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Nouveau vs. NVIDIA Linux Comparison Shows Shortcomings

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  • Nouveau vs. NVIDIA Linux Comparison Shows Shortcomings

    Phoronix: Nouveau vs. NVIDIA Linux Comparison Shows Shortcomings

    One week after delivering updated Radeon Gallium3D vs. AMD Catalyst benchmarks on Ubuntu Linux, we have to share this morning similar results for the open-source and reverse-engineered "Nouveau" Linux graphics driver compared to the proprietary NVIDIA Linux graphics driver. While the Nouveau driver has come a long way and does support the latest Fermi and Kepler GPUs, it's not without its share of shortcomings. Eleven NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards were used in this latest Phoronix comparison.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=18664

  • #2
    Nouvau is in need of more testing.
    Or maybe O.org fund can start building infra/hw/sw for automated tests accessible remotly for core mesa/kernel/x/wayland devs?

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    • #3
      Wasted man power

      Nouveau is basically wasted man power. They really need documentation on how Nvidia graphic cards work if they want to make something remotely usable. A graphics card is not a simple piece of hardware as we all know.

      Radeon driver is in much better shape due to the fact that is partially backed by AMD and some of its engineers.

      Of course the Nouveau team is free to do whatever they want with their time, but in the end they will realise they have wasted a precious time in their life. People who want to use Nvidia for OpenGL and/or CUDA use Nvidia's binary driver. We all would like to have open source Nvidia drivers, because they make great graphics cards, but this is not going to work.

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      • #4
        Oh yeah, the GT 240. It never worked with nouveau, and probably never will. Nouveau developers are ignoring all the bug reports and the proposed fix (disable all acceleration for this chipset - an unaccelerated framebuffer is still *much* better than an unbootable system).

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        • #5
          The RE driver is very impressive for what it is and how it is made. That being said, the results illustrated here perfectly explain why I will never buy nvidia crap. At least not until they improve this situation dramatically.

          To address the hostile message by "wargames", this is not wasted effort, since it is about the only way to actually get ANY usability out of nvidia crap without running their virus. I'd much rather run nouveau, even at the significant performance hit, than a hostile blob. In fact, up until about a year ago when I retired my last nvidia hardware, I did just that.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by droidhacker View Post
            The RE driver is very impressive for what it is and how it is made. That being said, the results illustrated here perfectly explain why I will never buy nvidia crap. At least not until they improve this situation dramatically.

            To address the hostile message by "wargames", this is not wasted effort, since it is about the only way to actually get ANY usability out of nvidia crap without running their virus. I'd much rather run nouveau, even at the significant performance hit, than a hostile blob. In fact, up until about a year ago when I retired my last nvidia hardware, I did just that.
            Lol don't like Nvidia don't buy/use thier hardware, simple... Nouveau is wasted effort. Use Intel if you want OSS drivers because that's all you'll get. I got a 670gtx with the blob that does what ever I want it to do. I also have a laptop with i5/HD4000 that's working properly "finally"and has good performance for what it is with the latest distos. All did not used to be well until the drivers caught up.

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            • #7
              how about to test source games? CSS TF2 ?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by brent View Post
                Oh yeah, the GT 240. It never worked with nouveau, and probably never will. Nouveau developers are ignoring all the bug reports and the proposed fix (disable all acceleration for this chipset - an unaccelerated framebuffer is still *much* better than an unbootable system).
                That's not a fix, it's a workaround. If you had a fix, we might just care.
                Myself I really don't care (well, I do, but not to the point where I'd do something about it), my ~2000 hours of wasted free time on this project would be even more wasted (on the personal level anyway) if I'd spent them with the annoying bugs of users with cards I don't have (which is the factor that makes fixing things really hard, but don't suggest sending cards to me I don't have the time or nerve), instead of focusing on the fun stuff. It's either progress or stability, and we seem to focus very much on progress over stability overall.

                Or how do you think we manage to keep up (in most areas) with the radeon drivers having no docs and a lot fewer contributors ? Of course, "no docs" is just an excuse, even with docs things wouldn't be moving along much faster at this point because there's no one there to do the time-consuming part, i.e. actually implementing things. That's their biggest advantage, AMD hires devs (and what ever happened to "the community will write the driver" ?)

