NVIDIA Linux 2008 Year in Review

Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 16 December 2008 at 05:25 PM EST.

There were a few OpenGL tests where the performance of NVIDIA's binary Linux drivers had improved this year, but the main area of improvement when it comes to performance was with the 2D / X Render support. In both GtkPerf and QGears2 there was dramatically better performance in the more recent driver releases thanks to many optimizations from this Santa Clara company. The only area there was major performance regressions worth noting were in a few of the WINE tests.

Aside from the performance, this year the NVIDIA Linux driver has most notably picked up support for the Video Decode and Presentation API for Unix, which is terrific for offloading the video decoding process and related tasks to the GPU instead of the CPU. Using a $20 processor and $30 graphics card we were even able to watch HD videos on Linux. There weren't many new features made available this year in the NVIDIA Linux driver when compared to AMD, but of course NVIDIA has already had CoolBits, Scalable Link Interface, and other features in all of their drivers for quite a while. What we still have yet to see from NVIDIA, however, is any open-source strategy.

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Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.