Cheap graphic adapter

Since I failed to resolve my problem with my AMD Ryzen 3200g integrated graphics, I wish to fix it by adding a discrete graphic card.

However, I am not a gamer. All I need is to stream video, and have some rotating cubes for my desktop, nothing fancy. Moreover, everything here is crazy expensive, and the shipping costs makes everything on Amazon a non starter. Also my power supply is rated at only 400W (which wasn’t considered “only” when I bought it).

So what I am looking for is the cheapest possible graphic adapter I can buy, that can drive two or three displays, and should just work™, with free and open source drivers.

For example I looked at ARKTEK R5 230 2GB DDR3 64bit at around 50$. I can see that way back when - while it was still supported, AMD released the proprietary drivers for the Radion R5. But I wasn’t able to figure out if they also released a free version of those drivers.

Which (finally) leads to my question: What is the cheapest possible discrete graphic card adapter I can buy in 2021, that will just work with a modern GNU/Linux system?

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You should be safe with anything AMD and as long as it only operates on PCIe socket power then your power supply will not be an issue. Do you only want to buy new? You could probably find a used RX 550 for a good deal.

@Ethanol, thanks for your answer. I especially appreciate your comment about power consumption.

I know that the DLN folks are firmly on the side of the Red Team, however my experience make me more hesitant, hence this question.

I don’t have any objection to buy used hardware, however in my local market it is hard to find anything other than NVIDIA graphic cards, so the second hand market is slim to non-existent, and shipping from abroad is prohibitively expensive.

In other news, I did found a LinuxHardware Reddit thread and a Linux Mint thread that suggest that Radion R5 230 is supported by the open-source drivers. Can anybody here verify this?

I can’t comment on the support for the discrete card, but I was looking into the problems with the integrated card from your original post. When you were troubleshooting the discrete card did you make sure to all of the AMD firmware packages installed?

I ran across the following link, the very last post talks about it in detail:

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I did some digging and according to this Wikipedia page: AMDgpu (Linux kernel module) - Wikipedia the AMD driver officially supports anything with GCN 3 architecture and higher. Unfortunately the R5 230 does not use this architecture. So likely you will have to install the older fglrx drivers, which are still an official AMD driver but are not entirely open source like the newer AMDGPU driver.

However, since that GPU is older than the current integrated graphics in your Ryzen 3000 CPU it might have better support out of the box.

The Nouveau driver should work really well with this card, and drive the multiple displays you desire.

Bonus: Passively cooled!


I have found that with my AMD cards the proprietary ones from AMD have been not as good. You should be able to use the out of the box drivers. I uninstalled my AMDGPU drivers and have just gone with the Mesa and vulkan stuff. Granted I am a gamer but if it works for gaming I don’t see why it wouldn’t for your needs. Otherwise that $50 card recommended in the comments should be just fine for your needs.

I was able to find a used SAPPHIRE RX 550 2GB card, that including shipping was just under the magical sum of 75 USD - the point where taxes kicks in around here. Also as @Ethanol noted the RX 550 is the highest AMD GPU that dosen’t recommend more than 400W power supply.

Performance wise I can’t tell the difference between this card and the integrated graphics I have on my CPU. But finally I can use a multiple setup without any glitches, although at the end those glitches were due to an unrelated issue I wrote about in the original thread.

I want to thank you all, for your insights and suggestions. I would probably still fight this issue if it wasn’t for your help.