I'm planning to build a computer for myself, on which I'll install Ubuntu 13.04 64-bit. This computer will be used for light gaming and office work. In order to save some money, I'm planning to use integrated graphics, but I don't know whether to choose the Intel HD Graphics 4000 (by using an Intel i5-3570K processor) or AMD Radeon 7660D graphics (by using an AMD A10-5800K processor).

According to your technical knowledge / experience, which of these two choices is the best, in terms of stability and performance? I want my system to be stable, but, at the same time, I would like to have some fancy Compiz or KWin desktop effects, and play some games.

I am more tempted to choose the AMD APU, because it's cheaper than Intel, and I have read from the Phoronix website, that this APU seems to work well, especially if using the proprietary Catalyst driver. But I still wanted to know your opinion. So, Intel or AMD integrated graphics?


You'll probably get a thousand opinions on this...

My impression is (after setting up three boxes for family) that Intel GPU works wonders in Linux. I'm planning to get such a box for myself once Haswell is out. My AMD/ATI HD5850 (dedicated card) doesn't work at all well for Linux (either tearing with the binary driver, or performance issues without). Great for Windows gaming, though. If you have a dual boot setup, AMD might probably do better; for pure Linux and no gaming requirements, I'd pick Intel over AMD any day.



I have a hybrid AMD and Intel 3000HD in my laptop. From my experience Intel is a much easier choice. The Catalyst software for Linux is buggy and causes problems, not to mention relying too much on alternative drivers that could black screen you.

Intel HD is by no means perfect, but by default this hardware will work as it should without needing an add in GUI or anything.

As far as gaming goes if these are more than Minecraft and Civilization, you will want to go with the AMD.


I know this is quite an old post, but I stumbled across this and just thought I'd pitch in my two cents worth...

I have been using Linux for quite a few years now, and have gone through a number of different systems (both laptops and desktops). Some computers I've bought for personal use, others have been issued to me by my employer.

I agree fully with the two posts above - Intel is definitely the way to go for Linux. The Intel HD graphics driver is open source, and is included with the Linux kernel (which means you don't have to go to the effort of installing a binary proprietary driver from the manufacturer - which can be quite a daunting task on Linux the first few times).

The last AMD/ATI graphics cards I had were two 7780's. One was running on a AMD A8 motherboard, the other on an Intel i5 motherboard. Both had dual monitors - one 2560x1440, the other 1920x1080. While they "kind of" worked, they never worked satisfactorily. There were tearing issues, wobbly windows were not smooth (constant judder and lagginess), overscan issues etc etc etc. The end-user experience sucked.

I heard a lot of good things about the nVidia drivers with Linux, so I spent the money on two GTX 660TI cards and used these to replae the 7780's. While the 660TI did work exceptionally well in single monitor mode, it struggled running two monitors. There was always tearing on the second monitor, things got juddery/janky if playing a movie etc.

With Ubuntu 14.04 (running the 3.13 kernel), things are much better with nVidia and multiple high resolution monitors. Everything is almost perfect (I'm using the proprietary nVidia 331.67 driver). I say "almost", because when I stream video from my NAS box using the default video player, things because jerky/laggy (with wobbly windows enabled, you really notice it when you drag a window around while the video is playing). This does not occur if playing the video in VLC player instead (so perhaps something to do with hardware acceleration/decoding).

I've had the most satisfaction with the Intel HD on-chip GPUs. Every laptop I've owned with Intel HD graphics has run Linux beautifully. Even with the Intel HD 4000 in my Chronos 7, driving two monitors (the second running at 2560x1440) isn't a problem. Even when I steam video using the default video player, things are still smooth, fluid and snappy (it passes the wobbly windows test with flying colors :)).

As an experiment, I decided to rip out the 660TI from my Intel desktop machine and try the onboard Intel HD 4400. It worked extremely well, even with two monitors, although there was no convenient GUI to fix the overscan on the second monitor (I messed around with xrandr, but still wasn't able to completely get rid of the overscan). The other issue I had is the maximum resolution. The motherboard has a HDMI port and a DVI port - neither of which is capable of driving a 2560x1440 monitor (even though the box was stamped with "Ultra HD 4K", which is false advertising as far as I'm concerned). My laptops have DisplayPort or Thunderbolt ports, so they have no problem driving higher resolution monitors.

For a single monitor machine running Linux, I'd stick with Intel HD. If you want to drive multiple monitors, just be aware there's no easy way (i.e. a GUI) to deal with overscan. If you want to drive monitors higher than 1920x1080, then just make sure your motherboard comes with a port capable of of higher-than-HD output (DisplayPort and Thunderbolt will drive 2560x1600, and probably higher).


I feel it's important to add a small caveat in regards to Intel drivers "just working". If you plan on using dual monitors, it's important to switch from SNA to UXA. This can be done by adding the following to your /etc/X11/xorg.conf file (create this file if it doesn't already exist):

Section "Device"
  Identifier "intel"
  Driver "intel"
  Option "AccelMethod" "uxa"

This makes things much smoother, but it also results in some minor annoying artifacts (like if you have set opaqueness for the top bar, you'll see it flicker when dragging windows around).


If you're using multiple high-resolution monitors, nVidia is the better option. Intel HD graphics struggles with 2 quad-HD monitors (2560x1440). I have a rig with an Intel Z97 motherboard. When running a Full HD TV and my Dell U2711, the Intel HD 4400 struggled (i.e. window movement becomes slightly (but noticeably) jerky). When running the same two monitors with my nVidia GeForce 660TI (running driver 337.25 beta) everything is silky smooth and responsive.


Your needs for graphics are pretty low by modern standards. Specifically, nearly all graphics chipsets can handle the kind of effects you're interested in. Pretty much every computer sold today can handle Windows Aero, and other than a few specific quirks (more below), they require the same thing to make work on a technical level. All modern chipsets support those things.

Considering your list of priorities, I'll assume that you're not a gamer and no need to squeeze every bit of performance or use every esoteric graphics ability. With that said...

Go Intel.

Intel's video drivers are open source, and fully supported by Ubuntu and the open source communities not only on Ubuntu, but on every distro. Intel hasn't released nearly as many versions of their video chipsets, and while this is bad for gamers who want ultimate performance, it dramatically simplifies the choice for people who want responsive video playback, desktop effects, and moderate quality for casual gaming.

AMD/ATI has, on the other hand, released many chipsets, and supported them to varying degrees over time. While AMD now has fully-supported open source drivers, sometimes it requires knowing the specific model and chip that you're using in order to know which open source driver works the best with it.

As a non-gamer, I find that just having the Intel chipset auto-detected and "just working" is worth a few extra bucks.

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