4K AMD/NVIDIA High-End GPU Comparison On SteamOS Linux

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Gaming on 26 October 2015 at 09:00 AM EDT. Page 7 of 7. 41 Comments.
Benchmark Result

The GTX 950 led in performance-per-dollar value, but its average FPS throughout all of the tests was just 53. The GeForce GTX 970 had an average frame-rate of 84 FPS as being mostly playable at 4K. The R9 290 shows as having the best value of the AMD cards tested, but its average throughout all of these 4K tests was just above 60 FPS (69).

Benchmark Result

With last week's 22-way comparison of AMD and NVIDIA graphics cards on SteamOS, NVIDIA easily stole the cake. The Radeon performance was awful due to the poor state of the Catalyst OpenGL Linux driver. With these SteamOS 2.0 Brewmaster benchmarks at 4K, it's still a mega embarrassment for AMD, but not quite as bad. With these 4K Linux OpenGL gaming results, AMD hardware had their sole win when it came to matching the NVIDIA performance in the largely CPU-bound Team Fortress 2 game. In the other tests, the expensive Radeon R9 Fury was generally running around the speed of a GeForce GTX 680, yes, the original Kepler high-end graphics card while in some tests it was up near the (still cheaper) GTX 960~970.

Benchmark Result

If I were to buy a graphics card right now for Linux gaming with SteamOS or another distribution and to use the proprietary drivers, it would be either the GeForce GTX 970 or higher given the results we've seen today. The GeForce GTX 970 was delivering playable frame-rates and in good standing under Linux. There's also some GTX 970 graphics cards available in compact form factors to fit into SFF PCs for the living room. Obviously if you want to be future-proof and play new Linux games as they come out, the GeForce GTX 980 series will be able to hold their ground for a while.

Again, if you enjoy Linux articles like these, please consider subscribing to Phoronix Premium or making a PayPal tip to make more articles possible. Coming later this week are these SteamOS benchmarks with the proprietary graphics drivers to the same system running Ubuntu 15.10 while upgrading to the Linux 4.3 kernel, Mesa 11.1-devel Git, and LLVM 3.8 SVN for the newest Nouveau/Radeon open-source driver performance for gaming.

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About The Author
Michael Larabel

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.