8 years since my last computer purchase: Help me understand current AMD vs Nvidia mobile graphics landscape.


I've been a full time Linux user since 2007. Shortly (say 2 months or less), I will be purchasing a new laptop. I'm not a hardcore gamer, but I do like to game, and I like to have a decent GPU. (Yes, my current GPU is 8 years old, but only because I couldn't justify more timely upgrades.) I have always sought Nvidia cards for 2 reasons:

  1. I could never get a working AMD driver without all kinds of hassle.

  2. In the early days at least, I was told repeatedly that AMD would "lose" more performance (vs running under Windows) than Nvidia.

A factor in both of the above could also be that I was new to Linux – and once I had luck with Nvidia I just stayed with it.

Nowadays though I keep hearing how much better AMD is at interacting with the community than Nvidia, how the AMD driver situation has gotten much better, etc.

So I have some questions, please.

  1. My current laptop has an Nvidia GTX 460M and 2nd gen Sandybridge i7. However, the intel GPU is disabled at the motherboard level. So I never had to mess with Optimus/bumblebee, etc. How much of a pain in the ass is all that nowadays? Is it easier under AMD?

  2. I picked that 460M in 2011 because it seemed like the breakpoint where increased performance was going to start costing LOTS more. Where's that price/performance nexus on the current mobile AMD line? I assume for nvidia it still sits around the *60 or *70 mark…

  3. Will moving to AMD solve problems like the minor visual corruption I've experienced in Plasma after suspend, and/or when compositing has been auto toggled by gaming etc?

  4. Can someone please give me a straight answer on the AMD open source driver? Is it less performant than their closed source driver, but still good, or does it actually perform on par with the AMD closed source driver?

  5. Are there Linux-specific sellers who are offering full AMD laptops with discrete GPU? In a (VERY quick) look around, I think the answer might be no.

  6. Anything else? I'm open to any and all arguments for or against AMD or Nvidia.

6a. 2k seems like a better choice to me than 4k right now. What's the consensus on this? Not sure how common they are. Just stay with 1080? I'm looking at no bigger than a 15" chassis, and was actually hoping to find a 14" that hits all the right spots.

I'm not 100% sure regarding my budget. Let's say I'd probably be willing to touch 2 grand, would be nice if it were less, and for something amazing I might go slightly more.


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