Nouveau vs. NVIDIA Linux vs. NVIDIA Windows 8.1
Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 31 October 2013. Page 1 of 4. 39 Comments

A few days back I delivered benchmark results of a 13-way graphics card comparison comparing the OpenGL gaming performance between Ubuntu Linux and Microsoft Windows 8.1. In that article there were multiple AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards tested using the binary drivers for each operating system. On Wednesday I then shared results with the Radeon Gallium3D driver compared to Catalyst on Linux and Windows while today are some of the early Nouveau results compared to the proprietary NVIDIA GPU drivers on Windows and Linux.

A complete comparison of the thirteen tested graphics cards using the open-source vs. closed-source drivers is coming while in this article we're looking at three of the graphics cards: the NVIDIA GeForce 9800GT, GeForce GTX 460, and GeForce GTX 680. As I've already covered, the NVIDIA Fermi and Kepler GPUs are still slow with Nouveau over lack of re-clocking support. For the pre-Fermi GPUs tested as part of the 13-way comparison, there was the GeForce GT 240 and GeForce 9800GT. Unfortunately, the GeForce GT 240 was still garbage (it's never worked properly with the open-source NVIDIA driver despite being years old) with Nouveau due to apparent tiling issues as soon as the Nouveau DRM driver did its mode-setting:

The GeForce 9800GT graphics card works with Nouveau, but the re-clocking was unstable. When re-clocked to its factory-rated frequencies, the system would lockup when running the lightweight OpenArena benchmark. As a result, the GeForce 9800GT had to be tested with its boot frequencies for this quick comparison.

So what we have for this end-of-month comparison are the GeForce GT 9800GT, GTX 460, and GTX 680 graphics cards being benchmarked in Nouveau in their current "out of the box" (handicapped) state and compared to the binary NVIDIA drivers on Ubuntu and Windows 8.1. The Nouveau testing was with the Linux 3.12 kernel and Mesa 10.0-devel (Git) from Ubuntu 13.10. More benchmarks will come in November.

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