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Which brand for Linux:ATI or Nvidia

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  • #11
    Originally posted by rohcQaH View Post
    prepare for some contradicting recommendations. Whenever ati vs. nvidia is the question, fanboys of both sides offer "advice". [1]

    Both can work, nvidia's closed drivers are a bit better than ATIs (depending on your usage), but ATI has the better hardware and their OS efforts look very promising.
    nvidia's drivers are indeed a 'whole' lot better than ati's closed and opensource drivers. I'm a nvidia fan but at this moment I'm seriously considering buying a ati card for my next htpc. For me it depends on their next driver if it does support some kind of video acceleration it wil be ati -including the extra config work it takes and the time for my favorite software to adapt the new api- else it will be nvidia and with its very stable drivers which are almost on par with the windows drivers.

    When wine gaming is your thing I would recommend staying with nvidia (you where warned about contradicting advice )

    by the way... this is one of the nicest thread i've read in some time about nvidia versus ati

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    • #12
      Originally posted by Panix View Post
      It doesn't matter about the brand name so much? In the case of ATI, it can be Sapphire or?
      Most of the time, they follow the reference design. Often the difference between different brands is just a sticker.
      Sometimes some vendors change the cooling solution though. Google for some reviews before buying. "Silent" (fanless) cards are always great, but check a review to see if it really stays cool enough.

      Originally posted by Panix View Post
      So, applicable to 2D and 3D, you get?
      ATI OS: fast 2d, slow 3d (but getting faster)
      ATI fglrx: slow 2d, fast 3d
      nvidia: average 2d, fast 3d
      (where "slow" refers to the slowest of the three. Doesn't have to be unusable slow, just slower by comparison)

      Originally posted by Panix View Post
      I watch movies on my computer and need good video from all types of video files.
      MP4 HD content (1080p@60) needs GPU acceleration. If you're watching a lot of that, I think nvidia is the better choice for now simply because of VDPAU. Although a fast CPU and multithreading-patches for mplayer are supposed to work, too.
      If you're only watching 720p/DVD/xvid, your GPU hardly matters.

      Originally posted by Panix View Post
      I also watch streaming video from time to time (YouTube etc.). That needs to be smooth too.
      flash sucks and does most of it's work on your CPU anyway. It works for me until I try to use fullscreen mode, then it gets slow. I use youtube-dl to download the video, then watch it with mplayer. Works well, but isn't really "streamed" any more.

      Originally posted by Panix View Post
      I am building a budget system for someone so I might buy a video card for it or upgrade mine (and pass the old one on).
      you could buy the 4850, test it, then pass on the gfx card you like less

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      • #13
        Originally posted by Ant P. View Post
        If you're intending to do multiseat, better to go with something that behaves with the rest of the X stack (ATI).
        Could you be more specific with your comment? I had the possibility to get a 9800 1gb at a very attractive price, but your comment is keeping me from buying it.
        Does Nvidia drivers have problems with the x stack compared to the frglx?

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        • #14
          No, but compared to radeon :P

          IIRC trying to use either frglx or nvidia with any other driver causes crashes.

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          • #15
            It's my understanding that Nvidia drivers replace a lot of files with their own versions.

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            • #16
              the nvidia drivers simply replace whole parts of the X stack with their own implementations. In some ways, nvidia's implementations are superior, in others, they aren't. And of course they don't benefit from improvements in the replaced open source parts.

              fglrx replaces some parts, too, but IIRC they are less intrusive than nvidia.

              so no, they don't have a problem with the "X stack" in general. But as proper multiseat will rely on pretty new techniques, nvidia may not support it. fglrx may not, either.


              I think multiseat will require KMS, which cannot be supported in any closed source driver. Other multiseat implementations (i.e. based on MPX) may work.

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              • #17
                Originally posted by sonnet View Post
                Does Nvidia drivers have problems with the x stack compared to the frglx?
                nVidia is preoccupied with a driver that does 3D to the point where they've ignored pretty much everything else; for example when KDE 4.0 came out it was unusable on nv cards because they had no 2D accel whatsoever.

                You'd be lucky if they support multiseat at all, and even then the ability to use your setup as intended is entirely at their whim - they drop support for older cards just like ATI, but they won't lift a single finger to help FOSS developers make a replacement driver. Using nVidia is an upgrade treadmill, much like using Windows.

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                • #18
                  To be honest the only free multiseat solution I'm aware of (free for 2 user only ) is this one:
                  http://www2.userful.com/products/userful-multiplier
                  and on the specification requirement pdf (which is a bit outdated ) for the nvidia cards support propietary driver is required (is not required for ati card) so I guess the application should work with Nvidia driver.
                  Then if you know a better free multiseat application which doesn't have problems with ati and nvidia card feel free to suggest.

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                  • #19
                    Originally posted by Ant P. View Post
                    nVidia is * snip * they drop support for older cards just like ATI, but they won't lift a single finger to help FOSS developers make a replacement driver. Using nVidia is an upgrade treadmill, much like using Windows.
                    Any examples Ant P? in my experience nvidia keeps supporting old cards. For example i'm still using a 4200 and i've seen on their site legacy drivers for much older cards.

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                    • #20
                      Did they change their policies at some point without telling anyone? ISTR an announcement where they would no longer support most of their pre-PCIE cards in their next release, shortly after introducing the black window bug in compiz.

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