I'm making up plans for when I eventually want to build my own gaming desktop with Ubuntu installed and use the steam client Linux version. The only thing I'm having problems with is what are the best type of graphics cards/drivers for Ubuntu? Other words, which company has the best support for developing the graphics cards/drivers that are used on Ubuntu? Should I choose AMD,Intel,or Nvidia for my graphics card?

  • 2
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is asking for shopping recommendations.
    – don.joey
    Aug 20 '13 at 14:28

I'll try to answer, knowing I risk flames because this is mainly based on personal experience. I tried to approach all GPU providers with an open mind when I was evaluating them though...

This is my understanding at the moment:

  • Intel supports open source drivers for Linux (which is nice), but the HD2500/HD4000 graphics on the CPUs is only good enough for low settings or "facebook games".
  • AMD GPUs are good value, but have problems with drivers. They've only recently in the past few years started (actively?) supporting open source drivers (which is nice), but the open source driver isn't quite "there" yet. The proprietary driver(s) also have problems: I fought with them for a couple of weeks with a HD7770, but in the end I gave up because I couldn't get it to work properly. Other people's mileage seems to vary though.
  • nVidia doesn't support open source (to my knowledge), forcing the "nouveau" open source driver to be reverse engineered. As such, it lacks some access to certain processing features on the cards. The proprietary driver, while not perfect in that it still has tearing and things, is easy to install and is pretty close to "just works".

I'd really, really wanted the AMD card to work, but it broke me. I've settled on nVidia because of the convenience...for now.

  • I only have one complaint with this and that is Intel HD 3000/4000 graphics, though considered low end on today's standards, are actually efficient for gaming. That aren't very graphic intensive, so no "crysis 2 or skyrim" style graphics. However, playing the average game, to use valve examples: Portal 2, gmod, counter-strike, they are plenty effective. I just wanted to offer a bit of insight, seeing as portal 2 and a "facebook game" are two totally different things when it comes to gaming. Otherwise, though this is based on personal experience, I find it fairly accurate.
    – Casey
    Aug 20 '13 at 14:54
  • @Casey: I did say "low settings or facebook games". Perhaps "low-med settings and/or low resolution games" would be preferable?
    – Ash
    Aug 21 '13 at 12:21
  • I apologize, that's my fault. I misread it as "low settings facebook games" I seemed to have missed the "or" in your statement, but medium or low-medium settings seems more accurate, but that actually varies on the game. Otherwise, +1 in my opinion.
    – Casey
    Aug 22 '13 at 15:11
  • I may stand corrected too: Haswell's HD4600 may be a reasonable option on a budget: semiaccurate.com/2013/06/10/…
    – Ash
    Aug 22 '13 at 22:31

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.