So as you know I've been having some issues with the Intel G35 video chip and Linux. So after thinking about it, I figured I should just get a real video card anyway. So I first ordered a Sapphire 2600xt card from NewEgg. Got the fglrx drivers from Livna and things were going well. Card is fast and responds well and the drivers even work ok. One problem however, the fan on the card is super loud. I have a small and quiet machine and the fan on the video card could be heard in the next room. Totally unacceptable for the goal of a quiet PC. So I did something I hardly ever do and I returned the card.
Next, I decided to stick with an ATI chip since I got burned on my last nVidia card (GeForce 3 Ti200). nVidia dropped support for that chip and basically turned a decent video card into junk. So I decided on the Asus 3650 Silent Magic card. Now specwise this card is a little slower, however in my testing with Extreme TuxRacer the card actually gives a better FPS than the 2600xt. SecondLife, the other big 3d app I test with still gives a great picture. The added benefit of the card... 0 noise, sure it takes up a second slot in my machine, but the board I have has just about everything I need on it and there are only 4 slots anyway. The card takes the PCIx16 and PCIx1 slots. I have a PCIx1 and a PCI slot free on the machine. About the only thing I could think of using the slots for would be a video capture card. And I think an external USB one, might be a better choice. My only concern at this point is the extra heat in the card from the video board. I might be able to move around some cables inside to help the airflow. I'm hoping that ATI will enable powerplay in the drivers for the board.
quake3: 90fps (it never goes above or below and I'm running 1280x1024 with triliniar filtering)
secondlife: recommended settings (bar is on level 3 of 4)
I am disappointed in the Intel video support since the motherboard I picked up, I specifically got for the G35 chip on it. So I could have saved a couple of bucks and got a motherboard with fewer features. I will admit that I am pleased with the Asus product's I've gotten. The motherboard is an Asus P5E-VM HDMI.
So I'll do some more testing with this video card and let you know how it goes.