Last week NVIDIA introduced the 169.04 Beta Linux driver for their GeForce and Quadro graphics cards. This X.Org driver contained a number of GeForce 8 fixes, initial support for the GeForce 8800GT graphics card, monitoring of PowerMizer state information, and other changes. More information on the 169.04 Beta driver is available in this article. What we had not tested, however, at that time was a performance comparison of the new driver and the previous 100.14.23 driver. The undocumented fact we have found is that this 169.04 Beta driver does deliver performance improvements for the GeForce 8 series on Linux.
The PowerMizer area in the nvidia-settings panel shows whether adaptive clocking has been enabled, the GPU clock and memory clock frequencies, the power source, performance level, and performance mode. PowerMizer is oriented for mobile NVIDIA customers.
The graphics card we used for testing in this article was an ASUS GeForce 8600GT 256MB. The rest of the system components included an AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ processor, Abit NF-M2 nView motherboard, and 2GB of A-DATA DDR2-800 Vitesta Extreme memory. Running on the system was Ubuntu 7.10 "Gutsy Gibbon" with the Linux 2.6.22 kernel and X server 1.3.
Benchmarks had consisted of Doom 3, Quake 4, and Enemy Territory: Quake Wars.