GPU for OpenCl in linux

There’s a loooong time since I used a dedicated GPU in my linux box (I’m linux user since 2000, and I’m using the integrated graphics in my laptop and desktop for around 14 years).
I’m using more and more darktable in last two years, specially since I changed my old DSLR into a new mirrorless (a bit before the pandemics), recovered my forgotten pleasure on photography, and started shoot everything in RAW. And so, I’m thinking seriously in getting a dedicated GPU for my desktop computer, to be able to use OpenCL and speed up a bit processing. My intel integrated GPU obviously does no support that.
So I would like to get a modest but functional GPU that works without problems with linux (I’m currently on Ubuntu, but have used also OpenSuse years ago, and probably will change into a rolling release distro such as Arch (now on testing on a virtual machine, and liking it a lot) on future.
I don’t need/want something very modern or powerful, gaming or video processing oriented. Just something to make dt a bit faster, specially when playing with diffuse & Sharpen, or when using denoise. Can be a new modest card, or even a good model easy to find second-hand. Let’s say something about 250 - 300 €. (corrected: I said less previously, but as many of you said, I was not thinking on the present prices, so I’ll have to spend more money than I thought!)
I have no real idea of what’s now working on market, to be true, so every suggestion or hint will be nicely received.
I do have no problem on fiddling on my linux system, I’m used to, and I’ve done much on past. But at the same time, I would prefer something that can be easily-automagically matained that something that will take time, to be honest. My free time has decreased a lot in last years, and I prefer to save it to other things as photography and not computers…
Just for your info, my computer is now a three years intel i5 with 8 Gb RAM.
Thanks in advance!

Hi @Nacho_R,

Judging from many posts here on, I would say that
Nvidia is easier to get working than AMD. There might be also
be a difference if you use proprietary or non-proprietary
drivers for Nvidia…

Cards such as GTX-1050 was OK,
but GTX 1660 Ti gave me much better prestanda.
(I have always used the proprietary drivers for Nvidia.)

Have fun!
Claes in Lund, Sweden


I suspect for good performance with diffuse or sharpen 100-150 € might be a little low, given the current situation with GPUs and chip shortage etc.

I have a 6Gb Gtx1060 which is great, but it still cost about €300 or so for a second hand model.

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Wow. I also have a 1060/6GB, and got it for CHF 140 in November 2019.

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lucky you :slight_smile:

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Do not cry too much if you see current GPU prices.

Even 2nd hand prices.

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@kofa @darix @elstoc
You all are right… I was checking prices, and are higher than I thought. Probably I’ll have to think about 300 €.

I see that I can get from a serious shop a refurbished 1660/6Gb for around 120 €. And a refurbished 1060/6Gb for little more than 200 €.
I can see that some of you are happy with the 1060, and that seems like a reasonable price for it, so it’s an option. But I don’t know if the 1660 with same 6Gb is a real option, for nearly half of the price. Anyone have a suggestion?

I would disagree. AMD has open source drivers. For OpenCL you just add their repository and install the opencl package and be done.

For Vulkan you normally have already everything installed on your system.


There have been a number of AMD-specific issues in darktable in the past (and present?) and I think a lot of the devs use Nvidia. So there’s the advantage that you’re (likely) getting a a more thoroughly tested setup if you go for Nvidia rather than AMD. Yes AMD has open source drivers but ultimately if closed drivers work and are supported on Linux I’m fine with that.


My understanding is that the 1660 should be the better GPU so I don’t know why it would cost less. I’d go for it.

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Thanks. That was what I thought, but seemed strange to me. I will try that!

Could it be that it was a miners’ card (without video-out)?

No, it’s a Zotac with four outputs (3 DP + 1 HDMI). It’s a service that refurbish them and sells as the stock is coming. I have to wait a bit, but the estimation is about 3 weeks, so I’ll wait a bit to see how it works. If not, will try another options.

The rule is simple, to get OpenCL you need to use the proprietary drivers.