Up to this point there has been very little official information from NVIDIA in regards to their upcoming Linux/Solaris/FreeBSD drivers. Luckily, we have had the privilege from NVIDIA to share our acquired information a bit early in regards to these upcoming drivers, and a few NVIDIA Linux developers frequently post some information on the NvNews forums. We have also had the luxury of handling the Beta 1.0-8751 drivers and deliver its results on multiple occasions. We continually post new information at Phoronix as it is discovered from our in-house investigations with these drivers, as well as tapping additional information from our various sources. For the most part, there has largely been two discussed release dates for these drivers as stated by Phoronix -- March 09, 2006 and March 22, 2006. Prior to NVIDIA's CeBIT GeForce 7600/7900 launch event, we had thought they would provide same-day support for their Linux users when handling this newer hardware. However, this wasn't the case unlike the 7800GTX 256MB launch last year and the 1.0-7667 drivers. The other largely contemplated release date was today, March 22. With that said, today NVIDIA is expected to release a minor Windows ForceWare update (v84.25). These Windows 2000/XP drivers are expected to contain enhancements for the recently released Oblivion game. However, we have been finally notified by NVIDIA that the Linux drivers will not coincide with the ForceWare launch that is expected to occur today. Rather, we have been told by NVIDIA's Sean Cleveland that they are anticipating an early April release. With that said, the public can expect to see these new Linux (and likely Solaris/FreeBSD) drivers appearing sometime during the first or second week of April. The NVIDIA drivers will likely strike in advance of ATI's monthly Windows/Linux CATALYST driver updates. If NVIDIA continues in their roughly 4 month/3 week Linux release cycle, we will also likely see yet another driver set coming in late April or early May. However, much of this planning is still likely up in the air. For those pondering over the Fedora Core 5 support with NVIDIA's drivers, the next NVIDIA Linux driver release should produce the same level of support that can be found with Fedora Core 4. Using the private NVIDIA 1.0-8751 drivers, we had no strongholds preventing the module from operating. As Fedora Core 5 had mistakenly shipped with a kernel which doesn't allow non-GPL modules to load, we had first upgraded to the Linux 2.6.16-1.2064_FC5 (x86_64) unofficial kernel from Dave Jone's Fedora server. We also had to attain xorg-x11-server-sdk (v1.0.1-9.x86_64) for proper NVIDIA compatibility. With the updated kernel and the sever SDK, we dropped to run-level 3 and proceeded with the traditional NVIDIA installer. With no signs of errors during the installation, the X configuration needs to be modified, or simply run nvidia-xconfig. Restarting the system, the NVIDIA GeForce card was accelerated by NVIDIA's proprietary drivers under Fedora Core 5 Linux (2.6.16 kernel) with no apparent signs of problems. The installation process should be similar to the public drivers upon their release. All of these procedures were carried out on a fresh Fedora Core 5 DVD installation. This new process is quite contrary to the 1.0-8178 drivers that require patches or using the drivers available from the Livna repository. More information to come...
Yet some more items to throw out to the Linux community in regards to NVIDIA's upcoming display drivers. Further testing has revealed that these drivers we have tested (1.0-8751 -- Beta) may contain some slight improvements to the Transgaming Cedega performance when it was tried in Half-Life 2. Outside of the Windows gaming emulation, there has not been much else that we have found when it comes to performance improvements in other Linux-native games, nor nothing in the way of noticeable performance drops. With one of the NVIDIA GeForce 7800GTX G70 512MB solutions that we had used for this Beta testing, we had found the ambient temperature no longer being displayed, while other cards with nvidia-settings have faired appropriately. While NVIDIA has yet to come out and officially address the Linux community as to the status of these upcoming display drivers, and we have been stating here at Phoronix that the drivers are a "few weeks away", we believe the release may be quickly approaching. With many of NVIDIA's past driver launches, they have coincided with the release of the Windows ForceWare drivers. These simultaneous releases are similar to ATI and their monthly ritual of delivering out new display drivers for both Windows and Linux. Anyhow, we have begun to receive reports today that this Wednesday, March 22, 2006, NVIDIA will be introducing yet another ForceWare release. This new ForceWare released (dubbed 84.25) will largely address performance issues for a Windows game coming out tomorrow entitled Oblivion. Whether NVIDIA will compliment this new ForceWare release with these updated Linux (and possibly Solaris/FreeBSD) drivers, we do not know for certainty at this time but it's yet another possibility.
