AMD & NVIDIA: Open vs. Closed-Source Driver Performance

Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 9 January 2017. Page 4 of 4. 27 Comments
Nouveau AMDGPU Linux 4.10 Mesa 13.1-dev Open vs. Closed Benchmarks

With ultra quality settings for Xonotic, the open vs. closed driver performance on the Radeon side is matched.

Nouveau AMDGPU Linux 4.10 Mesa 13.1-dev Open vs. Closed Benchmarks

As well as with Furmark there is comparable performance between the AMD Linux drivers but sadly not with NVIDIA Linux drivers.

Assuming you are not new to the Linux scene, these numbers probably don't surprise you. The Nouveau developers can be applauded for their effort with this work that's largely done by the community through reverse-engineering and limited documentation / technical information from NVIDIA Corp, their Kepler support remains where their support is currently in best shape, and it's just a shame NVIDIA doesn't do more to help out this open-source graphics driver besides their focused contributions on Tegra GPU support. As the AMD numbers show, open-source drivers built atop DRM and Mesa/Gallium3D do have the potential to perform as well as the closed-source drivers with enough time and investment. But, of course, AMD still has more work to do in making both of their Linux drivers more competitive with NVIDIA when using the NV proprietary driver on their latest hardware.

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Michael Larabel

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