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Old 11-05-2003, 04:05 PM   #1
Peds
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Which distro best for Hardware compatability?


Dear forum,

I am currently deciding which distro to download and install so I can join the Linux revolution.

I am having difficulty deciding which distro to choose. The reason for this is the issue of hardware compatabilty, or more precisely, lack of support for my hardware!

There seems to be lots of update drivers available for hardware, but my problem is that I cant successfully install a Linux distro becuase it cannot detect my Graphics card (and possibly Motherboard) properly.

My hardware setup is:

CPU: AMD Athlon XP Thoroughbred 2400
Motherboard: Soltek SL 75FRV
Graphics: Leadtek Winfast A280 LE TD AGP 8X (based on NVidia Geforce 4 Ti 4200).

I've tried Mandrake 9.2 with no success, and *I think* that Red Hat 9 doesnt support the Graphics card so in a nutshell, does anybody know what is best to install? DO i go for a simple distro like Slackware or a more commercial distro like Suse ?

I also have an older PC with an old ATI Radeon 64Mb DDR card which seems to be supported but i wanted to use my faster machine to get more out of it.

Any help is appreciated!

Thanks

Peds
 
Old 11-05-2003, 04:38 PM   #2
stevenhasty
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I don't think it matters which distro you choose--you're going to have to install some sort of fix for your graphics card if it's not supported by the kernel. also, you could put your older video card in your newer machine, if you're willing to live with performance loss (how much would you really lose)?
 
Old 11-05-2003, 08:43 PM   #3
FallGuy
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From what I have seen, Mandrake is probably the best in terms of hardware support and "Windows" like tools. Unfortunately, they try to be so much like Windows that you miss out on much of the learning that is soooo necessary in order to make the most of Linux.

You would learn the most by using no distro at all. The total "roll your own" concept is still the pathway to the most efficient system. However, few newcomers could tackle that beast.
 
Old 11-05-2003, 08:51 PM   #4
stevenhasty
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I also heard today that libranet (commercial version of debian) comes with nvidia drivers. anyone familiar?
 
Old 11-05-2003, 10:28 PM   #5
Shade
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The nvidea driver install is a trivial thing in slackware, for one.
It should work for your vid card, though the name "winfast" is a little daunting

Ina nutshell, hardware support is accross the board for all linux distrobutions, since the hardware controller is the kernel -- and that's the same for any distrobution, only difference being the version of it.
What may be better from distro to distro is hardware detection-- which will be, to what extent you'll have to fiddle with things yourself and in config files to get stuff up and working. If it's supported by linux, it'll be supported by any distrobution though, you see?



-Shade
 
Old 11-05-2003, 11:49 PM   #6
davidsrsb
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WinFast cards are usually very standard nvidia implementations and can use the standard nvidia driver without any problems. Their driver works fine with Slackware 9.1, just follow the installation instructions carefully.
What chipset is the Soltek? The only problems I see reported are to do with the nvidia MOTHERBOARD chipset., Via and Ali are both OK for me.
 
Old 11-06-2003, 02:09 AM   #7
LSD
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Apart from the audio driver (the current one works, but don't utilise even a fraction of what the nForce APU is capable of) the nForce chipset is fairly well supported in Linux. You need a fairly recent kernel (2.4.22 is probably the best at the moment although 2.6 looks like it'll be the real winner) to make the most of it but the support is there. At any rate though, I'd rather have an nVidia chipset under the bonnet than the crap Via, Ali or SiS put out.

Most of the problems I see with nForce under Linux is from people trying to use the RPMs. nVidia doesn't help in this regard by putting up RPMs for at least two different kernel versions for 3 different distros (without a note on how to pick the right one for your kernel) and more often than not people either download the wrong one or if they get the right one, have no clue on what to do with it after they've installed it. If nVidia had any sense they'd drop the binary RPMs altogether and just leave the source tarballs and source RPMs along with instructions on what you need to do in order to compile and install them. I've installed the drivers for my nForce2 motherboard (an EPoX 8RDA+) across 5 different distributions of Linux (Gentoo, Slackware, Debian, Arch and Sourcemage) all without a scerrick of trouble.
 
Old 11-06-2003, 04:36 AM   #8
TheBman
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my method of install for the nvidia drivers is: with default startup level of 3, run xf86 config, compile/install the source drivers, edit /etcX11/XF86CONFIG per nvidias instructions, set default startup to 4. I use a generic tnt2 m64 card and it works well for me. My understanding is that Nvidias drivers set is for all Nvidia cards, so unless I misunderstood something, or have misssed something in my reading, it would work I believe.
 
Old 11-06-2003, 02:32 PM   #9
Peds
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Oops, sorry guys, I just realised that my old graphics card is a 32MB card, so I think the performance differnece would be a bit more noticeable.

My Soltek chipset is: VIA KT400+VT8235 .

"my method of install for the nvidia drivers is: with default startup level of 3, run xf86 config, compile/install the source drivers, edit /etcX11/XF86CONFIG per nvidias instructions, set default startup to 4. I use a generic tnt2 m64 card and it works well for me. "

I'm a little bit confused. Does this mean that I should re-install Mandrake 9.2 using any driver that works, then download the latest NVidia linux driver and install this? I havent used linux in too much detail before so dont know what things like etc/X11/... is ;o)

Thanks,

Peds
 
Old 11-06-2003, 04:28 PM   #10
piratu
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Quote:
Originally posted by davidsrsb
WinFast cards are usually very standard nvidia implementations and can use the standard nvidia driver without any problems. Their driver works fine with Slackware 9.1, just follow the installation instructions carefully.
What chipset is the Soltek? The only problems I see reported are to do with the nvidia MOTHERBOARD chipset., Via and Ali are both OK for me.
at the moment Leadteck WinFast are the best nVidia cards on the marked, they done the same thing as Gigabyte for ATI

unfortunately (for linux) I have a A310 (GeForce FX 5600 Ultra TD) + a nForce2 mobo and with MDK 9.2 + nvidia drivers is not stable at all! (dammit, in windoze is rock solid even with the beta version of drivers, why? are linux users really loosers for nvidia?)

better stick with MDK as a newbie, Slack is not that trivial (I feel it myself!)
 
Old 11-08-2003, 09:51 PM   #11
Joey.Dale
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after you install, upgrade your kernel to 2.6.0, it has alot of nvidea improvements
 
  


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