Low-End NVIDIA/AMD GPU Comparison On Open-Source Drivers

Written by Michael Larabel in Graphics Cards on 27 February 2013. Page 5 of 5. 9 Comments

The Xonotic performance was also good for nearly all of the graphics cards on the open-source drivers, but this came at running a resolution of just 1024 x 768.

Hopefully these reference numbers are useful if you're looking towards a low-end graphics card for use with the open-source Linux graphics drivers. In general, any Radeon HD 4000 through Radeon HD 6000 series graphics card should be in fairly good shape on the AMD side. There are occasional regressions, but not generally anything too threatening. Sadly, still missing though from the open-source Radeon driver is any friendly power management support and UVD video playback is also still absent. For this newer hardware, the Catalyst driver is also much faster as the results in March will demonstrate.

On the Nouveau side for open-source NVIDIA, the game of Russian Roulette continues. With the Linux 3.8 kernel and latest Mesa configuration, the GeForce 8 series hardware regressed more than I'm used to seeing, the GeForce 9 series generally did the best though re-clocking still isn't polished or available by default, and there were still some problems in the GeForce 200 series. For Fermi/Kepler, the support is there, but there's no form of re-clocking so overall the performance tends to be very low because of being forced to run the core/shader/memory at the (low) speeds they were set to by the video BIOS at boot time.

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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.