Linux rocks

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Offline Bill Snowzell

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« on: September 27, 2017, 10:18:32 AM »
Hello everyone,
Left the darkside and now installed Linux Mint on my pc,   fed up of Windows getting hi-jacked by every body and his dog,  constant problems because it has become so bloated.
However I digress,  install  of Mint went just fine just getting used to how things work.  My only concern is getting a new graphics card (Nvidia?)   any suggestions for a reasonable card that comes with linux drivers. No high end stuff as I don't do gaming mainly photography and of course several fractal programs.  Thanks in advance. 

Offline claude

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« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2017, 11:29:41 AM »
The NVIDIA proprietary closed source driver usually supports the latest cards on Linux.  It may be included in Mint, you might have to enable some non-free repository if it's like Debian.  If you want to use the Free open source drivers (nouveau for NVIDIA cards), you might not get immediate support for new cards.  Can't recommend anything specific, as I've not been shopping for graphics cards lately.  I have no recent experience wtih AMD or Intel graphics hardware. For fractals on GPU you probably want good double-precision support, maybe check science-oriented benchmarks rather than game-oriented benchmarks.

Offline hobold

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« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2017, 08:24:52 PM »
As it happens, parts for my next personal supercomputer are currently in the mail, and I also plan to abandon the "walled gardens" of proprietary OSes for good.

The situation with GPUs under Linux is currently this:

1. Intel integrated graphics officially has open source drivers from intel. Those drivers are said to be quite okay for day to day desktop use. 3D support allegedly lacks a few features, and GPU compute can be a bit of a gamble. Overall though, they usually just work.

2a. Nvidia provides closed source drivers for several Linux distributions. The quality of those drivers is said to be pretty much on par with windows drivers. Some distributions help you installing the drivers, other distributions might require a bit of tinkering.

2b. Alternatively there are open source drivers which are developed without relevant help from nvidia. These are said to be quite rough around the edges. Apparently the open source community has to reverse engineer all functionality of nvidia GPUs, and this process takes time.

3a. AMD officially provides two drivers. First there is a closed source driver meant for the "professional" workstation GPU models. This driver is certified by AMD to support specific commercial application software (like CAD, modelling, rendering, etc.). Those drivers happen to work for consumer GPUs as well, but they are said to lack features which the officially supported applications don't need.

3b. AMD officially supports an open source driver. In fact, in recent years most programming contributions were coming from AMD engineers. This driver is said to be of fairly good quality for desktop and 3D use, but GPU compute currently requires installing code fresh from the repositories of the developers.


All of the above drivers have a tendency to lag a bit behind hardware availability. The latest and greatest models might not be fully supported yet, but the few generations before that usually work. All drivers are under active development at all times, so support for current GPUs improves from day to day.

(My personal choice was to go with an AMD GPU this time around, because of AMD's commitment to open source. But hardware-wise Nvidia's offerings might be better value, and their drivers are fine if you don't care about freedom of software.)


You wrote that you are using fractal programs. If those do use the GPU for computation, then you'd probably benefit from a midrange card of the current or last generation(s). In the AMD camp this could be Radeon RX 460, Radeon RX 560. Or from Nvidia something like GeForce GTX 960, GeForce GTX 1060. These GPUs might not be a good deal right now, though, because of crypto currency mining.

A step below that are entry level models like AMD Radeon RX 450, Radeon RX 550, or Nvidia GeForce GTX 950, GeForce GTX 1050. These are already quite capable - the graphics integrated in some Intel and AMD CPUs effectively sets a threshold, below which it makes no sense to produce graphics cards.

I can't recommend higher end models. Prices increase much faster than performance as you move up the ladder.

Offline Bill Snowzell

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« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2017, 03:04:18 PM »
The NVIDIA proprietary closed source driver usually supports the latest cards on Linux.  It may be included in Mint, you might have to enable some non-free repository if it's like Debian.  If you want to use the Free open source drivers (nouveau for NVIDIA cards), you might not get immediate support for new cards.  Can't recommend anything specific, as I've not been shopping for graphics cards lately.  I have no recent experience wtih AMD or Intel graphics hardware. For fractals on GPU you probably want good double-precision support, maybe check science-oriented benchmarks rather than game-oriented benchmarks.

