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Would like a little helpful information please about video cards and Linux. First of all, is a separate video card gonna be of any real benefit to me right now? ...
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  1. #1
    Just Joined! bkovacevich's Avatar
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    Help with video card questions?


    Would like a little helpful information please about video cards and Linux. First of all, is a separate video card gonna be of any real benefit to me right now? I'm not running any heavy-duty graphics applications, not a hard-core gamer, don't do video editing (yet) and the on-board video seems to be adequate for internet video streaming - can't yet watch DVDs or play wmv/mpeg4 stuff, haven't been able to find the codecs for these (as a side topic, anyone wanna direct me to where I can find these?). Motherboard is MSI with on-board VGA, DVI and HDMI connections, and I'm currently using the DVI output on a 1600x900 monitor. And BTW I'm running Fedora 12 on this machine. If it helps any, here's the lspci output from my box:

    [billy@antec300-fc12 ~]$ lspci
    00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation 4 Series Chipset DRAM Controller (rev 03)
    00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation 4 Series Chipset Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 03)
    00:02.1 Display controller: Intel Corporation 4 Series Chipset Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 03)
    00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) High Definition Audio Controller (rev 01)
    00:1c.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) PCI Express Port 1 (rev 01)
    00:1c.1 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) PCI Express Port 2 (rev 01)
    00:1c.2 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) PCI Express Port 3 (rev 01)
    00:1d.0 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) USB UHCI Controller #1 (rev 01)
    00:1d.1 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) USB UHCI Controller #2 (rev 01)
    00:1d.2 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) USB UHCI Controller #3 (rev 01)
    00:1d.3 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) USB UHCI Controller #4 (rev 01)
    00:1d.7 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) USB2 EHCI Controller (rev 01)
    00:1e.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801 PCI Bridge (rev e1)
    00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation 82801GB/GR (ICH7 Family) LPC Interface Bridge (rev 01)
    00:1f.1 IDE interface: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) IDE Controller (rev 01)
    00:1f.2 IDE interface: Intel Corporation 82801GB/GR/GH (ICH7 Family) SATA IDE Controller (rev 01)
    00:1f.3 SMBus: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) SMBus Controller (rev 01)
    02:00.0 Ethernet controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8111/8168B PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet controller (rev 03)
    04:01.0 Network controller: RaLink RT2760 Wireless 802.11n 1T/2R Cardbus
    [billy@antec300-fc12 ~]$


    Secondly, are there specific manufacturers or chipsets I should look for that have Linux drivers available? I seem to remember seeing something about Nvidia chipsets being more Linux-friendly than others, and if this is the case would I find the driver(s) through the manufacturer or somewhere else? Think I saw a thread in this forum that directed someone to use "yum -get nvidia ..." or something similar.

    I actually bought a card the other day that was on sale at Fry's and hoped that it would work - an MSI 1GB model that uses the ATI chipset, which I guess isn't too Linux-friendly. It worked, sorta, i.e. the monitor worked when connected to its DVI output, but trying to watch streaming video on the internet was way slower and jerkier than the on-board connection, so presumably this is something that a platform-specific driver would correct. I looked all thru the MSI support area to see if they had any drivers, but only Windows seems to be supported. If there are indeed Linux-compatible drivers for this chipset that will work I'd be happy to keep this card & not have to return it.

    As I said above, I'm not really doing anything right now that's too demanding of a display adapter, but probably at some point will want to do video editing and playback, maybe some other media stuff, so if I can get a separate card to work now it'll be there when I need it. Apologies for asking a buncha basic questions which are probably answered elsewhere in the forum, but I am a newbie ...

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    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    For the external card, you need the proprietary or board-specific drivers instead of the generic vesa driver that is likely being used. Hence the performance degradation you are experiencing. If the performance of the Intel video chipset is adequate for your needs, then by all means use it. As for the DVD stuff, there are some issues here. Commercial DVD's generally are copy-protected with an encryption scheme called DVD Content Scramble System (DVDCSS). There is support on Linux to allow Linux video players, such as Kaffeine, mplayer, vlc, et al to play commercial DVD's. You need to install, using Yum, the libdvdcss package. DVD videos are mpeg2 video files, so there should be no problem in any current Linux system to handle them. The problem is with the DRM (DVDCSS) that is used, which the libdvdcss package will fix.

    Back to video cards. A lot of us like nVidia cards for Linux because even though their drivers are proprietary (not open source), they support Linux very well and provide very high performance video, as well as the massive number crunching capabilities of the CUDA processors on the boards. I run a dual monitor setup with an 8800GT nVidia board with 1920x1200 24" wide screen displays and can run full-screen videos simultaneously on each monitor in high-def. Not bad for a board that these days (for an equivalent) costs less than $100 USD. It came with 512MB of video RAM.
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

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    Just Joined! bkovacevich's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info, I will certainly check out the DVDCSS stuff. Returned the ATI video card to Fry's and got an EVGA model with 1GB and the NVIDIA 9500GT chipset; it was a bit more expensive than the MSI one I purchased originally ($60 vs. $40 after the rebate) but if it works will be worth it. Only thing I don't like is that the MSI one had DVI, HDMI and VGA outputs, while the EVGA one has 2 DVIs and an S-video. But I will probably only ever be using the DVI output anyway.

    Have downloaded the driver stuff from NVIDIA and am gonna try getting it installed tomorrow, it's been a long day ...

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    Linux Newbie ryptyde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkovacevich View Post
    Thanks for the info, I will certainly check out the DVDCSS stuff. Returned the ATI video card to Fry's and got an EVGA model with 1GB and the NVIDIA 9500GT chipset; it was a bit more expensive than the MSI one I purchased originally ($60 vs. $40 after the rebate) but if it works will be worth it. Only thing I don't like is that the MSI one had DVI, HDMI and VGA outputs, while the EVGA one has 2 DVIs and an S-video. But I will probably only ever be using the DVI output anyway.

    Have downloaded the driver stuff from NVIDIA and am gonna try getting it installed tomorrow, it's been a long day ...
    I have a nVidia 9500 GT card and also have installed Fedora 13 Beta and use the non-proprietary experimental drivers from the fedora repo. The desktop effects work well so far.

    You will probably not want to download the nvidia driver from their site but instead use the one from the rpmfusion repo. You need to have the Livna repo to get "libdvdcss" for your videos.

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    Just Joined! bkovacevich's Avatar
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    i'm a newbie, so can you please give a little more information about how i get the nvidia driver and also libdvdcss? presumably that is something done thru yum but i don't know how to add repositories, guess it is just going to the fedora 12 right now.

  6. #6
    oz
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkovacevich View Post
    i'm a newbie, so can you please give a little more information about how i get the nvidia driver and also libdvdcss? presumably that is something done thru yum but i don't know how to add repositories, guess it is just going to the fedora 12 right now.
    Check these HowTo articles for getting your nVidia drivers installed:

    Fedora Nvidia Driver Install Guide

    Howto/nVidia - RPM Fusion

    For playing DVDs, check this one:

    Fedora 12 Installation Guide
    oz

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