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 vs. Nouveau Drivers On Ubuntu 13.04

NVIDIA

Published on 11 April 2013 04:28 PM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in NVIDIA
12 Comments

After showing off early Mesa 9.2 benchmarks with Nouveau and Nouveau improvements with the Linux 3.9 kernel, our latest NVIDIA Linux benchmarks from one of our Lenovo ThinkPad laptops is comparing the NVIDIA vs. Nouveau driver performance on Ubuntu 13.04.

For those deciding between the Nouveau (the open-source default NVIDIA driver on Ubuntu) and the proprietary NVIDIA Linux graphics driver that can easily be installed from Ubuntu's package repository, here's some new benchmarks. Overall though, these new benchmarks aren't terribly surprising... NVIDIA's binary driver still largely wins by a landslide, in large part because the Nouveau driver still lacks proper GPU re-clocking support.

Nouveau re-clocking is a nightmare and has long been a work-in-progress. For some older GeForce graphics cards, re-clocking the GPU core, shader, and memory frequencies can be carried out successfully. However, for a vast majority of the supported NVIDIA hardware, it's hit-or-miss and can easily lead to on-screen corruption and stability issues. For newer GeForce 400/500/600 (Fermi and Kepler) generations, the support is currently non-existent. Thus, for a vast majority of the Nouveau users out there, you're running your hardware at a much lower speed than what it's rated for and it's leading to crippling results.

The benchmarks in this article are just from the Lenovo ThinkPad W510 with NVIDIA Quadro FX880M. This GT2xx class GPU is stuck running with a 405MHz core and 324MHz memory frequency over the 550MHz rated clock speed. With higher-end models, the difference between the boot and rated clock speeds is generally much steeper. The "out of the box" Ubuntu 13.04 performance was compared between Nouveau and NVIDIA on this laptop.

The benchmark results in full can be found within 1304112-UT-NVIDIAVSN62.

The results, sadly, aren't surprising. The Nouveau Gallium3D drivers are becoming in fairly good shape compared to the other open-source Mesa/Gallium3D drivers, but the lack of re-clocking within the Nouveau DRM driver seems to be the most pressing problem at the moment.

Sadly, there isn't too much hope on the horizon with the Linux 3.10 kernel.

There are more thorough benchmarks from a wide-range of graphics processors on both drivers coming up next week on Phoronix in a featured, multi-page article.

View more results at OpenBenchmarking.org.

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. A Walkthrough Of The New 32 System Open-Source Linux Benchmarking Test Farm
  2. Habey MITX-6771: Mini-ITX Board With Quad-Core J1900 Bay Trail
  3. OCZ Vector 150 SSD On Linux
  4. Noctua i4 CPU Cooler: Great For Cooling High-End LGA-2011v3 CPUs
Latest Linux Articles
  1. AMD Kaveri: Open-Source Radeon Gallium3D vs. Catalyst 14.12 Omega Driver
  2. 12-Way AMD Catalyst 14.12 vs. NVIDIA 346 Series Linux GPU Comparison
  3. AMD Catalyst 14.12 Omega Driver Brings Mixed Results For Linux Users
  4. 6-Way Winter 2014 Linux Distribution Comparison
Latest Linux News
  1. Raspberry Pi's Gallium3D Driver Could Now Run Significantly Faster
  2. CMake 3.1 Brings Windows Additions, Target Compile Feature
  3. KDE Applications 14.12 Released
  4. Fedora 21 Released For POWER & AArch64 Hardware
  5. Elasticsearch & wxPython 3 Proposed For Fedora 22
  6. The New SuperTuxKart Looks Better, But Can Cause GPU/Driver Problems
  7. GTK+ On Windows Now Supports OpenGL
  8. New Ruby Benchmarks On GCC vs. LLVM Clang Compilers
  9. Multi-Stream Transport 4K Monitors To Become Better Supported On Linux
  10. New Supertuxkart Beta Lands New Graphics Engine, Uses OpenGL 3.1+
Latest Forum Discussions
  1. XLennart: A Game For Systemd Haters With Nothing Better To Do
  2. Need some hand holding with upgrading xserver
  3. Ubuntu Developers Still Thinking What To Do About Adobe Flash Support
  4. Microsoft buying Mojang
  5. Updated and Optimized Ubuntu Free Graphics Drivers
  6. Premium subscription "login" times out much faster than forum
  7. AMD Catalyst 14.12 Linux Driver Released -- Huge Update!
  8. Did Valve already get what they wanted from SteamOS? i.e. Win kernel + BigPicture DE