NVIDIA GeForce 9 Linux Driver Available?
This morning NVIDIA has introduced their first GeForce 9 graphics card, with the introduction of the GeForce 9600GT. The NVIDIA GeForce 9600GT isn't the new high-end graphics card, but rather their next-generation mainstream graphics card that is designed to compete with AMD's recent Radeon HD 3850 and 3870. The NVIDIA 9600GT (G94) GPU is built on a 65nm process, 64 stream processors, 650MHz reference core clock, 1800MHz GDDR3 reference memory clock with a 256-bit interface, two dual-link DVI connectors, and is a PCI Express 2.0 part.
While the embargo covering the NVIDIA GeForce 9600GT was just lifted at the top of the hour, no Linux driver supporting this first GeForce 9 part is yet available. We haven't been briefed on when the next NVIDIA driver release will occur, but based upon their Linux driver release cycles, we would be surprised if there isn't a new release out within two or three weeks. Though as we haven't yet been told when the release will occur, it could happen as soon as today. The 169.09 Linux driver was released exactly one month ago while at the start of the month was the 171.05 Linux driver that's designed for use with the Tesla S870 GPU computing system.
When the GeForce 8 Linux support was introduced, it was greeted by performance issues and no XvMC (X-Video Motion Compensation) support. The performance problems have since been worked out in a number of driver updates, while NVIDIA still hasn't added XvMC support for the GeForce 8 series. Meanwhile, earlier GeForce product families do have support for this GPU-offloading video playback extension.
For open-source GeForce 9 support, it's expected that NVIDIA's 2D-only "nv" driver will add support for the 9600GT (G94) in the near future. Though until NVIDIA unveils its new open-source strategy, its support beyond that will be limited. The Nouveau (community OSS reverse-engineered 2D/3D NVIDIA driver) developers are still tackling the 2D driver for the GeForce 8 series, so don't expect any prompt GeForce 9 support appearing in xf86-video-nouveau.
Once we have any further information on NVIDIA's forthcoming binary Linux driver release for the GeForce 9600GT 512MB, we will -- as always -- pass along that information. Once we have our hands on a few G94 samples we'll also be delivering Linux benchmarks. Coming up this year will also be NVIDIA product releases of the GeForce 9500GT, 9800GX2, 9300M G, and 9500M GS graphics processors.
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