Nouveau: Mesa 13.0 vs. 17.0 vs. 17.1-devel OpenGL Benchmarks

Written by Michael Larabel in Nouveau on 11 February 2017 at 09:30 AM EST. 3 Comments
Having now published RADV/RadeonSI Mesa 17.0 benchmarks and Intel i965/ANV Mesa 17.0 benchmarks compared to Mesa 13.0 and 17.1-devel, here are now benchmarks of the Nouveau NVC0 Gallium3D driver for seeing how this open-source NVIDIA 3D driver performs on the imminent Mesa 17.0 release.

With Mesa 17.0, OpenGL 4.3 is still exposed by NVC0 even though it implements all the OpenGL 4.5 extensions, it doesn't yet pass the GL CTS. But at least with Mesa 17.0, NVIDIA Maxwell support goes from OpenGL 4.1 to 4.3. There are also other new features to Mesa 17.0.
Nouveau Mesa 17.0 Benchmarking

I ran some Mesa 13.0 vs. 17.0 vs. 17.1-devel tests with a GeForce GTX 680, GTX 780 Ti, and GTX 980 Ti. Of course, couldn't test any GTX 1050/1060/1070/1080 Pascal hardware as there's no accelerated Nouveau support until NVIDIA releases the needed signed firmware images... Only the GTX 980 Ti was tested of the Maxwell family since there is no re-clocking support there yet with Linux 4.10. And then the NVIDIA Kepler support with the GTX 680 and GTX 780 Ti remain best-off on Nouveau since at least there is manual re-clocking support and with 4.10 there is the boost support. For this testing, the GTX 680 and GTX 780 Ti were re-clocked to the 0f performance state and the NvBoost value was set to 2.
Nouveau Mesa 17.0 Benchmarking

Thus the GTX 600/700 Kepler cards when re-clocked remain faster than the GTX 900 Maxwell series. Maxwell re-clocking unfortunately isn't coming to Linux 4.11, but we can always hope it will for Linux 4.12... Along with Pascal consumer card support.
Nouveau Mesa 17.0 Benchmarking

The GTX 680 and GTX 780 Ti don't see much of a performance change when going from Mesa 13.0 to 17.0+, unfortunately. The GeForce GTX 980 Ti though is noticeably faster with Mesa 17.0.
Nouveau Mesa 17.0 Benchmarking

While crippled due to the lack of re-clocking, the NVIDIA Maxwell performance is faster with Mesa 17.0 due to the the instruction pipelining work that landed for 17.0 and was accomplished by Samuel Pitoiset.
Nouveau Mesa 17.0 Benchmarking

All Maxwell hardware on Mesa 17.0 should be much faster thanks to this work by Samuel. But still it's a messy situation without re-clocking.
Nouveau Mesa 17.0 Benchmarking

Team Fortress 2 is playable with this open-source NVIDIA driver.
Nouveau Mesa 17.0 Benchmarking

Those wanting to explore more of these OpenGL Mesa 17.0 Nouveau test results can swing by this result file.
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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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