Is The Open-Source NVIDIA Driver Fast Enough For Steam Linux Gaming?

Written by Michael Larabel in Nouveau on 8 July 2015 at 08:44 PM EDT. 9 Comments
On the heels of the fresh open-source AMD Linux driver tests with Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Team Fortress 2, here are some numbers for these Steam Linux games on the open-source NVIDIA (Nouveau) graphics driver.

All of this testing is part of a proper open-source GPU comparison to be published in the next day or two and that will follow by some fresh proprietary driver results in the upcoming MSI Radeon R7 370 graphics card review. For this evening tests, here are results from a GeForce GTX 650, GTX 680, and GTX 750 Ti. The GTX 650 with Nouveau can successfully re-clock to its highest performance state (0f) while the GTX 680 would only work up to the mid-level (0a) and the GTX 750 Ti Maxwell doesn't yet have re-clocking support. The GTX 900 series couldn't be tested for lack of open-source acceleration support until NVIDIA releases the needed signed firmware images.
New Nouveau Linux Tests

These Nouveau tests were done with the Linux 4.1.1 kernel and Mesa 10.7-devel atop Ubuntu 15.04.
New Nouveau Linux Tests
The partially re-clocked GTX 680 led to a playable experience for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive while the GTX 650 at its highest performance state wouldn't be considered entirely playable at 1080p. The GTX 750 Ti stuck to its (low) boot frequencies are a problem for open-source gamers.
New Nouveau Linux Tests
The Team Fortress 2 frame-rates are higher and lead to a playable experience sans the GTX 750 Ti Maxwell.

While waiting for the big, featured comparison coming in the next day or two, you can look at more GTX 650/680/750 benchmark results via this result file.
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Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of 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 automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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