Nouveau Kepler On Linux 4.6 vs. NVIDIA's 364 Proprietary Driver

Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 4 April 2016 at 10:01 AM EDT. Page 1 of 3. 25 Comments.

We've already looked at the GeForce 900 series performance on Nouveau with the Linux 4.6 kernel that finally has the necessary bits for supporting 3D hardware acceleration on these Maxwell GPUs. Those GTX 900 series results didn't end up being particularly exciting since there isn't yet any re-clocking support on this open-source NVIDIA Linux driver. For complementing those results are some GeForce 600/700 "Kepler" graphics card results when comparing Nouveau on Linux 4.6 with Mesa 11.3-devel and using re-clocking then compared to the latest NVIDIA proprietary driver.

With Kepler GPUs on Nouveau there is at least static re-clocking support that can be enabled manually and with a very recent kernel release is generally stable. For this article I did tests out-of-the-box (no manual re-clocking), then re-clocking the graphics cards to their highest performance state (0f pstate), and then when using the same cards on the same system with the NVIDIA 364.12 proprietary driver.

Nouveau GTX Kepler Pstate Reclocking vs. Blob Linux 4.6 Testing

All the tests were done from an Intel Xeon E3-1280 v5 Skylake system and the tested graphics cards were the GeForce GTX 680, GTX 760, and GTX 780 Ti. Ubuntu 16.04 LTS x86_64 was the base operating system but with the manual upgrades to Mesa 11.3-dev via the Oibaf PPA and the Linux 4.6 Git kernel from the Ubuntu Mainline Kernel PPA. The OpenGL benchmarks for this article were all facilitated in a fully-automated and reproducible manner using the open-source Phoronix Test Suite benchmarking software.

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