We have just been notified by NVIDIA's Aaron Plattner that there are a few corrections to be made when it comes to NVIDIA's upcoming Linux driver release. First off, the GLX_EXT_texture_from_pixmap extension has yet to be finalized, and thus it will not be supported in the upcoming Linux driver release. What this means is no AIGLX under NVIDIA for quite some time, unless things change. As NVIDIA's proprietary drivers do not use DRI, they are waiting upon the GLX_EXT_tfp extension to be finalized and upon the preceding driver release it will support the ability to run Compiz and the AIGLX project's updated version of Metacity. Other than the few clarifications to note, we are still working with the 1.0-8751 Linux display drivers.
Yet some more NVIDIA 1.0-8751 result discussions... Shall we? One of the key concerns for NVIDIA Linux users has been to the support of the GeForce 6100/6150 + 410 MCP. On paper, and perhaps under Windows, the integrated video component may be an excellent choice for HTPC and video enthusiasts, but under Linux (1.0-8178) there has been numerous reports of user problems. We are in the process of examining the NVIDIA GeForce 6100 using a ASRock 939NF4G-SATA2 in conjunction with these 1.0-8751 drivers. We hope to have some performance (and stability) tests completed within a few days and will deliver some of these notes. We will also be looking at the possibility of the XvMC support. Receiving a great deal of user feedback in regards to what they hope to see in NVIDIA's upcoming display drivers, we are running a few other examinations right now in preparation. One of the items we can confirm still exists (which may partially be due to KDE developers) is 2D slowness when using KDE (Qt) applications. With the 1.0-8751 drivers, we used a GeForce 6600GT and KDE v3.4 and when enabling sub-pixel rendering we still encounter a noticeable slowdown when dealing with such KDE applications as KWrite. On a different topic, so far we have not experienced much in the way of any visual artifacts or stability issues when it comes to testing a handful of different Linux systems and various GeForce FX, 6, and 7 graphics cards. Fedora Core 4 with the various updates continues to fair well with these drivers but when it comes to Fedora Core 5 we have noticed a few issues when building the kernel module as well as related problems when running the NVIDIA installer. These issues, however, may be fixed upon the March 20 launch of Fedora Core 5 and we will be sure to check back on its progress at that time. The Fedora Rendering Project has stated NVIDIA will add the GLX_EXT_texture_from_pixmap OpenGL extension in their next binary release, however, in this 1.0-8751 version this doesn't appear to exist, which will append support for AIGLX or Accelerated Indirect GL X.
As we are fortunate with this NVIDIA Beta release to be able to share the relevant information a bit early prior to the public launch (thanks in part to NVIDIA/EVGA as well as the CeBIT launch), we have a few more details to share this afternoon. While we are holding back on delivering our official driver briefing until the official driver launch, we ran a few tests this morning with the 1.0-8751 package and then again with the current 1.0-8178 drivers. The hardware setup remained the same for both of these driver tests and the graphics card used was a normal GeForce 6600GT with 128MB of video memory. The Linux distribution was Fedora Core 4 with the 2.6.15 kernel. Providing a very rough comparison between these two driver releases was RTCW: Enemy Territory v2.60 with the Railgun time-demo that we have been using for years. For this news posting, we simply used the high-quality visual settings with the in-game configuration. We also refrained from using any AA/AF visuals. The resolutions tested were simply 640 x 480 and 1280 x 1024. Using the 1.0-8178 drivers the average frame-rate was 107.8 and 106.1 FPS, respectively. Using the private 1.0-8751 drivers, the results were 108.2 and 105.1 FPS. Interesting, eh? As a very preliminary generalization, the performance aspect of these drivers do not appear to be a miracle frame-rate wise; however, the results right here are simply from a single Linux-native program. Additional tests will come with our official briefing upon the official driver launch. On a side note, the memory issues that have been repeatedly reported since the Rel80 drivers (the ones in which NVIDIA had originally denounced) appear to have been addressed. The investigation still continues...
While the new NVIDIA drivers have yet to surface in the hands of the public, we have been fortunate enough to obtain a pre-release (Beta) copy of these soon-to-be-released drivers. While no official change-log is available, we have begun our exploration of these new NVIDIA Linux display drivers. Luckily NVIDIA has allowed Phoronix to share our results at this time, we simply can't distribute the package. One of the first areas we examined was was the nvidia-settings Linux control panel. While we hadn't visibly seen the changes we were hoping for (such as any Scalable Link options or toggle items for the various other features we were anticipating), there are a few minute changes that can be found in this next release. Below are a few images taken today from the NVIDIA 1.0-8751 Beta Linux display drivers from a GeForce 6600GT SLI setup. The new setting on the X Server XVideo Settings page is the Sync to this display device, and then lists the various monitors. When running Linux SLI, the Enable SLI Heads-Up-Display is still present under the OpenGL area. Unfortunately, this appears to be the lone location in nvidia-settings for toggling any SLI options, unlike the Windows drivers that allow profiling, etc... Another noticeable area that is in need of reworking is the thermal monitor page when running multiple graphics cards, or SLI. The slowdown threshold, core temperature, and ambient temperature are displayed; however, there isn't a separate area for each of the respective GPUs. Moving onto the display device section, the monitor does appear to now be properly identified (i.e. Acer AL1714) rather than previously displaying CRT-0. Opening up the display device screen, image sharpening was the only slider-bar option as it appears the digital vibrance ability has been removed. Keep in mind, these images and text above are based upon the 1.0-8751 display drivers which are private Beta drivers, and some of these options may change between now and the public availability of the next driver set.
