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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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On-board videocards always use system (slow) memory as video memory. Besides being slower, it eats into your system memory. The fastest on-board video I know of are the GF5200 and they are slow. Better spending a few more and getting a videocard that suits your needs.
If you disable the on-board VGA card it will use no resources. It's a good way to build a cheap machine; use the on-board VGA until you can afford a decent card.
As for on-board network; there is no point buying an additional card if you have one on-board. They use the same resources and are virtually the same. The only exception is that most decent mobos now come with gigabit cards instead of the older 100MBit ones that we all use. That said, unless you plan to build a network with all components gigabit then you will see no benefit. Remember, standard broadband connects at 512kbit, so 100 Mbit is very fast. Unless, of course, you transfer massive amounts of data (measured in Gb).
Most on-board soundcards are excellent. Unless you are a sound buff, you are unlikely to see much improvement from a £100 card compared to on-board. I have AC'97 (very standard) on-board sound, which is better, and more reliable, than the Audigy it replaced.
To sum up. On-board stuff is fine, with the exception of video, which is invariably rubbish. Unless you have little money!
The memory capacity of a videocard has little impact on performance (measured in frame rate). It does allow the card to store more textures etc, which in turn may reduce stuttering in some games as it doesn't have to wait for data from the hard drive. Virtually all games do not need more than 64Meg. It would be better getting one with 128Meg as the price difference is very small.
Which one you buy really depends on what you use it for and the speed of your processor: If you play the newest games then you need a fast one with a fast processor. You only have two realistic choices as far as brand is concerned, Ati and Nvidia. I have had several from both manufacturers over the years and they have all been good cards. I currently use an Ati Radeon 9800 pro, which is an excellent card and very good value at the moment (about £120). In the sub £100 bracket you could try an Ati Radeon 9600 pro. The cheaper Nvidia offerings are generally lower performance pound for pound than Ati.
Rather than accepting my opinion (that's what it is), have a look at toms hardware or other sites before you shell out. If you don't play games, none of this applies as you will not be bothered about 3D performance.
I'm new to Linux, but I understand very few games are available for the platform and there are some problems getting decent drivers for the newest cards.