Re: ATI or nVidia

On Tue, 2007-09-25 at 10:14 -0400, Guillermo Garron wrote:
Hi List,

I am thinking in changing my ATI Radeo X300 video card, according to
your experience do you recommend me to change to a nVidia card? or
stay on the ATI side?

Here's the scoop:

With nVidia, you're probably going to be stuck with their proprietary
drivers for the forseeable future. The drivers are pretty decent and
keep up with the evolving Xorg standards reasonably well. In my opinion,
if you have to use a closed-source proprietary driver, nVidia's is the
best one.

There is an open source "nv" driver that supports most nvidia cards, but
only in 2D mode, and it's not very good (it doesn't seem to be great at
detecting/using all monitor resolutions).

There is a project to make an opensource nvidia driver that support 3d
accelaration, but it's not very far along. It's called nouveau:

In short, if you pick nVidia, your best bet is to use their (decent)
proprietary driver. It comes with Ubuntu, but you probably have to
enable it with the restricted drivers manager.

With ATI, you may be stuck with their proprietary driver for a short
while. The problem is, their propreitary driver (fglrx) really sucks. It
has not kept up with Xorg, so compiz will probably not work without some

The good news is that there are some opensource drivers for ATI right
now that support a large number of the older ATI cards. To wit: until
recently, I needed fglrx to support an X300 (I believe) card in one of
my machines. But low and behold, when I tried a gutsy live CD, it
supported the card with the opensource radeon driver and compiz ran very

Now, if you buy a more recent ATI card, you probably will need fglrx if
you want any 3D, but the other good news is that ATI finally released
their hardware spec (!), so opensource driver development is under way
for all the latest ATI cards. The drivers aren't done, but are slated to
be ready for 3D with compositing by the end of the year, so you may
expect Hardy Heron to have opensource 3d support for your new ATI card
out of the box.

I just bought a new laptop with the nvidia chip just before ATI got
around to releasing their specs... had I known it was really going to
happen, I would probably have picked a laptop with a radeon chip.


I am planning to use compiz-fusion with Gutsy, and surely GoogleEarth,
also maybe openArena :).


Guillermo Garron
"Linux IS user friendly... It's just selective about who its friends are."
(Using FC6, CentOS4.4 and Ubuntu 6.06)

Michael R. Head <burner@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

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