Valve's L4D2 Is Faster On Linux Than Windows
Written by Michael Larabel in Valve on 1 August 2012 at 08:48 PM EDT. 184 Comments
Valve's growing Linux team is already experiencing success in optimizing the Source Engine, and in particular their initial Left 4 Dead 2 game, for Linux. In fact, the native Linux build with the Source OpenGL renderer is faster than running the game on Windows 7 with DirectX!

We're already known that Valve Software intends to speak at SIGGRAPH LA 2012 about how they optimized their Linux OpenGL game client -- taking it from just a few frames per second to over 300 FPS. Now on Valve's official Linux blog is a new post this evening about Faster Zombies!.

They talk about how their optimizations came down to modifying the game to work better with the Linux kernel, modifying the game to work better with OpenGL, and optimizing the graphics drivers.

The working better with the Linux kernel came by allowing the Source Engine small block heap code to work under Linux.

As for how they found bottlenecks within their OpenGL renderer to make it more efficient, see Finding Bottlenecks In Your Linux Game, Application.

The Linux driver optimizations come via collaborating with Intel, AMD, and NVIDIA on their respective drivers. Valve has long communicated with AMD and NVIDIA on their binary Linux graphics drivers and then in recent months engaged with the open-source Intel team -- see Valve & Intel Work On Open-Source GPU Drivers.

Using a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 graphics card with an Intel Core i7 3930K processor, Windows 7 SP1 was running Left 4 Dead 2 with the Direct3D renderer at 270 FPS while under Linux with OpenGL they are now at 315 FPS! Using the OpenGL renderer on Windows isn't also quite as good with its average frame-rate at around 303 FPS.

That's about it for the Valve Linux news today. Expect more information next week.

About The Author
Author picture

Michael Larabel is the principal author of 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 automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

Related Valve News
Popular News
Trending Reviews & Featured Articles