Nouveau With Boost Patches Are Now Competitive To Radeon/AMDGPU With RadeonSI

Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 20 April 2016 at 11:18 AM EDT. Page 1 of 4. 26 Comments.

Last week I published benchmarks showing Nouveau's "boost" patches offering much performance potential compared to the current state of the open-source NVIDIA Linux graphics driver but generally still not enough performance to compete with NVIDIA's proprietary Linux graphics driver. I've since carried out some fresh open-source AMD Linux results for reference to see how the NVIDIA vs. AMD GPU open-source speeds are comparing.

For this article were the NVIDIA Kepler results from the previous article when testing out Karol Herbst's yet-to-be-merged patches for the boost/re-clocking support. The results were when manually re-clocked to the 0f performance state and set to the second boost level. See that earlier article for more details. The Nouveau tree was based on the Linux 4.5 kernel while this work will not be mainlined until Linux 4.7~4.8. During the Nouveau testing and also on the AMD side was Mesa 11.3-devel as of last week when using the Padoka PPA on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. During the Radeon tests, the Linux 4.6 Git kernel was used as of 13 April.

On the NVIDIA side was the GeForce GTX 680, GTX 760, and GTX 780 Ti due to the Kepler re-clocking support with Nouveau. On the AMD side I tested the Radeon R9 285, R9 290, R7 370, and R9 Fury.

Nouveau Linux Boost Testing vs. RadeonSI Gallium3D

Aside from the mentioned graphics stack and kernel changes, all other settings were with their Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus defaults during benchmarking. All of these tests were driven in a fully-automated and reproducible manner using the open-source Phoronix Test Suite benchmarking software.

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