4-Way Nouveau Benchmarks On Linux 3.12, Mesa 9.3
Earlier this week on Phoronix were the results of an 11-way AMD Radeon GPU comparison using the Linux 3.12 kernel and Mesa 9.3-devel. Coming out today are the results for a four-way NVIDIA GeForce graphics card comparison using the Nouveau driver on Linux 3.12 / Mesa 9.3-devel. Sadly, this comparison is smaller than the open-source Radeon comparison since the reverse-engineered Nouveau driver was very buggy in its current configuration.
While I have more than a dozen NVIDIA graphics cards at my disposal, only a four-way NVIDIA GPU comparison could be done on Linux 3.12 + Mesa 9.3-devel as the code in its tested state -- the same revisions as used for the AMD Radeon testing -- were very problematic. Nouveau DRM errors were frequent for many of the graphics cards that were attempted. The most problematic were the GeForce 8/9 "NV50" graphics cards that traditionally have been the most reliable for this reverse-engineered NVIDIA driver. Running the most reliably on the tested code were the GeForce 400/500/600 Fermi and Kepler hardware, but for those GPUs the Nouveau driver doesn't support any re-clocking at all so they tend to run at rather low frequencies.
The GPUs that were successfully tested for this article today included the NVIDIA GeForce 9500GT, GeForce GT 220, GeForce GTX 550 Ti, and GeForce GTX 680. For the pre-Fermi hardware where Nouveau re-clocking is "supported" it was attempted and did work for some GPUs. The clock frequencies used during testing are indicated on the system table below.
The same OpenGL benchmarks and other tests from the same Core i7 4770K system were used for this Nouveau testing as in this week's Radeon testing, so let's jump straight to the results.