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Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?
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I have a machine that I am using to test various distros on among other things. I have two different removable hard drives that I am using for this, so it makes it easier to work with, and I really cannot go wrong because it is not by any means a "mission critical" machine in my house.
The internal video is a Matrix Productivia G100, but, I am not certain of the RAM. Running Fedora, the highest resolution is 800 x 600, but, I can get more with some other distros, like Ubuntu and Mandrake 9.x, I get 1024 x 1268.
I think my solution is to put an internal PCI or AGP video card in. Is this a good solution? If so, since I am playing with so many distros, what is the most linux friendly video card I should use.
I also am looking for a linux friendly audio card. Now, this machine is not top of the line, it has a 400 MHz CPU and 224 Megs of RAM, so I really don't want to spend a mint on these cards either!
Try and get an nvidia based agp card, thats guaranteed to work on Linux and nvidia provide their own drivers for Linux and they work quite well. As for sound card, try getting a creative sound blaster or audigy card, they work fine for me on quite a few Linux distributions.
With that sort of hardware, I'd be looking at a GeForce 2 or 4 and a Soundblaster 4.1. Both are very cheaply available from second-hand outlets or Ebay, and should work with pretty much any distro you care to try.
I'd actually recommend a low end Ati Radeon, like an Ati Radeon 7000.
nVidia cards are great if you only have one or two Linux installs, but if you're going to be trying out lots of different distributions it's annoying to download/install the official nVidia driver every time.
In contrast, the open source drivers for a low end Radeon give you very good functionality without any extra effort at all. The open source Radeon drivers are included already!
You don't have to download the drivers everytime you try a new distro, you can save them on an fat/ntfs partition, a usb stick or on anothr distro. Mount that partition or device and install from there.
Unless you're playing video games, I recommend "anything Trident" as a good compatible video card. They're dirt cheap and compatible with *everything* Not exactly a top of the end performer, but unless you're playing video games you'll never see the difference.