20-Way AMD / NVIDIA Linux Gaming Benchmarks For The 2018 Holidays

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Gaming on 18 November 2018. Page 1 of 7. 27 Comments

If you are hoping to pick-up a new graphics card during the upcoming holiday sales, here is a 20-way NVIDIA GeForce and AMD Radeon Linux gaming benchmark comparison using a wide assortment of GPUs while using the very newest graphics drivers and a variety of OpenGL/Vulkan titles.

In preparation for the Radeon RX 590 launch this week, I've been re-testing my available graphics cards on the latest AMD/NVIDIA drivers and newest kernel (unlike some Windows sites that may regurgitate their existing data points for months at a time, Phoronix tests are always done fresh on the current/latest components). But with the Radeon RX 590 currently being a dud on Linux with the current AMDGPU kernel code, I decided to keep testing including some older graphics cards to make for this twenty-way comparison ahead of Black Friday sales and the holidays.

All of these cards were tested from the Intel Core i9 9900K + ASUS PRIME Z390-A box running Ubuntu 18.10. On the NVIDIA side was their latest 415.13 driver release that just came out days ago. The NVIDIA graphics cards I decided to test with and what I had available, were the GeForce GTX 970, GTX 980, GTX 980 Ti, GTX 1060, GTX 1070, GTX 1070 Ti, GTX 1080, GTX 1080 Ti, RTX 2070, and RTX 2080 Ti. It's pretty complete for current relevant cards except for not having any GeForce RTX 2080.

On the AMD side there is Linux 4.19.2 + Mesa 19.0-devel built against LLVM 8.0 SVN (via the Padoka PPA) for the bleeding-edge open-source AMDGPU+RadeonSI/RADV driver stack. On that front the cards I used for testing were the Radeon HD 7950, R9 290, R7 370, RX 470, RX 480, RX 560, RX 580, R9 Fury, RX Vega 56, and RX Vega 64. Again limited by what I had available and the RX 590 Linux benchmarks meanwhile will hopefully be out in the days ahead when figuring out a workaround. With the GCN 1.0/1.1 hardware, they were booted with the Radeon/AMDGPU DRM parameters to enable the AMDGPU DRM code for testing in order to utilize RADV Vulkan driver support. The AMDGPU DRM worked out fine for these cards (HD 7950 / R9 290 / R7 370) except for the DisplayPort output not working (works fine with Radeon DRM) so had to switch over to HDMI that worked without issue. The GCN 1.0 hardware also had Vulkan errors for F1 2017 and Rise of the Tomb Raider.

All of these Linux gaming benchmarks were carried out using the Phoronix Test Suite. During this testing the Phoronix Test Suite was also monitoring the real-time AC system power consumption for generating accurate performance-per-Watt metrics, some of that data is included here while more will be in the upcoming RX 590 review. Likewise, in the RX 590 review will be performance-per-dollar metrics too.

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