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Why I regret buying the GeForce RTX 2060 for Linux

Asus Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060
Asus Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 / © Panos Sakalakis

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As a Linux user, finding the perfect GPU is not always easy. I purchased the Asus GeForce RTX 2060 without thinking about Linux, and I faced screen flickering issues since then because of problematic updates provided by Nvidia. Thankfully, they fixed the problem months later.

A few months ago, I decided to buy a new graphics card and replace my old one. Photoshop had shown me a pop-up window telling me that it no longer supported my GPU. It was pretty old, and not the perfect one for exporting videos or editing 4K content. So I bought the GeForce RTX 2060 with 12VRAM, thinking that I would have enough VRAM for a long time.

However, I soon realized that I had made a big mistake. Once I installed the RTX 2060 on my PC, I formatted the whole disk. It was that time of the year that I always start clean; format and clean up everything from the operating system to my email’s inbox. After installing Windows 11 with Manjaro Linux as a second operating system, the first thing that I notice it as a weird screen flickering issue.

I’ve searched everything in Manjaro’s settings, asked in the Manjaro forum, and even tried a few other tips on how to solve screen flickering. Nothing worked. I kept seeing the same problem in Windows 11 also, but less often than Manjaro, which at the time was pretty unusable.

Before handing to the official forum and posting my issue, I got in a subreddit with a user recommending changing the Display Port cable. I had the official one from Xiaomi’s Mi Curved 34″, and I bought a new one that could actually display 4K content. Well, as you have guessed, that wasn’t the problem.

After searching for a while, I found out that the RTX 2060 is one of the Nvidia GPUs that has a screen flickering issue for both Linux and Windows machines. I did not ask for a refund, because I thought Nvidia would release a fix with a new update soon. Many people have reported this issue on various forums and platforms.

But months have passed, and Nvidia has not fixed the issue. Screen flickering in Linux is so bad that I cannot use my PC for more than a few hours before everything starts to flicker. Windows 10 and 11 are not much better, as flickering happens every now and then, but not as frequently as in Linux.

I also reported my problem on Github, where there is a bug report about the same issue by another user. Many other users with different models have also reported the same problem, where screen flickering is the main symptom. There is no official response from Nvidia about this matter as of now, which makes me wonder if I ever want to buy another product from them in the future.

How can a company ignore such a serious issue for so long?

A friend of mine, who has been using Linux for more than 15 years, told me that the screen flickering issue is caused by the incompatibility between Nvidia’s proprietary drivers and the Linux kernel and X.Org display server.

“The Nvidia drivers often lag behind Linux kernel updates and may not be well synchronized with other components of the Linux graphics stack.”

But I don’t know if that’s correct.

He also told me that he avoids Nvidia products at any cost, as he does not trust their quality or support for Linux. He said,

“If you had told me you were going to buy an Nvidia GPU, I would have saved you the trouble.”

So this is my advice to you: If you are a Linux user, do not buy the RTX 2060 or any other Nvidia GPU that has been reported to have screen flickering issues on Github. It is constantly flickering, and you will regret it. Not until they solve the problem at least.

P.S. I will update this post if they fix the problem or if I find any solution.

Update [01/10/2024]: Looks like Nvidia has mostly fixed the issue in both Windows and Linux. In rare cases, I can see the flickering happening again, but that only happened a couple of times. If you experience the same flickering issue, go and update your graphics card driver to the latest version, and that should mostly fix the problem automatically.

Panos Sakalakis

Meet Panos Sakalakis, a web wizard, blogging buff, podcasting pro, and SEO sorcerer with over 15 years of enchanting experience. When he's not weaving digital spells with his keyboard, you'll likely spot him conquering mountain trails with his trusty Hard-Trail MTB bike, in hot pursuit of the ultimate adrenaline rush and the perfect blog post inspiration.

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