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GPU Upgrade/Change


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#1 Mindovermaster

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 04:08

I asked this on another forum, but didn't get very much feedback.

I currently have a XFX Radeon HD5770.

What I envision, is to go to Linux. Probably Ubuntu. My 5770 does not play kindly with Ubuntu. I tried this on a spare HDD I had. It would not load the propietary driver. It just.. fails.

What I am looking for is a NVIDIA alternative. For me, something like a 560Ti is too much for me. Something like a 550Ti might work, but if I can get any lower without loosing as much performance as the 5770, I'd go with it.

Only game I play is Minecraft these days, and if I ever wanted to get anything else, It won't be anything demanding.


#2 articuno1au

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 04:11

My 5830 plays nicely enough with Ubuntu..

Perhaps consider downloading and compiling the AMD driver?

#3 a1ien

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 04:24

Instead of doing too much research, I like to go to the famous graphics card ranking to get a quick answer for questions like this. It's a fine rough guide IMO.

http://www.overclock...t-updated-daily (GTX 650 not on the list yet but it's par with GTX 550 Ti)

It sounds like your 5770 is about par with a GTX 550 Ti or GTX 650. SO TBH, I'd say a 560 Ti is NOT too much for you. Of course the old 40nm cards are a poor value. You want a 28nm card now. If it must be nvidia, you can get the new GTX 650 for the same performance you have now, or the GTX 660 for a big-big upgrade.

The GTX 650 is ~USD 110 and the GTX 660 is ~$220 so there really is a big delta between them. The GTX 660 is made to last and it is the current-updated price point as what you have now. The 660 is also so much better that they tend not to compare it to cards in your current performance range anymore.

GTX 650, 660 review: http://www.tomshardw...ark,3297-8.html Your current card is also about par with the 7750 in this review.

#4 +Karl L.

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 04:52

I am running Debian Wheezy (which Ubuntu 12.04 is based on) on my desktop (with a Saphire Radeon HD 5770). I also had problems with AMD's proprietary fglrx driver. It stopped working when I upgraded from xserver 1.11 to 1.12, before Wheezy stablized (Ubuntu 12.04 is using the latest xserver 1.12 package, the same as Wheezy). Downgrading xserver to the version in Squeeze works, but isn't an ideal solution and can break other packages, such as gnome-shell.

My solution has been to use the open-source radeon driver that is included in the Linux kernel. I was surprised to discover that it works exceptionally well with my Radeon HD 5770. Although they share much of the same underlying technology, such as Gallium 3D, the radeon driver is in a very advanced state compared to the nouveau driver (the open-source nVidia driver). I have not had any problems with the radeon driver in the ~6 months since I switched from the proprietary one. I get descent framerate and graphics acceleration in GNOME 3, Minecraft, VLC, and basically everything else.

Unlike with the proprietary AMD and nVidia graphics drivers, however, you will need to install a couple of packages to get the open-source radeon driver to perform decently. It is usable without most of these packages, but I don't recommend it.

sudo apt-get install libdrm-radeon1 libdrm2 xserver-xorg-video-radeon libgl1-mesa-glx libgl1-mesa-experimental

Most of these packages are installed by default in Ubuntu 12.04, but I decided to list the essentials anyway. The libgl1-mesa-experimental package is a notable exception. It absolutely will not be installed by default, but is very useful. Don't be scared away by the 'experimental' label: it is, in fact, very stable. And installing it will drastically improve your graphics performance. I noticed the improvement most when my Minecraft framerate went up, but it is noticeable in other areas as well, such as effects rendering in GNOME 3.

If you are indeed set on buying a new nVidia graphics card to use in Linux, you will need the proprietary driver to make full use of your card. The developers of nouveau have done an excellent job reverse-engineering the kludge that is nVidia's proprietary driver, but it is in severely worse condition than the radeon or intel open-source graphics drivers because nVidia provides no assistance, unlike AMD and Intel.

#5 OP Mindovermaster

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 13:37

Thanks for the help, guys!

I do have a Linux rig. That I just mess with different distro's and different apps. If I ever mess up, I can just reinstall.

ASUS P7P55D-E LX
i5 760 (2.8GHz)
G.Skill RipJaws X 4GB DDR3 1600
Zotac GT440
30GB OCZ Vertex
320GB WD Blue
Seasonic 500W
Aerocool Zero Degree
Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro
Ubuntu 12.04

The GT 440 works great with it. Has a NVIDIA X Server, too. So totally customizable.

