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NVIDIA Is Still Killing AMD Over Linux OpenGL Performance

Michael Larabel

Published on 20 January 2014
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 1 of 4 - 63 Comments

Back in November I published my review of the AMD Radeon R9 290 on Linux. This high-end AMD Radeon "Hawaii" graphics card ended up being a wreck on Linux: its performance was devastating. Radeon R9 290X owners have also reported their Linux performance with the Catalyst driver has been less than stellar. In new tests conducted last week with the latest AMD and NVIDIA binary graphics drivers, the high-end AMD GPUs still really aren't proving much competition to NVIDIA's Kepler graphics cards. Here's a new 12 graphics card comparison on Ubuntu.

With last week running a number of A10-7850K Linux benchmarks for the brand new "Kaveri" APU, I ended up doing a graphics card performance comparison of initially low-end and mid-range graphics cards. Curiosity got the best of me though in wondering how the R9 290 Linux performance is doing since I hadn't tried out the graphics card on Linux in many weeks due to having been out of the country for one month working on Phoronix Test Suite 5.0. In the end I tested 12 AMD and NVIDIA graphics cards alongside the high-end APU.

All graphics cards were tested with their performant proprietary drivers and using the latest drivers at the time of testing: on the AMD side was the latest Catalyst Beta that's marked fglrx 13.30.1 / OpenGL 4.3.12682 and on the NVIDIA side was the NVIDIA 331.38 driver. Ubuntu 13.10 x86_64 was the base operating system during testing with the Linux 3.11 kernel and Unity 7.1.2 desktop.

The graphics cards tested included the A10-7850K Radeon R7 APU graphics and the other AMD Radeon GPUs were the HD 6450, HD 6770, HD 6870, HD 7850, and R9 290. On the NVIDIA side was the GeForce GT 240, GT 520, GTX 550 Ti, GTX 650, GTX 680, GTX 760, and GTX 770. Testing the GeForce GTX 780 Ti was also attempted but for the 700 Watt XION power supply + ASUS A88X-PRO motherboard that were part of this launch system sent over by AMD, the system would sporadically reboot and the motherboard was reporting system voltage stability problems. Thus the higher-end NVIDIA parts were left out of this round of testing, but it doesn't matter too much as you'll see from these results. You can also check out my 27-way AMD/NVIDIA graphics card comparison on Linux from last month.

All of this benchmarking of the dozen graphics processors were done from the open-source Phoronix Test Suite software.

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