Linux and Graphic Card Compatibility
I just did a survey on graphic cards and there are excellent technical articles on graphic cards but none of them go into the Linux compatibility.
I expect somebody who has used Linux and who is versed with technical aspect of graphic cards should write a review.
I will only write few lines on technical aspect of graphic cards and my personal experience with NVIDIA cards only.
I was the generation of 16 and 32 Memory and even they were difficult to find and expensive those days. Linux was able to work with less graphic intensive architecture those days.
New Linux distributions are graphic intensive.
Only few Mephis, AntiX and Debian support lot of graphic cards.
1. 3D acceleration came later.
2. Graphic cards use a lot of energy.
The type depends on the mother board.
1.AGP (old )
2. PCI Express (new)
AGP is being replaced by the PCI Express interface on new motherboards, but AGP 8x (and even AGP 4x) still offer sufficient bandwidth for contemporary video cards.
All AGP 8x cards will work in both AGP 4x and AGP 8x slots.
3. It is very important to find at least 128 Memory card if one is using Linux.
4. New distributions do not support old cards.
5. So if you download a new CD/DVD and if it does not work check the Hardware compatibility List (HCL) by an appropriate card to support the distribution.
It is the only change you may have to do with an old computer.
Mind you they are very difficult to find even secondhand nowadays.
I bought old netVIsta with only 16 AGP (do not confuse it VGA which is related to the monitor) and could not find a 128 memory card for about one year.
Luckily I had several 64 AGP cards till I found a 128.
Expensive graphic card is necessary if one is playing games and 3D modeling in 3DMax / Maya (very expensive).
So even if you are using blender make sure one has a good graphic card.
For ordinary photo editing I do do not think one need an expensive graphic card.
I only do some photo editing (that is also not frequent-it was passion in good old days) and even 64 memory is OK.
I never had problem with NVIDIA and I stick with it.
It had a little problem only with 400 series but then I had over 100 Live CDs.
I run LIVE CD/DVD first and then pick the distribution I wants second.
I cannot speak of other graphic cards including ATI and IBM has been slow to support Linux.
So if you have problems do not blame the Distribution but change the Graphic card to suit your distribution.
This is something I should have written long time ago but I always say even Linux is now graphic intensive and go for a good graphic card.
On board graphic cards are also pain in the neck and do not buy a secondhand computer even it is cheap unless it can be upgraded with graphic card (mother board should have a graphic slot) and when one fix a new card on board graphic is automatically switched off.
Remember to change the BIOS too (PCI/AGP output).