Trying Out The Open-Source NVIDIA/Nouveau Driver Rework In Linux 4.3
Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 10 September 2015. Page 3 of 3. 5 Comments

While there may not be any major performance improvements to find with Linux 4.3 for Nouveau nor any better re-clocking, at least for some of these NVIDIA GPUs the performance is at an acceptable level for 1080p open-source gaming.

Well, there really aren't any performance changes out of the Nouveau re-worked driver for Linux 4.3 with the tested GeForce GTX 600/700 series graphics cards. Perhaps most importantly though I didn't encounter any regressions. Back a while, going between kernel releases with the Nouveau driver was like a game of Russian Roulette with not knowing what regressions would be present and even whether the display would light up and you'd see a correctly-rendered desktop. These days the Nouveau DRM driver appears a lot more stable and I haven't run into any show-stopping Nouveau regressions recently.

While there isn't full re-clocking support yet, at least for the tested higher-end NVIDIA GPUs when re-clocked to the mid-range (0a) performance state the open-source OpenGL 4.1 driver's performance was acceptable for 1080p gaming with basic Linux games. Albeit, it still would be a waste and inefficient buying an expensive NVIDIA GPU to only use it part-way for an unknown length of time until the big task of re-clocking is solved. Of course, it won't be until the re-clocking / power management is fully implemented that the Nouveau performance will go to competing with the proprietary NVIDIA driver. We're also still waiting on NVIDIA for simple hardware acceleration with the GeForce GTX 900 series due to needing the signed firmware images.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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