GeForce vs. Radeon Graphics cards on Fedora 17-22

June 13, 2015

Updated 2015-09-23

NVIDIA GeForce GTX vs. AMD Radeon graphics cards.

Fedora 17 to 22

I was running Fedora 17 until this year.
In 2012 (F17 released May 2012) I custom-built a new pc and included a graphics card GeForce GTX 660 – which did speed up my pc significantly. It worked fine until I got 2 monitors – running 2 monitors on the Noveau drivers slowly killed the 2nd monitor – it permanently damaged the monitor. It slowly started blacking out. At first, it would only black out for a second and only rarely but it slowly, over a period of months, became more frequent and of longer durations till I finally had to replace it.
Running 2 monitors on the GeForce GTX 660 should have been fine. It was the Fedora (Noveau) drivers that must have wrecked my 2nd monitor. I did replace the 2nd monitor and with time, it started blacking out also! Proof that it was the driver (or card), not the monitor – given that the GTX 660 had-has otherwise been fine, I feel that it is the noveau driver. Too bad I did not have windows to dual-boot to and compare – but I did not pay for something I never wanted nor used. Google searching brought up the advice to use 2 GPU’s for 2 monitors because of the inadequacy of the drivers that are available.

I read inconsistencies and horror stories about the proprietary Nvidia drivers so just tried to "be careful". Whenever I left the pc for very long I turned off the monitors, even if I did not turn off the cpu. I did not trust F18 or F19. Finally, when Fedora 20 came out, I installed it and only ran 1 monitor.

 

for details on the current state of graphics support see:
http://fedoramagazine.org/whats-new-in-the-graphics-stack-in-fedora-21/

 

2015

Today, I am shocked to read that Fedora graphics support has flip-flopped.
Support for GTX is worse than ever and now Radeon is well supported.

Fedora 21 . . . 22

This year, 2015, I had to replace the motherboard and so I did along with a new larger SSD and I installed Fedora 21. After replacing the new (but bad) SSD with a good one (and I discovered F22 is out already so now I installed it), I still found "journalctl -b" showing me boot up records with red errors on lines spelling out noveau settings-actions. On Fedora 20, I had already given up on running both my 2 monitors because of screen pixelating and locking up (which stopped when I quit using the 2nd monitor) but the boot errors let me know that things were still not right.
At this point, I feel that things are worse than with Fedora 17 where I had no trouble at all till I added a 2nd monitor. I got a good deal on a Radeon R9 280 and tried it. . . . It worked! No more red errors booting up. the drivers that come pre-installed on F22 include "Radeon". Great! I re-connected my 2nd monitor and now they both work great again! Finally.

Cinnamon vs. Cinnamon (Software Rendering)

I just read
"Cinnamon (Software Rendering) the only characteristic is that it uses software rendering to do more of the graphical work, like drawing window borders, moving windows, the bar, etc.,

"The Cinnamon has Hardware Acceleration capable techniques available. Is more eye-candy and powerful that the software render, since it uses a dedicated graphics card to make that all the effects looks fluid and fast. The advantage of this is that you can fallback to no-effects environment without problems. …

"The only real downside to using hardware acceleration is if you have a buggy driver, you can run into more glitches in the graphics (software rendering is more predictable).

"For example, with Linux Mint 17, I see issues with Chromium not fully repainting the screen when re-sizing the windows (if I try to use hardware acceleration). I can’t perceive any speed difference between the two, though I typically turn off all "eye candy effects" regardless."

"If your driver is very buggy, I would imagine hardware acceleration could cause crashes, or your whole system could even run more slowly. Otherwise, I just try the acceleration first, and drop back to software rendering if I see any weirdness (crashes, lockups, repaint issues, etc). Hardware acceleration is great if the the drivers work.

from http://askubuntu.com/questions/393217/what-is-the-difference-between-cinnamon-and-cinnamon-software-rendering-when-c

(Makes me wonder if it would have helped me to switch to Cinnamon (Software Rendering) with the GTX graphics card – though I was not using any of the "eye-candy" special effects.)

 

I started using 2 monitors back in 2012-13 when I decided the price of a 4k monitor was still too high and I was not sure of Fedora support for it. Now (with F22), maybe I can do it. Prices are down and support in Fedora is up for 4k.
Sept.2015: I got a 42″ 4K monitor. The lower half shifts right a few inches or more and right back in just a split second – once in a while when scrolling or dragging in a window. I can only hope it does not get worse. . . . – 2015-09-24

 

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