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  • New graphic card Nvidia or ATI

    Dear Community!

    Today my CPU decided to stop working. As I wanted to buy a new PC anyway it's now time to find out what hardware to choose. What I now want to find out is, what graphic card to take. My last one was a Nvidia AGP card, so no way to use this one in future...

    What do you think? Is a ATI card worth buying it? I mean will these new drivers get the same performance for Linux as for Windows? And if yes, will the open source drivers be good enough to run the latest 3D Games (e.g. Enemy Territory - Quake Wars)?

    I mean, why should I buy a graphic card of a vendor, who still needs a lot of time to improve there closed source drivers, and will not support High-Performance open source drivers? The closed source drivers of Nvidia are already working good... So is there any sense to support ATI in this way?

    And please do not start a religious war. I really don't care about higher performance for less money or that stuff. I want to support ATI if they're doing a good job in supporting OSS. (My card wouldn't be the only one in future. I have a lot of customers using Linux due to my recommendations) Otherwise I will support Nvidia for there already good Linux support.

    Thank you all in advance!

    Cheers,
    Daniel

  • #2
    I was kind of hesitant as of my video card choice for my new system as well, there are many good things happening in the AMD/ATi front, but there are ugly lingering bugs that prevent me from taking the plunge and going back to ATi. First of all, my computer is virtually my whole entertainment system, so working XVideo is a must, currently it is broken. It is very nice of them to be opening their specs and what not to have better OSS driver support, which is a good reason to eventually switch (once the drivers are mature enough, with working 3D and then we'll see which is better and faster (proprietary Vs open, if indeed both are made from the very same documentation).

    On the other hand nVidia has a track record of very good Linux support through their proprietary drivers. They do have a driver that is up to par with their Windows' driver and given some circumstances, they are even better. The array of features and its performance is very appealing, not to mention that they are mostly more stable than fglrx, though not as stable as open drivers. It is indeed a tough call... I'm going to go with nVidia this time around and allow AMD/ATi drivers to mature further and to see how do the Open drivers develop and turn out to be.

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    • #3
      Thank you very much for your oppinion and advice. I think this is the best way. Let's see what happens in future...

      Cheers,
      Daniel

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      • #4
        I too bought a card from the green team, mainly due to really
        good linux support (I never had to patch the nvidia kernel module
        to get it to compile against latest -git source), and because
        I wanted to play with the "CUDA" (GPGPU) stuff. AFAIK ATI does not (yet?) have their "Close to Metal" ready for Linux.

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        • #5
          i'd go for ati. maybe because i'm used to them.

          even if the blob screws up, you have quite decent opensource drivers, which are quickly improving. besides ati's handing out the specs.

          but that matters if you
          - don't play advanced 3d games (doom3, quake4, et:qw etc) too much
          - don't use some features (esp. tv-out)
          - can wait for opensource drivers to benefit from soon-to-be released batch of docs.

          from my point of view opensource drivers are more important. and ati shows more promise than nvidia in that matter.

          if you need your card working NOW - i'd recommend nvidia, though.

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          • #6
            ATI using the RadeonHD driver (with 'Option "NoRandR" "true"' if you have to in order to get your desired resolution.) is pretty workable in Linux if you don't need the 3d.

            If you absolutely need the 3d in Linux, you have to go with Nvidia.

            I recently switched from Nvidia to Ati because Nvidia stopped making AGP cards at the GeForce7 series and I wasn't ready to overhaul my entire system just to get to PCI-Express.
            So I got an ATI HD2600XT AGP ... 2-3 times faster than my Nvidia 6600GT AGP was. Runs Crysis like a charm (in windows :-( ) unlike my 6600GT.
            In hindsight I jumped just a bit too soon since the maturity of the drivers isn't quite there yet with ATI but they show promise, especially the OSS radeonhd.

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            • #7
              The simple truth is this:

              AMD's not there for a large range of applications- not right at the moment.

              NVidia currently is.

              AMD has been giving out specs.

              NVidia hasn't.

              If you need 3D right now, there's very few choices- Intel or NVidia, and Intel's not got really high performing parts yet. NVidia's pretty much your only choice unless you get lucky with the AMD parts and the stuff you do works right on the drivers they've provided.

              If you're willing to wait and limp through the next 6 to 12 months with a mixed bag of support, AMD is definitely the way to go. It's the future, I suspect, of things on Linux, but it's just not anywhere near gelled yet.

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              • #8
                Hope there's someone still awake, as here in Germany it's now 2:30 AM. I have again big trouble now. I mean, I could probably wait these 12 months for good 3d support because I have to dual-boot anyway. And I really want to support this new openness of ATi/AMD. One more thing from holding me back to click on "order" is the fact, that I get nearly doubled performance in a ATi card than in a NVidia card for the same money. Okay, I said I don't care about that, but, hell, doubled?!?! (Referring to Sapphire ATi HD2600XT/800Mhz/256mb-ddr4@2200MHz versus MSI NVidia NX8600GT-MTD256E/540Mhz/256mb-ddr2@1400MHz) So maybe I should play risky and just order that ATi card...

