Testing 60+ Intel/AMD/NVIDIA GPUs On Linux With Open-Source Drivers
With Thursday marking the ten year anniversary of launching Phoronix.com and also the six-year anniversary since the public 1.0 debut of the Phoronix Test Suite, there's a lot of interesting articles that I've been working on to celebrate these two milestones. For your viewing pleasure today is easily the largest graphics processor comparison that's ever happened at Phoronix... I've tested over 60 GPUs from the Intel HD Graphics, AMD Radeon, AMD FirePro, and NVIDIA GeForce series to see how their performance is when using the very latest open-source Linux graphics drivers on Ubuntu.
In this article the OpenGL performance for this vast assortment of graphics cards from over the years is being tested using the latest open-source graphics driver code for thee three big vendors. This article is just part one while other upcoming articles to round out this testing include: a look at the Linux 2D acceleration performance for many of these GPUs, delivering an article that looks at these graphics results when measuring the power consumption / performance-per-Watt / GPU temperatures, and then lastly is re-doing all of the graphics card testing but using the proprietary AMD and NVIDIA Linux graphics drivers. I've been working on this set of articles for the massive Linux GPU drivers for weeks in celebration of Phoronix turning ten years old.
The only restrictions for this massive Linux graphics processor comparison were limited to GPUs within my possession that were PCI Express compatible or when it came to the integrated Intel HD Graphics, the available Haswell CPUs. The GPUs tested cover both low and high-end GPUs and go back several generations on the AMD and NVIDIA side. The GPUs I had available for testing in this article included:
Intel HD Graphics 4400 (Core i3 4130)
Thanks to Intel, AMD, and NVIDIA along with their AIB partners for those that have supplied graphics cards to Phoronix over the years. Many of these GPUs I have also purchased myself retail, particularly the more recent Radeon graphics cards, due to AMD's seemingly greater interest with Windows coverage and budget factors.
All of these graphics cards were tested from a system with an Intel Core i7 4770K Haswell CPU on a Gigabyte Z97-HD3 motherboard with 16GB of RAM and a 120GB Samsung 840 Series SSD. On the software side was Ubuntu 14.04 LTS 64-bit with the Unity 7.2 desktop, X.Org Server 1.15.1, GCC 4.8.2, and the default EXT4 file-system. For this comparison to deliver the very latest open-source graphics driver code, the system was upgraded to the Linux 3.15 kernel and Mesa 10.3.0-devel. The latest X.Org drivers were loaded that included xf86-video-ati 7.3.99 Git, xf86-video-intel 2.99.911, and xf86-video-nouveau 1.0.10. This article is just looking at the OpenGL performance across these GPUs on the latest open-source drivers while, as mentioned already, the same roundabout will happen with the proprietary drivers in the days ahead.
Unlike the proprietary graphics drivers, the open-source Linux GPU drivers don't deprecate support for older graphics series... So even the Radeon X1000 series and other older graphics cards in this article still remain supported by the open-source drivers. However, the support does regress from time-to-time with the open-source drivers not going through as much QA as the proprietary drivers at Intel, AMD, and NVIDIA. While 65 graphics processors were tested from the start, several of the GPUs ran into problems. So in the end, there were around 50 graphics processors tested that were in good shape. The problems encountered with the other GPUs are all documented on the next few pages.
As a notice before getting started, if you appreciate all of this extensive Linux hardware testing done exclusively at Phoronix, please consider subscribing to Phoronix Premium. Premium subscribers are able to view the site ad-free, view multi-page articles on a single page, and it goes to support the site. At the very least, due to the vast amount of time I single-handedly invest into the site, please don't use AdBlock for Phoronix.com.
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