Display Drivers Archives
A 14-Way Comparison Of NVIDIA vs. Nouveau Drivers

Back in September I provided the most comprehensive AMD Radeon Linux graphics comparison that took 28 graphics cards from all supported ATI/AMD Radeon product families and tested them under Linux using the latest Catalyst driver as well as the open-source Mesa/Gallium3D driver. In this article is a similar comparison on the NVIDIA side as I take most of the GeForce graphics cards at my disposal and try them under the NVIDIA binary Linux driver and the community-developed open-source "Nouveau" driver. Not only is the OpenGL performance looked at for multiple generations of NVIDIA hardware, but the thermal and power consumption is compared too. In certain OpenGL workloads, the open-source Linux driver is now faster than NVIDIA's own driver for select graphics cards in a fair comparison, but overall the NVIDIA blob still reigns supreme.

9 November 2011 - 21 Comments
VirtualBox 4.1 OpenGL 3D Guest Performance

While KVM may be very fast for Linux virtualization, one of the areas where VMware and VirtualBox are superior is when it comes to the ability to provide hardware-accelerated 2D/3D support to guest virtual machines that ultimately is passed onto the host and its graphics card / driver. In this benchmark is a look at the gaming performance of Oracle's VM VirtualBox 4.1 when using their "Chromium" driver to enable guest Linux OpenGL acceleration.

8 November 2011 - 14 Comments
Intel SNA Acceleration Architecture Continues To Mature

A few days back when testing the Linux 3.1 kernel with Intel's Sandy Bridge hardware and then the Intel RC6 power-savings support, I also ran some updated benchmarks of SNA, the new Intel acceleration architecture available from their graphics driver.

30 October 2011 - 5 Comments
2011 Linux Graphics Survey Results

In September the 2011 Linux Graphics Survey came to an end, but due to Oktoberfest, AMD Bulldozer Linux testing, OpenBenchmarking.org developments, and other matters, I didn't have time to look at the survey results until this weekend when getting ready for the Ubuntu Developer Summit. Here's the 2011 results looking at what Linux desktop end-users are running when it comes to graphics cards and drivers as well as their key concerns.

29 October 2011 - 22 Comments
The Linux 3.1 Kernel For Older Intel Graphics

While there's many ongoing improvements for Intel's Sandy Bridge graphics and the next-generation Ivy Bridge graphics within the Linux kernel, Mesa, and xf86-video-intel (namely the SNA acceleration for the DDX), here's some benchmarks from two older Intel systems using the latest Linux 3.1 kernel to see if there are any improvements there.

18 October 2011 - 4 Comments
AMD Catalyst vs. Radeon Gallium3D On Linux 3.1

If you are not taken by today's release of Ubuntu 11.10 "Oneiric Ocelot", here are some new Radeon graphics benchmarks comparing the Catalyst driver on Ubuntu 11.10 to the latest R600g driver from Mesa 7.12-devel on the soon-to-be-released Linux 3.1 kernel.

13 October 2011 - 20 Comments
Mesa R500 Texture Semaphore Improvements

Tom Stellard, the former Google Summer of Code student who worked on ATI R300 GLSL compiler improvements and a new register allocator, has been looking into the area of Radeon OpenCL support while now being employed by AMD. However, Tom is working on other open-source Radeon work too. Recently he made improvements to the R300g driver's instruction scheduler to make better use of the texture semaphore.

10 October 2011 - 9 Comments
Intel Mesa HiZ Performance On Sandy Bridge

While there are still several days left of this year's Oktoberfest, to take a short break this morning from benchmarking the wonderful beer, food, and Bavarian females, here are benchmarks of the new Intel HiZ Linux support. Just a few days ago a new, nearly ready patch-set was published for implementing hierarchical Z support within Intel's Mesa DRI driver.

26 September 2011 - 4 Comments
Gallium3D LLVMpipe Starts To Smoke

While it's rare for a few days to pass at Phoronix without pulling the latest development code for Mesa / Gallium3D and the Linux kernel DRM in order to run updated Radeon, Intel, and Nouveau Linux graphics benchmarks, LLVMpipe isn't benchmarked as commonly. LLVMpipe is the new CPU-based software acceleration method for the Gallium3D that leverages the Low-Level Virtual Machine to provide better performance than the classic Mesa software rasterizer or Softpipe. Fortunately, upon running a brand new set of tests, the results show a bit more promise but there is still much work ahead.