                Ah, I'm getting more and more frustrated it seems. Maybe I really should just quit as wargames suggests ...
                Last edited by calim; 04-23-2013, 12:46 PM.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by jmcharron View Post
                  Lol don't like Nvidia don't buy/use thier hardware, simple... Nouveau is wasted effort. Use Intel if you want OSS drivers because that's all you'll get. I got a 670gtx with the blob that does what ever I want it to do. I also have a laptop with i5/HD4000 that's working properly "finally"and has good performance for what it is with the latest distos. All did not used to be well until the drivers caught up.
                  I'm a blob user myself, but there are some places where the OSS would be needed. For distros with live cd, they usually don't ship the blob on the disk- and it's probably better than just using the fbdev
                  Last edited by boast; 04-23-2013, 02:05 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by calim View Post
                    Of course, "no docs" is just an excuse, even with docs things wouldn't be moving along much faster at this point because there's no one there to do the time-consuming part, i.e. actually implementing things.
                    Then again, having docs may very well raise interest in the project. It wouldn't look like doing things blindly any more.

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                    • #11
                      ..Radeon driver holds the leads with power management...
                      - Huh, its that bad.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by GreatEmerald View Post
                        Then again, having docs may very well raise interest in the project. It wouldn't look like doing things blindly any more.
                        Docs can also be crappy and near useless (except for public opinion). If you tried to write a driver for r600 having just the released docs, you'd probably fail miserably. Unless you count existing code as docs. Hey then we have docs, too
                        We actually have a nice register database and a shader [dis]assembler. That's just as useful as the stuff at http://www.x.org/docs/AMD/.
                        Last edited by calim; 04-23-2013, 04:03 PM.

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                        • #13
                          I don't think nouveau is a wasted effort. Its a good research project. Ofc, they will barely catch-up against corporation.
                          .. then, if you buy nvidia card, you accept the consequences. You buy a card that should work with nvidia-own drivers on nvidia-supported system, and from windows-like user perspective, its ok. Ie, you buy a piece of hardware with specific performance and specific life-time.

                          Its totally not ok, if you believe in free software however. Currently we have Intel doing best in free drivers, but their hardware is very limited.

                          I recently purchased laptop with mobile radeon x1900 and HD5850.
                          Just gave it a shot, I can sell it off anyway if it doesn't work out.

                          You can clock the card. You can get temperatures. You can check card load. You can run games. You can use desktop, its a bit slower than Intel though.
                          You have developer attention. Opensource radeon driver is developed, ofc way slower than Intel, but much faster than nouveau.

                          Recently you have video acceleration by means of R600+ driver and OpenCL is in the works.

                          My experience on opensource drivers is following:
                          [x] want automatic power managment
                          [x] want mesa to catch-up in terms of still lacking 3D performance

                          nothing more. Its way better than I expected, actually.
                          Last edited by brosis; 04-23-2013, 05:57 PM.

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                          • #14
                            I must admit I'm a little surprised not only to see regular people calling Nouveau a total waste, but to think that an actual _dev_ comes here to confirm it. I mean that's just.. amazing.

                            And Nouveau is nowhere near perfect. It never will be. Something will always be broken, so including phrases like "shortcomings" in the title is just pure ignorance.

                            Was the goal of this thing ever to even catch up to the proprietary driver anyway or to just mainly add things like KMS support for Nvidia and then graphics acceleration as the situations come along?

                            I don't see the reason to, if it's not _just_ as fast as the binary version, call it a "waste". A waste is something that turned out to be pointless work. I think it's plain r*tarded to call an open source display driver _pointless_ on the grounds of its performance not equalling the original one.
                            Last edited by ArchLinux; 04-23-2013, 07:12 PM.

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                            • #15
                              I tested Nv GTX 295 and Nv GT630 OEM (Kepler) with TF2 and Mesa 9.1 final some weeks ago. Interestingly the Kepler based card had much fewer rendering errors than the much older one. I did not check the clocks while testing and just used the default settings. Some would guess that nouveau is better for older cards but that does not seem to be the case, maybe with the exception of some very slow onboard solutions like ION. In general you get what you want with the official Nv drivers if speed is what really matters, nouveau is usally fine enough to see something and use composite effects for kde/compiz/gnome3. My GTX 295 however gets really hot using nouveau and i would not use it for long time - if you have got a better card than a very lowend one. Same applies more or less to radeon as well - with binary drivers you can still save energy/money. Basically Intel is still the way to go when it comes to oss only drivers, sometimes you need to fix applications too to get it stable however (for Intel+Mesa 9.1 i had to patch the kde-workspace package - basically only kwin). Until powermanagement is fully working with every oss driver i would always prefer binary drivers - but radeon is interesting now too because of the new uvd/vdpau support that does not exist in the binary one.

                              http://kanotix.com/files/fix/tmp/tf2/tf2-benchmarks.txt

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