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I searched the HCL but it seems this is rarey updated anymore.
It used to be "nVidia has better support under Linux than ATI". Is that still true?
I am looking for something to handle streaming video (including HD), DVD playback (DVD only, not BR), web browsing (including Flash), and casual photo editing with Gimp. No gaming. Dual monitor support would be nice for possible future expansion, but not a requirement. In other words, "I don't need much". In years past, I have preferred fanless video cards (the fans always seem to go bad on me!), but there may be no such thing anymore with higher speeds = higher temps.
The integrated video on the motherboard may even be sufficient for my needs, but I haven't installed the OS to test yet. The integrated stuff is Radeon HD 3200. I am leery of ATI from previous bad experiences under Linux (years ago, admittedly).
LinuxMint13 with XFCE desktop. PCI Express x16 2.0 support on the motherboard. I was thinking of one of the nVidia 610, 620 or 630 cards. A lot of people speak down on these since they are just "re-branding" of earlier nVidia Fermi GPUs (the 520, 530, 440 GPUs specifically). The politics of that doesn't really bother me, as long as I get something with adequate performance for a low price. Typically the 610 or 620 can be had for about $39-$49, the 630 usually being more like $60-$70.
Any recommendations? Just stick with the integrated?
(I know it seems backwards to ask for a video card recommendation before even trying the integrated, but I am putting together an order for more memory and a new hard disk for this system prior to installing the OS. I would just add a video card onto that order, per recommendations here, if adviseable.)
If you really really don't want to do anything special and just browse, watch videos etc..., then the best choice would probably be an integrated Intel GPU in the CPU - am using it on a server and a notebook and it's nothing exciting, but it runs well and had almost 0 config effort => as you don't have it but have already an integrated ATI then give your best and if it works it will save $.
If it doesn't and you have to buy a GPU-card then my recommandation is as always nVidia: not difficult to configure, dual monitor output works with separate or merged desktop, HDMI-audio works (didn't for a while but now it's ok), good 3D no complaints until now. This for both low- or high-spec cards (have a separate card on my "fast" pc to play x-plane and a lame one as on-board MB-chip in my mediacenter to watch x264-videos I rip from my blu-rays).
For what you say you will use the computer, the 3200 is enough. Im curious what will handle streaming HD videos - If its Flash, no video card is working (and probably never will) under Linux with hardware acceleration (nvidia cards theoretically work on certain sites, but in practice they really have more issues than the rest). You need a good CPU anyway.
If you really want to buy one, make sure it really uses the latest chipsets (the rebranded models sometimes create driver issues).
This system is not one that I am wanting to spend much money upgrading, but even though it's a few years old I still think it has a lot of life left in it for my needs. To date, it has only been a file server for other desktop systems, but it's actually more powerful than my current desktop system, so I thought I would reverse their roles. So maybe a few dollars of upgrades here and there. Replace two 200Gb PATA drives with one terrabyte SATA drive, upgrade from 2Gb memory to at least 4Gb. Add a video card in place of the integrated I'm using now? That's what this thread is about - the potential need for a video card, which was irrelevent for its previous use as a file server.
Current (non-upgraded) configuration is:
Gigabyte GA-MA78G-DS3H motherboard, full size ATX
(DDR2, PCIe 2.0, SATA-II, IDE ATA-133, USB 2.0, socket AM2/AM2+/AM3, 1394a, integrated HD3200 video DVI-D/D-SUB/HDMI, sound, network)
AMD Athlon 64 X2 dual-core 5200+
Corsair 2 x 1Gb PC6400 (800Mhz) installed, four slots total
2 each Seagate 200Gb PATA drives
LiteOn DVD burner, SATA
LG DVD burner, SATA
High-end, high wattage power supply, but I forgot the brand/model number (Corsair or SeaSonic, I think)
High-end Antec case - great ventilation, many large fans, lots a drive bays
For the stated functions, the hd3200 is enough as i said before. You might however take a look at the CPU which is old and maybe you can find a bargain for an AM3 socket quad CPU (the AM3 socket is being phased out).
What would an upgraded CPU get me? I've always considered the CPU as the last thing to upgrade, well behind memory, graphics, and hard disk. I have never upgraded one after initial install. Not that I don't know how, only that I've never seen reason to. What benefits would you predict? I can't think of any CPU intensive tasks I routinely perform. No gaming. Only rare and informal photo processing with Gimp. No video editing, but I do occassionally rip, requantise, and reauthor DVD's to backup my collection. No transcoding to different formats though. Haven't found a need for that yet, but I suppose someday that might be a possibility.
GA-MA78G-DS3H is limited to 95watt TDP CPUs, that Phenom II X4 965 is 125watts TDP.
Where did you find this info? I just searched the Gigabyte website again but didn't see this limitation listed. My current Athlon CPU is less that either of these wattages. I believe it is 65 watts IIRC from initial purchase.
I thought maybe it was the specs saying "it supports Phenom", and that NewEgg CPU is a "Phenom II", but according to some website hit I found just now as I researched the differences between Phenom and Phenom II, it appears the Phenom is 140 watts whereas the Phenom II is less (125 watts).
I'm still not convinced I need a CPU upgrade anyway, still researching that, but of course it would be nice to know all the limitations of choice I face. Thanks for pointing out this limitation.
Go to the GA-MA78G-DS3H page-> 'support & downloads' tab (under the main pic)-> 'CPU support list'.
There is one 140watt TDP Phenom (Phenom X4 9950), and there is also a 140watt TDP Phenom II (X4 965 C2 stepping). Lots of 125watt and 95watt models with both ranges. I'd take a Phenom II over a Phenom any day- they are newer, have more CPU cache, run cooler, use less power for any given speed rating and are faster overall.
Your 5200+ could be one of several models (thanks for that AMD), most likely 2.6GHz with 2 x 512k cahce. It would be 65watt TDP CPU. Phenom has number of cores x 512k + 2MBN, Phenom II number of cores x 512k cache + 6MB. That motherboard also supports athlon II X2-X4 CPUs as well. An Athlon II X4 640 will have more MHz (3.0 GHz) more cores and be more efficent overall than an elderly 5200+.
BTW, I moved from a 4800+ to a Phenom II X2 550. Noticable difference overall.
You wont 'need' a CPU upgrade.....but I'd consider it. More RAM is useless if you arent using what you have already, a videocard upgrade doesnt add much if anythign if you arent gaming....CPU updgrades always help, even if its just a little.
This looks like a decent CPU for the money. It is on that "supported CPU" list on my motherboards website. Thanks for pointing that out to me cascade9! Phenom II, Six cores. Probably overkill for my needs, but no more expensive than lesser CPU's, so why not? Unfortunately it is "store pickup only" so I will have to drive there - 30 minutes drive each way. Buying online this CPU goes for $99 typically. It may be worth the $20 difference for me to avoid driving from north to south metro Denver area through all the traffic.
As far as my original question that started this thread - about the video card - so far in my testing the integrated HD3200 graphics are just fine. I had gotten used to stopping and studdering videos on YouTube, etc., and now they play smoothly. More testing to come, but at first look, I think the integrated video will suit me fine. But in full disclosure, I was previously using an older computer with a slow Intel Celeron and pretty bad SiS integrated grpahics. I transferred that OS onto a newer (but still 5? years old) computer with this HD3200 graphics, and better dual-core CPU, etc. So the performance increase was surely due to lots of different factors. http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...er-4175452421/
Thank you everybody who has responded to this thread!