Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Not sure if this has been asked before (a quick search didn't reveal anything obvious), but I'm looking for a video card that fits the following requirements. I've searched around a bit before asking (and list some of the results at the end of this post), but I wanted to get a second opinion before I jump into buying something that ends up being useless.

So, the requirements:

  • PCI express x1 or x16
  • preferably supports HDMI out, or at least DVI that can be used with a converter (not really sure how this works)
  • can be used with a 250w power supply
  • compatible with debian lenny for the amd64 architecture
  • preferably can display video without needing a GUI installed

I've found the following x1/x16 cards with HDMI out, but I'm not sure if they're linux compatible and their power requirements make me a little concerned. Here they are:

Newegg Product Comparison Page (oddly enough, this massive link didn't work...hmm.)

Thanks! Let me know if you need more information, too.

EDIT: Per the commenters' helpful suggestions, I've decided to upgrade to a 350w power supply.

share|improve this question
ATI driver is the worst. NEVER buy one if you want to use it under Linux. Please trust my word. (Well.. you can go against it, but you'll see what I meant.) – Shiki Jul 13 '10 at 19:28
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Both ATI and Nvidia have Linux drivers available. They're usually closed source, but they will work. Any new graphics card will have HDMI or DVI. DVI is 100% compatible with HDMI, they're the same connection but a different plug. You can get converter cables, and some graphics cards even come with converter dongles.

The larger concern is going to be power. If your PSU is only 250W, you might run into some problems with stability. Definitely go for the lowest-power graphics card you can find. Some googling should find you useful information on that. What is your price range? If you have a large enough budget, you might be better off spending your money on a better power supply and a bit less on the graphics card.

share|improve this answer
Ah, thank you for the information. You're probably right about changing out the power supply, but I kind of like it being 250w since my machine is on all the time. I'd like to keep the budget low, probably no more than $60-80 all said. I'll keep looking, and thanks for the info once again. :) – Faisal Jul 12 '10 at 23:58
A 250 W power supply doesn't draw 250 W all the time, nor would a 1000 W power supply draw 1000 W all the time. The wall power consumed depends on the actual power draw of your components (which varies depending on how hard the computer is working) and the efficiency of the power supply. – coneslayer Jul 13 '10 at 19:00
ATI driver is the worst. NEVER buy one if you want to use it under Linux. Please trust my word. (Well.. you can go against it, but you'll see what I meant.) – Shiki Jul 13 '10 at 19:28
I have also heard it said that Nvidia's linux drivers are superior to ATI's. You might be better off with an Nvidia card. However, in recent years it sounds like they've improved their support for Linux. And very good point about the power draw. If you can afford it, get a better PSU - it will still use only as much power as it needs. – nhinkle Jul 14 '10 at 5:28
@Faisal - NVidia is way better on Linux. Just get an NVIdia card. If you don't need gaming, the GT240 seems to be the best one. Why? It supports the latest VDPAU feature set, eats not much electricity, and its a small card. (May fit your 250W need. Depends on how much the other components eat.) | Personally I run a 8600gts overclocked card with a noname 350W PSU (+4x1gb ram, dvd-rw, P4 3.0ghz D processor, etc etc. :)) – Shiki Jul 14 '10 at 19:47

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.