Image Quality Comparison: Nouveau Gallium3D vs. NVIDIA
Written by Michael Larabel in Nouveau on 21 February 2012 at 02:57 PM EST. 22 Comments
Last week I posted an image quality comparison of the Radeon Gallium3D driver versus AMD's Catalyst Linux driver to highlight some visual differences between the open and closed-source Radeon graphics drivers. Now here's a look between the Nouveau Gallium3D driver and NVIDIA's proprietary Linux graphics driver.

With there being much discussion about the Radeon image quality comparison, I've carried out the same comparison on the NVIDIA side using the Phoronix Test Suite image quality comparison functions in an automated manner just as used in the other articles.

These screenshots were captured from a Intel Core i7-based Lenovo ThinkPad W510 notebook with a NVIDIA Quadro FX 880M graphics processor. The Quadro FX 880M is based upon NVIDIA's GT216GLM core and has been supported by the open-source reverse-engineered Nouveau driver for some time. The latest NVIDIA Linux and Nouveau drivers were compared in today's simple tests.

For those seeking an output format other than 100%-quality JPEGs, when the image quality comparison uploads are allowed on OpenBenchmarking.org, you will be able to grab the raw data from there just as you can do right now with the performance results. Right now the image quality comparison uploads are disabled for OpenBenchmarking.org simply due to resource constraints with the associated overhead of storing many images rather than just textual data. Soon though when the new OpenBenchmarking.org infrastructure is rolled-out, IQC uploads will be permitted. The abstract result types comply with all other PTS/OpenBenchmarking.org features and capabilities. To see how your system compares to these NVIDIA/Nouveau visuals, you can simply run phoronix-test-suite benchmark nexuiz-iqc.

More Linux graphics image quality tests are on the way. In terms of how the Nouveau Gallium3D driver is currently performing against the NVIDIA binary blob, in Nouveau For Open-Source NVIDIA In Mesa 8.0 Is Mixed are the latest results as of mid-January across a spectrum of NVIDIA GeForce hardware. Also of interest may be Nouveau Reclocking: Buggy, But Can Boost Performance and Nouveau 2D Still Has Room For Improvement.
About The Author
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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