At Phoronix we are constantly exploring the different display drivers under Linux, and while we have reviewed Sun's Check Tool and test motherboards with Solaris in addition to covering a few other areas, we have yet to perform a graphics driver comparison between Linux and Solaris. That is until today. With interest in Solaris on the rise thanks to Project Indiana, we have decided to finally offer our first quantitative graphics comparison between Linux and Solaris with the NVIDIA proprietary drivers.
For this article we have taken NVIDIA's latest display driver for Linux and Solaris (v100.14.11) and ran it on both operating systems. Specifically, we had used Fedora 7 with the Linux 2.6.21 kernel and on the Solaris side had used both Solaris Express Developer Edition 5/07 and Solaris Express Community Edition Build 66 "Nevada". Both of these Solaris builds were released earlier in the month and represent the latest and greatest from the Solaris/OpenSolaris camp. Fedora 7 was released towards the end of May and represents Red Hat's latest community offering.
The hardware being used in this test system was a Tyan Tempest i5000XT, dual Intel Xeon E5320 "Clovertown" quad-core processors, 8 x 512MB Kingston DDR2-533 FB-DIMM memory, SilverStone Olympia OP650 650W power supply, Seagate 80GB Serial ATA 2.0 hard drive, and NVIDIA's GeForce 8500GT graphics card. Look for additional NVIDIA GeForce and Quadro graphics tests under Solaris in future articles. It is also important to note that the NVIDIA GeForce series aren't officially supported by the NVIDIA Solaris x86/x64 driver, but with NVIDIA's unified architecture, there should be no problems using GeForce components under Solaris and there were no problems in our case with the GeForce 8500GT 256MB.
The benchmark being used for this Linux and Solaris NVIDIA graphics comparison was SPECViewPerf 9.0.3. SPECViewPerf 10.0 is available for Microsoft Windows customers, but the 9.0 branch is the most recent for UNIX operating systems. SPECViewPerf 9 features the 3ds max, CATIA, EnSight, Lightscape, Maya, Pro/Engineer, SolidWorks, UGS Teamcenter Visualization Mockup, and UGS NX viewsets for simulating workstation rendering tasks. SPECViewPerf was chosen as it is one of the few cross-platform graphical benchmarking programs with compatibility for Solaris/SunOS and it is a reliable workstation graphics test.
On the following pages are our results from SPECViewPerf 9.0.3 with the two Solaris Express versions and Fedora 7 using the NVIDIA 100.14.11 driver.