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High-End NVIDIA GeForce vs. AMD Radeon Linux Gaming Comparison

Michael Larabel

Published on 26 May 2014
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 1 of 5 - 26 Comments

After last week carrying out separate NVIDIA Windows vs. Linux OpenGL benchmarks and similar AMD Radeon Windows 8.1 vs. Ubuntu 14.04 tests, today we are pitting the GeForce and Radeon graphics cards against each other on Ubuntu Linux with the very latest drivers to see how their performance compares now head-on. With this testing we have some Steam games plus are also monitoring the power consumption, performance-per-Watt, and GPU thermal metrics.

This article serves as a look at the latest AMD vs. NVIDIA Linux performance when using the latest proprietary drivers at the time of testing: AMD Catalyst 14.4 and NVIDIA 337.19 while running from Ubuntu 14.04 LTS 64-bit. The comparison was limited to the higher-end GeForce and Radeon graphics cards that I have within my possession. These tested graphics cards included:

- AMD Radeon HD 7950
- AMD Radeon R9 270X
- AMD Radeon R9 290
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN

As usual, on the AMD side the comparison was rather limited due to not having many high-end graphics cards... All of the AMD cards used for this article were GPUs I had purchased at retail due to AMD's unwillingness to supply Phoronix with higher-end GPU review samples in recent years. Meanwhile, on the NVIDIA side they have been more Linux friendly recently and all the graphics cards tested on the green side were provided courtesy of NVIDIA Corp. If you wish to support Phoronix to be able to buy more AMD hardware and other Linux hardware when necessary, tips are welcome or subscribe to Phoronix Premium to view multi-page articles on a single page, get ad-free viewing, etc.

All eight graphics cards were tested from an Intel Core i7 4770K Haswell system running Ubuntu 14.04 with the stock Linux 3.13 64-bit kernel while running the Catalyst 14.4 and NVIDIA 337.19 drivers respectively.

Besides running a number of Linux games and other OpenGL benchmarks for looking at the raw performance, the GPU temperature was monitored along with the AC system power consumption (using a WattsUp USB power meter) in an automated manner by the Phoronix Test Suite via setting the MONITOR=sys.power,gpu.temp and PERFORMANCE_PER_WATT=1 environment variables. Using the Phoronix Test Suite for benchmarking allows complete automation, reproducibility in all results, and is fully open-source.

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