EDIT [2006-03-12]: It appears NVIDIA's Lonni J Friedman has made a post on the NvNews Linux NVIDIA forum that the new drivers are not coming out this week, but rather are several weeks from entering the market. Certainly this is interesting news for those Linux users who have already purchased the new graphics cards, or are experiencing a number of problems with the 1.0-8178 drivers.
Let the games begin... Today NVIDIA Corporation is starting out its CeBIT events by a fairly large product launch. These products include the GeForce 7600 and 7900 series. Quad SLI will also be out-and-about, as well as a few other items from NVIDIA. The products making up the GeForce 7900 series at this time are the 7900GT 256MB and 7900GTX 512MB. The GeForce 7900 series is designed to be the new 90nm flagship series while the 7600 parts are for the mid-range users. We at Phoronix have a plethora of coverage coming your way. NVIDIA's various partners have already begun issuing press statements in regards to these news products. One of them to have already officially launched a new part is Chaintech and their GSE76GT. Walton Chaintech Corporation today announced its GSE76GT, utilize the up-to-date NVIDIA GeForce 7600GT graphics processing unit which delivers superior cinematic resolution and extremely performance for today’s 3D graphic demanding. The Chaintech GSE76GT will be clocked at default 560MHz core and 1400MHz GDDR3 memory. It has 256MB of-128 bit memory. The GSE76GT support HDTV-out and Dual DVI-I. Including various state-of-the-art technologies such as CineFX 4.0 engine which delivers twice the graphics power of previous GPUs, Microsoft DirectX 9.0 Shader Model 3.0 for great gaming experiences, and OpenGL 2.0 to ensure top-notch compatibility and performance for all OpenGL applications. The GSE76GT fulfills all the demands that extreme HD gaming and video experience need. We at Phoronix will be publishing additional content throughout the day (and the week for that matter) as these events occur. You can already see our premiere GeForce 7900GT Preview here. The card used in the preview was the EVGA 7900GT CO SUPERCLOCKED 256MB, and we should be receiving additional new NVIDIA GeForce 7 series solutions in the coming days. We will be providing the benchmarks and overclocking upon NVIDIA public releasing the new Linux display drivers. Stay tuned!
Among NVIDIA's many manufacturers to begin pumping out the new GeForce 7600 / 7900 parts today is XFX. XFX today is unveiling their new XFX GeForce 7900GTX 512MB DDR3 Extreme Edition (PV-T71F-YDP), XFX GeForce 7900GTX 512MB DDR3 (PV-T71F-YDF), XFX GeForce 7900GTX 512MB DDR3 Extreme Edition (PV-T71F-YDP), XFX GeForce 7900GTX 512MB DDR3 XXX Edition (PV-T71F-YDD), XFX GeForce 7900GTX 512MB DDR3 (PV-T71F-YDL), XFX GeForce 7900GT 256MB DDR3 (PV-T71G-UDL), XFX GeForce 7900GT 256MB DDR3 (PV-T71G-UDF), XFX GeForce 7900GT 256MB DDR3 Extreme Edition (PV-T71G-UDE), XFX GeForce 7900GT 256MB DDR3 XXX Edition (PV-T71G-UDD), and XFX GeForce 7900GT 256MB DDR3 Extreme Edition (PV-T71G-UDP). In the GeForce 7600 series are the XFX GeForce 7600GT 256MB DDR3 XXX Edition (PV-T73G-UDD), XFX GeForce 7600GT 256MB DDR3 (PV-T73G-UDF3), XFX GeForce 7600GT 256MB DDR3 (PV-T73G-UDL3), and XFX GeForce 7600GT 256MB DDR3 Extreme Edition (PV-T73G-UDE). We hope to have some of these XFX GeForce samples at Phoronix soon, and shortly there after should be delivering some of these benchmarks and articles. Click here for more information on these XFX products.