I did a bit more research today on Linux Mint home site,  all their distros have the latest drivers for Nvidia cards and many other hardware drivers for sound, motherboards etc. except maybe for the very latest ones, so just need to get a card that suits my needs.

Offline Bill Snowzell

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« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2017, 03:12:14 PM »
As it happens, parts for my next personal supercomputer are currently in the mail, and I also plan to abandon the "walled gardens" of proprietary OSes for good.

The situation with GPUs under Linux is currently this:

1. Intel integrated graphics officially has open source drivers from intel. Those drivers are said to be quite okay for day to day desktop use. 3D support allegedly lacks a few features, and GPU compute can be a bit of a gamble. Overall though, they usually just work.

2a. Nvidia provides closed source drivers for several Linux distributions. The quality of those drivers is said to be pretty much on par with windows drivers. Some distributions help you installing the drivers, other distributions might require a bit of tinkering.

Yes I checked last night apparently Linux Mint comes with the latest drivers for Nvidia cards except for some of the very  latest ones. They say the same for other hardware drivers for motherboards sound etc. so good to go.   ;D
The 960 was one I looked at just need to nail down the best price as it varies so much.....thanks for thr info and advice.

2b. Alternatively there are open source drivers which are developed without relevant help from nvidia. These are said to be quite rough around the edges. Apparently the open source community has to reverse engineer all functionality of nvidia GPUs, and this process takes time.

3a. AMD officially provides two drivers. First there is a closed source driver meant for the "professional" workstation GPU models. This driver is certified by AMD to support specific commercial application software (like CAD, modelling, rendering, etc.). Those drivers happen to work for consumer GPUs as well, but they are said to lack features which the officially supported applications don't need.

3b. AMD officially supports an open source driver. In fact, in recent years most programming contributions were coming from AMD engineers. This driver is said to be of fairly good quality for desktop and 3D use, but GPU compute currently requires installing code fresh from the repositories of the developers.


All of the above drivers have a tendency to lag a bit behind hardware availability. The latest and greatest models might not be fully supported yet, but the few generations before that usually work. All drivers are under active development at all times, so support for current GPUs improves from day to day.

(My personal choice was to go with an AMD GPU this time around, because of AMD's commitment to open source. But hardware-wise Nvidia's offerings might be better value, and their drivers are fine if you don't care about freedom of software.)


You wrote that you are using fractal programs. If those do use the GPU for computation, then you'd probably benefit from a midrange card of the current or last generation(s). In the AMD camp this could be Radeon RX 460, Radeon RX 560. Or from Nvidia something like GeForce GTX 960, GeForce GTX 1060. These GPUs might not be a good deal right now, though, because of crypto currency mining.

A step below that are entry level models like AMD Radeon RX 450, Radeon RX 550, or Nvidia GeForce GTX 950, GeForce GTX 1050. These are already quite capable - the graphics integrated in some Intel and AMD CPUs effectively sets a threshold, below which it makes no sense to produce graphics cards.

I can't recommend higher end models. Prices increase much faster than performance as you move up the ladder.

Offline jdhauser

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« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2018, 12:30:41 AM »
Hello everyone,
Left the darkside and now installed Linux Mint on my pc,   fed up of Windows getting hi-jacked by every body and his dog,  constant problems because it has become so bloated.
However I digress,  install  of Mint went just fine just getting used to how things work.  My only concern is getting a new graphics card (Nvidia?)   any suggestions for a reasonable card that comes with linux drivers. No high end stuff as I don't do gaming mainly photography and of course several fractal programs.  Thanks in advance.

I am using a GeForce GT 740 SC on two monitors with Linux Mint KDE 18.3 It uses the nvidia 384.111 driver. Everything works perfectly for me. I am not a gamer or bit-coin miner so I do not use the higher end cards. The card itself did not come with linux drivers but most good linux distros have the nvidia drivers.


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