Dear Lazyweb: Best Dual-DVI Video Card

What’s the best video card for running X.org with two DVI-connected monitors?

My workstation is a Dell Precision Workstation 470 with the stock nVidia Quadro and two Dell 1905 FP connected via DVI.  I’m running Fedora 11 with the nouveau driver and I’m really happy with it.  But I can’t escape this feeling that I could be getting a better experience with a newer video card.  I think I want an ATI Radeon card, but the last graphics card I purchased was an nVidia TNT2.

Recommendations?

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5 Comments

  1. Andrew overholt
    Posted September 4, 2009 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    I’ve had good luck with:

    01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: ATI Technologies Inc Mobility Radeon HD 3600 Series

    I’m pretty sure it’s this one:

    http://canadacomputers.com/index.php?do=ShowProduct&cmd=pd&pid=023531&cid=VDC.243.272

  2. David
    Posted September 4, 2009 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    It depends on what you are wanting to do with the displays – I’m using a Dell Optiplex 280 workstation with a nVidia 8500GT and 2x 1905FP and its been working really well – then again I am using the binary driver as i’ve been needing OpenGL.

    I’ve had varied results with ATI cards, especially with my laptop which is using the Radeon Mobility HD 3600 series chipset – the binary driver keeps dying on me so I have to keep switching to the open source radeonhd driver; the radeonhd driver works well but doesn’t have 3d acceleration yet (but is hopefully coming “soon”)

  3. nstraz
    Posted September 4, 2009 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    I mostly use it for development and testing work. I would prefer to use open source drivers. Video acceleration would be nice so I can watch web videos full screen. I c^Hshould probably live without working 3D acceleration. I wouldn’t want to fall back into bzflag addiction.

  4. Posted September 4, 2009 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    You can’t do usable video playback acceleration with any open source driver at present. The only way to get video playback acceleration for web stuff, AFAIK, is using a fairly experimental Gnash patch – http://www.splitted-desktop.com/~gbeauchesne/gnash-vaapi/ – which implements VAAPI support. To use it you’d need an NVIDIA card with the proprietary driver, basically (there’s a couple of Chrome cards, but I wouldn’t recommend anyone go out and buy one).

    I agree with David – you need to be specific about how exactly you think your experience could be better. It’s not a slam dunk, by any means, that it can reliably be any better, especially if 3D acceleration isn’t a big deal.

  5. Posted September 4, 2009 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    Fedora’s Gnash package uses GStreamer for video decoding. There are one or more experimental GStreamer plugins to support video acceleration. But we don’t ship any of them at this point.

    There is one Free driver for which video acceleration is in the works, it’s the intel driver (Intel 965 integrated chipsets). But so far, only acceleration for MPEG2 is available (as a backend for the VAAPI libva) (and it appears to use shaders, not an actual video unit, if i965 chips even have one).

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