Nouveau Linux 4.14 + Mesa 17.4-dev vs. NVIDIA
Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 5 November 2017. Page 1 of 3. 23 Comments

It's been a while since last posting any open-source NVIDIA (Nouveau) benchmarks compared to the official NVIDIA proprietary Linux graphics driver simply as there hasn't been too much progress to report on recently. There still isn't re-clocking for Maxwell 2 and Pascal GPUs, dynamic re-clocking remains unimplemented for earlier generations of GPUs, there is not a Nouveau Vulkan driver yet, and they remain tackling OpenGL 4.4~4.5 compliance. But for those wondering how the performance of Nouveau is with re-clocked Kepler / Maxwell 1 graphics cards, here are some fresh benchmarks of the very latest NVIDIA Linux drivers.

On the Nouveau side was the Linux 4.14 Git kernel paired with Mesa 17.4-devel from the Padoka PPA on Ubuntu 17.10. The NVIDIA proprietary driver used for testing was the NVIDIA 387.22 driver release. The graphics cards tested were the GeForce GTX 750 (Maxwell 1) and then the Kepler-based GTX 760 and GTX 780 Ti. These GPUs were used since they are the most recent NVIDIA graphics processors that can be manually re-clocked to their highest performance state "pstate". These GPUs also happen to be the last not requiring any signed firmware images for acceleration and thus the very latest discrete GPUs currently available from either AMD or NVIDIA that do not require any binary microcode blobs for use with their open-source driver stacks.

As a refresher, /sys/kernel/debug/dri/0/pstate on recent versions of the Linux kernel show the available performance states for Kepler and Maxwell 1 GPUs and writing "0f" will yield the highest performance state available for supported GPUs.

These latest open-source Nouveau vs. NVIDIA OpenGL Linux benchmarks were carried out using the Phoronix Test Suite on a few different games/benchmarks that run correctly with the NVC0 Gallium3D driver.

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