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> Graphics card recommendation, high resolution, desktop, Graphics card for KDE
fa2k
 Posted: Jun 23 2013, 10:23 PM
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Hi, I am a KDE user looking for a new graphics card.

I currently have a Radeon HD6770, but it is very slow with the open source drivers and it crashes with the proprietary drivers. It almost works fine with the proprietary drivers when I disable desktop effects, but it has crashed once then too.

I need a card for desktop use and watching video. I have one monitor with 2560x1440 resolution and one smaller 1280x1024. I may however hook up a 1920x1200 monitor instead of the smaller one when I move in about a month. I typically use five virtual desktops full of windows, and I think this requires a lot of memory. What should I be looking for: lots of video RAM or fast RAM? Do I need a fast card or can I get a cheap one (e.g. GeForce GT 610)?

I'm inclined to go with a NVidia card because I may want to try to keep the Radeon in there and blacklist the driver, then assign the Radeon to a Windows VM with KVM (both the kernel virtual machine software and a "keyboard video mouse" switch for switching the DVI inputs actually) for playing games. [I should admit that this is some of the motivation for wanting a new card, as the justification isn't great otherwise wink.gif ] Is NVidia well supported in the KDE version that comes with SL?

Thanks,
Marius
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tux99
 Posted: Jun 23 2013, 11:58 PM
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Definitely go with a NVidia card and use the proprietary Nvidia drivers from Elrepo. The proprietary Nvidia drivers are wastly superiour compared to the ATI drivers, in my experience they are stable and fast.
Currently I have a GT520 (with 1GB videoRAM) and it's perfectly adequate for me, I don't notice any GPU related slow downs.


QUOTE
I may want to try to keep the Radeon in there and blacklist the driver, then assign the Radeon to a Windows VM with KVM (both the kernel virtual machine software and a "keyboard video mouse" switch for switching the DVI inputs actually) for playing games.


That sounds like a very interesting experiment, please let us know if you succeed with that as I'm sure other might be interested in such a setup too (I'm interested).

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redman
 Posted: Jun 25 2013, 10:59 AM
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My advice too would be to go for a videocard with a Nvidia chipset.
Personally I'd use the driver from Nvidia itself, instead of other repos, but that is something everybody needs to decide for themselves.

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fa2k
 Posted: Jun 25 2013, 10:15 PM
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Thanks for the replies. This looks good, I will get a GeForce GT640 (Asus one with fancy cooler and 2GB DDR3). It's a bit unfortunate, because the ATI card actually works well with the open source driver on bleeding edge kernels and X11, but I couldn't go back to distros like Arch, not stable enough.

I will write an update when I try the VM thing, but it may be a while as I'm quite busy (though I do have a friend nagging me to play Dota 2, so it may be quite soon)
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redman
 Posted: Jun 30 2013, 06:18 PM
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QUOTE (fa2k @ Jun 26 2013, 12:15 AM)
... the ATI card actually works  well with the open source driver on bleeding edge kernels and X11 ...

RHEL (the mother of clones like SL) isn't intended for home use, or at least not with modern / fancy hardware. It is intended for servers and such. Because of this, they release a version with certain hardware support and during its lifecycle they only backport important stuff. Support for (new)er hardware isn't included most of the time. That is why newer ATI drivers are missing ... Hence the best results with Nvidia and their driver (either straight from Nvidia or through some of the 3rd party repos).

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fa2k
 Posted: Jul 2 2013, 08:41 AM
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QUOTE (redman @ Jun 30 2013, 06:18 PM)
QUOTE (fa2k @ Jun 26 2013, 12:15 AM)
... the ATI card actually works  well with the open source driver on bleeding edge kernels and X11 ...

RHEL (the mother of clones like SL) isn't intended for home use, or at least not with modern / fancy hardware. It is intended for servers and such. Because of this, they release a version with certain hardware support and during its lifecycle they only backport important stuff. Support for (new)er hardware isn't included most of the time. That is why newer ATI drivers are missing ... Hence the best results with Nvidia and their driver (either straight from Nvidia or through some of the 3rd party repos).

Yeah, bad choice of words, I didn't mean that it's unfortunate that SL doesn't include the newest drivers. This is why I like SL, it doesn't change all the time. I merely wanted to give AMD a little plug because they seem to be improving their drivers.

