AMD vs. NVIDIA Linux Gaming Performance For DiRT Showdown
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Gaming on 18 August 2015. Page 3 of 4. 42 Comments

DiRT Showdown quickly was performing better than I had anticipated given that it's an eON port. The mid-range, older NVIDIA graphics cards were performing better than anticipated and are certainly playable with lower image quality settings.

With low image quality settings, the higher-end graphics cards quickly became CPU bound -- it's too bad the game wasn't able to run properly at 4K for benchmarking... We'll see with future DiRT Showdown Linux updates whether the eON layer is optimized further and the performance goes up.

Once again, the Catalyst Linux driver disappoints with the performance of this game on the tested AMD Radeon graphics cards... The high-end Radeon R9 Fury was easily beaten out by various mid-to-high-end NVIDIA graphics cards by a long shot, even with low image quality settings. All of the tested AMD GPUs on Catalyst were running much slower than the GTX 760 that was performing at the upper-limit with the rest of the high-end NVIDIA GPUs.

With the higher-end graphics cards where the game was CPU bound at 1080p low image quality settings, the NVIDIA driver was topping out around 170 FPS while the Radeon hardware on the latest Catalyst Linux driver was topping out just above 100 to 110 FPS. The R9 Fury wasn't even the fastest with the older GCN GPUs squeezing by a few extra frames. This is similar to various other Steam Linux game tests published on Phoronix in the past where when limited by the CPU the Catalyst driver appears to have much greater overhead than the NVIDIA proprietary driver.

Sure, the higher-end AMD Radeon graphics cards are playable for this game on Linux at 1080p, but at 4K probably unlikely, and the fact remains the performance is a lot lower than using the proprietary NVIDIA graphics driver... It's sad how poorly AMD Catalyst does with this game considering on Windows, it's an AMD-optimized game, there is prominently the AMD logo when starting this game (even on Linux), and this game was given away with AMD graphics cards for a while. With the high quality preset at 1080p, the AMD graphics cards performed about the same level as the GTX 750 while all of the graphics cards seemed limited by the CPU (i7-5960X) with this eON Linux game port.

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