Nouveau With Mesa 7.9 Is Better, But Still Slow

Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 6 October 2010. Page 2 of 3. 26 Comments

With the games we ran them at 800 x 600, 1024 x 768, 1280 x 1024, 1600 x 1200, and 1920 x 1200 to look at how the performance scales. Although OpenArena is not exactly a demanding OpenGL game, this ioquake3-powered title ran fine with the Nouveau Gallium3D driver and produced playable frame-rates for both the GeForce 8600GTS and 9800GTX. However, the Gallium3D performance for the hardware was well below that when running NVIDIA's proprietary driver. The 8600GTS / 9800GTX performance was close to the same, but the NV84 GPU was actually faster by a small margin, which should not be with a properly functioning driver. The Nouveau driver was running about 30% the speed of the NVIDIA driver for the 8600GTS and had just 18% the speed for the 9800GTX.

With World of Padman we could just run it at 800 x 600 and 1024 x 768 due to stability issues with the Nouveau driver in this game, but as you can see with the Nouveau driver the 8600GTS remains faster than the 9800GTX and both cards are running at less than a quarter the speed of the NVIDIA driver. Fortunately, with the very non-demanding OpenGL games that are popular with free software purists, the Nouveau driver is still able to provide a playable experience for the user.

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