2014 Year-End NVIDIA Linux Benchmark Comparison

Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 25 December 2014 at 09:00 AM EST. Page 1 of 6. 1 Comment.

Yesterday I finished up my testing and publishing of results concerning the 2014 AMD Catalyst Linux Graphics Benchmarks while today's Christmas Day results are of the similar tests on the NVIDIA side. Our 2014 Christmas benchmarking is running tests on all of the major NVIDIA Linux driver releases of the year.

While on the AMD side there were just three official driver releases in 2014 (Catalyst 14.4, 14.9, and 14.12), on the NVIDIA side there were many more driver updates... NVIDIA continues to do a splendid job of maintaining multiple driver branches for their frequent and stable drivers, along with continuing to maintain multiple legacy driver branches for their older hardware that is still maintained for modern Linux kernel and X.Org Server releases along with important bug-fixes.

For this article today, the major driver releases of the year for their mainline driver were benchmarked while ignoring some of the later drivers in each series that just shipped bug-fixes or new kernel / xorg-server support after a new driver series was already in beta or stable. The tested NVIDIA drivers for this article include the 331.38, 334.16, 337.12, 337.19, 340.17, 343.13, 343.22, 346.16, and 346.22 Linux x86_64 drivers. The 331 series was the last driver series from late 2013 for reference. The graphics card used for today's testing was a GeForce GTX 780 Ti (Kepler) graphics card as being a high performance GPU that's compatible with all of the driver releases tested throughout the year.

In terms of features introduced this year, the 334 series added 64-bit EGL and OpenGL ES support, RandR improvements, and other minor work. The NVIDIA 337 Linux series finally added over-clocking support for Fermi/Kepler/Maxwell graphics processors to their driver. Next up was the NVIDIA 340 series from over the summer and it delivered on initial G-SYNC Linux support. The NVIDIA 343 Linux series launched in August and it delivered on improved EGL support, many bug-fixes, and dropping of pre-Fermi hardware support. The current driver series that Linux (and Solaris and BSD) users are on is the 346.xx series and it brought VP8 decoding, NVENC encode support, GTK3 support, and other exciting improvements. The NVIDIA 346 series added a lot of new functionality and it was a great driver to end out 2014.

NVIDIA 2014 Linux Benchmarks

For our performance tests in this comparison with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti, the Phoronix Test Suite was used to run a number of OpenGL and OpenCL benchmarks in a fully-automated and reproducible manner. Tests were done from an Intel Core i7 4790K system running 64-bit Ubuntu 13.10 with the Linux 3.11 kernel for compatibility with all NVIDIA binary drivers tested for this comparison.

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