I'm looking to purchase a new graphics card but all vendors only provide drivers for Windows while Nvidia provides drivers for Linux, my question is whether I can use the drivers from nvidia or if they have to come from the manufacturer? For instance if I buy a something card GTX550 from Asus but they don't have a linux driver, can i use the GTX550 linux driver that nvidia provides?

  • 2
    If it's a driver for the correct card/series, it will work no matter where you get it from.
    – Kevin
    Jul 31 '13 at 21:43
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    Normally the manufacturer do not have anything to do with the drivers (in fact, some of them just include the OEM ones with some "plus") so, if the OEM, stripped model works for Linux, any variant will work too.
    – Braiam
    Jul 31 '13 at 21:45

Yes, you can use the driver from NVidia's site. I also have ASUS videocard (NVidia GT220). NVidia supports Linux system but keep in mind that because of the open-source systems' nature you won't get a so "perfectly" running system as on Windows.

This behavior is not specific to NVidia!

On Linux based systems many thing depends on the kernel, and it may happen that on a kernel update something breaks. (Actually I have such issues with NVidia and kernel 3.9 and newer.)

However, if you have a properly configured system, the will run perfectly.

Another good news is that you can use nvidia drivers from the rpmfusion repo. It's name is akmod-nvidia (auto built), or kmod-nvidia (needs manual build).

If you still need help, take a look on my article about how to install NVidia driver on Fedora.


Nvidia, ATI, Matrox and others provide proprietary drivers for Linux and then there is also an open source driver that should work with any card, however, open source does not provide all features of the card, so if you are looking for multiple heads or 3D, you may have to use the proprietary driver -- meaning, the card manufacturer has control, not you. An example of the drawback to proprietary: You want to upgrade to a later version of Linux but a compatible driver is not yet available. In some cases, the manufacturer can discontinue support for a card, meaning they will never update the driver. In that case, you can not upgrade the OS without purchasing a new video card.


The answer is probably best presented as a qualified "yes".

If one does not require all functionality provided by a proprietary driver, it is not required to use a proprietary driver supplied by a vendor, Linux distribution, or the nvidia.com web site. For example, the nouveau driver supplied by (most?) Linux distributions is quite capable of supporting many, or most, nvidia graphics cards.

At the time of this writing, though, the nouveau driver does not necessarily provide all functionality needed by certain games or applications that demand advanced features of these video cards. In such cases, it can become necessary to consider using a proprietary driver supplied directly, or indirectly, by nvidia.

In theory, it is possible to use the proprietary driver supplied directly by the nvidia.com web site. If these drivers work, they are quicker to support new graphics card models and may resolve driver issues earlier than the proprietary drivers obtained from other sources, but, problems with their use can arise in that they do not necessarily support the specific operating system or distribution in use.

Occasionally, it is difficult to get the driver from the nvidia.com web site working on a particular system or in a particular environment. For this reason, it is often advisable to prefer using the proprietary drivers supplied by the end user's Linux distribution over the drivers supplied directly by the nvidia.com. Note that in-distribution driver package repositories for non-free/proprietary drivers are often disabled by default so it may be necessary to enable an appropriate non-free package repository to use the in-distribution proprietary package.

This answer relates to experience - whereas it has been usually easy to utilize the drivers obtained directly from nvidia.com for many years, it has also not been uncommon to find that these drivers fail to install and work on a particular systems at particular points in time. Failures can be related to changes that occur during the maintenance of the Linux operating system, or to details relating to how driver-related tools are designed and maintained in the distribution.

It is also not hard to find online advice strongly discouraging the use of proprietary drivers, and particularly those obtained directly from the nvidia.com web site. This may be because when the nvidia.com driver install fails, unless changes made by the failed installation are completely reversed, it is possible for a subsequent installation of an in-distribution proprietary to be be negatively affected. It is not necessarily trivial for some users to correct such issues.

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