Cinnamon all the way for m. The fact that it is based on the more modern GTK3/Gnome-shell base and that it has stable and well integrated compositing out of the box are huge plus's for me. MATE is alright if you don't want compositing or really want to use compiz, I just wish it was based on gnome 3 fallback instead of gnome 2.
cwwgateway wrote:@fraze it is very true that many AMD/ATI graphics cards work great with Cinnamon, but there is a much larger problem with ATI graphcis support for linux than with other cards (intel and nvidia). It usually isn't specific to Cinnamon, but to 3d acceleration in general. I don't know exactly why, but it seems that the ATI drivers are not nearly as good as NVIDIA and Intel drivers. If the driver works well with your graphics card and it supports 3d acceleration, then cinnamon can be very stable (although occasionally there are glitches if you try to tweak stuff too much - it crashes when applet gschemas aren't installed correctly).
I have found this to be the case as well. ATI is persuading me to abandon AMD once and for all. I have been buying nothing but AMD since the 90's, but that will change now that I am getting into Linux. It is time to say good-bye to the siamese twin AMD & ATI, as one of the heads is diseased. I plan to embrace Intel's low-power offerings such as the 35W g630t. It may cost a little bit more but you get what you pay for. I don't see many posts by Linux users complaining about Intel or NVIDIA but there seems to be widespread difficulty with ATI and all of these gotchas for Linux users.
If you don't need a dedicated card, go intel without a doubt. Intel is the only one that officially develops proper open source drivers. Intel cards can be depended on to work great out of the box (although there does appear to be a bug with ubuntu 12.10/mint 14 where the intel driver isn't loaded correctly sometimes, but I haven't ran into it on either of my intel laptops). If you need a dedicated card, go nvidia but try to avoid optimus. I am so glad I no longer have to deal with AMD/ATI cards under linux. My old laptop had a mobility hd2600 and gave me nothing but trouble with both catalyst and the oss ati drivers. Its a shame because AMD/ATI has good video card hardware, its just the linux drivers that are terrible. I use an AMD card on my windows gaming pc and it works great, but I don't go near them if I intend to use linux on a machine.
Yes, I'm afraid this is so. That said, all of my computers are AMD-powered at the moment, because I've been a loyal customer--for as long as I stayed with Windows, that is. AMD was a lot cheaper, after all, even now with their Trinity line,and they made some good low-powered chips. With Windows, AMD stuff works pretty good. Now that I'm getting into Linux Mint, I am having second thoughts, because I'm not sure how much advantage the Linux version of the AMD/ATI driver makes of the GPU. Based on the description of "fglrx" in the Ubuntu repository, it does not take full advantage. I'm also concerned because ATI does not seem to publish a changelog for the Linux community. I have the impression Linux may be an afterthought to ATI.
Getting back on topic, after using Linux Mint Mate 13 64-bit for about a month, I'm pleased. I particularly appreciated the ease of customization. I had a dark desktop in no time with light green text. One launcher opens the music directory, one launcher opens the video directory, one launcher opens VLC (for customization), and one launcher shuts down the computer. For simple htpc, I would say Linux Mint Mate is highly recommended. ATI's driver presented a few challenges, but that would be true on any distro. In fact, I learned how to configure the ATI driver by reading documentation on the Arch Linux site. The same steps applied in Linux Mint. I appreciate how transferable knowledge is from one distro to another. Linux Mint never makes anything more difficult. And as far as the idea that a lighter distro like say, Xubuntu, is faster, I think that when the total amount of memory the OS takes is quoted at between 190 and 300 megabytes, that's pretty small in a computer with 4G of RAM, and if the desktop consumes under 8% of the cpu, that's fast enough. Greater speed increases can be found through inexpensive hardware rather than sacrificing the user interface or making things more difficult for the human.
If I were to download today, I'd select the latest version, even though it's not an LTS, because version 14 has the latest version of several software packages, which will save time when updating. I haven't heard of anything major being broken in 12.10 of Ubuntu, although your mileage may vary.