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Old 07-16-2006, 09:05 AM   #1
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Registered: Dec 2005
Distribution: Ubuntu
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Dual head video card recommendations for linux sought

Hi all,

my friend and I are looking for some recommendations for dual head video cards which work well in linux.

We have nvidia quadro fx cards on our main machines at work, but these are running windoze at the moment.

We'd really appreciate any advice at all about this; here's what we're after and some specific questions we have:

We'd like to be able to run two desktops on two (TFT) monitors from the one linux machine.

We're not at all into gaming, and 3d is not really a priority for these cards.

Obviously, we don't want to spend more than we have to - it looks like on eBay you can get dual head cards with 32mb memory for about 25 (GBP) and ones with 64mb for about 35. We'd be willing to spend a bit more than that if it'd make a significant difference. As you'll have gathered from that, we're in the UK by-the-way.

The cards we have at work have 64mb memory, and this seems to be enough to manage multiple desktops pretty well - moving windows around always happens very smoothly, and the general performance seems a lot better than with other cards we've used with little memory (e.g. 16mb). Would there be any benefit to getting more than 64mb? - especially as we're not thinking about 3d at all with these.

The availability of decent drivers for the cards would be a priority, as we'd want to be able to utilise their capabilities to the full in linux. We're not too worried about having to use closed-source binary drivers from the likes on nvidia etc.. but if there are cards that work perfectly okay a dual head / multiple desktops set-up with just the xorg drivers, that'd be great.

We plan to use DVI if possible for the connection to the TFT monitors. To fit the existing motherboards we have, the cards will need to be AGP rather than PCI Express. (The motherboard supports AGP 4x/8x on the machine that we're buying for just now).

In terms of brand names, we've had lots of good experiences with nvidia cards, not much experience of ati ones, and we've heard that matrox have a very good name for 2d-focused cards. We're more likely to be swung by a card that does the job and is well supported in linux than by a brand name card though.

We mainly run (k)ubuntu - latest versions, albeit possibly with a dual boot to windoze. We don't anticipate driver support etc.. to be a problem in windoze with new cards though.

It'd be great if anyone has any pearls of wisdom they can share with us - the dual 19" TFTs are on the way, and we'd really like to be able to make an informed buying decision on a dual head card soon.

Thanks in advance,
Old 07-17-2006, 03:04 AM   #2
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Registered: Apr 2005
Location: BrewCity, USA (Milwaukee, WI)
Distribution: Xubuntu 9.10, Gentoo 2.6.27 (AMD64), Darwin 9.0.0 (arm)
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Buy anything with the word NVIDIA on it. they have the best linux support the unified driver they supply supports all there cards. I've had 3 currently a Geforce4 4000mx that I got off newegg for $40.


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