CEBIT 2006—HANNOVER, GERMANY—March 9, 2006—NVIDIA Corporation (Nasdaq: NVDA), the worldwide leader in graphics processor technologies, extends its acclaimed NVIDIA® SLI™ technology to notebook PCs for the first time. Delivering new levels of visual realism at extremely high-definition resolutions, SLI technology enables two NVIDIA GeForce® Go 7800 GTX graphics processing units (GPUs) to be used in notebooks based on the NVIDIA nForce®4 SLI core-logic solution. This press release can be read at NVIDIA
CeBIT 2006—HANNOVER, GERMANY—MARCH 9, 2006— NVIDIA Corporation (Nasdaq: NVDA), the worldwide leader in programmable graphics processor technologies, today announced three new additions to the NVIDIA® GeForce 7 Series of graphics processing units (GPUs) set to make extreme high-definition (HD) gaming a reality. This press release can be read at NVIDIA
CeBIT 2006—HANNOVER, GERMANY—MARCH 9, 2006—NVIDIA Corporation (Nasdaq: NVDA), the worldwide leader in programmable graphics processor technologies, today announced that PCs powered by NVIDIA Quad SLI™ technology are now available from the world’s top system builders. These new PCs, certified for Quad SLI technology, feature four graphics processing units (GPUs) from the of the newly announced NVIDIA GeForce® 7900 Series with a NVIDIA nForce®4 SLI motherboard – making Quad SLI-based PCs the fastest class of commercially available gaming PCs. This press release can be read at NVIDIA
With a great deal of NVIDIA Linux users questioning Phoronix in regards to when they may possibly see the next driver release, as they haven't seen any since early December of last year, we have compiled some public information in regards to what these drivers may include as well as a very likely release date. Keep in mind, as of writing NVIDIA has not officially commented on most of these matters, and only time will tell what these drivers will truly possess. We will post information accordingly once any additional resources have been obtained, or our sources have commented on these matters. Right now, we are able to publicly confirm that the next NVIDIA Linux driver release will finally append support for the GeForce 7300 GPUs as well as the mobile GeForce Go 7300 and 7600 parts. In addition, we are speculating that XvMC (X-Video Motion Compensation) will be appended for the GeForce 6100/6150. This release should also include H.264 support for the GeForce 7 series under Linux. Another area taking stage recently has been Novell's Xgl framework and the recently announced Fedora AIGLX -- Accelerated Indirect GL X. The next NVIDIA Linux release will likely include official support for these new projects, along with official support for X.Org v6.9/7.0. We have successfully ran Xgl + Compiz using the current NVIDIA 1.0-8178 display drivers, however, AIGLX is known not to work but the driver support is expected to be soon -- possibly in this upcoming release. We are also anticipating that this next release will fix some of the issues NVIDIA users have reported with the 1.0-8XXX series. One of the most common complaints with the newer Rel80 drivers are related to notable memory leaks in the display drivers as well as these recent versions have problems with specific features like XvMC and OpenGL sync, which can result in poor performance. Another area for pondering is whether any new Scalable Link Interface items will be appended or corrected in this upcoming release, but at this time we have received no NVIDIA insight into this area. The newest drivers should also include a handful of other changes and fixes. The area, however, most Linux users have been pondering over with their graphics driver is when a new release will be made available. Well, there is no need to wait too much longer. It appears NVIDIA will likely be targeting an early March release to coincide with the launch of their G71, GeForce 7900GTX 512MB. It is expected that this 90 nanometer G71 chip will be unveiled at this year's CeBIT exposition, which runs from March 9 to the 15th in Hannover, Germany. Whether this will be a paper or hard launch, NVIDIA will likely deliver new Linux and Windows display drivers, which will append support for this card. As we had seen last year on June 22 with the launch of the GeForce 7800GTX 256MB, this flagship product had same-day Linux support. Although the initial support for the card in the 1.0-7667 drivers had possessed a performance-limiting flaw, the fact of the matter is the wait was minimal when dealing with their unrivaled product. The new NVIDIA Linux display drivers are likely to premiere the same day as these new drivers, or rather in the same general time-frame. They will most likely attempt a release prior to ATI's monthly ritual of Windows CATALYST, and now Linux fglrx, driver updates. NVIDIA has also likely learned from the spectacle with the ATI fglrx proprietary driver support for their X1000 series, that even though these new GPUs were launched last year, there continues to be no official Linux support, which is incredibly disconcerting for many Linux mobile and desktop users. As we had reported previously at Phoronix, the X1k drivers should finally launch this spring. With that said, look for a hefty NVIDIA Linux driver release in what should equate to hopefully a few weeks! We will post additional updates when applicable.
493 NVIDIA news articles published on Phoronix.