AMD or nVidia GPU for dual displays - extended desktop mode

I currently have a Benq 22" full HD running on the integrated Radeon GPU of my motherboard trough DVI and I would like to buy a new GPU with DVI + HDMI and connect my Sharp 39" Full HD LED TV to use it as a second display in extended desktop mode. I am not doing any gaming at all, so it will be a GPU in the lower cost area (GeForce210 and such).

I have experienced extended display setups in Windows using nVidia cards and drivers but I have no ideea how Linux behaves and what settings are available on openSUSE. On Windows I find nVidia drivers and GPU to be extremely flexible and easy to setup rather than the AMD **** drivers.

I want to use the second display to watch my Family Guy episodes and movies so settings to output sound trough HDMI must be available.

So wich would be the best ? AMD or nVidia GPU for this setup:

  • First display - Benq full HD on DVI
  • Second display - Sharp full HD on HDMI
  • Extended desktop mode, not clone
  • Must be able to output sound trough HDMI to the TV

Thanks guys !


I think you may be fine with either or of the GPUs for your set-up; my comprehension of the general preference on this forum, however, is to choose NVIDIA.

I have both and find NVIDIA, in general, much easier to manage; but I am also much more accustomed to NVIDIA.

Yes, I guess I’m going with a GeForce 210 then.


I had a 210 it lasted less then 6 months Note also you should turn the GPU off that is on the CPU. Should be a setting in the BIOS

I now have a 230 based card I have great hopes for that. It is replacing a old 6800+ that lasted 7 years, still worked but the fan died and it would overheat. It has no fan but runs very cool. It is rated top among the higher mid level cards. paid about $65

I think this depends on the card integrator. I used a fanless 210 from ASUS for almost two years in an construction site (lots of dust and power fluctuations/shortage) without issues, it’s still working. OTOH, I already had three ZOTAC (630, 520 and 9xxx) go t*ts up earlier than that on a much more stable environment (no-breaks, line filters, etc.). At least one broke down in less than one year.

One thing is sure, I’m not buying this ZOTAC brand anymore. I might accept one if it’s free… :slight_smile:

I usually have two monitors hooked to a Nvidia card in my home and work desktops, and with nvidia-settings and the display module in KDE 4.12 system-settings it’s quite easy to manage.

One thing to keep in mind is to, if possible, go for a digital connection for both monitors, i.e., DVI and/or HDMI. The analog (VGA) has priority in showing the login screen (and you may want to use the other screen for it), and may show some electromagnetic interference, depending on how the cables are laid and shielded. With the digital connection the image is always clear.

My new 630 is an ASUS. We will see how good it is in time :wink:

The old 6800+ was a champ and would still be in the machine except for the fan going bottoms up… :’( Most sepcs were actully as good a the 610 that I first replaced it with but it died in 6 months it was a very cheap card under $30.00


Just got my MSI GeForce 210 with VGA+DVI+HDMI ports.

Connected both my Benq full HD monitor via DVI and my Sharp full HD TV via HDMI, started openSUSE but no KDE, booted straight to console, so I logged as root and ran a zypper up then a mkinitrd wich seems to add required nouveau (nvidia card) module in the ramdisk (correct me if I’m wrong) as I had an ATI integrated GPU before.
Rebooted and everything went absolutely smooth, my Benq was primary display and the Sharp TV was automatically set up as extended desktop, stunning !

I also found out how easy is to choose wich audio out should an application use, for example I want a movie played via Mplayer to output sound trough the HDMI port the nVidia card to the TV, so start up the movie, fire up pavucontrol (install it if you don’t have it) and just choose wich output you want for each applicaion individually, this absolutely rocks ! See screenshots, I have Mplayer running on my TV with sound trough the nVidia GPU and chromium playing a YouTube video with sound trough the PC’s speakers. You can choose settings for as many applications as needed, even individual settings.

I hope this helps somebody !

Thanks guys

You may get a bit better results with the NVIDIA drive.

Any time you change video card companies you must deal with different driveres.

You mean I should install their proprietary driver ?

On 2014-07-22 22:36 (GMT) gogalthorp composed:

> You may get a bit better results with the NVIDIA drive.

As you may with Intel, or with ATI. The meaning of “better results” isn’t
always a given, and varies according to expectations the the particular
gfxchip involved. Under this roof, Nvidia is last choice, used routinely on
only two machines, with a third Nvidia a PCIe card available for testing
among multiple machines.

> Any time you change video card companies you must deal with different
> driveres.

That’s flat out untrue. When you stick to FOSS, the kernel in conjuction with
Xorg handles driver selection and loading in the vast majority of cases
without need for any user input or configuration utility. For the vast
majority of installations it is a user decision to use any proprietary driver
that ever causes need for any user to “deal with different drivers”.

I’ve been able to configure multiple displays, and panning, on Intel, ATI,
NVidia and MGA, all with FOSS drivers, on all recent releases of openSUSE,
Fedora and Mageia, via use of xrandr and/or xorg.conf*. I have many machines,
most with multiboot, using various CPUs and gfxchips. On not one of them have
I installed a proprietary video driver for Linux. On not one of them running
KDE4 is Kscreen not disabled (in KDE versions in which it exists).

What is required of any user depends on his hardware, his particular needs,
and what he is willing to go through to get those needs met.

The wise are known for their understanding, and pleasant
words are persuasive.

Team OS/2 ** Reg. Linux User #211409 ** a11y rocks!

Felix Miata ***

Well ok if you stick with OS drivers you probably are ok but I like to play some games that require some 3D extension. the OS drivers do not cut it because they don’t support the fancy extensions. So if I change venders for my GPU I’d certainly have to change drivers. Uninstall the NVIDIA and install the ATI or not install any thing for Intel since it is built in. But then Intel GPU’s sucks. :stuck_out_tongue:

If you cahnge the GPU architecture and don’t use the generic OS drivers or maybe the better OS driver you can certainly expect to have to change the driver

In any case in general if you are just doing desk top stuff you can certainly get by with the OS drivers if there are no problems. But I have seen problems with some NVIDIA chips and the propritary driver fixes it. Also Some ATI chips don’t like the OS driver for AT cards.So some people must runthe propritary driver if they went decent video proformance

TO the OP
If you are happy wiht the video you don’t HAVE to do a thing. But if you want better 3D you need the proprietary. No one says you have to use it. The nuoveau is not bad it simply is not quite so good with extended 3D

I’ve installed the nVidia drivers, all work fine except the splash screen when booting has a lower resolution than before, I can’t remember where that could be modified. Any ideea ?

You have to say which splash screen. The one immediately after grub or what?

You may try setting the grub resolution that is in Yast-boot