Nouveau "Boost" Patches Show Much Performance Potential
Karol Herbst has been one of the independent developers leading the charge to improve Nouveau re-clocking support. Within his Git tree he's been queuing up re-clocking and voltage handling improvements for this reverse-engineered NVIDIA Linux driver. He's hoping the improved re-clocking code will be ready for the Linux 4.7~4.8 kernel, but I decided to try out his Git tree this week for some benchmarking of this experimental support.
Karol's Git tree contains patches for allowing the NVIDIA Kepler graphics cards to hit their boost performance states. Details on this current support and Git tree can be found via this earlier article. For today's benchmarking, I used Karol Herbst's Git tree from this week using the nouveau_4.5_reclocking branch. I tested with both the default boost value of 1 as well as a boost value of 2 while each graphics card was manually re-clocked to the 0f perf.
The boost states were then compared to the Linux 4.6 Git kernel with the manual re-clocking to the 0f performance state. There was also NVIDIA 364.15 proprietary driver tests for reference. During all of the Nouveau testing, Mesa 11.3-devel from the Padoka PPA was used.
The Kepler graphics cards used for testing included the GTX 680, GTX 760, and GTX 780 Ti. Ubuntu 16.04 LTS was the base operating system aside from the upgraded kernels and Mesa during the Nouveau testing.