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Nvidia GeForce 3 under Debian Linux

Posted by Keith Elder | Posted in Computer Hardware, Linux, PC Gaming | Posted on 17-10-2001

I recently acquired a GeForce 3 nVidia card by VisionTek and got it working under Debian Linux. Read more for the details!

Setting up the GeForce 3 64MB DDR under Debian

After getting the new card I couldn’t wait to get it into the system, download the drivers and see how many frames per second Quake III under Linux was going to give me. The setup is relatively painless just make sure you read all of the docs on nVidia’s site. Here are the steps that you will need to take:

1. Download the drivers from nvidia
2. Compile the drivers (both the glx and the kernel driver)
3. Install them
4. Change your XF86Config-4 file to include the new glx module and the new driver

My Problem

It turns out that it took me 3-4 hours of digging through the documentation and a few web sites to get the card working. Although my initial efforts in setting up the card were correct I still could not get the X-server to work. My problem was that when I would insmod the NVdriver into the kernel I would get an error, therefore causing X-Windows to not be able to see the card.

My Solution

After spending quite sometime trying different options, combinations, etc I finally decided to email nVidia about my problem. As it turns out my problem was fixed in a new release of the driver (the very same day) and I received an email back within 7 minutes with an answer (note: I sent the email at 11:45 PM, which means that I received an answer back at almost midnight, wow!)!

Running Quake III

After recompiling with the new driver I was up and running in under 1 minute. I headed straight for Quake III and turned on FPS in the window and jumped into a game. To my amazement, I was getting over 100 FPS in 1280×1024. I couldn’t belive how smooth and quick it was. FYI, it seems that I am getting about the same frame per second in windows as well. There is no noticeable difference between the two systems on the same hardware as far as I can tell.


If you are in the market for a really fast 3D Linux compatible gaming card look no farther than one of the GeForce 3 64MB DDR cards. Quake anyone?

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