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Clock-For-Clock, Nouveau Can Compete With NVIDIA's Driver

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  • Clock-For-Clock, Nouveau Can Compete With NVIDIA's Driver

    Phoronix: Clock-For-Clock, Nouveau Can Compete With NVIDIA's Driver

    Similar to last week's testing of comparing the open-source vs. closed-source Radeon Linux driver performance from a stock Ubuntu 12.10 installation, the tables have now been turned to look at NVIDIA hardware on this latest Ubuntu Linux release. Benchmarks were done of the stock Nouveau open-source graphics driver, the official NVIDIA proprietary driver, and the proprietary driver when it was underclocked to match the clock frequencies as used by the reverse-engineered Nouveau driver.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=18108

  • #2
    !!!

    This is big! Hopefully, dynamic clocking is not something incredibly complex (I have no idea). Irony is, this way Linus will probably end up buying one of NVIDIA cards pretty soon.
    Last edited by mirza; 11-06-2012, 02:14 PM.

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    • #3
      Wow .. This is impressive!
      I hope the results scale up with recloking on nouveau(when it becomes available I mean).
      Is it possible to manually reclock the card using nouveau to a higher clock and test both on "max performance" possibly?

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      • #4
        AFAIK it don't scale. But it indicates bottelnecks in the code and they might be easy to solve compared to compleate redesigne of the whoe thing.

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        • #5
          I really hope they can work their way to reclocking soon. This would give nouveau an incredible speed breath. True that performance may not scale linearly, but it may quite be a good indicator. I'm eager to see benches for more advanced games, like Unigine. IMHO they would be much more representative of commercial games that may see the Linux light now that Steam is coming.

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          • #6
            This is awesome! It's great to see the open drivers actually win (sorta) in some tests! Hopefully dynamic-clocking (and the related work/bugs it involves) will really help the open NVidia drivers catch up to the closed ones in terms of performance.

            BTW, does anyone know if dynamic-clocking is something that plagues the AMD open drivers as well? If so, it would be awesome to see how the open AMD drivers (with all the new source improvements made: 2D tiling, PCIE 2.0, etc.. turned on) compare against the closed AMD drivers at the same clock. Is it possible? Or is this an NVidia specific issue?

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            • #7
              Radeon drivers have some issues with dynamic reclocking, but they can work the card to any clock they want just fine. I think the default switching between medium and high profile automatically depending on load, or is mostly on high(max). So I doubt it can cause performance problems in there.

              There's not way to raise the clock when running nouveau? So it can be tested on high performance profile.

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              • #8
                I don't own a NVIDIA card, but this is great news .

                I guess the dynamic clocking will be handled in the kernel for both Nouveau and Radeon, right?
                ... and when can dynamic clocking be expected for Nouveau and Radeon?

                Currently I set power profiles manually via. a service script and desktop shortcuts, hope that changes soon .

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                • #9
                  So... what does this tell us about the open radeon driver?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bug77 View Post
                    So... what does this tell us about the open radeon driver?
                    Originally posted by mybug View Post
                    Statement
                    I don't own a NVIDIA card, but this is great news .

                    Question
                    I guess the dynamic clocking will be handled in the kernel for both Nouveau and Radeon, right?
                    ... and when can dynamic clocking be expected for Nouveau and Radeon?

                    Statement
                    Currently I set power profiles manually via. a service script and desktop shortcuts, hope that changes soon .
                    10 char limit

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Many games still don't work with nouvoue.
                      Corrupted, flicking textures, wrong colors, etc.

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                      • #12
                        That's just excellent!

                        It means NVIDIA's GPUs are very well made so that you don't need to send them some special commands to get good performance from them.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by uid313 View Post
                          Many games still don't work with nouvoue.
                          Corrupted, flicking textures, wrong colors, etc.
                          Writing GPU drivers is considered the most difficult and troublesome job in programming - it took NVIDIA years to polish their drivers and they have full specs for their hardware.

                          nouveau developers are basically banging against the wall trying to create a good open source alternative to proprietary drivers.

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                          • #14
                            The problem with Mesa drivers becomes much more obvious at high frames per second, because small inefficiencies in the driver are very large compared to the time spend by the GPU.

                            So it's pretty obvious that this will not scale. Mesa (Gallium) is efficient enough that it doesn't make a big difference at 10-20 fps, but when you render 300fps, it becomes very noticeable.

                            Is it possible to downclock Catalyst in a similar fashion and compare against that? The radeon tests are usually done the other way -- the open source is slowed down, and Catalyst run at full speed

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by birdie View Post
                              That's just excellent!

                              It means NVIDIA's GPUs are very well made so that you don't need to send them some special commands to get good performance from them.
                              This does sound like clueless blabbering, but there is some truth to that. Nvidia's older designs did put lot of stuff into hardware, which had to be handled by the driver on AMD cards.

                              The latest AMD generation (GCN) changed that, IIRC, so it's expected that the drivers will come closer to matching the maximum performance there.

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