Nouveau Re-Clocked With DRM-Next Linux 4.12 + Mesa 17.2-dev vs. NVIDIA 381 Driver
Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 27 April 2017. Page 1 of 3. 3 Comments

A few days back I posted benchmarks of the initial GTX 1050/1060/1070/1080 Nouveau 3D support. As expected, the performance was rather abysmal with re-clocking not being available for Pascal (or Maxwell) GPUs on this open-source NVIDIA Linux kernel driver. For those trying to use Nouveau for Linux games or care about your GPU clock speeds, currently the GTX 600/700 "Kepler" series is still your best bet or the GTX 750 "Maxwell 1" is the last NVIDIA graphics processors not requiring signed firmware images and can properly -- but manually -- re-clock with the current Nouveau driver.

The GTX 600/700 re-clocking with the current Nouveau driver still needs to be done manually by writing the desired performance state (pstate) level to a Nouveau file via debugfs. Unfortunately there aren't the pieces yet to allow for dynamic re-clocking based upon GPU workload, etc. But nevertheless, with recent kernel releases this re-clocking has been working out nicely and with my different Kepler and GTX 750 cards I am able to hit the highest state (0f) without any problems.

For those curious what this Kepler/Maxwell1 Nouveau performance looks like on the latest driver code, I ran some tests with DRM-Next of the code that will end up in mainline Linux 4.12. Additionally, Mesa 17.2-dev was used for the newest Nouveau NVC0 Gallium3D code. I ran the Nouveau benchmarks both by default/out-of-the-box to show the boot clock behavior and then manually re-clocked to the 0f performance state. The results on the same system were then compared to using the NVIDIA 381.09 binary driver on Ubuntu 17.04.

Enjoy these benchmarks for those curious about Nouveau's Linux gaming potential with older NVIDIA GeForce hardware.



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