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Hi all and thank you in advance for your help. I have two desktops, both running fedora 18. Both are very low end machines (dual core intel processors with 1 gb and 2 gb rams respectively) that I have assembled myself. I use the both of them for work which mainly involves word processing and browsing the internet and these systems suit me very well indeed. Although these systems are not slow as such, I was wondering whether installing a cheap graphics card will improve the speed, especially considering that I use Gnome 3 on both systems. It is with this view that I am enquiring if anyone knows of any graphics card that will work well with fedora without the need for proprietary drivers. I almost never play games and am therefore not looking for an expensive one. Just something very basic that will improve the responsiveness of my machine with Gnome 3. I've done a lot of googling but most information seems to concentrated towards the high end market and that's really not what I'm interested in.
Thanks for that JAX. I have already looked through the HCL page at linuxquestions, and agree that it's got a lot of good information there. What I am looking for however is an opinion or a recommendation on the best VFM graphics card. I'm not necessarily looking for the cheapest one, just one that works well with open source drivers and gives good performance while still not being too expensive. In fact, I'm looking for one only because the very same systems used to do very well indeed as long as I was on gnome 2. I moved to the new Gnome 3 at the beginning of this year and stuck with it because I like it. In fact, I wouldn't even have considered getting a graphics card if it were not for the fact that I installed the very same fedora on my sister's acer aspire netbook which has an atom processor, and it's actually much more snappy than is my desktop. I'm assuming that this is becasue it comes with a graphics card and so feel that putting one into my desktops too will be a good idea.
It would help to tell us which graphics solution your current systems use, so that we can see in the first place if you would get in improvement from a dedicated card.
If you are not sure please post the output of
So it most like is a G4X chipset. You will get better performance in 3D applications even with an entry level discrete card, but 2D performance should not really be better. If you really want to go for a discrete card look for a Geforce GT610 or AMD Radeon HD5450 or 6450. those cards are mostly passively cooled (no extra noise), have better video acceleration than the one in your chipset and outperform them in 3D applications.
This is just an update in case there is anyone out there who's got the same requirement as me. I took Tobi's advice and checked for the Nvidia 600 series cards, but had one big problem with it. It was too expensive for me. At current exchange rates it costs about $60 where I live and I was looking for something cheaper. So instead I started looking at cheaper nvidia models and chose the GT210. And while I was still making up my mind, the new update in Fedora 19 killed my vga output and when I hunted around for a solution I found that it was a kernel problem and that the developers didn't even know why exactly it happened. It was supposedly a known bug and it affects older computers with old graphics cards or integrated ones (like the one I had). So the choice was basically made for me and I HAD to get the 210, and it worked immediately with the FOSS drivers that came preinstalled. The only problem I had was that once I booted up my desktop, my comp was at 40 - 50% cpu usage for 10 min or so (or at least it seemed to be that long) after which it would settle down to between 5 - 10%. This never happened and was much higher than earlier when I didn't have a dedicated graphics card. I found a solution here on how to install the proprietary drivers, followed the instructions and now no complaints. My cpu usage at idle is at 1%, my system is much snappier, and the open source games that I played occasionally (Wesnoth) loads much faster and plays much smoother. At half the price (a shade under $30) it's all that I need. I don't know if there are any cheaper graphics cards out there, but I chose Nvidia because people in the know were recommending Nvidia over other makes and this was the cheapest one I could get.