I have just bought myself a new SSD so that I can start to play with Linux, and get rid of MS spyware, aka WIn10. I understand the whole dual boot thing and I think I'll have that under control but I have one question, for the time being, about my hardware setup.
I am running a Xeon CPU so I don't have any inbuilt graphics on my CPU and have an AMD GPU as my graphics card. With everyone saying that AMD GPU's, drivers, are harder to get to work with Linux is this going to be a problem? And if so what is the problem and how do I go about fixing it?
I was going to install Mint as my first distro since I am mainly a windows users and I have heard that it has one of the less steep learning curves and my hardware setup is:
The TL:DR is my GPU is a "Sapphire Radeon R9 280 3GB Dual-X Video Card" w/ an i7 Xeon CPU
Thanks for helping and I'll take any advice I can get, even on what distro to use (as long as you have an actual reason not just some fanboy/girl shit!)
Zorin OS would be a personal one for me if you're just starting out as it copies the Windows UI also has a lot of stuff pre installed. Pinguy OS is another good choice for an out-of-the-box, ready to go OS. The one I'm using now is Ubuntu MATE just because I've always been a fan of the Gnome 2 interface
I have the proprietary drivers installed, worked with the Information given on the AMD driver page. But from what I've heard the proprietary drivers do not give the best performance. If you are not gaming you could just run them and be done with it. That would be the "meh - don't care" version of it.
I run Linux Mint. The KDE Desktop variant (whatever it is called, Raffaela maybe?).
KDE is nice because it has a set of a dozen hotkeys I now know by heart that help me out a lot. You could probably get into whatever more common DE (Desktop Environment) you like and get the same functionality out of it with half an hour spent in the hotkey section (Examples would be KDE, Gnome, Xfce, Mate and LXDE). If you are an hotkey user the difference becomes somewhat negligible (just like the difference between Windows 7, 8.1 and 10 when you discount for the slight differences in the System Settings (or whatever it is called)).
I really like the File Manager Dolphin that comes standard with most KDE-using Linux distros (I like it because it is full of features, if you are not messing around with network folders (webdav, cifs) too much you probably won't care).
I like Kile for Latex work (think of a text editor with amazing formula support, rather not fetish gear).
I use Kontact for my Adress Book and the KOrganizer for my Calendar.
All of the above listed apps are build with the KDE Desktop environment in mind (meaning they use the KDE tools to draw their windows and buttons and stuff. If you were to install them in another desktop environment they would use more RAM than under KDE because they would have to load the KDE drawing tools (something you won't care about with a beefy Quadcore and 16 Gigs of RAM).
If you care for things looking seamless you might want to take stuff like that into consideration (meaning using the Apps that are build using the specific DE tools). I on the other hand happily use Keepass2 which has somewhat of a windows 98 look about it, meaning it sticks out like a sore thumb.
If you want I can take some screenshots to illustrate further.
Conclusion: If you were a Windows power user you might want to use an older desktop environment (like KDE and the above mentioned). If you are mainly mouse driven you should be good with any desktop environment.
Personal distro recommendation: Lubuntu
Personal list of distros you could look at to see what Linux can look like too: Hannah Montana Linux, Elementary OS which looks like OS X
There are a bunch of Linux distros...... thanks to you both for suggesting a few, I'll have a look and just pick one I guess (once I get around to actually installing the SSD).
As for the AMD drivers - I am a fairly casual gamer but I do also run a couple of programs that have real time 3D graphics WYSIWYG 's (hence the processing power). One of them particular has Linux support so I'd have to see how that runs before messing with other drivers. As long as I'll be able to see some sort of GUI straight off though I'll be happy.
The Debian based distro's are easy to transition to. After about 4 weeks I got tired of that as well because It became too "Windows-ish"... I'm currently moving forward to Fedora 23 for a test drive. To start with Linux, go with Mint, WHEN you crave more and have learned the ins-out of Linux, Go with Fedora, Manjaro, Mageai, Arch Linux.