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Old 02-10-2008, 10:20 AM   #1
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7050/630a vs. 690G/SB600


I am wondering what chipset has the best linux support. I am most likely going to choose an AMD platform for my new system, and given these requirements...

- Firewire
- Coaxial or Optical S/PDIF
- Onboard graphics with preferably video out seems there is a narrow selection of mainboards that fits the requirements. But in the end, it will be the chipset support for Linux that determines what I'll choose.

The choice is between nVidia's 7050/630a combo, and ATI's 690G/X1250/SB600 combo. It seems ATI graphics is currently less well supported than nVidia graphics. The ATI Radeon X1250 seems to be supported by the RadeonHD driver, but DVI out support is not there yet, so neither will be HDMI. ATI is said to have released documentation in last Januari (2008) for driver development. So it seems ATI support is improving, but it is still buggier and worse than nVidia support. One person reported using component out on Gentoo.

I have heard of at least one person using Toslink out on a Abit AN-M2HD (7050/630a) board in MythTV, and others reported to have SPDIF passthrough on 690G boards. Audio seems not to be an issue.

* So, what mainboards/chipset would you recommend for an all-round linux setup? Think of it as a combo HTPC/desktop pc.
* Is there Compiz/Beryl support for the ATI graphics?

- the Asus M2A-VM HDMI (690G) has every output connector you could need including even Parallel *but* it is an ATI board and is rumored to have a slow USB interface and its SATA sockets let go of the motherboard very easily and the use of the riser module for SPDIF, TV-out and HDMI precludes the possibility of (ever) using an add on VGA card

- the Abit AN-M2HD (630a) seems to be the only nVidia board that fits the reqs and it has a lot less (no parallel, no tv-out)

- the Gigabyte MA69GM-S2H is a mATX alternative to the Asus but stangely enough, it has no PCIe*1 slot but one PCIe*4 slot

- the Gigabyte MA69G-S3H is an ATX alternative that has Parallel.

Last edited by xenmaster; 02-10-2008 at 10:25 AM.
Old 02-11-2008, 03:06 AM   #2
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I would avoid on board video like the plague. They tend to be problematic and are almost always inferior to video cards of the same chipset. Video cards can be had for well under $30 and that gives you options. This also greatly improves your selection of motherboards, both in quantity and quality.
Old 02-11-2008, 06:58 AM   #3
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The reason I'm going integrated is low power consumption, even though an nVidia 7300GS idles at only ~9W. I have no clue yet how a non-integrated board with such a 7300GS compares to an integrated, but if the integrated uses 5W less, it is worth it imo. The integrated asus board has the advantage of having HDMI out and composite out as well as DVI and svideo, and comes with svideo->component cable, whereas all cheapo discrete graphics cards have only d-sub, dvi and svideo. I like having options, as I don't know yet with what video display solution I'll end up.
Old 02-11-2008, 12:34 PM   #4
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The DVI vs HDMI is a non-issue (sound is integrated on HDMI but not DVI). Adapters to convert(dvi/hdmi) come with most video cards. Pretty much anything new enough to have composite will have DVI/HDMI(TVs).

If you look (below) the vast majority of these cards have DVI, SVHS, and VGA (these three are pretty much the current standard).

As far as power consumption, this should be a none issue as well. Chipsets need the same power if they are on the motherboard or on a card. They will also have the same cooling requirements. You do have to compare the same chipsets.


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