OpenGL Performance & Performance-Per-Watt For NVIDIA GPUs From The Past 10 Years

Written by Michael Larabel in Graphics Cards on 19 January 2016. Page 1 of 9. 28 Comments

Curious how the raw OpenGL performance and power efficiency has improved going back a decade to the GeForce 8 days? In this article is a 27-way graphics card comparison testing graphics cards from each generation going from the GeForce 8 series through the GeForce GTX 900 series and ending with the $999 GeForce GTX TITAN X. If you are interested in how graphics card performance has evolved, this is a fun must-read article.

Last week I published an article looking at the OpenGL speed and perf-per-watt from the Radeon R600 GPUs through the R9 Fury while this article is the rough NVIDIA equivalent. With the NVIDIA comparison there are more graphics cards to test and thanks to NVIDIA's well-maintained legacy Linux drivers, it was easy going back and testing the older generations of GPUs. In fact, the testing went back all the way to the GeForce 6 series from 2004. However, the GeForce 6 hardware was left out for being too slow to compare to the modern NVIDIA GPUs, not being able to mode-set to 2560x1600, and only supporting OpenGL 2.1.

With going back to the GeForce 8 series, there is OpenGL 3.3 support via the NVIDIA 340.96 legacy binary driver. The 340.96 legacy Linux driver is still maintained for compatibility with modern Linux distributions and was the driver used for the pre-Fermi graphics cards. For the GeForce GTX 400 "Fermi" graphics cards and newer, the latest NVIDIA 361.18 binary driver was used. Ubuntu 15.10 64-bit with the Linux 4.2 kernel and X.Org Server 1.17.2 was used for all of this benchmarking.

The NVIDIA graphics cards that I had available for testing with this article included:

GeForce 8500GT 256MB - Gigabyte
GeForce 8600GT 256MB - ASUS
GeForce 8500GTS 256MB - Gigabyte
GeForce 8800GT 256MB - ECS
GeForce 9600GSO 512MB - XFX
GeForce 9800GT 512MB - MSI
GeForce 9800GTX 512MB - NVIDIA
GeForce GT 220 1024MB - XFX
GeForce GT 240 512MB - ECS
GeForce GTX 460 768MB - NVIDIA
GeForce GT 520 1GB - eVGA
GeForce GTX 550 Ti 1GB - eVGA
GeForce GT 610 1GB - Zotac
GeForce GTX 650 1GB - MSI
GeForce GTX 680 2GB - NVIDIA
GeForce GT 740 1GB - eVGA
GeForce GTX 750 1GB - eVGA
GeForce GTX 750 Ti 1GB - NVIDIA
GeForce GTX 760 2GB - NVIDIA
GeForce GTX 770 2GB - NVIDIA
GeForce GTX 780 Ti 3GB - NVIDIA
GeForce GTX 950 2GB - eVGA
GeForce GTX 960 2GB - eVGA
GeForce GTX 970 4GB - eVGA
GeForce GTX 980 4GB - NVIDIA
GeForce GTX 980 Ti 6GB - NVIDIA

So it's a fun line-up from NVIDIA's graphics cards from GeForce 8 hardware released in 2006 through all of the modern Maxwell graphics cards. More details on the next page, but before getting too far, consider joining Phoronix Premium if you wish to support all of the tests that happen under Linux and other alternative operating systems at Phoronix. Premium also allows you to see these large articles all on a single page while being ad-free for less than $3 USD per month. This week we are also running a special discounted deal for new premium members.

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