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Thread: Should NVIDIA be avoided?

  1. #1
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    Question Should NVIDIA be avoided?

    I am looking to buy a new laptop to install Ubuntu. As a Linux novice, I am hoping for a hassle-free migration.

    Majority of the laptops in my location, have NVIDIA GeForce GPU and I have read that due to the driver issues, it is better to avoid it and try laptops with AMD GPU.

    The most common laptop available to me with AMD GPU is Lenovo ThinkPad but sadly, almost all the available ones are E15 which is reported to have heat issues.

    Should NVIDIA be avoided?

    PS. I use laptop for usual computing & programming (with added external monitor), no game-play or intensive video editing.
    Last edited by erosman; June 20th, 2021 at 06:53 AM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Should NVIDIA be avoided?

    The problem with laptops is that the OEMs do not offer Linux users a satisfactory way to use hybrid graphics. So any laptop with hybrid Intel/whatever graphics is a crapshoot. Sometimes the BIOS/UEFI allows you to blacklist the Intel graphics and use only the AMD or NVIDIA, but that is not always the case. When you can do that, however, you will run in to battery use issues as the better GPUs also eat up more power.

    The thing about AMD is really only that the APUs combine the CPU and the GPU. As long as there is not also an Intel GPU, there should be few problems. Unfortunately, NVIDIA doesn't have CPU/GPU combinations on die. That is the issue.

    My opinion, and you can take it as you wish, is that you are best off purchasing a laptop with an Intel processor and intel graphics with neither AMD nor NVIDIA GPUs. The next choice would be an AMD/AMD machine with no Intel graphics. It is just less of a hassle. Unfortunately, NVIDIA is the odd man out here. That's not the fault of the Linux community. And it's not that NVIDIA is "to be avoided" just because it's NVIDIA.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Should NVIDIA be avoided?

    Thank you.

    Quote Originally Posted by QIII View Post
    ...you are best off purchasing a laptop with an Intel processor and intel graphics with neither AMD nor NVIDIA GPUs.
    Which current laptop series (manufacturer, model) are like that?

    Quote Originally Posted by QIII View Post
    ...The next choice would be an AMD/AMD machine with no Intel graphics.
    Which current laptop series (manufacturer, model) are like that?

  4. #4
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    Re: Should NVIDIA be avoided?

    I have a lenovo with hybrid intel/nvidia graphics, it’s full of problems and unstable for me and am constantly fighting the high dpi 4k vs 1080 external monitor scaling issue.

    Lenovo has a couple of laptops with intel Xe or older intel only. For example carbon x1, thinkbook 13, t480 etc.

    I tried one of those intel Xe, it is really like night and day, no hassle, and makes want to boycott nvidia in the future.

  5. #5
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    Re: Should NVIDIA be avoided?

    However, on a desk top, I absolutely love nVidia. I do agree with the others though: especially about trying NOT to get a laptop with 2 video cards in it.

  6. #6
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    Re: Should NVIDIA be avoided?

    Quote Originally Posted by Autodave View Post
    especially about trying NOT to get a laptop with 2 video cards in it.
    Yup, those suck and 99% of them don't work right under Linux.

  7. #7
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    Re: Should NVIDIA be avoided?

    Well it depends on the model and the manufacturer. System 76 offers Ubuntu/PopOS laptop with Nvidia GPU, I also have installed Ubuntu on my friend's Alienware laptop without issue. Dell in general has good Linux support. I suggest you figure out what your graphic needs are and do some research on hardware first, I have had no issue with installing Ubuntu on a few high end laptops with Nvidia. In terms of performance Intel card is just no match and are pretty useless if you need cuda.

    Edited: If I am not sure I'll just install Ubuntu on an external drive first and boot off it to make sure everything works before I wipe Windows so I don't void my warrantee.
    Last edited by monkeybrain20122; June 21st, 2021 at 03:47 AM.

  8. #8
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    Re: Should NVIDIA be avoided?

    Quote Originally Posted by erosman View Post
    I am looking to buy a new laptop to install Ubuntu. As a Linux novice, I am hoping for a hassle-free migration.
    You could buy laptops with Linux pre-installed, you know? That's about as "hassle-free" as you could get.

    Depending on where you live on this planet one or the other choice from this list might be appealing ... or not:

    https://system76.com/laptops
    https://slimbook.es/en/
    https://www.tuxedocomputers.com/en
    https://puri.sm/products/librem-14/
    https://www.ubuntushop.be/index.php/...notebooks.html

    My personal take:

    If you're based in the US or Canada I'd give System76 a shot, their machines are suuuper nice and the review videos on YouTube are very positive. For me personally the exchange rate between CHF and USD is in my favor and money isn't an issue ... but my local customs authority loves to snoop on all my packages and slap on hefty import taxes and what not on anything that arrives from overseas to my door step. So for me as European SlimBook in Spain would be a better choice. There are very positive reviews about their hardware on YouTube too.

    Even if you decide you don't want to buy from any of the vendors above: Take a look the technical specifications. So all these laptops from System76 and SlimBook etc. are known to work pretty well with Linux ... it should therefore be quite safe to assume that any laptop from a different vendor (e.g. Dell? Lenovo? HP? ...) that is available from shops in your direct area and that has the exact same technical specifications (same CPU, same GPU ...) should thus also work pretty well. Just an idea.

  9. #9
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    Re: Should NVIDIA be avoided?

    Linux pre-installed laptops are not available in my area.
    I have seen few Red Hat Fedora but with low specs.
    I intend to get a laptop without OS (no point in paying extra for Windows 10 if I am going to wipe it out).

    AFA "laptop with 2 video cards" do you mean 2 GPU in addition to the one on the motherboard? Or the one on motherboard plus GPU?
    Last edited by erosman; June 21st, 2021 at 08:34 AM.

  10. #10
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    Re: Should NVIDIA be avoided?

    Quote Originally Posted by erosman View Post
    Linux pre-installed laptops are not available in my area.
    Same in my area. But does it matter? Some of the vendors I listed above ship almost world-wide.

    Quote Originally Posted by erosman View Post
    AFA "laptop with 2 video cards" do you mean 2 GPU in addition to the one on the motherboard? Or the one on motherboard plus GPU?
    Either way... that's 2 x.


    Quote Originally Posted by erosman View Post
    Or the one on motherboard plus GPU?
    Usually this is how you get 2 x inside a laptop, out of the box. Not counting other tricks like attaching an external one via Thunderbolt port or something like that. Not sure how that would work under Linux.

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