View Full Version : [ubuntu] Intel or AMD, Nvidia or ATI?

July 26th, 2009, 03:01 PM
For the first time in over 5 years I have the money and the opportunity to build a desktop of my own (after building plenty for family and friends). My last build was an AMD Athlon 64 3400 that I build with the help of my Dad, and miscellaneous parts from computers I had scavenged. Still using that comp now....

My budget for the new one is around $800 US, with an extra $200 spread out over the next two months, would be used for stuff like special keyboard/mouse or maybe an SSD. My first idea for a build would be an AMD Phenom II 955 with an AM3 board for future upgrades, and an ATI/AMD 4870 graphics card. The second would be an I7 with an Nvidia 260 Core 216.

I will be trying to move over to Linux almost completely, 90%, and will want to play WoW and a few other low graphics games. I've heard for a long time that ATI and Linux didn't agree much, is this still the case? ATI kind of rubbed me the wrong way recently with ending their support for the 3650 Mobility card on their driver site, this card is only a year or two old!!

With the I7 build I won't be able to afford much in the way of extras, like more memory or hard drives, but if it gives me more stability or less trouble in Linux then it's extremely worth it.

Ideas, suggestions, experiences? I hope this doesn't turn into an AMD Vs Intel debate...

July 26th, 2009, 03:42 PM
Ahh, the Great CPU/GPU Religious debate :D

I moved to Linux 100% last year, tracking it and dinking around with Linux since the late 1990's. I have been with AMD CPU's only since about 2002, and Nvidia GPU's for a couple of years.

Generally, AMD CPU's are the better value re: performance per dollar, and Nvidia GPUs are hands down the best supported under Linux. With VDPAU, there is no question that Nvidia is the no-brainier pick for Linux. I don't think ANYONE would recommend anything other than Nvidia for Linux at this point in time with a straight face, though some good progress is happening on the Intel and ATI GPU front- maybe they will be alternatives to Nvidia next year or so.


Philosophically, you want to specifically support AMD and Nvidia for the same reasons you support/use Linux- freedoms and the prevention of monopolies in the CPU and GPU markets. Do you want a Microsoft-class monopoly on CPUs and video cards?

By supporting AMD, you prevent an x86 monopoly by Intel.

By supporting Nvidia, you prevent a GPU duopoly by Intel+AMD(ATI) (Intel GPUs on laptops)

By using an AMD CPU and Nvidia GPU, you maintain the proper Balance in the Force :D

Bucky Ball
July 26th, 2009, 03:44 PM
AMD (I have both) for me and Nvidia is better supported.

July 26th, 2009, 04:33 PM
Got two agree with the above, despite having a Tosh laptop with all Intel chipset. Which all works flawlessly with Ubutnu 8.10.
Nvidia is definately the more trouble free route to go with Ubuntu at the moment.
There are loads of threads on the forum with Intel & ATI graphics issues at the moment.

July 26th, 2009, 07:14 PM
I'm an AMD & nVidia man myself. I've been ProAMD for many many MANY years now.
I've had some bad luck, as well as crappy tech support from ATI back in the day, so I've switched fully to nVidia... for my desktop.

Laptops are a different story. You get so few choices in a laptop unless you get it custom built, which I usually do, but then you have to compensate on so many other things it really is just a big hassle in the end.
I really wish Intel would get their heads removed from that far reached place of no vision and sort this mess out. Otherwise, I'd like to see nVidia take over the laptop video card market b'cuz they know what they are doing.
Yes an Intel vid card will work in linux ( I currently have one in my lapptop using Ubuntu HH8.04) but it is by no means 'good'. It works, and that's about it.

So, YES to AMD and YES to nVidia.

July 26th, 2009, 07:36 PM
Buy Nvidia if you want to use your GPU in short time

I build a shiny new workstation powered by an AMD Phenom and an ATI HD 4850.

After having fought for 2 weeks trying to make working my ATI, i went to the shop and bought a 9600GT for 100€, plugged in, running the driver installation and voilą! I had a fully working and supported GPU in less than 30minutes ( going to shop+installation )!
Damn two weeks of wasted time for a linux advanced user like me, it's really frustrating! :)

In fact for 5 years i was running an ATI Mobility T2 (thinkpad t41p) with the opensource driver and everything was fine! Xv playback, 3D (not for games anyway), thus almost a real success for OpenSource. This is for this reason i didn't want to give up quickly and go to Nvidia in the first time with my new hardware but unfortunetly, RadeonHD* is not ready, FireGL stayed the same <snip> to install and to make working after 5-6years!

Nevertheless note that the RadeonHD opensource driver works great in 2D and this better than anything! fast, Power savings works etc... but the precious features doesn't work (3D and not so precious but interesting Video playback).

FireGL <snip> and that for the beginning to the end! The time wasted to make it working is unacceptable.

July 26th, 2009, 08:27 PM
After what ATI did dropping driver support for the R500-series essentially as soon as it was off the market, I'm going to have to say Nvidia. Sure, they released specs, and sure, new cards work well, but I don't trust them to not drop driver support long before I feel like buying new hardware.

July 26th, 2009, 08:34 PM
For ultimate performance its Intel and Nvidia, AMD is closing the gap so second choice should be AMD and Nvidia, stay off ATI for now in case you wish to use Linux.

July 26th, 2009, 08:39 PM
I had the same two Q's I asked on two separate threads. (AMD vs. Intel & Nforce vs. ATI [or something similar]). Ultimately I've planned a system with an AMD Phenom II x4 955 and an ASUS M4A78T-E mobo...can't wait to get it...next week most probably :D In answer to your Q, I'd say AMD coz I love em...(did you know that the Phenom II is the first CPU to be officially O.C'd to 6.5GHz? :D). In my case, I too chose linux as primary OS but winblows for some of my fav games :D...(I might even hide that from my GRUB menu until I need it! :D)

July 27th, 2009, 03:45 AM
The problem I'm having with choosing AMD/Nvidia is the SLI support. I could go with a 770 chipset with one PCI Express slot, or go with a 790GX/X/FX for 2 slots. The 770 chipset is a bit lacking in features, raid and sata mainly, whereas the 790 has a wasted PCI Express slot. I know they are coming out with SLI boards later this year, but I don't trust their reliability and I want my computer in August.

Edit: I'm not necessarily saying that I want SLI, but I also don't want Crossfire. I'm really impressed with the Asus Crosshair III Formula, but I just hate wasting the second Express slot, and it's the same price as an I7, defeating the purpose of saving money and supporting the right guys.

Thanks for all the opinions, I knew people on this forum would be helpful. :D

Bucky Ball
July 27th, 2009, 08:22 AM
Don't worry, by the end of the year the ARM processors will be making more of an impact on the market (esp netbooks) and in five years or so may have blown the rest out of the water on portables and desktops! Lower power consumption, better graphics. Just not quite as beefy as a dual-core at this point. Who can predict where it will go or the time-line?

Bring it on, sooner the better says I!!! \\:D/