Is The Open-Source NVIDIA Driver Fast Enough For Steam On Linux Gaming?

Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 19 November 2014. Page 3 of 3. 33 Comments

Team Fortress 2 puts less strain on the graphics processor than Counter-Strike: Global Offensive so for this Valve Linux game at 1080p even the GTX 650 was very playable but, of course, these GPUs were still coming up short of the Fermi/Kepler performance potential.

There you have the basic TF2/CS:GO performance numbers for modern NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards with Nouveau from Linux 3.18 and Mesa 10.4-devel with re-clocking done for the supported GPUs. The Fermi graphics cards were far from playable on the open-source driver with the lack of re-clocking but for the higher-end Kepler graphics cards at their 0a performance state (and the GTX 650 reaching the highest 0f state) were at least able to push above 60 FPS at 1080p for the two Source Engine games. Of all my Kepler graphics cards (beyond just the ones used in this article), the only card that's been capable for me of hitting the highest pstate when re-clocking is the GeForce GTX 650.

Coming up next are the proprietary NVIDIA driver numbers tossed into the mix for the same test setup to put the open-source driver performance into better perspective.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of 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 automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via TwitterLinkedIn,> or contacted via