The Initial Performance Of NVIDIA's R515 Open-Source Linux GPU Kernel Driver
The GPU compute testing of the RTX 3090 between these two R515 kernel driver options was a similar story to the game tests. Across OpenCL, CUDA, and OptiX testing, the kernel drivers yielded similar performance within ~2% in many areas but for some workloads the proprietary driver came out ahead.
The proprietary kernel driver was tending to deliver slightly better performance across these GPU compute tests than the initial open-source driver release.
Aside from the proprietary driver generally having a 2~3% advantage advantage (or more in select cases) over the initial NVIDIA open-source kernel driver release, there were not any stability issues or other obstacles I saw with the RTX 3090 on this R515 beta release. So for being "alpha quality", it was a better experience than I initially anticipated. I was thinking that the performance penalties would have been more broad and much greater, but they were manageable in this early state of the NVIDIA kernel driver code.
Those wanting to dig through all the NVIDIA R515 compute benchmarks in full I ran, see this OpenBenchmarking.org result file. I'll certainly be repeating more NVIDIA open-source kernel driver tests as this new driver offering matures. In any event this is much better than what is currently acheivable with the open-source Nouveau driver for Ampere -- there is just kernel mode-setting (display) support right now. Last month NVIDIA did post the signed firmware images for Ampere that the Nouveau driver can use to work on hardware initialization needed for 3D support, but there will be a situation like Turing of no re-clocking support yet and thus very subpar performance... It will be interesting though when Nouveau makes use of the GPU System Processor (GSP) or rather focus just on their Mesa driver work and perhaps directly focus on the NVIDIA open-source kernel driver moving forward.
If you missed it yesterday, see yesterday's article for all the details on NVIDIA's new open-source Linux GPU kernel modules.
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