23 September 2011 - 16 Comments
This Is What Started AMD's Open-Source Strategy

While AMD's open-source strategy was announced on Phoronix on 7 September 2007, it was on 17 September of the same year that the Novell/SUSE developers did their first public release of their xf86-video-radeonhd driver. This was the X.Org driver created by the Novell Linux engineers in months prior for R500 and R600 GPUs. Here is some special reading -- a letter that was volleyed from Novell to AMD that kicked off this entire process -- to celebrate what would have been the fourth birthday of this open-source Linux driver.

17 September 2011 - 57 Comments
Intel SNA With Unity, Unity 2D & GNOME Shell

After the benchmarks a few days back of Intel Sandy Bridge Acceleration On Non-SNB Hardware, Chris Wilson of Intel who has been responsible for much of the "Sandy Bridge New Acceleration" work requested more tests, but this time to see the effect that the compositing window manager has on this new acceleration architecture. As a result, here is some quick tests of Intel's Sandy Bridge graphics under the Unity, Unity 2D, and GNOME Shell desktops.

11 September 2011 - Add A Comment
Intel Sandy Bridge Acceleration On Non-SNB Hardware

Last week benchmarks were published of Intel's New Sandy Bridge Acceleration architecture (SNA) that showed several performance improvements for 2D and 3D, but the new acceleration architecture still wasn't mature with a few regressions compared to the normal UXA back-end. While the focus of this SNA support is on speeding up operations for Sandy Bridge (SNB) and forthcoming Ivy Bridge (IVB) hardware, SNA is supported for older Intel graphics processors too. Here are some benchmarks of the Sandy Bridge New Acceleration architecture when using the Ironlake and Gen3 back-ends.

8 September 2011 - 8 Comments
TimeGraph: A Linux GPU Command Scheduler

In preparing for XDC2011 Chicago, the X.Org developers' summit that begins in just ten days that I have organized, the schedule is being worked out at the moment. One of the items that is set to be talked about at XDC2011 during the Nouveau driver discussion is TimeGraph. This is an open-source GPU command scheduler that sounds fairly interesting.

2 September 2011 - 9 Comments
Intel's New SNB Acceleration Architecture Still Maturing

In early June there was the introduction of the Sandy Bridge New Acceleration Architecture by Intel that dramatically excelled the 2D and 3D performance of their processor graphics on their Sandy Bridge hardware along with previous-generation IGPs. Here is a look at how the SNA acceleration architecture is performing today.

31 August 2011 - 8 Comments
AMD Llano Graphics Battle: Gallium3D vs. Catalyst

A month ago we looked at the Radeon HD 6550D graphics performance from the AMD Fusion A8-3850 (a new "Llano" APU) under Linux when using the Catalyst driver. However, bugs at the time had barred a comparison of the Llano graphics under Linux with the open-source Mesa/Gallium3D driver. Fortunately, we now have a working open-source Radeon driver configuration to deliver these comparative AMD Llano Linux OpenGL benchmarks.

26 August 2011 - 4 Comments
Tweaks To Extend The Battery Life Of Intel Linux Notebooks

While the Linux power consumption may be up on recent kernels depending upon your hardware configuration, there's a few known but not too commonly used tweaks for reducing your system power consumption and extending your battery life when using Intel integrated graphics on your favorite Linux distribution.

24 August 2011 - 16 Comments
AMD's Open-Source Radeon Driver After Four Years

While the BFS scheduler is getting ready to celebrate its second birthday, in just three weeks AMD's open-source Radeon graphics driver strategy for Linux will be turning four years old. It was on the 6th of September in 2007 that I exclusively broke the news to the world on AMD's open-source strategy, which has ended up being a game-changer in the Linux world. AMD continues to support open-source hardware enablement on their latest graphics processors and recently even hired more developers to work on the code and documentation. How far have they come though in four years?

17 August 2011 - 36 Comments
Nouveau GeForce 400/500 Fermi On Linux 3.1

Besides boosting the Intel Sandy Bridge performance, the Linux 3.1 kernel is also great for open-source graphics in that it has improved support for NVIDIA GeForce 400/500 "Fermi" graphics cards via the reverse-engineered Nouveau driver. The Linux kernel has already supported kernel mode-setting for these GPUs and then more recently there was 2D/X-Video acceleration as well as 3D acceleration when paired with the Nouveau Gallium3D "NVC0" driver. The accelerated support though has required manually extracting the graphics processor's microcode after the GPU was initialized by the proprietary driver. With the Linux 3.1 kernel, Nouveau can generate its own "FUC" microcode to circumvent this problem. In other words, there is now "out of the box" open-source support for NVIDIA GeForce 400/500 graphics cards.

