29-Way GPU Comparison On Linux From Kepler & Cypress To Today's Pascal & Vega

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Gaming on 1 June 2018 at 09:30 AM EDT. Page 1 of 8. 20 Comments.

Last week was a look at the latest Linux graphics drivers with current-generation graphics cards while for your viewing pleasure this Friday is a 29-way graphics card comparison. Using the very latest Linux graphics drivers, 29 distinct graphics cards were tested from current and recent generations of GPUs all the way back to the GeForce GTX 600 "Kepler" series on the NVIDIA side and on the AMD side was back to the Radeon HD 5800 "Cypress" hardware with a range of Linux games.

This testing offers a fresh look at how both old and new graphics cards are running on Linux with the very latest drivers. The drivers used was the NVIDIA 396.24 driver on the green side and on the AMD side was the latest Linux 4.17 Git kernel paired with the Padoka PPA providing Mesa 18.2-dev built against the LLVM 7.0 SVN AMDGPU back-end. For AMD GCN 1.0/1.1 graphics cards, the AMDGPU DRM driver was also employed rather than the Radeon DRM driver.

The system used for conducting all of these tests included the Intel Core i7 8700K at stock speeds and using the P-State performance governor, ASUS PRIME Z370-A motherboard, 16GB DDR4, 120GB Intel 760p Optane NVMe SSD, and the assortment of graphics cards tested. The operating system at play was Ubuntu 18.04 LTS with the the mentioned kernel/driver configurations for representing the very latest AMD/NVIDIA Linux graphics performance.

The graphics cards used for this round of benchmarking included:

- Radeon HD 5830
- Radeon HD 6870
- Radeon HD 6950
- Radeon HD 7850
- Radeon HD 7950
- Radeon R9 270X
- Radeon R9 285
- Radeon R9 290
- Radeon RX 460
- Radeon RX 550
- Radeon RX 560
- Radeon RX 580
- Radeon R9 Fury
- Radeon RX Vega 56
- Radeon RX Vega 64
- GeForce GTX 650
- GeForce GTX 680
- GeForce GTX 750
- GeForce GTX 760
- GeForce GTX 780 Ti
- GeForce GTX 950
- GeForce GTX 960
- GeForce GTX 980 Ti
- GeForce GTX 1050
- GeForce GTX 1060
- GeForce GTX 1070
- GeForce GTX 1070 Ti
- GeForce GTX 1080
- GeForce GTX 1080 Ti

Testing was done back to Kepler on the NVIDIA side as that's where the latest 396 series cuts off their oldest hardware support. On the AMD side meanwhile there continues to be the still actively maintained open-source driver support going back much further and for this testing ended with the Cypress HD 5830. I had attempted to go back even further on the open-source AMD side with testing the once performant Radeon HD 4870 and friends, but unfortunately the open-source support has regressed. Going back to RV770 era hardware with the latest Radeon Linux kernel DRM, the display would no longer light up once the DRM driver was loaded but worked fine during the boot process prior to the Direct Rendering Manager driver being initialized. These old GPUs previously worked fine with the same monitor and HDMI adapter, but seems to have regressed with little testing these days of the vintage graphics cards.

All of these 29 graphics cards were tested under a variety of Linux graphics benchmarks using the automated Phoronix Test Suite. This large graphics card comparison is part of the interesting tests for celebrating the 14th birthday of Phoronix.

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