NVIDIA Binary drivers
NVIDIA has been much more sincere about releasing Linux drivers in the past, and as a result, Nvidia cards have always been a bit more popular with Linux users. Though with the changing scene, and with AMD releasing the specifications of their drivers, they have gained a few brownie points from Linux supporters in the recent past. Nonetheless, Nvidia's drivers are also very stable and easy to install.
Although the driver itself is a pre-compiled binary, a separate part of the driver needs to be compiled against your specific kernel before the driver can be installed and loaded on your computer. Hence, you need your kernel's sources available on your hard-disk in the proper folder. Refer to my previous article here and follow the instructions on the first page to accomplish that.
Once that's done, you need to satisfy the following dependencies which need to be installed before you go about installing the graphics driver:
- Linux kernel 2.6
- XFree86/X.Org 4.0.1/6.7 and above
- Kernel modutils 2.1.121
- binutils 2.9.5
- GNU make 3.77
- gcc 2.91.66
- glibc 2.0
Refer to this page for detailed instructions about the same and install them using your distribution's package manager. After that, download the Nvidia driver from their Linux driver download page. Go with the "Linux IA32" version and grab the latest version available unless you're specifically running a 64bit Linux distribution on your computer.
As with the ATi/AMD driver, you will be downloading a .run file which is a packaged installer which does its job without any intervention. Once you have downloaded the file, shut down the graphical interface which is generally done by typing the command "/etc/init.d/xdm stop" in another tty (Change the tty by pressing Ctrl+Alt+X where X is a number between 1-6). This should shut down X, else, refer to your distributions documentation for the same. Now navigate to the folder where the .run file is stored using the command line and type the following command:
This will start the installer which will do its work automatically without needing any input from you. Once everything is done, it will offer you to run the configurator called "nvidia-xconfig". Accept it and let it do its job. It will find out more information about your hardware like your screen/monitor, graphics card and change the xorg.conf file accordingly. That should do it. All you now have to do is reboot your computer to let it load the newly installed driver. In case of problems, refer to the bundled readme file or check the online version here.