Beginning with the ioquake3-powered OpenArena game, which continues to be a popular free software game under Linux, Windows 7 Ultimate was faster than Ubuntu 10.10 when both were using NVIDIA's proprietary driver from their 260.xx series, which share a common code-base for the most part between platforms. Windows 7 Ultimate had a 23% higher frame-rate than Ubuntu 10.10, which is more significant than our Ubuntu 10.04 vs. Windows 7 gaming tests from August where Windows 7 was faster at the higher resolution, but only by a 9% change.
If using NVIDIA's proprietary driver on either platform, OpenArena is limited by the CPU and not the GPU, especially with the new GeForce GT 425M. While the Linux results may be lower in this test, at least the frame-rates are certainly playable with the proprietary driver as with the open-source Nouveau driver on Linux with supported GeForce generations, the performance is still a ways behind.
Windows 7 Ultimate was also faster than Ubuntu 10.10 when it came to running Urban Terror, which is also powered by the open-source ioquake3 engine. This time, however, it was a change of just 5% and both platforms still put out more than 100 frames per second.
With the OpenGL tests that can better stress the NVIDIA GeForce GT 425M discrete GPU, we ran each benchmark at 800 x 600, 1024 x 768, 1280 x 1024, 1680 x 1050, 1600 x 1200, and 1920 x 1080. With the Lightsmark OpenGL lighting benchmark, Ubuntu 10.10 was significantly faster than Windows 7 at the lower resolutions, but between 1024 x 768 and 1280 x 1024, Windows 7 Ultimate took the lead the rest of the way. By the time we hit 1920 x 1080, Windows 7 Ultimate had a 23% higher frame-rate than Ubuntu 10.10, which is the same margin that was encountered with the OpenArena run at this resolution. Ubuntu's lead with the NVIDIA binary driver at 800 x 600 was 57%.
Nexuiz is perhaps the most demanding open-source game available right now. Like the Lightsmark results, Ubuntu 10.10 with the NVIDIA 260 driver started out running faster than Windows 7 x64, but between 1024 x 768 and 1280 x 1024 is where the two operating systems swapped positions and the Microsoft OS maintained the lead up through 1920 x 1080. The performance delta though between Ubuntu Linux and Windows 7 here was much less with at 1920 x 1080 there just being an 11% difference.