Two days after delivering our NVIDIA 1.0-9XXX Series Preview, NVIDIA has shocked the alternative OS community by not only delivering a Beta candidate for the Linux display drivers but also for Solaris and FreeBSD! While our preview featured many of the same changes found in this release, today at Phoronix we have all of the details on this 1.0-9625 Beta.
The first release highlight in the 1.0-9625 Linux display driver is initial support for GLX_EXT_texture_from_pixmap. This is the GLX extension needed for AIGLX; thus green users can now benefit from these desktop effects. NVIDIA has also beat ATI to delivering this support in their proprietary drivers. We had no problems running NVIDIA 1.0-9625 drivers with AIGLX on Fedora Core 6 Test 3.
The next change is the new "Display Configuration" page for nvidia-settings. NVIDIA's new display configuration options are similar to ATI's dynamic display management options. TwinView can now be enabled real-time without restarting X (Xinerama requires X restart). TV-out on NVIDIA cards can also be enabled real-time. The screenshots below demonstrate these display options.
When we last examined the OpenGL performance with Xinerama compared to TwinView at Phoronix, the numbers displeased us. However, the 1.0-9625 drivers contain improved OpenGL performance when running Xinerama. Also mentioned in the Phoronix 1.0-9XXX Preview was support for the Quadro Plex VCS and the support is inside these drivers. Likewise, Quad SLI support can be found. However, there does not appear to be any Linux SLI performance improvements.
Other improvements include X driver error recovery and workstation overlay performance. SMBus functionality to the Linux/i2c interface has also been added. DFP scaling support has also been fixed, which has plagued the drivers for a few releases. Even though OpenGL 2.1 specifications were only finalized earlier this month, the 1.0-9625 Beta display drivers contain support for this latest standard. Finally, an "TwinViewXineramaInfoOrder" option was added for controlling the order of TwinView displays.
What remains to be seen from this Beta driver is a new installer. We had anticipated NVIDIA developers would implement a new installer with their 1.0-9XXX series drivers but this has yet to be seen. Nor are there any signs of SLI performance improvements. Though our NVIDIA driver preview earlier this week held true in nearly all of the details, we were not officially addressed prior to this Beta launch occurring. Performance testing of these latest drivers in both single and SLI configurations are still under way, and we will be reporting our findings at Phoronix and on the forums upon reaching any conclusions. The Solaris and FreeBSD 1.0-9625 display drivers share similar changes, except the BSD drivers continue to lack SLI (Scalable Link Interface) support.
Feel free to discuss these new drivers in the Phoronix Forums. These drivers can be found over at nZone, and at the time of writing are not listed at NVIDIA's corporate website. For those not interested in the Beta drivers, we would anticipate that the official release would occur within the next two months.
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