Nvidia graphics on AMD64

Frank Shute frank at esperance-linux.co.uk
Sat Feb 2 17:35:59 PST 2008

On Sat, Feb 02, 2008 at 09:12:27PM +0000, Mike Clarke wrote:
> After running a 90 hour portupgrade job on my current Duron 1600 based system 
> I've persuaded myself that a hardware upgrade is due.
> I'm contemplating building a system around an Athlon 64 X2 4200+ CPU. I'm not 
> into games and overclocking so a relatively low end motherboard with 
> integrated graphics should suffice. I've been looking at a few specs, many of 
> them use Nvidia chipsets and I understand that there isn't a Nvidia graphics 
> driver for FreeBSD on the AMD64 platform.

There are nvidia chipsets such as nforce4 which work with FreeBSD, I
don't know about more recent ones but you can have a grovel through


> If I choose a Nvidia based motherboard would I have to install the i386 
> version of FreeBSD if I wanted to use the onboard graphics, in which case to 
> what extent would the overall performance suffer?

No. You can use the nv driver:


You might want to use i386 if you've got less than 4GB of memory as
some applications are only 32 bit such as Flash.

> My graphics needs are fairly modest, so long as I can use the Gimp to edit 
> some photos I'm OK, but playing the occasional DVD fairly smoothly would be a 
> bonus but not essential. Is there any alternative graphics driver which would 
> meet my needs?

You'd be ok with nv which builds on i386 or AMD64. There is a
proprietory driver which can be used on i386 but not AMD64:


> ... or should I just keep away from Nvidia and concentrate on something with 
> ATI graphics?

I've just switched from an Nvidia card to ATI onboard and the nvidia
card was better. The onboard ATI gives me a rather washed out picture.

So my advice would be to avoid onboard graphics and get a cheap nvidia
card. You can get them for about 20 quid for a 128MB card.



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