Are you in the market for a new Linux compatible graphics card to game with? Unable to decide on what to buy? We can help! Follow along as we go over the 4 best graphics cards for Linux users!
On Microsoft Windows, no matter what graphics card you install, it will work. The reason? Microsoft Windows is the most widely used PC operating system in the world, and companies take it seriously by working with Microsoft to deliver the latest drivers.
Linux Graphics Card Drivers explained
With Linux, this is a different story. Not every graphics card you plug into your Linux operating system will work. Why is this? Graphics cards (Nvidia) require proprietary drivers to operate correctly. Linux is an open-source platform, and many Linux operating systems choose not to ship closed-source drivers out of fear of being sued, or because out of principle, they believe their users shouldn’t be using proprietary drivers.
For this reason, many in the Linux community prefer to use AMD Radeon GPUs. Their drivers are open-source, included in the Linux kernel, and require no fiddling to get things working.
If you choose to buy one of the Nvidia graphics cards on this list, you should know that though they are impressive hardware, you will need to install a third-party graphics driver to utilize its features thoroughly. Nvidia graphics cards requiring third-party drivers doesn’t mean they’re a terrible choice. On most Linux gaming benchmarks, they perform very well. However, be sure to research the Linux operating system you use to determine if they support Nvidia and whether you think it’s a good deal to trade ease of driver installation for gaming performance.
Best Linux compatible graphics cards
Based on our extensive testing we found these to be the top graphics cards for Linux.
The AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT is the premiere gaming GPU from AMD. It has an incredible amount of video memory, clocking in at 8 GB GDDR6. Additionally, the RX 5700 XT is incredibly fast, at up to 1925 MHz, ensuring your Linux gaming is smooth and buttery.
When it comes to outputs, the RX 5700 XT sports 3 DisplayPort ones, and 1 HDMI 2.0b port. Best of all, as it is a Radeon, the Linux kernel supports it with open-source graphics drivers, and there is no need to fiddle with it to get it to work on even the most obscure distributions!
In our testing, we found that the RX 5700 XT handled every Linux video game out of the box in beautiful ultra-HD resolution. However, there are some hiccups here and there due to the limitations of the open-source AMD graphics drivers.
- Fast GDDR6 video memory with a 256-bit memory interface.
- GPU boost clocked at 1925 MHz.
- Works out of the box with no issues on Linux with the AMD drivers built into the kernel.
- It can be used for Cryptocurrency mining.
- Very low power consumption.
The Radeon RX5700 XT is not a cheap video card. It’s a little on the pricey side. However, if you’re looking for an excellent graphics card that works well with the open-source Linux ecosystem and can deliver excellent gaming graphics, this is the one to pick up!
The XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS XXX Edition is not as powerful as the Radeon RX 5700 XT. It has a significantly lower clock speed (1386 MHz, rather than 1925 MHz on the 5700 XT), and though it has the same amount of video memory, it is GDDR5 and not GDDR6. However, it’s specifications are nothing to laugh at. It can deliver amazing gaming graphics on Linux.
When it comes to ports, the XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS XXX Edition has quite a lot of them. Like many other modern GPUs, it has 3 DisplayPort ports available for the user to use. It also has a single HDMI port and a single DVI port.
In our testing, we found that the XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS XXX Edition handled Linux gaming with ease in HD resolution, and only suffered minor hiccups due to some games being designed with “Nvidia” in mind.
- includes the 4th Gen GCN graphics cores for maximum performance.
- Support for Cryptocurrency mining.
- Works out of the box with AMD’s open-source graphics card drivers.
- Very low power consumption.
The main reason a Linux gamer may want to go with the Radeon RX 580 GTS XXX Edition over the Radeon 5700 XT is simple: cost. The 5700 XT is a nice card, but the RX 580 GTS XXX Edition is much, much more affordable. So, if you’re on a budget, and like the idea of using a Radeon card on Linux, due to how easy they are to get going but can’t afford an ultra-high-end card, give the RX 580 GTS XXX Edition look!
AMD may be a favorite to Linux gamers that don’t like to fuss with drivers, but Nvidia GPUs on Linux are amazing too. Introducing the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super. It’s a gaming powerhouse!
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super’s specifications are incredible, offering up 8 GBs of DDR6 video memory, 1800 MHz clock speed, and 2560 Nvidia CUDA cores. In terms of outputs, the GeForce RTX 2070 Super has 1 HDMI port, and 3 DisplayPorts, which is standard in modern, high-end GPUs. Additionally, the GPU is an “RTX” card, which means that it will support all games that have “Nvidia RTX” raytracing technology!
While using the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super, we found that it ran every Linux video game with no issue, provided the third-party proprietary graphics drivers were installed. While using the open-source drivers, the performance was significantly worse.
- Supports real-time raytracing technology (RTX).
- Fast GDDR6 video memory with “boost clock” of 1800 MHz.
- 2560 Nvidia CUDA cores ensure stellar graphic rendering.
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super is one of Nvidia’s more affordable high-end graphics cards. Instead of costing a month’s rent, you’ll be able to get it for a moderately high price. However, the cost is worth it, as Nvidia is the master of high-end graphics cards!
The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1650 Super is a 4GB, inexpensive, middle of the road GPU from Nvidia. Unlike the RTX 2070 Super, the GTX 1650 Super only offers users 4 GB of DDR6 video RAM, rather than 8 GB. It also has a lower clock speed, coming in at 1200 Mhz. That said, the GTX 1650 Super is an excellent mid-range Nvidia GPU, especially for Linux users who love Nvidia but do not need anything that high end.
As the GTX 1650 Super is on the mid-range side, it does not have the standard 3 DisplayPort/1 HDMI port setup. Instead, the GTX 1650 Super offers users 1 DisplayPort, 1 HDMI port, and one DVI port.
While using the GeForce GTX 1650 Super, we found that it handled most video games at medium to high quality at a decent resolution. While using the Nvidia proprietary graphics driver, games performed well. With the open-source driver, things were less stable and ran at a slightly lower framerate.
- The slim design makes it ideal for mid-range, small workstation desktops.
- It has a DVI port, something many users still value.
- Although it only has 4 GBs of video memory, it is GDDR6, which allows it to perform much faster than competing middle of the road GPUs.
When it comes down to it, the GTX 1650 Super is a great graphics card for those that are looking to game casually, don’t mind dealing with Nvidia graphics drivers, and do not want to spend a whole lot of cash.
In this list, we covered the best GPUs to use on Linux. That said, there are loads of great graphics cards out there that work well with the Linux platform. What graphics card do you use on Linux? Sound off in the comment section and let us know!