Earlier this month I showed the Intel graphics performance hasn't improved much in the Linux 3.2 kernel (but there might be a boost when RC6 is flipped on), but how is this new kernel shaping up for NVIDIA hardware owners wishing to use the open-source and reverse-engineered Nouveau driver? In this article are some benchmarks of the Nouveau DRM driver from recent Linux releases.
This article is not as thorough as my recent 14-way NVIDIA vs. Nouveau Linux comparison, but this article is just looking at seeing if there is any unexpected change in the Nouveau performance under Linux 3.2 and how the 3D performance is evolving on the kernel DRM side for this community-developed driver.
In terms of the DRM changes for Linux 3.2, the Nouveau driver now supports mode-setting for the "0xd9" graphics processors, namely the NVD9/GF119 GPUs such as the GeForce 410M, GeForce GT 520, GeForce GT 520M, and GeForce 520MX. However, still missing from the mainline Nouveau DRM driver is Fermi re-clocking support, better power management / fan control, and various other items.
The quick tests of the not-yet-final Linux 3.2 kernel are being done from a Lenovo ThinkPad W510 notebook with an Intel Core i7 720QM CPU and NVIDIA Quadro FX880M graphics. While flipping out all the latest Linux kernel releases from 2.6.38 to 3.2 Git, a recent Mesa 7.12-devel snapshot was used along with xf86-video-nouveau Git.