Best Hardware for Linux

i want to find out wich hardware works best on linux, to help me and others to choose the right parts for building linux powered computers.

Amd vs. Intel cpu

Amd vs. Nvidia Gpu

Mainboard/graphics card manufactorers.

sound cards (had a lot of trouble with those on linux, even with onboard sound.)

other hardware, like networking devices (NiCs, wifi dongles...) storage devices, even game controllers.

i dont want this to become a fanboy vs. fanboy thread. i just want to know if you have experience with certain hardware, and if you had a better expierience with one manufacturer then with the other, and why.

CPU: I don't think there is any advantage from one manufacturer over the other in CPUs

GPU : For GPU it depends on your task, if you really want to play the newest linux games, at its current state the closed source nvidia driver is giving better support, but that is changing really fast AMD are doing an awesome job on their Open source support. Their closed source driver is also not bad, but what I heard is NVIDIA is better at the moment.. If you're willing to take a risk of having better future support and open source support at the expense of maybe a minimal performance hit go with AMD. 

Sound card: When was the last time you tried it on linux, I haven't had issues for a long time, if you do have issues update the kernel, or sometimes the newest alsa modules will be available even for outdated kernel.

Other: Mostly they work well, witih wifi and tv sticks, there are many available compatibility databases that you could check. Controllers usually work as far as I know.. 

As a rule of thumb, most hardware works under linux, even hardware that is not supported under windows anymore which gives linux a great advantage but in all cases before you buy a device, especially usb dongles, just ask google, a simple query with XXXX linux should give you the most recent problems ppl encountered with XXXX and some documentation about how to install or compatibility (usually from the Arch or Gentoo wiki or forums since they have a big technical user base..)

Proprietary Hardware as in the smaller crap they use like special conctors can cause a lot of problems. Trying a better way to explain this, Acer and Toshiba on quit a bit of their budget laptops use in house hardware thats not a commonly uses item and it will go about doing things a little bit differently or have a custom name so linux usually looks at it and can't figure it out on it's own what it is and you usually have to either tell your system how to use it or get drivers for it and use them in ndiswrapper. Personally I try a ton of crap before I use ndiswrapper for anything.

Hardware, Go AMD always. Intel are locking down their processors, and Nvidia driver support is terrible, If you get a decent distro you can get some ace performance out of an old AMD gpu, 

How is intel locking down their processors? They just got delayed until 3.15 for a small part of their broadwell support but it's still completely opensource..

Linux works well with all hardware.


1. however tempting nVidia hardware seems in Windows, there is no indication that there will actually be decent KMS drivers for it in the future, so for linux, in the face of new technologies, it's a complete waste of money. Also, the windows driver for nVidia, which is what's used now in linux, is a nightmare: breakage with every kernel update (which is like every two to three weeks at most, sometimes less than one week), and artefacts galore, all of that without any decent OpenCL acceleration or HSA capabilities.

2. Linux does more things than Windows, so some hardware features that are seldom - if ever - used in Windows, are quite important in linux, virtualization for instance. Check hardware compatibility with these advanced features before spending money.

3. You don't need the most premium hardware for good performance in linux, because the system isn't as bloated and bogged down by bad code, more processes are dealt with in the kernel itself instead of in userspace, and the filesystems are much faster and better.

You seem AMD biased, and I don't blame you but remember that Catalyst also breaks on every kernel update (unless you're building your own module) and every xorg update, on the other hand Nvidia are getting the x support before official X release, still +1 to AMD for open source and new technologies which will hopefully make everything better..

i think what he meant is the missing vt-d (i think that was it :D) on the "K" series cpus

My strategy usually is:

buy a main-board that has been released at least 6 month ago & stay away from special premium features. I found that the 50-80€ range fom asrok or asus usually work well out of the box with a recent kernel.  (My experience is gathered from ~25 mainboards in the last 5 years, so expect it to be very subjective)

Another way is the "me-too" strategy, which means you scour Linux-forums for testimony of good Linux-compatibility and buy the same components & hope they didn't change anything between different badges.

As for which graphics-vendor you should go with: both AMD & Nvidia suck balls at the moment. But I sense that AMD seems to be just a smidgen more opensource-friendly than Nvidia. It might be because Nvidia seems to license allot of their technology from others, so they might be legally bound to annoy the fuck out of open-source community. Expect to do allot of maintenance and fiddling around, for the at least 1 year regardless which side you choose. I personally lean towards AMD.

I would also go with an AMD processor for the visualization friendliness (running Windows with decent graphics acceleration in a virtual machine is nice to have) unless you want to buy an 2011 socket Intel processor (i wouldn't, it's way to expensive & kinda old now). Don't worry to much about the performance gap between intel and Amd because on Linux it tends to be much smaller than on Windows.



Nope, up until 2012 I have never bought AMD GPUs. I go for what works best,

Oh yeah, Catalyst sucks, but then, it's als just a Windows driver. It doesn't break with every kernel though, only the WHQL versions do, but the beta for linux versions have never failed on me, and I use some bleeding edge kernels sometimes... there is a difference between nVidia paying RedHat for orphaning Catalyst and Catalyst refusing to compile unpatched with the linux kernel, a lot of things in the GNU/Linux and Linux world are under great RedHat influence, but luckily, they are not RedHat projects, and the more RedHat tries, the less RedHat succeeds. In the last years, I was using RedHat/Fedora almost exclusively, but I never stopped trying other distros, and with the things RedHat is doing now, I'm just moving away from it. Linux is a services ecosystem, not a licenses ecosystem, brands mean nothing, people do, you can easily and without any disadvantages swap linux distros and SLA's, total time it took for my offices to migrate from Fedora and RHEL to Mageia: less than 2 hours after normal working hours. Total time for the staff to adapt: 0 seconds, because it works in just the same way. Difference: Catalyst can still be updated without losing money, because Mageia didn't orphan it. Locking down is such a dumb strategy in open source. nVidia does feel that really well in the ever growing open source market.

AMD right now does X and mesa merges before Intel even. nVidia is slower than both of them in every aspect, plus nVidia doesn't support X at all, X is what it is, nVidia merges nothing, if any merges are made, it's by the nouveau community, which is harrassed and lied to by nVidia all the time. However, nVidia has the problem that it also wants to sell ARM-chips, so for that, they do support X, because otherwise, they would sell even lessTegra-stuff.

nVidia has potential, they just need to rework their hardware completely and stop selling crap for high prices. Why does every US company always want to be like Apple?

AMD has now merged VCE. nVidia had open source VDPAU before for playback, but then they wanted to make a bundle out of encoding. VDPAU works on all hardware, but nVidia's attitude makes sure than VCE won't work on nVidia, whereas it will work on Intel.

To be honest, if I could, an Intel would grow up and stop the stupid "a different model SKU for every day of the year and then some" crap, and provide better graphics hardware, I would totally go all Intel, all nice open source KMS drivers, linux patches against the encryption malware, etc...

What I think is really going to happen, is that with every bullshit move of x86-hardware producers, the x86-market will just keep getting smaller. I've been investing in ARM mainframe hardware for a while now, it still needs development, but in the end, it looks more promising than x86 in the long run, and for linux, it's all the same anyway.