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I have a linux machine and I am not happy with the video card as it cannot go above 800X600.

A co-worker is upgrading his PC so I was wanting to get his old video card and put it in my ubuntu 10.04 machine.

He is running winxp, I had him go to device manager and find out what is video card is. which is a VIA / s3g UNI Chrome IGP I went to s3 graphics webpage and couldn't find it.

Is there a way I can tell? (other than just popping it in and seeing if it works)

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Here are the recommendations from the 'Ubuntu system requirements' page

  • ATI (some may require the proprietary fglrx driver)
  • Intel (i915 or better, except GMA 500, aka "Poulsbo")
  • NVidia (with their proprietary driver)

Graphics cards aren't as much of an issue as they used to be since the major manufacturers released proprietary drivers for linux. It takes a little additional work to initially get it up and working properly but it's not *impossible'.

If you have picked a specific card just look up '[modelNumber] in [linuxDistro]' on google and you'll probably find plenty of results saying it didn't work if it isn't supported by that specific flavor of *nix.

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Section 4 of the man pages contains information about various devices. If you don't see anything promising in /usr/share/man/man4 then you can use man -k <keyword> to try to find a relevant page. In this case man -k via finds the openchrome(4) man page, so run man 4 openchrome and read up.

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You could try using a LiveCD on his machine, but I did a search at and it doesn't look promising.

I'd buy a cheap used Nvidia card on eBay.

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Try downloading the version of Linux you want to use and burn it to a CD or put it on a flash drive. Then try running it.

I find that Ubuntu has great compatibility with all kinds of hardware. Awesome hardware support. Try popping in a live CD and running it without installing. Check for the drivers available for your video card.

If you get the drivers, and it says that you need to reboot, then you may have to install the OS. Go ahead, do it. You can install it and see if you can get it to work. If it does, everything's great. Otherwise, you can very well uninstall it.

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