Cheap graphics cards, 2013

Adcadet

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Hey Gang,
I'm thinking about building a Linux machine, and I'd like to be able to hook it up to two monitors. I won't do any gaming on it, and would prefer low power/heat/noise. From what I can tell, Sandy/Ivy Bridge can do multiple monitor outputs, not sure about the AMD A-series chips. Has anybody used integrated graphics recently to drive multiple monitors? Does anybody have a current recommendation on a cheap, fanless GPU that will drive two monitors and hopefully have decent support under Linux?
 

CougTek

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I'm sick and I feel lazy, so I'll just post a link to a thread on this subject on Ubuntu's forums :
http://askubuntu.com/questions/6273/open-source-graphics-card-options

From what I read about it, Nvidia's proprietairy drivers are the best, even though AMD is far more friendly to the open-source development community. So in you case, I'd go with a cheapo Nvidia discrete graphic card.

Many others here have greater Linux knowledge than I do and might also have a more qualified input on the subject.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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I've heard lately that nVidia's binary driver is pretty crashy and there's a lot of annoyance in general with the disparity between display drivers for *nix and Windows, but multiple monitors are well supported at least by both AMD and nVidia. Just don't ask for every 3D feature known to man.
 

timwhit

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I've heard lately that nVidia's binary driver is pretty crashy and there's a lot of annoyance in general with the disparity between display drivers for *nix and Windows, but multiple monitors are well supported at least by both AMD and nVidia. Just don't ask for every 3D feature known to man.

I've had no issues. I have run two displays with nVidia in the past without issues.
 

Chewy509

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Currently I have my netbook (Intel Atom N570) driving two monitors (beware the resolution limitations with Intel setups IIRC, no larger than 4096px wide/high - but this may have changed with SB/IVB), and a nVidia Quadro FX580 (aka 9500GT) driving two 20" monitors quite happily. (nVidia's IIRC will do up to 16K x 16K resolution per X11 display).

Previously I've had an ATi 9600XT driving two monitors under Linux, FreeBSD and Solaris quite happily as well...

From what I've seen/read, the issue isn't the hardware and drivers that cause issues, but more which DE you use (be it GNOME, KDE, LXDE, XFCE) and how it handles dual/triple monitor setups to be more of an issue. (IIRC avoid GNOME 3.0 and 3.2 for multi-monitor setups, and IIRC GNOME 3.4 works ok with them).

PS. Setting up nVidia TwinView or Intel dual desktop is just as easy under Linux as it is on Windows.
 

Chewy509

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I've heard lately that nVidia's binary driver is pretty crashy and there's a lot of annoyance in general with the disparity between display drivers for *nix and Windows.
Out of curiosity, have references for the crashy behaviour? (I'm still running the nVidia 295 driver series, since the 300 series offer nothing above what my current hardware is capable of).

Also, currently I can run 10bit colour channels**, offer up to 16K x 16K displays (in multi-monitor), and have CUDA/OpenCL/GPGPU and OpenGL features/support before Windows does, so am interested in what disparities there are?

**With the appropriate monitors connected via DisplayPort. (That is 10 bits per colour channel, not the 8 bit per colour channel is commonly used when you select 32bit colour).
 
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jtr1962

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I'm running 2 displays on my A10-5800K-one on the D-Sub output (1280x1024) and the other on the DVI (1600x1200). No problems whatsoever, works in both XP and 7, should work in Linux. I can even use the DisplayPort for a third display (up to 4096x2160). If you're interested in building a low-cost, low-parts count machine IMO the A-series APUs are the way to go. In fact, the integrated GPU is powerful enough for casual gamers.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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Out of curiosity, have references for the crashy behaviour?

Frustrated Linux gamers, mostly in discussions on sites like Slashdot. The idea of driver feature parity comes up a lot when people talk about things like the proposed Steambox. HPC features like CUDA probably aren't as interesting to those people as making sure that water is properly reflective at 60fps in Crysis or something.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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The Radeon 7750 is probably the fastest fanless card you're going to find, but it's not cheap ($100 - $120). If I'm buying a discrete graphics card based on price, I usually look at the following:
Is it Low-profile?
What's omitted from the low-profile bracket? (i.e. am I losing VGA or DVI?)
Is it fanless or does it use a double-height HSF?
Does it have DDR3 or 5?
Is it of the most current GPU generation?
Is it cheap?

For cheap cards, I usually like fanless, optionally low-profile with VGA and HDMI, and I'm willing to drop back one generation of GPU at most. I'll probably wind up with something like a Radeon 6450 that costs around $40 and at that point it's just about how much of a warm fuzzy I get from the size and shape of the heat sink on it.
 

CougTek

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I've installed simultaneously Debian 6.07 and Lubuntu 12.10 on my shoebox with an Asus P8H61-I motherboard and neither distro like my HDMI output.
 

Clocker

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Two fan less x300 cards off of eBay for $5-6 each?
 

Clocker

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Or..... I have a dual dvi out g94 9600 gt with 512mb of 256bit memory if you're interested.... Quiet but not fanless. Been in storage for over a year.
 
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