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NVIDIA 1.0-8178 Display Drivers

Michael Larabel

Published on 22 December 2005
Written by Michael Larabel
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On December 5, a mere seventeen days ago, Linux gamers and enthusiasts were greeted by NVIDIA's Rel80 display driver launch for Linux. In the 1.0-8174 release was initial support for NVIDIA Scalable Link Interface (SLI) as well as the new nvidia-xconfig utility, similar to ATI's aticonfig tool they had unveiled months prior. There were also a few other improvements but what was expected in this almost five month void between driver releases was simply unimpressive. On this date we had published several articles pertaining to the 1.0-8174 drivers, and as the articles had stated, these drivers still had some issues mainly when it came to the initial SLI support. However, on the heels of the holidays, the green Linux team has delivered a surprising present and that is a new driver release. Bundled into the NVIDIA 1.0-8178 drivers is improved composite X extension, fixed detection of certain older TV cards, and miscellaneous other enhancements. Of course, the driver launch today is only minor, hence its version, but is there any performance gains or losses to be attributed to the latest set of drivers? We have wrapped up our testing and are here to share our results today. Below are NVIDIA's official notes regarding the 1.0-8178 drivers for Linux x86 and x86_64.

Version: 1.0-8178
Release Date: December 22, 2005
Size: 9.1MB (x86_64)
Highlights

· Fixed a problem where certain precompiled kernel interfaces were not recognized.
· Improved stability with the Composite X extension.
· Fixed a corruption bug with RenderAccel and the Composite X extension when using wide desktops.
· Fixed a problem validating HDTV modes on GeForce 6200.
· Fixed detection of certain older TV encoders.
· Fixed installation problems with Linux kernel source trees using separate KBUILD output directories.
· Fixed installation problems on newer Debian systems.
· Added support for NVIDIA SLI.
· Added a new utility 'nvidia-xconfig', which is a commandline tool for updating X configuration files.

To deliver our SLI performance numbers comparing the multi-GPU performance between the 1.0-8174 and 1.0-8178 drivers we used the system listed below.

Hardware Components
Processor: AMD Athlon 64 3000+ @ 2.25GHz
Motherboard: Tyan Tomcat K8E-SLI S2866
Memory: 2 x 1GB OCZ EB PC-4000
Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce 6600GT 128MB SLI
Hard Drives: Western Digital 160GB SATA2
Optical Drives: MSI 16x DVD-ROM
Power Supply: SinTek 500SLI 500W
Software Components
Operating System: Fedora Core 4
Linux Kernel: 2.6.14-1.1653_FC4
GCC (GNU Compiler): 4.0.0
Xorg: 6.8.2

Delivering our standalone single configuration driver results from the latest drivers is the i955X + 7800GTX setup with Pentium D processor.

Hardware Components
Processor: Intel Pentium D 820 @ 3.36GHz
Motherboard: Abit AW8-MAX v1.0 (i955X)
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
Software Components
Operating System: Fedora Core 4
Linux Kernel: 2.6.14-1.1653_FC4smp
GCC (GNU Compiler): 4.0.0
Xorg: 6.8.2

In both setups, we used a combination of Doom 3, Unreal Tournament 2004, Quake 4, and Enemy Territory to focus our findings. Throughout these four benchmarks, our traditional benchmarking methods were applied and with each of these games they were tested at multiple resolutions, Antialiasing, and Anisotropic Filtering techniques. Some of our usual benchmarks were left out of action today due to the only minor upgrades incurred in this latest release.

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