[SWLUG] graphics cards

Jonathan Wright mail at djnauk.co.uk
Wed May 3 10:46:35 UTC 2006

Justin Mitchell wrote:
> On Tue, 2006-05-02 at 17:22 +0100, nick wrote:
>> OK, nvidia aren't that bad. Free driver works OK but doesn't
>> support many of the XGL extensions newer games need to run.

Never tried :)

>> The proprietary driver installs pretty easily, and works
>> quite smoothly, but has no framebuffer (e.g. pretty penguin
>> and decent resolution on console) support.

Actually, while you can't use the nVidia FB driver from the kernel at 
the same time you're using the nVidia driver for Xorg,  you can use the 
vesa-tng driver for FB without any problem - they both work with each 
other quite nicely, and vesa-tng is a big improvement over the original 

> many of the distributions have given up on that framebuffer boot
> sequence thing and start X up as soon as possible to give the pretty
> progress meters.

Actually, IIRC, that's not X. It's an overlay on top of the vesa 
frame-buffer and shutdown down when Xorg starts.

>> Basically it's alright but I would have expected something
>> else to be better. I guess I'm mistaken.

TBH, when me system is working with weeks of uptime between 
boots/reboots I'm not interested in Framebuffers and the like. On the 
rare occation that I need to work in the console, I find it quicker to 
work without a FB, although the higher resolution would be nice :)

>>From what i hear, and have tried, if you want good 3d performance your
> only real choice is NVidia and their supplied driver (its on their
> website, easy to use, self installing). its by no means perfect, will
> occasionally crash, and needs to be reinstalled with every kernel
> update, but its the best youll find at the moment.

I've got to agree here. Even on Gentoo, install is a breeze (just make 
sure you re-emerge after a kernel update ;) and even on a very old card 
(I'm running a FX5500) I've managed to get full 3D acceleration and 
Video overlay when running on a Xinerama/TwinView setup (2 1280x1024 
monitors as well!).

As for crashing - I've never had a problem. Solid as a rock. The only 
problem I've had with Xorg (and even though I'm running a beta of the 
new V7 modular system) is with Firefox, which triggers an Xorg overload 
when accessing the Plesk Control Panel when it has the option to prevent 
you using the page until it's loaded set.

Now that I've set that off on all the servers, it runs like a dream! :)

> ATI also do linux drivers, but i keep hearing of them causing more
> problems than the nvidia ones.

I've never had a new ATI card - worth pointing out as well that the ATI 
drivers only support 'newer' cards. Alot of the cheaper, older cards on 
the second-hand market are no longer supported, although any card you 
can buy in the shops should be - so I've only ever used the older cards.

While the OS drivers are fine, they're no-where as powerful or easy to 
use as the nVidia ones.

Any future graphics card, without a doubt will be an nVidia model! :)

  Jonathan Wright
   ~ mail at djnauk.co.uk
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