Originally Posted by gaftfreak
None of you, in your infinite Linux knowledge have answered this man's question! I too am having trouble finding a distro that will work with my Nvidia card OUT OF THE BOX! While trying to google my problem, I found this thread and was so overcome with disgust that I made an account just to comment on this. He JUST TOLD you that he doesn't want to spend forever trying to figure out how to make the card work. I know that you all of you, it takes 4 seconds because you all know exactly what you're doing, but for us noobs, NON OF THIS IS EASY!
Wow... no need to get angry.
I can understand the desire to have an easy solution. We can blame nVidia for the (normally minor) trouble one has to go through to use their drivers.If there were a Linux distribution that worked with nVidia cards "out of the box" there would have been a simple answer to the original poster's question. The simple fact is that there isn't a distribution that uses all of an nVidia graphics card's features without having to download and install nVidia's driver. The vendor doesn't very closely with Linux developers and insists on developing their own drivers. The "nouveau" driver that ships with Linux does a decent job -- especially given that it it works only because of the incredible job that the guys reverse engineering the nVidia cards have been able to pull off -- but may not work as well as one would like, particularly if the user is into gaming.
My experience with the nVidia driver process is something like (sorry, I didn't take detailed notes) this:
* Download the driver file from the nVidia web site. You'll likely have to search for your adapter to get the correct driver file. I have a fairly old adapter (6200) but it is still handled by the latest driver. (On the other hand, I have an old MX400 adapter in a system that has to use one of their "legacy" drivers. YMMV.) It'll have a file extension of ".run". Alternately, you might see a note on their site that directs you to use your distribution's package manager. If you're using a distribution that is no longer actively supported, you'll probably have to use the ".run" file method.
* Make sure "X" isn't running.
* Execute the ".run" file using "sh whateverfilename.run". This will ask you some questions that you can normally answer "Yes" to. During the installer's execution, it will build the driver. NOTE: during this phase, your installation must have the kernel development package installed as the driver compilation process will need the header files (and possibly the kernel sources, as well). If you're not sure, use your distribution's package manager to see if they're installed. In my case I could use
rpm -qa | grep -i kernel | sort | less
(the sort and less steps are optional) to verify that the kernel header package was installed. If they're not you need to grab your CDs/DVDs and installed them using your package manager/software manager.
* The installed will normally tweak your Xorg configuration file so that the new nVidia driver will be used.
And that is, normally, about it.
I will admit that there can be some oddball errors that can crop up. For example, I'm still working on getting the legacy driver working on that system containing the MX400 adapter. (Heck, the thing is at least 10 years old so I'm not all that surprised that I'm experiencing this little adventure.)
Also, I poked around on the nVidia web site and found that the "173.14.36" driver seems like it might be the best driver for the card that the original poster mentioned. BUT... "5200" is a little too generic of a description. Most of the cards that I saw were listed as "FX5xxx", "5xxxLE", or something similar. It would be best to have an accurate description before downloading the wrong driver and getting a headache trying to make it work with an adapter that it doesn't support.
Hope this helped a bit...