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I've been using nVidia cards in Ubuntu boxes for years. The closed source drivers have been great and I've even found my way around the nvidia-settings program when I've needed to. I'm now in the market for a new graphics card. Is there (at present) any reason to entertain switching to an ATI card?

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Does not matter, just check the compatibility list before you buy. wiki.ubuntu.com/HardwareSupportComponentsVideoCards and also free3d.org –  bodhi.zazen Dec 26 '11 at 22:32
    
@bodhi.zazen: That sounds like a good answer to me. Please feel free to submit it as such. –  SMTF Dec 26 '11 at 23:05
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Having an HD5870 card has been a non-stop pain in the butt. I'm looking at getting an new generation Nvidia card but I'd rather get some advice before shelling out £500. As far as I'm concerned, the ATI card needs smashing with a hammer. I can either use the propriety drivers for 3D but loose all desktop stability or use the non-propriety drivers and loose 3D. ATI driver support is ppor, but are Nvidia better? –  tomwrong Jul 14 '12 at 18:30
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3 Answers 3

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Does not matter, just check the compatibility list before you buy (both make both good and bad cards).

https://wiki.ubuntu.com/HardwareSupportComponentsVideoCards

and also http://free3d.org

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Nevertheless, I've had some horrible experiences with ATI's fglrx driver when trying to play games through Wine where NVIDIA would be less of a hassle. If you plan to use an ATI card for Wine-gaming, you should try and get some reports from users who actually use current-gen ATI cards. –  bkzland Dec 27 '11 at 9:06
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By experience Nvidia cards are better supported than AMD/ATI. I had both and had suffered more with ATI than Nvidia (at the point to swear to not buy ATI for a Linux machine) –  Antoine Rodriguez Oct 6 '12 at 15:21
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@AntoineRodriguez you will have better success with both brands if you check hardware compatibility first. I know many who would say the same of nvidia ;) –  bodhi.zazen Oct 7 '12 at 18:07
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@bodhi.zazen compatibility list wasn't existing when I last purchased an ati card. and the "discontinue when it's more than 2Yrs old" politic will not help me to come back. –  Antoine Rodriguez Oct 8 '12 at 18:36
    
Unfortunately, the AMD page was last updated 2011-07-23 --- hardly useful. Now that I know I could try to add my combo (switchable Intel/ATI 6400-7400 series, a PITA). –  Rmano Jan 30 at 23:32
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any , doesnt really matter!

but IMO i would go buy Nvidia as their drivers are more stable on both windows and linux as compared to ATI, but if u have a hackintosh compatibled hardware and plan to build a hackintosh in future go for ATI...

if u dual boot with windows den ATI seems to be the budget guy's friend,

if u need help with Hackintosh compatible hardware have a look here see if its possible for you http://tonymacx86.blogspot.com/2011/11/building-sandy-bridge-customac-buyers.html

but if u ask me i would go for NVIDIA any day! as game dev support it most

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and be sure to see to it that the new card meets ur power supply requirments –  sarveshlad Dec 26 '11 at 22:31
    
That's good advice. @sarvesh-lad I imagine it is easy to get burned by that. –  SMTF Dec 27 '11 at 5:47
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yeah it is many people who upgrade after 3-4 years to current gen cards have had the BSOD cause their power supply wasnt enough –  sarveshlad Dec 28 '11 at 4:11
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One way to check compatibility of a given graphics card with Ubuntu is to check Ubuntu's officially certified Component catalog.

From the website:

Canonical and hardware providers certify systems containing the components below.

There you can, for example, search for "5870" (if you're interested in checking compatibility of AMD Radeon HD5870). This specific search will yield No results found., meaning that there is no officially certified hardware containing this card.

If however you're searching for "5450" (for AMD Radeon HD 5450), then you will find Park [Mobility Radeon HD 5430/5450/5470] and a list of laptops containing this component. Unfortunately this is not a definitive blessing for the given hardware component, but it still comes as close as it gets to official certification (some strings are attached). At the very least, it means that it is known to work with Ubuntu.

In addition, you may go to Ubuntu Certification Programme at Launchpad to check if there were reports with issues for the component/laptop that you're interested in.


Lastly, you may also have a list of certified laptops by accessing the Ubuntu Desktop certified hardware.

From the website:

Ubuntu Certified hardware

Ubuntu Certified hardware has passed our extensive testing and review process to make sure Ubuntu runs well out of the box and it is ready for your business. We work closely with OEMs to jointly make Ubuntu available on a wide range of devices.

From that list you can check the graphics cards of supported laptops.

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