05:17 AM

So you are quite limited with that card, I see. I was going to suggest working with what you have, but that one is only supported by the svga server. If you want cheap and functional, look at the computer shops around you (or pawn shops) and see if you can pick up used a rage pro turbo or a voodoo card. You should be able to for a dollar or two (or equivalent currency). Another fairly well- supported chipset is one of the TNT2 or Gforce cards from Nvidia.

webtoe 02-12-2005 05:39 AM

intel and via chips are usually well supported and dirt cheap (they're supposed to). Usually they are on the motherboard but there are some manurfacturers who sell cards with them. If you live in England, go to Maplin Electronics and you should be able to find them easily for a bit.

Then again, if you can find an old radeon, go for them.


IsaacKuo 02-12-2005 08:42 AM

He said he didn't need 3d graphics. An Ati Radeon 7000 is quite good, AND will get out-of-box 3d graphics with the open source driver. There's no need to download Ati's official drivers--I never have, and I have plenty of 3d performance for my needs (not a heavy gamer).

When it comes to the easy newbie out-of-box experience, a low end Radeon is a better experience than an nVidia card. Also, a Radeon gives you the ability to run at an almost flickerless 2048x1536i @85hz, even if your monitor only officially supports 1024x768@85hz! You can't do that with nVidia (not until someday nVidia finally supports interlace modes on Linux).

I'm personally use a Radeon 7000 in my main workstation and a Radeon 7200 in my HTPC. In both cases, lack of interlace support is the reason why my nVidia card is just sitting in its original box for now.

As it is, hopping around distributions has made me appreciate my use of Ati Radeons even more. Not having to worry about installing a video card driver after an install is rather pleasant.

reddazz 02-12-2005 10:26 PM

I think you are just pro ATI. Most Linux folk will disagree with you that ATI is better than Nvidia on Linux. Anyway everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

IsaacKuo 02-13-2005 05:09 AM

I'm not saying that Ati cards are better for experienced Linux users, or that they're better for Linux gamers.

However, low end Ati cards are honestly better for a newbie. When it comes to the out-of-box experience, the quality of the open source driver is the determining factor. Here, low end Ati cards win hands down. You get very good hardware support out-of-box with Ati. You don't get very good hardware support out-of-box with nVidia.

Perhaps because Ati was so slow at supporting Linux, the open source Ati driver is really good. In comparison, the open source nVidia driver is little better than just using the generic vesa driver.

As it is, there are some other advantages to Radeons which unfortunately nVidia can't match even with the official commercial Linux drivers. It's maddening, because nVidia's windows drivers CAN do interlaced modes! Low end Ati cards can do intrlaced modes even with the generic vesa driver!

In any case, the whole anti-Ati prejudice within the Linux community is really ridiculousy overblown. The imperfect 3d graphics support only matters to gamers, and if you're into Linux for 3d gaming you should have your head examined.

amosf 02-13-2005 06:37 AM

Poop. The facts are that the generic built in drivers for nvidia cards work very well for 2D. The other truth is that the binary download nvidia drivers work very much better for 2D and 3D. If you want a modern video card for linux then nvidia is the primary choice - sure, not the only choice. You may find the binary driver is very handy even if you are not a gamer. You will find the binary driver very necessary for 3D gaming.

IsaacKuo can come and examine my head as much as he likes, but I'll still game in stable linux anytime over gaming in unstable windows.

Until ATI get their finger out with some good working drivers, linux people will continue to avoid their product. Actually it's too late. They missed it for me several years ago whil nvidia was already producing the drivers for their cards...

It's nice for someone to have an Ati bias for some reason. I have an nvidia bias for a reason - ie they have supported linux for quite some time now. Ati was a bit slow... My bum. They didn't bother supporting linux for many years while nvidia did support linux for many years. Pretty simple really.

As for the original poster. Get an nvidia card. Any of them, they are all goo for what you want, and cheap. tnt2m64, geforce 1 2 3 4 or FX, etc... One driver fits all...

robthebob 02-13-2005 06:43 AM


I'll still game in stable linux anytime over gaming in unstable windows.
Not to be contentious, but my Windows system has been running 24/7 since last October.

webtoe 02-13-2005 06:59 AM

Now now, before we have a flame war lets bring this discussion to a close.

As with most hardware under linux, the older stuff is usually better supported by open source drivers. This is due to longer development times and more hardware availible to developers at a chearper price.

For newer hardware there are open source developments under way (usually) and they progress at varying speeds and perform at varying levels of acceptibility. For example, 3d is usually a lower priority than 2d and may be implemented better in some drivers than others.

For ATi and NVidia they have both started producing binary drivers for the linux community. Because NVidia released them first, they have managed to remove most of the installation problems and produced relatively stable drivers.

ATi was a bit late in the game with their newer cards and this is where a lot of people have problems with them.

You'll have to guage what you really want from a card. If in doubt, take a look at the opinions and see what suits you best. If you're not doing anything taxing just stick to cheap and cheerful cards.

Hope that's a good enough summary


amosf 02-13-2005 07:16 AM


Originally posted by robthebob
Not to be contentious, but my Windows system has been running 24/7 since last October.
Are we talking about no reboots since October?

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