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Old May 21, 2013, 06:57 PM
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Default ATI vs Nvidia: No diff linux drivers

Some say ATI drivers have improved in linux, vs. Nvidia, so no difference now. I need to get a cooler running card as this one is baking me in Florida. I'm not much of a gamer, mostly have older titles hence no need to break the bank. I'll be trying other Linux flavor's but only have Linux Mint (and 7 & XP) now.

So I'm trying to decide between ATI and Nvidia. Have read for years about advantages w/Nvidia for gaming but I don't want to open a can of worms here. Just need some help deciding on which way to go and any recommendations.

Card wise I'd appreciate good support and at least a 2 yr warranty (and honor it) but quiet is a major consideration. Prefer 128b and a HDMI, 1GB. In the neighborhood of $50 I'm considering a GIGABYTE GV-R667D3-1GI Radeon HD 6670 1GB, possibly a SAPPHIRE 100323-2L Radeon HD 6570 1GB but consider Sapphire a crap brand. Anyone think EVGA is a good company?

Thanks for any tips and go Senators!
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Old May 21, 2013, 07:28 PM
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I think that it is a misnomer about the drivers ( videocard) in linux usually it is people that are used to Windows that complain about the ATI drivers because they are used to the click to install .
Linux most everything is done manually the Nvidia drivers are not necessarily better they where just easier to install in Linux.
I was the same when I first started to used Linux years ago I had troubles left right and center when I tried to install the ATI proprietary drivers but it was just because of my inexperience with Linux. don't get me wrong I am by no means even decent with Linux because I game so often that I don't use Linux but that is the only reason why I don't use Linux to me I love Linux.
A sight that I used to always go for Linux and ATI was [Phoronix] Linux Hardware Reviews, Benchmarking, & Gaming I think that if you go there and check out some things that you will get allot of answers.

To be totally honest I am really considering going back to Linux just because I like the way it runs seems to be much faster then any windows I have ever used just have to get used to the terminal and also Open source software which is just as good and sometimes even better then non open source Software.
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Old May 21, 2013, 08:12 PM
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The 550ti according to that chart performs damn well with Nvidia's driver. Considering it's last gen, you should be able to find that for very cheap.
My personal experience was with the Gigabyte 550ti, had 2 fans on the heatsink and was dead silent. It's everything you want in the card.

I used Linux Mint as well, it was as simple as launching the proprietary driver application. It'll search and install all the drivers you need to get your hardware working; much simpler these days.
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Old May 22, 2013, 03:30 AM
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as far as installation, there's really not much difference anymore. Ati however I've found easier in recent months.

The problem I have with Nvidia's drivers lately, is they still don't support KMs (kernel mode setting), and KMS is fantastic when your working from a text console. There are other slight advantages in terms of performance, but generally KMS just makes some things easier.

Nvidia is still doing some things the old way as far as X.org configurations go and multimonitor support really needs to catch up.

If you have an older nvidia card supported, the nouveau drivers may do you quite well unless you're gaming. They are a decent opensource driver for nvidia cards, but they have no support from nvidia so support for newer cards fall behind. There's still power managment issues with Fermi based cards for example, though mostly everything else works

My main system runs linux using the nouveau drivers on an 8800GTS because nvidia's binary blob just makes the system feel slower overall, I don't game on it because I have a Windows machine for that. If I were to buy a new card for the linux system though, right now, it would be ATI, just because of better driver support and the fact they have better support for some of the newer technologies as far as the linux kernel goes


edit// just to provide a better description of KMS as I kinda vaguely mentioned it being preferred so here's a quote off the arch linux wiki

"The Linux kernel's implementation of KMS enables native resolution in the framebuffer and allows for instant console (tty) switching. KMS also enables newer technologies (such as DRI2) which will help reduce artifacts and increase 3D performance, even kernel space power-saving."

Last edited by stlouis1; May 22, 2013 at 03:36 AM.
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Old May 22, 2013, 05:48 AM
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The ubuntu installation of ati drivers is mostly easy now. You point and click in the software center.

However, the SDK and SDL drivers gave me a huge headache because I had to try 5 different versions to get it to work with my 69xx cards (2.7 works fyi).

Also, I had to manually un-tar the opencl folder inside a tarred folder aswell. The auto install didn't work as it should have.

So, in summary, it was as easy to install the "gaming" drivers, but the opencl stuff was WAY WAY easier to install on my nvidia card due to some difficulties installing python-pyopencl on ati based systems. On the nvidia system all I did was type "sudo apt-get install python-pyopencl". I don't think this matters to non-miners though.
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Old May 23, 2013, 07:33 AM
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Mint is a spear branch off ubuntu using a different desktop enviroment (KDE vs Gnome I believe)
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Old May 26, 2013, 02:01 PM
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Thanks as always for the insights. Wish I could grab a 550ti but I have one or two more parts to sink in the gas-guzzler. Thanks Stlouis1, very useful. Maybe the
Leafs will pull something out of a hat next year.
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Old May 26, 2013, 04:09 PM
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The difference is that for the longest time nvidia actually supported and had drivers you could download from their site that would do everything you needed properly! It may have taken a tweak here or there but it generally quite painless to install them.

ATI/AMD on the other hand..ugh.
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Old May 28, 2013, 07:08 AM
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If you're buying a new card, I think the kepler 6xx series (make sure it's a true kepler card, not a re-branded fermi) are going to really provide you with that power and heat efficient running you're looking for. I don't know if any of the mid-low end offerings from ATI are good for that too, but in the high end GPU space where I play, the 680 runs cooler than the 7970.
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Old May 28, 2013, 08:12 AM
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If you are using a distro that utilizes the latest version of Xorg (1.14) such as Arch Linux, then you will not be able to use the proprietary AMD drivers. I'm currently running Arch Linux on a 6950 and have no choice but to use the open source AMD drivers.

Click here if you would like to read more. Needless to say, my next gpu will be an Nvidia one.
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