Today is the day, after months of bringing fourth speculations, and information regarding the 1.0-8168 BETA leak from ASUS, the NVIDIA 1.0-8174 Linux display driver has finally surfaced to the public. To start with, these new NVIDIA Linux 1.0-8174 drivers feature a great deal of improvements from GeForce 6100/6150 support to the new nvidia-xconfig utility. As expected, these driver features are quite similar to what we had shared with our readers over two months ago in our NVIDIA 1.0-8XXX series preview article but unfortunately there are always a few features that didn't make their way into this release. Of course, the major feature is the ability to now run Scalable Link Interface under Linux. This article will focus primarily on the advantages of the 1.0-8174 drivers over that of the 1.0-7XXX series, and more specifically the 1.0-7676 release, but we do have numerous Linux SLI articles planned in addition to our Linux SLI Primer and Tyan Tomcat K8E-SLI review. For those looking for a more thorough comparison of the 1.0-7XXX candidates they can be seen in our Q4-2005 comparison. Below are the release notes pertaining to the new 1.0-8174 drivers.
Release Date: December 05, 2005
Size: 9.1MB (x86_64)
· Fixed GeForce 7800 GTX clocking problem that affected 3D performance.
· Added support for NVIDIA SLI. Please see the README for details.
· Added a new utility 'nvidia-xconfig', which is a commandline tool for updating X configuration files.
· Added support for new GeForce 6100, GeForce 6150 and GeForce 7800 GTX 512.
· Added manpages for 'nvidia-xconfig', 'nvidia-settings', and 'nvidia-installer'.
· Made UseEdidFreqs "on" by default; the NVIDIA X driver will use the valid HorizSync and VertRefresh frequency ranges from the EDID whenever possible.
· Added support for Stereo Digital Flat Panels such as the SeeReal and Sharp3D DFPs.
· Added HTML version of the README.
· Added support for static Rotation; see the "Rotate" X config option in the README.
· Improved stability on 64-bit Linux 2.6 kernels.
· Fixed driver installation when SELinux is enabled.
For comparing these latest 1.0-8174 drivers against that of the 1.0-7676 NVIDIA drivers, we used an Pentium D system with 1GB of RAM and a previously reviewed Leadtek PX7800GTX 256MB. However, do not fear, as we will also be bringing fourth 7800GTX 512MB results in an upcoming article. On the software side of things, we used the Linux 2.6.14 kernel, GCC 4.0.0, and Xorg 6.8.2. Below are the complete system specifications.
|Processor:||Intel Pentium D 820 @ 3.36GHz|
|Motherboard:||Abit AW8-MAX v1.0|
|Memory:||2 x 512MB Crucial Ballistix DDR2-800|
|Graphics Card:||Leadtek PX7800GTX 256MB|
|Hard Drives:||Seagate 7200.9 SATA2 160GB|
|Optical Drives:||Sony DVD-RW & DVD-ROM|
|Power Supply:||Enermax Whisper II 535W SLI|
|GCC (GNU Compiler):||4.0.0|
|Graphics Driver:||NVIDIA 1.0-7676 & 1.0-8174|
For benchmarking the system and 1.0-7676/1.0-8174 drivers, we used three of the few and most popular, Linux-native gaming benchmarks - Doom 3, Enemy Territory, and Quake 4. Throughout these benchmarks, all of our traditional benchmarking methods were applied and with each of these games, we ran them at multiple resolutions, Antialiasing, and Aniostropic Filtering techniques.