[ubuntu-uk] Any recommendations for graphics cards?

Peter Lewis prlewis at letterboxes.org
Sat Oct 20 13:54:20 BST 2007

Hi all,

I'm sorry, I don't generally like to ask for hardware recommendation on these 
lists, but I'm a little confused about the compatibility and software options 
of the current lot of graphics cards, and figured that you guys might have 
some more up-to-date knowledge of this than me.

I currently have an ATI Radeon X700 on my desktop PC, and whilst this is 
generally fine for pretty much everything I need, I've started to get really 
frustrated with it, due to:

1. the lack of a good free driver, and
2. the lack of ability of the proprietary driver, especially with 3d-desktop 
stuff and the like.

I've heard that the proprietary drivers will soon have better support for 
things such as AIGLX, and the free driver people also claim to be making 
progress, but I've had little success with either driver at getting what I 
want - a fast 3d desktop, but also the ability to run fast 3d apps on top of 

I guess I have three options:

1. Wait for the proprietary driver to improve
2. Wait for the free driver to improve
3. Get a new (better supported) card

I'm starting to think that by the time either option 1 or 2 happens, the card 
will be too old to run a lot of new stuff anyway and I'll probably be 

So, if I were to get a new card, what should it be? I'd like to be able to run 
free drivers, and achieve the aforementioned fast 3d desktop and 3d apps and 
games. (I like EVE Online, Half-life 2 etc, though I'm not the kind to spend 
a fortune just to get a few extra FPS out of this year's title).

I'm not that up on the current state of drivers for other makes of card, but I 
do know that I have a lovely intel graphics chipset in my laptop, which works 
really well and with a bit more RAM on a dedicated card would probably be 
great. However, how do these compare with the ATI / nvidia offerings? Is 
there another I should choose? How open are the different cards / drivers? I 
know that neither ATI or nvidia are great when it comes to openness, but I do 
recall there being an announcement from ATI/AMD recently about opening up 
their drivers to some extent. I've never had an nvidia card - are they 
generally better supported than ATI ones (I've anecdotally read that they 

Anyway, so any advice on where to go from here would be very much appreciated!



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