The Tighter NVIDIA GeForce vs. AMD Radeon Linux Gaming Battle With 396.54 + Mesa 18.3-dev Drivers
Last week NVIDIA released the 396.54 driver that has a significant performance fix for OpenGL/Vulkan Linux performance due to a resource leak regression introduced at the start of the 390 driver series. With that updated driver (also as of yesterday back-ported to 390.87 too), there is a measurable boost in performance after running a few games on NVIDIA Linux systems. But at the same time, the Mesa 18.3-dev open-source graphics driver stack with RadeonSI/RADV continues improving on the open-source AMD front. Here is a fresh look at how the latest AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards compare using these latest drivers.
From an Intel Core i7 8086K box running Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, tests were done on the NVIDIA side with this new 396.54 driver release while the graphics cards tested were the GeForce GTX 1060, GTX 1070, GTX 1070 Ti, GTX 1080, and GTX 1080 Ti. On the Radeon side for the bleeding-edge driver support was the Linux 4.19 Git kernel as of 21 August that has the brand new AMDGPU improvements for this kernel release and was also paired with Mesa 18.3-dev built against LLVM 8.0 SVN using the Padoka PPA. The Radeon graphics cards tested were the RX 580, RX Vega 56, and RX Vega 64. Tests were done on the same system and all other settings/hardware remained the same throughout the benchmarking process.
Via the Phoronix Test Suite a range of OpenGL and Vulkan Linux games were benchmarked for seeing how this slew of graphics cards compare on their latest drivers atop Ubuntu Linux. It's quite a straight-forward comparison so let's get right to these latest numbers.