#6 demon_speed

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 13:50

I asked this on another forum, but didn't get very much feedback.

I currently have a XFX Radeon HD5770.

What I envision, is to go to Linux. Probably Ubuntu. My 5770 does not play kindly with Ubuntu. I tried this on a spare HDD I had. It would not load the propietary driver. It just.. fails.

What I am looking for is a NVIDIA alternative. For me, something like a 560Ti is too much for me. Something like a 550Ti might work, but if I can get any lower without loosing as much performance as the 5770, I'd go with it.

Only game I play is Minecraft these days, and if I ever wanted to get anything else, It won't be anything demanding.


Why in the world are you using Ubuntu? Your priority is to install WIndows 7 and then you are good to go in software sentence.

#7 OP Mindovermaster

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 14:00

Demon, 99% of my applications are all open source. Windows 7 has no use to me. Ubuntu, IMHO, is much superior to it.

#8 articuno1au

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 14:09

Why in the world are you using Ubuntu? Your priority is to install WIndows 7 and then you are good to go in software sentence.

He says to the guy with a penguin avatar :\

#9 demon_speed

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 14:15

He says to the guy with a penguin avatar :\


Hehe ;). Well if he's running all his softies of open source like he said, then I guess it's fine.. But I wonder how the graphic stability takes the driver under his OS... I mean how often do you see a software suppport for Ubuntu or Linux? Not often I would say.. people just don't like it (no offense).

#10 OP Mindovermaster

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 14:16

He says to the guy with a penguin avatar :\


Nice catch, Articuno. :p I just like Tux.

edit: Umm, Demon, Ubuntu has a lot of support for drivers as well as software. Read above, plz. Don't make this a Win 7 vs Ubuntu war...

#11 OP Mindovermaster

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 15:23

Oh, A1ien, when I say too much I mean the price is too high. I don't want a $200 card that I won't benefit from.

#12 +Karl L.

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 15:29

Thanks for the help, guys!

I do have a Linux rig. That I just mess with different distro's and different apps. If I ever mess up, I can just reinstall.

ASUS P7P55D-E LX
i5 760 (2.8GHz)
G.Skill RipJaws X 4GB DDR3 1600
Zotac GT440
30GB OCZ Vertex
320GB WD Blue
Seasonic 500W
Aerocool Zero Degree
Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro
Ubuntu 12.04

The GT 440 works great with it. Has a NVIDIA X Server, too. So totally customizable.


I have a quick question. Is this the machine you are referring to in your first post? Did you already switch to an nVidia card or is this a different machine?

Also, I noticed in the specs that you have a SSD, which I'm guessing is your boot drive based on its size. If you haven't optimized anything for your SSD, I would highly recommend it. The Arch Wiki has an excellent article about SSD optimization in GNU/Linux. Although it is geared toward Arch, most of it is directly applicable to Ubuntu. If you would like, I can post my fstab so you can see my configuration (with a boot SSD and a secondary hard drive).

#13 OP Mindovermaster

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 15:35

Oh, sorry, this is a different system that I posted. I don't have the specs with me atm. I was just applying that AFAIK, NVIDIA has better support. As I have seen.

I'll look at that SSD optimization thing later. Yeah, I boot off it.

Also, on my main system, I do have a Samsung 830 120GB.

#14 +Karl L.

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 16:06

Oh, sorry, this is a different system that I posted. I don't have the specs with me atm. I was just applying that AFAIK, NVIDIA has better support. As I have seen.


As for graphics driver support, AMD has a much better open-source driver than nVidia does, but while their proprietary driver performs well when it works, it often has problems and is not updated often. nVidia has a poor open-source driver, but their proprietary driver generally works very well and is updated regularly. However, both proprietary drivers are rather kludgey and will break when the Linux/xserver ABI changes, at least until the company decides to update their driver. If you are sticking with stable versions of Ubuntu, however, this shouldn't be a problem.

#15 OP Mindovermaster

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 16:49

Yeah, I was under the impression of proprietary drivers, not their open source ones.

Sounds good. When I get home I'll try the open source drivers. Currently on my laptop with Ubuntu 12.04. Works like OOTB with my Intel 3000 graphics. Only use it to surf and use Libre Office.