NVIDIA GeForce 7800GTX Linux Preview
Unfortunately, once we witnessed the lackluster performance of the 7800GTX, we were extremely dissapointed. NVIDIA had released new drivers on the same day as the launch of the GeForce 7 series, but its performance was simply missing in action. After seeing our inital results, which were displayed on the previous three pages, we tried the Leadtek 7800GTX on some of our other PCI Express systems, but the Linux performance boost was still minimal compared to the GeForce 6 series. We expect that a majority of the performance downfall is attributed to the 1.0-7667 Linux drivers. After doing some additional testing, we found that the driver problem may be related to a conflict with switching between the 2D and 3D clock frequencies once an OpenGL program is initalized. Once we investigate this issue further and learn any new information relating to the Linux performance, we'll be sure to report back our findings.
From our experience with the 7800GTX thus far, we were utterly appalled by its performance. We can only hope Linux will acquire some new NVIDIA drivers incredibly soon which focus on optimizing the 7800GTX performance. In addition to frame-rate improvements, we are also looking for NVIDIA to improve the 7800GTX CoolBits overclocking, thermal monitoring, and supporting the new antialiasing modes; among other things. As always, we will be covering more 7800GTX graphics cards from the different NVIDIA partners and as different GeForce 7XXX cards began to sprout, we'll also be providing more coverage of those cards. Once the Linux drivers support the additional 7800GTX features we'll definitely have more benchmarks to demonstrate our findings. We have tested the 7800GTX in a dual-monitor setup along with the TV out support, and in our initial testing, we experienced equal support compared to what we had experienced with the GeForce 6XXX and 5XXX cards. However, we did take note of some image quality improvements compared to the 6600GT cards used in testing. To basically sum up our findings from this article, there is Linux support available for the NVIDIA GeForce 7800GTX, however, the performance is definitely sub-par compared to their Windows drivers. In addition, some of the new G70 features are still missing from their Linux drivers. We have contacted NVIDIA in regards to our recent findings and we will be sharing any additional information once we hear back from them. Furthermore, we'll have some new performance numbers to publish once we get our hands on any new drivers.
EDIT (23-June-05): We have now confirmed that the majority of the performance problem is indeed related to the 2D/3D switch. After tampering with nvidia-settings and the NVClock CVS for several hours, we have concluded that with the 1.0-7667 drivers once a 3D application launches that the system continues to stick to the 2D frequencies rather than their respective 3D speeds. Thus during game-play the VPU is currently running roughly 275MHz (VPU) and 1200MHz (MEM) at 1.2V rather than the 3D performance level of 430MHz (VPU) and 1200MHz (MEM) at 1.4V. We attempted to correct this problem by overclocking the 2D and also 3D speeds using CoolBits and the NVClock CVS, and taking other such steps, but so far we haven't achieved success. We can only hope right now that this is indeed the only factor causing the poor performance and that NVIDIA developers will be able to address this problem in a timely manner. Once we have access to any newer drivers or a fix we will be publishing new benchmark results for the 7800GTX.
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