1. Computers
  2. Display Drivers
  3. Graphics Cards
  4. Memory
  5. Motherboards
  6. Processors
  7. Software
  8. Storage
  9. Operating Systems


Facebook RSS Twitter Twitter Google Plus


Phoronix Test Suite

OpenBenchmarking.org

NVIDIA Tegra With Dedicated Quadro/GeForce?

NVIDIA

Published on 10 May 2012 10:09 PM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in NVIDIA
10 Comments

File this as you wish, but since talking about The Biggest Problem For A Linux PC Vendor, I've heard some interesting information from a source regarding future Tegra plans. The mentioned work if it reaches the market would be extremely interesting and would be good news for Linux users.

The information I was passed along comes after I mentioned earlier this week the "biggest problem for a Linux PC vendor", which ended up being the lack of proper NVIDIA Optimus support under Linux. With so many laptop configurations now offering Optimus -- a low-power integrated GPU and a high-performance discrete GPU that is supposed to allow for dynamically switching between them based upon performance/power needs -- not having this technology properly implemented in Linux has been a huge pain for this vendor. It's also likely been a problem for other vendors too, besides end-users who buy Windows laptops only to reload them with Linux and then find out this NVIDIA technology isn't properly supported under Linux.

You can find more on Optimus in other Phoronix articles, but here's the information that I was passed along since publicizing the Optimus-Linux-pain: NVIDIA is reportedly planning support for a future generation of their Tegra ARM SoC to be able to cooperate with an external, discrete NVIDIA GPU, such as a higher-end GeForce or Quadro graphics card. This would be extremely interesting so basically there's still the low-power but good performance ARM SoC, but optionally other vendors could pair it with a discrete GeForce/Quadro GPU on the PCB. For proper power-savings and support, this would be like Optimus is right now on x86 hardware.

This could be interesting for a few cases, such as finding NVIDIA Tegra in a netbook/notebook with having a GeForce GPU for bettering the graphics performance when needed in an Optimus-like manner. It would also make sense if NVIDIA pushes Tegra further into the server-space to compete with the likes of Calxeda and then offers NVIDIA Quadro GPU cores as an attached option with greatly pushing CUDA/OpenCL into the ARM space. Having a multi-core ARMv8 SoC paired with a discrete NVIDIA GPU could be quite interesting.

It also makes a lot of sense as NVIDIA could better separate itself from the other ARM SoCs on the market thanks to their in-house graphics IP where as nearly any other hardware vendor is limited to licensing it from someone else. But again, I haven't had this officially confirmed nor from some brief looking over the past 36 hours seen this possibility mentioned anywhere else. NVIDIA could easily distinguish themselves in the ARM space for performance.

Aside from yielding interesting hardware configurations, this news is interesting to Linux users for a few reasons:

- NVIDIA would need to port their proprietary Linux graphics driver to ARM for supporting the GeForce/Quadro GPU. Right now their mainline Linux driver is available only for x86/x86_64 architectures (and IA64 in a very old form).

- NVIDIA would need to provide proper Optimus support under Linux due to this configuration and considering that Linux on ARM is likely to dominate for the foreseeable future. [Thus also making happy at least one Linux PC vendor as a fringe benefit.]

Plus there's a few other possible benefits to Linux users, but I'll save those for a future article.

As far as when this support might be available, it's looking like it could happen with Tegra's "Wayne" or "Logan", which are presently planned for 2013. This hasn't been officially confirmed by NVIDIA, but it does make sense, especially after There's Hope For DMA-BUF With Non-GPL Drivers where I even mentioned "Back in January there was a request by NVIDIA that the DMA-BUF kernel symbols be not exported GPL-only, which would prevent them from taking advantage of this buffer sharing mechanism in their proprietary driver. This would inhibit them from being able to easily/cleanly share buffers between their binary driver and say the Intel open-source driver...for buffer-sharing between an open-source NVIDIA Tegra kernel driver and the binary driver with a GeForce GPU, a case that one of the requesting NVIDIA engineer mentioned."

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
Latest Linux Hardware Reviews
  1. Acer B286HK: A 28-inch UHD LED 4K Monitor For As Low As $350
  2. Intel Xeon E5-1680 v3 & E5-2687W v3 Compared To The Core i7 5960X On Linux
  3. Intel 120GB 530 Series SSD Linux Performance
  4. Btrfs/EXT4/XFS/F2FS RAID 0/1/5/6/10 Linux Benchmarks On Four SSDs
Latest Linux Articles
  1. Mesa Git Yields Performance Improvements For Newer AMD GPUs
  2. Apple OS X 10.10 vs. Ubuntu 14.10 Performance
  3. Mesa 10.5-devel Brings Some Intel Haswell HD Graphics Changes Over Mesa 10.3
  4. NVIDIA vs. Nouveau Drivers With Linux 3.18 + Mesa 10.4-devel
Latest Linux News
  1. Intel Has Last Round Of DRM Changes For Linux 3.19, Starts Dropping DRI1/UMS
  2. Fedora 21 Release Candidate 1 Awaits Your Testing
  3. GCC 5 Adds Support For ARM's Cortex-A17
  4. KWayland Server Component Coming For KDE Plasma 5.2
  5. NVIDIA Posts Tegra Gallium3D Patch For K1+ Support
  6. Ubuntu 14.10 MacBook Air Tests With Linux 3.18, Mesa 10.5
  7. AMD Richland APU Support Added To Coreboot
  8. 2014 Holiday Shopping Reminder, Happy Thanksgiving
  9. Python 3 Support Added To The GNOME Shell
  10. ReactOS Lands Its New Explorer Shell
Latest Forum Discussions
  1. Updated and Optimized Ubuntu Free Graphics Drivers
  2. Hurrican SDL Port
  3. Roadmap to Catalyst 14.10 ?
  4. how to configure module phoromatic ?
  5. PulseAudio 6.0 Is Coming & Other Linux Audio Plans For The Future
  6. Debian Developer Resigns From The Systemd Maintainership Team
  7. Cant get working Kaveri APU - A10-7850k
  8. Script for Fan Speed Control