Saints Row On Linux Is The Latest Linux Game Showing Off Driver Issues

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Gaming on 22 December 2015 at 08:18 AM EST. 43 Comments
The two latest Saints Row games were released for Linux yesterday. While many were initially excited about these open-world games coming to Linux, many haven't been able to enjoy the experience due to driver issues.

Saints Row IV for Linux is listed as needing at least a GeForce GT 440 or a Radeon HD 6670. The minimum driver recommendation is the NVIDIA 352+ graphics driver or Catalyst 15.9+. It's explicitly mentioned that Mesa drivers are not supported right now. The game porters recommend though having at least a GeForce GTX 660 or Radeon HD 6970 with the proprietary drivers.

Saints Row: Gat out of Hell has the same Linux/SteamOS system requirements as Saints Row IV. The Saints Row game were ported to Linux by Virtual Programming with their controversial eON wrapper layer. In the comments to yesterday's article it didn't take long before people began sharing their Linux graphics driver issues when trying to run either game.

Karol Herbst commented, "well using nouveau I get only 33% perf full reclocked compared to the blob (other games are usually around 70%) :/."

Another wrote, "Playing the game with glorious 8-30 FPS on low setting swith radeonsi on an i7 3632QM and HD 7970M. GPU load is mostly [less than] 20%, buffer wait time is almost never 0."

And another Linux gamer using the open-source AMD driver (RadeonSI) was also complaining, "low fps and gpu usage on radeonsi."

With the proprietary driver, the experience seems better, "A simple Nvidia GTX 650 Ti can play Saints Row IV @ 1080p with medium settings always faster than 30 fps. The cutscenes seem to use 30 fps but gameplay is over 40." Another Phoronix reader using NVIDIA Linux commented, "SRIV works fairly well for me on GTX 970 + i7 940, I run on High and only occasionally get a stutter."

Another green Linux gamer commented, "The port doesn't seem too bad, running on a 980ti at 1440p and high settings it averages around 50fps. I do get some stuttering though, but I seem to remember the Windows version was like that too."

This is sadly like most any other high profile Linux game launch... Those using the NVIDIA binary driver will be in great shape, using Catalyst will be hit-or-miss, and with the open-source Nouveau/Radeon/Intel drivers there are troubles. At least hopefully with the open-source drivers there are good chances they will get some fixes soon enough.

I am unaware of any benchmark mode in Saints Row, so unless any Phoronix readers with these games are able to chime in on the automated testing possibilities, there are no tests of these games planned for any driver/GPU comparison at Phoronix.
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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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