I suppose I deserved the lesson on the scope of SL, as I was going on about gaming. I don't actually care much about gaming on the computer, it has many more important tasks [I'm one of the possibly few people who find desktop effects very useful for productivity]. I find that SL is sufficient for all my entertainment computing purposes though, even though it may not be designed for it.

I will get the card today or tomorrow, but I assume it will work so I'll only write if there are any bad surprises. I will of course also write when I get a chance to try the VM thing.

Update: Got the card. Was a pain to get it set up with the high-res monitor as it didn't get the EDID right and the monitor only supports its native resolution, but now it works significantly better than the ATI one. Have to disable compositing when watching videos to get best quality, but that's the only problem so far. (Again I'm not expecting perfect video playback by default on a distro geared for business)
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fa2k
 Posted: Jul 7 2013, 11:43 PM
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Regarding the PCI passthrough for the graphics card, it worked!

All I needed was to add two kernel boot parameters: rd.blacklist=radeon intel_iommu=on
( http://www.linux-kvm.org/page/How_to_assign_devices_with_VT-d_in_KVM ) Setup with virt-manager is then as straight-forward as it gets. [but you probably need a separate USB keyboard and mouse. I had some, and I'm not getting an expensive KVM switch due to some trouble ]

It seemed fast on the desktop, and it's quite hilarious to use. As there is no "shared folders" in KVM, I don't have time to download or transfer a game to test (see below too). The only weird thing is that Catalyst Control Center reported ~3.8 GB RAM of type "HyperMemory", when the card actually has 1 GB of dedicated memory. It doesn't seem to spin at full speed when the VM is down, and it seems to draw ~10 W. I read somewhere that not all graphics cards work with PCI passthrough, and the 6770 was specifically mentioned as working (lucky for me). Sorry I don't have the link to that page

Problem is that when I specify intel_iommu=on , my PCIe SATA HBA (HighPoint) doesn't work. So I can't actually use this setup, I'm booting with my RAID in degraded mode now to test it. I think this is something that could actually get patched, as it's certainly more server-related than AMD drivers, but I'm not counting on it. Anyway it's off topic and I may find a way around it.
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tux99
 Posted: Jul 8 2013, 10:12 AM
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That's very interesting, thanks for the information.

Maybe you could do a bug report for the issue with the PCIe SATA HBA on:
https://bugzilla.redhat.com/

Since this is a storage+KVM related issue I think RH will be interested in fixing it.

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(can be used together with EPEL and ELRepo repositories) - repository mirror: http://linuxsoft.cern.ch/linuxtech/el6/
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fa2k
 Posted: Jul 8 2013, 03:09 PM
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QUOTE (tux99 @ Jul 8 2013, 10:12 AM)

Maybe you could do a bug report for the issue with the PCIe SATA HBA on:
https://bugzilla.redhat.com/

Since this is a storage+KVM related issue I think RH will be interested in fixing it.

Thanks for the link, I'll check it out. - Great, there's already a bug for it! https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=907280

Correction: no extra KB / mouse needed with virtualised graphics

Also, don't consider this definitive evidence that it works. I did notice some flickering for example. Will update this comment if I can try it properly for a while (I started it again to try and update the FW on the HighPoint, but it's unlikely to work).
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warren
 Posted: Jul 15 2013, 12:13 PM
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I use the GT 440 from ASUS, though my desktop is LinuxMint.

I always install driver updates from the repository and it has always worked very well.

I have a 27" Samsung monitor @ 1920x1080 resolution connected via DVI and have had no issues with flickering or otherwise.

-WZ
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fa2k
 Posted: Jul 15 2013, 02:36 PM
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QUOTE (warren @ Jul 15 2013, 12:13 PM)
I use the GT 440 from ASUS, though my desktop is LinuxMint.

I always install driver updates from the repository and it has always worked very well.

I have a 27" Samsung monitor @ 1920x1080 resolution connected via DVI and have had no issues with flickering or otherwise.

-WZ

Sorry, I kind of hijacked my own thread with the issue of using a second GPU in a VM. The GT640 works fine.

Like I said above I had to dowload an EDID override file for my monitor, but that's probably just the nVidia driver being a bit picky about the EDID format, and my monitor giving dodgy EDID. Worked fine with the nouveau driver. I don't have the link, so there's no point in giving more details.
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