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I am a gamer running on Ubuntu 10.10 with a G92 [GeForce 9800 GTX+] graphics card using the binary drivers. It runs alright, but even on simple games like teeworlds and minecraft I find they can max out one of my 3 Ghz cores, making the game occasionally choppy.

Is an ATI card likely to be better? Is there anything else people can recommended to improve performance?

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closed as not constructive by Jorge Castro, Rinzwind, Eric Carvalho, Salem, Alvar Jan 1 '13 at 0:16

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I don't think your graphics card has anything to do with that. It may be that some process is hogging the CPU in in the background. Try monitoring what processes use the CPU a lot (go to System → Administration → System Monitor and sort by CPU usage). Also, enable the "CPU Time" field in the system monitors settings and append a screenshot of the process list sorted by CPU time to your question. –  Stefano Palazzo Nov 9 '10 at 11:16
    
The graphics card you are using right now is just about right. I'm using exactly the same and I have no problems in Ubuntu. –  Octavian Damiean Feb 28 '11 at 16:48

3 Answers 3

Most games will run at 100% CPU utilisation, its part of their event loop to ensure high priority for what they have to do. The event loop wants to stay in the CPU cache to ensure a smooth gameplay.

Most of the time choppy gameplay is down to reading textures from the HDD or network latency.

If you have a single core processor, other processes can interrupt the smoothness of the game.

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I'm using a 9600 GT, and I can play games like Team Fortress 2 (sometimes choppy), but not much newer. A newer card will help, I've had good experiences with nVidia and Linux in the past, the GTS240 and GTX460 are good ones to look at, depending on your price range.

Check out the answers to this question for a little more info on what should be able to run:

Gaming on Ubuntu - How far can you take it?

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If it's your CPU being stressed, I doubt throwing more GPU at it is going to help. The games you mention have modest graphical requirements for which I would expect a 9800GTX to be more than ample.

I mean sure, the new ATIs are nice and all, but I don't think I could justify that expenditure on Minecraft.

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Well, it's not so much more GPU as better drivers that don't tax the CPU so much. A 3 Ghz processor should be enough for this sort of thing normally. –  Nate Nov 9 '10 at 3:09

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