Advice for Graphics Card


I am planning on building a computer based on Ryzen 5 3600 and MSI Tomahawk B450, with Manjaro, and I want it able to play games.

I read that Manjaro was a good distrib to play (steam games mainly, and Blizzard), and that I should probably choose a Radeon graphics card for better compatibility. It is the first time I build a computer, and I don’t know much on Linux.

Would you have any advice for me please?

For now, I was looking at the RX 5500 XT, but it seems to be of poor value compared to the Nvidia 1650 super. Also I can increase my budget a little if there is a huge advantage (in terms of value, compatibility etc…) of getting for example the RX 5600. I have no preference and could go Nvidia, but from what I understand, Nvidia has proprietary drivers and is harder to make working on Manjaro?

So, I don’t really need advice for value/price things, but rather easiness/compatilibity to work with Manjaro.

Hope my explanation is clear enough.

Thanks a lot.

I’m no gamer so I’m only gonna talk about compatibility. Maybe nvidia have better performance but If we talking about compatibility , I’d go for amd. Also the last models of amd have some issues with high temps but I think that been solved with the last kernel.
Besides the philosophical dilemma of free/privative drivers, I’d go for amd, it’s just boot up and go, not need to worry about drivers, versions, kernels, etc.
That been said, I have a nvidia 710 on my pc and a amd/nvidia1050ti on the laptop. The 710 work just fine for me but in the laptop always use amd, only change to nvidia when I have to use the HDMI output.
Let’s wait for someone more experienced in gaming can tell you about gaming performance.


so basically out of the box amd GPU’s work quicker out of the box on linux as they have drivers preinstalled

I myself use a 5700xt , Now i wont pretend its the most stable thing I’ve ever used , but when it works its bloody brilliant.

I also have used a 1070ti under linux , while it is considerably more stable - it takes a bit of time to set up w installing drivers.

to summarize what I also wrote on the old forum:

on Linux in general, AMD is the better choice due to only free drivers there.

Nvidia will also work, like already said, but you might run into problems when using the non-free driver (not necessarily during installation but during later updates when new nvidia drivers are released). The non-free Nvidia driver is more or less mandatory if you need good performance of the card.
there won’t be any change as Nvidia does not care about opensource or the Linux ecosystem at all.
All they do is publish their closed-source driver.

If you want to have great drivers, go AMD, they do full open source since 2015 and work together with the Linux community. AMD actively develops the open source driver together with the Kernel dev’s, Mesa dev’s, Redhat, SuSe, Valve and others. It is bundled in the video-linux metapackage in manjaro settings manager.

For your specific question of which RX5000 card to choose: If your budget has room for it, go RX5700XT, especially the Sapphire Nitro+ one. The RX5600 is not bad at all, but is not that much cheaper and has less memory and a bit less performance.

And another point on why AMD is the better choice: Their cards have proven to get faster over time due to drivers still being optimized even for 4-5 year old cards. While Nvidia cards stay at the same level or get worse. The slang term for that is “AMD Fine Wine” because just like good wine, the cards get better the longer they exist.

For your question about gaming performance: I have no problems with any game with my “old” Vega64, but look into some benchmarks on your own:

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The difference between AMD and NVIDIA GPU is that AMD drivers are coming with the kernel while NVIDIA driver are proprietary and need to be installed separately. The kernel comes with a free “nouveau” driver for NVIDIA so that they also work out of the box with any kernel but the nouveau driver has much less performance than the proprietary driver from NVIDIA. The good news is, that Manjaro supports the installation of the proprietary NVIDIA drivers with the mhwd toolset.

I am personally a big fan of NVIDIA graphics cards. I am using them exclusively since decades and never had an issue on Linux. NVIDIA has a very good opencl support in their drivers which is very important for me because it massively accelerates darktable and other graphics software.

I am also playing a little bit with steam. I started that with a " GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1050 Ti OC 4G". Last year I moved to a faster card with faster opencl to get better darktable performance: “MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X 6G”. Works like a charm on my MSI X570 Motherboard.

Here is a good webpage to compare the various graphics cards:

from what i hear, Manjaro / mhwd makes using nvidia mostly painless, too - but with AMD you can expect even less headache, especially for some things like wayland.
On the other hand, Nvidia might be more feature-complete in some regards, for example with amd you can’t use freesync on multi-monitor setups if the screens are not the exact same specs.

Personally i’d go with AMD - once for the lazyness and on the other hand to not support proprietary protectionism.

Such advice would also be against the forum rules:

Otherwise to sum up the previous recommendation: both options should work.

Hi Eugen,

Thanks for the link to the rules :slight_smile: I know, I should have read those beforehand, I have been lazy :flushed:

My perfectionism (sorry) wants to point out, it is not actually forbidden in the rules, but rather “discouraged”, whatever this means. :sunglasses:

Anyway, I agree with the principle, and there are many other sources for this kind of research.

Thanks for you time !

Hi everyone,

Thanks a lot visone, Exiatron00, BS86, mbod and Termy for the time you spent answering me. That is quite helpful.

I kind of agree with Termy about open source, and that is also partly why I wanted to switch to a Linux based OS. So I think I would rather go with AMD.

You all basically validated what I heard before: AMD might be easier to setup, open drivers etc… and for me as a beginner, might be a better choice. Although, that comment from mbod makes me doubt again ^^ I might dig deeper on this question or go for AMD for safety. If you have other great sources of information for this, I would be grateful.

A following question is then: what do you mean when you say “stable”? Does this mean that Manjaro may have trouble controlling the card with the drivers, which leads to crash, malfunctions etc…? How hard is it to fix it (or is it just depending on drivers?). What kind of problem can I run into?

Another one is: can I easily overclock the graphics card without trouble on Manjaro? Does it vary for AMD and Nvidia?

Thanks again!

PS: if I go for AMD, I think I will grab the 5600 one, since 5700 is out of my price range, and 5600 seems to offer better value than 5500. I will study this a bit more, but yeah.

there are many nice GUI-tools for Overclocking, both for NVidia and AMD (corectrl for example), although you sometimes need to dig a bit deeper (AMD cards need a special boot-option to “unlock” all the controls)

Don’t hurt your head, anything mid-to-high range AMD has released since the HD79xx series will fill your gaming needs, especially on Linux, where you won’t need all the latest graphic bells and whistles…

I have a R9 280 3Gb since 2014 in my gamig PC, with a i5 2500K (overclocked at 4+Ghz) and 32Gb DDR3 1600Mhz, dual boot W10/Manjaro… On W10, I still play the games at a higher level than PS4/XBO, even Pro/X in most cases… 1080p @ 60 fps on most games on high to ultra settings, slightly less on the most demanding games I play, but anyway, I can play pretty much anything at least at 30 fps (which is the consoles framerate) on ultra settings (where consoles are more on the medium/low side)… AMD GPUs are very future-proof, considering the R9 280 already was a rebranding of the older HD7950.

This card or anything higher will allow you to play pretty much any games in good conditions :slight_smile: