Last June NVIDIA had successfully introduced the GeForce 7 series by launching the G70 7800GTX 256MB. As we had shared in a number of Phoronix articles (one, two, three, four), the GNU/Linux performance was initially hampered due to a 3D clocking issue within the NVIDIA 1.0-7667 display drivers (it was later corrected in August). The 1.0-7667 drivers, however, were provided on the same day as the 7800GTX launch. Last year we had also seen the launch of ATI's Radeon X1000 series. However, the GNU/Linux support for the X1000 series was not even added until this past spring, and at that time the performance had suffered miserably (ATI Radeon X1800 Linux Preview) compared against the Windows Catalyst display drivers and NVIDIA GeForce parts running under GNU/Linux. The Radeon performance continues to suffer under GNU/Linux as we had noted in our recent Q4'06 X1000 Examination. NVIDIA today is looking to trump ATI once again as they launch the eighth generation of their GeForce graphics cards. The GeForce 7800 and 7900 series already pound the Radeon X1000 parts under GNU/Linux, and with the GeForce 8800GTX and 8800GTS this disparity will only increase.
No results in this article (we weren't aware that a new driver would be launched today), so the technical details and various Linux thoughts are shared in this article. GNU/Linux 8800 benchmarks to come soon.