NVIDIA 396.18 Linux Driver Reaches Beta With New Vulkan SPIR-V Compiler

Written by Michael Larabel in NVIDIA on 10 April 2018 at 12:46 PM EDT. 11 Comments
NVIDIA has rolled out an exciting beta Linux driver today, the first in their upcoming 396 driver series.

The NVIDIA 396.18 Linux beta driver is now available and it's quite exciting. Exciting me the most with the NVIDIA 396 driver series is the introduction of a new Vulkan SPIR-V compiler. The goal of this new compiler is to reduce shader compilation time and shader system memory consumption. This new SPIR-V compiler is enabled by default but for now the old compiler is still around and can be toggled with the __GL_NextGenCompiler= environment variable.

Also notable are some Vulkan performance improvements, particularly around the memory allocation, bind buffer memory, and bind image memory functions.

Other work in the NVIDIA 396.18 Linux driver includes updates for the SLI Mosaic configuration page in NVIDIA Settings, reporting of EGL information through NVIDIA Settings, and the NVIDIA installer better recognizes partial GLVND library implementations. The NVIDIA 396.18 driver also has a new AllowExternalGpus option that can be enabled for providing X screens to external GPUs.

The NVIDIA 396.18 beta Linux graphics driver can be downloaded from NVIDIA.com. I'll have up some benchmarks shortly of this new NVIDIA 396 Linux driver beta.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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