5 August 2011 - 11 Comments
Intel Sandy Bridge Speeds Up On Linux 3.1 Kernel

Last week the DRM pull went in for the Linux 3.1 kernel. For the Intel DRM graphics driver in the Linux kernel there is frame-buffer compression clean-ups, high color support, ring frequency scaling, shared LLC support, and hang-check module disabling. Compared to the Linux 3.0 kernel, the driver improvements significantly boost the open-source graphics performance for Intel Sandy Bridge hardware.

3 August 2011 - 16 Comments
Mesa 7.11 Brings Much-Needed Linux Graphics Driver Improvements

After a short delay, Mesa 7.11 has been released. This is the user-space library for providing OpenGL support under Linux for the open-source Intel, ATI/AMD, and NVIDIA drivers, among other hardware and software-based drivers. The Mesa 7.11 release also offers updates to the Gallium3D driver architecture. Here is some of what you can expect to find on Mesa 7.11.

1 August 2011 - 4 Comments
July 2011 Open-Source Graphics Driver Comparison

Following last week's benchmarks of Intel's New Sandy Bridge Acceleration architecture with the very latest open-source driver code, it was decided to throw a few NVIDIA and ATI/AMD graphics cards into the mix to see where the open-source driver performance is comparatively at for some other hardware. This article presents these Linux graphics results for eight configurations.

22 July 2011 - 11 Comments
Testing Out Mesa's GLSL-To-TGSI Translator

Being merged into the mainline Mesa tree once Mesa 7.11 has been released is the GLSL-To-TGSI translator. This allows core Mesa to translate directly from GLSL IR to TGSI, rather than stepping through the crufty Mesa IR, before reaching the Gallium3D hardware drivers. It's more efficient this way -- leading to possible performance improvements -- and it's also a stepping-stone in bringing GL Shading Language 1.30 support, which is required for OpenGL 3.0 compatibility.

21 July 2011 - 26 Comments
AMD Radeon HD 6000 Gallium3D Attempts To Compete With Catalyst

Open-source code supporting the AMD Radeon HD 6000 "Northern Islands" GPU hardware has been available since January, but only in the past few days has this Linux code matured to the point of being stable and useful for testing. In this article are our first benchmarks of the AMD Northern Islands and Cayman graphics processors using the open-source Mesa Gallium3D driver and comparing its performance to AMD's proprietary Catalyst driver.

14 July 2011 - 68 Comments
Windows 7 vs. Linux w/ Sandy Bridge New Acceleration Architecture

The new benchmarks going out today on Phoronix are looking at the performance of Intel's Sandy Bridge graphics with the latest Microsoft Windows 7 and Ubuntu Linux drivers. Not only are we using the very latest drivers, but there is also a separate Linux test run with SNA, the "Sandy Bridge New Acceleration" architecture enabled.

13 July 2011 - 9 Comments
Intel's Gallium3D Driver After Google's Work

As noted last week on Phoronix, Google has Chromium OS engineers making improvements to Intel's Gallium3D driver even though this open-source Linux driver isn't officially supported by Intel Corp. Google's interested in shipping the Intel Gallium3D driver on their Chromium OS netbooks in order to take advantage of the Low-Level Virtual Machine (LLVM) and other Gallium3D features to make up for the netbook's lack of vertex shader hardware. How does this community-maintained Intel 3D driver now compare performance-wise to Intel's official classic Mesa driver? Here is a fresh set of benchmarks from the latest Mesa Git code over the US holiday weekend.

7 July 2011 - 23 Comments
Nouveau Driver Power Management Against The NVIDIA Blob

Following last week's completion of the Radeon driver power management tests against the AMD Catalyst driver, now it is time to turn the tables on NVIDIA. In this article are some power consumption and thermal tests when comparing the latest open-source "Nouveau" driver code against NVIDIA's closed-source proprietary driver.

6 July 2011 - 14 Comments
Radeon Driver Power Management Has Room For Improvement

Today on Phoronix are not only new benchmarks of the proprietary Catalyst graphics driver compared to the open-source Radeon Linux driver alternative when looking at the OpenGL frame-rates, but also metrics on a number of other fronts. In this article is a graphics driver comparison when looking at the system power consumption, GPU operating temperature, and CPU usage too. The results are quite interesting and not commonly looked at on Phoronix or by users.

28 June 2011 - 52 Comments
Open-Source Radeon HD 6000 Series Still Borked

The first of the AMD Radeon HD 6000 "Northern Islands" graphics cards launched late last year, and while the open-source Linux driver support is technically there for those interested in this alternative to the proprietary Catalyst driver, the support is still largely broken. Here is a quick look.

25 June 2011 - 98 Comments

722 display drivers articles published on Phoronix.