                But (again) what if NVidia is about to release specs, too? Never mind, ATi was first :P

                Thanks again!

                Cheers,
                Daniel

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                • #9
                  Personally i would use Radeon, considering it's progressing rapidly on both the Open Source and Closed Source drivers... i expect a lot in 2008 to improve the ATI Drivers for linux/bsd/etc.

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                  • #10
                    Hell, I will get that ATi card. There's just one thing left to decide. What's better? 512mb of ddr3@1400MHz or 256mb of ddr4@2200MHz? And on the AMD website the card seems to support OpenGL 2.0, but I could not find any hint about that on the shopping site. But I guess there is OpenGL 2.0 support, right?

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                    • #11
                      For me currently there is not much of an option... I have to go NV or get crying back to Windows after about 5 years of not even touching the thing (on my main rig, at least). I do much 3D, not only gaming, but also visualization, and ATi is not there yet. Add to that the whole "entertainment" angle (as the Visualization stuff is for work which I seldom do at home), and I really wouldn't want to crawl back to Windows to be able to do the stuff I currently do, even with such outdated hardware.

                      However, I'll keep my eyes on ATi, who knows? Maybe by the time the R700 and G90 come by, ATi will pose some real competition to NV (which has been lacking as of late)

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                      • #12
                        I understand your point of few, I really would like to kick Windows from my hard drive too. But I'm forced to use Windows as many games or other requirements for gaming are not working (well) through Wine. (e.g. Punkbuster, Aequitas (Anti-cheat) and lots of new games)

                        But I'm full of confidence: This will change!

                        Cheers,
                        Daniel

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                        • #13
                          I recently pulled my FX 5900 to check out the new ATi drivers with my (just given away) X1600 Pro 512MB.

                          I have to say, if you've been using Nvidia for years, you're in for a real shock when you try to use an ATi card. They're no where near the same level yet.

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                          • #14
                            I keep chuckling at the people that keep insisting on getting a G80 or comparing the G80 to the R600... The reality is, you should also compare side by side to the previous generation.

                            You're going to find that most of the GPUs of the current new generation are not "faster", per se, unless the applications you're using end up using the new features that the next generation is offering in silicon as opposed to hardware.

                            Unless you're going to be dabbling in geometry shaders, or CUDA, you're NOT going to see much performance edge over the G70 when considering G80 parts (though the performance problems seem to be getting resolved...)- even when they get them resolved, there's not going to be a big performance jump over the G70's in comparison to the G80's...

                            The story's a little different with AMD's R500 vs. the R600, but the drivers aren't as stable as they ought to be, are missing quite a bit of the features that they at least got right, if not slowly, on the old drivers and there's still questions of the quality, in light of things like memory leaks from hell showing up with other chipsets. If I had cash budget to reward what they're working on making happen right now, I'd be buying an R600 based card right now. I don't have that kind of budget...

                            Say what you like folks, it all depends on what you're needing. If you need real 3D now as opposed to theoretical (keep in mind people seeing half as much performance from AMD to NVidia need to consider that this is liable to be a DRIVER issue- all the drivers on the Windows side of things for both companies under Vista and XP for the new generation have...issues... ) possibilities, you're better off, much better so, with NVidia and NOT going with the latest and greatest. (Something I still never quite get...if it doesn't give you any speed advanatages, won't bring anything new to the table for you for at least 6-12 months, why do you go and buy it? G80's are that sort of thing- and you can get more muscle in a G70 that will work just fine for quite some time to come for less money...)

                            If you're willing to risk waiting another 6-12 months or more to get your investment fully going, then by all means, get an AMD GPU.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Svartalf View Post
                              Unless you're going to be dabbling in geometry shaders, or CUDA, you're NOT going to see much performance edge over the G70 when considering G80 parts (though the performance problems seem to be getting resolved...)- even when they get them resolved, there's not going to be a big performance jump over the G70's in comparison to the G80's...
                              Bit like getting an Aston Martin DB9 to commute to work when you could do it in some sh*t box. You still gotta abide by the speed limit.
                              Performance - not much to be gained really from nv 7-> nv 8 series. 7600gt vs 8600gt, 8600 is about 5% faster and heavier on the hip pocket. Though the "comfort" of it could be better, i.e. lower power usage, better quality.
                              If you can afford a G8* card, you may as well as the drivers will mature and performance will get better. G7* cards are pretty close to their top, with the top end cards discontinued or to that effect.

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