NVIDIA GeForce 400 "Fermi" Series On Nouveau
Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 29 March 2011. Page 7 of 7. Add A Comment

VDrift continues to be interesting for the open-source drivers, but even for NVC0 the official binary driver continues churning out more frames per second.

The Nouveau developers can be applauded for reverse-engineering and bringing up NVIDIA GeForce 400 "Fermi" support -- with Gallium3D OpenGL acceleration -- less than a year after the first graphics cards were launched, but this support is clearly not ready for end-users yet. Besides the matter of needing to extract the firmware yourself from the NVIDIA binary driver as a temporary hurdle, the OpenGL performance is very poor compared to the proprietary driver and even the Nouveau Gallium3D drivers for previous generations of graphics processors. The system had also crashed a few times and there were some OpenGL rendering problems as noted.

It is unfortunate that NVIDIA Corp has not yet decided to develop an open-source strategy and/or stand behind the Nouveau driver to provide support in kind, but at least the Nouveau developers are making progress. Hopefully by year's end the Nouveau NVC0/Fermi outlook will be more positive with a pleasurable "out of the box" experience, which would put it around the Linux 2.6.41/2.6.42 kernel and Mesa 7.12.

As this testing was done with the Phoronix Test Suite these results can be further analyzed on OpenBenchmarking.org in the 1103289-GR-NOUVEAUFE13 and 1103285-GR-1103280GR56 result files. The GeForce GTX 485M results will be out in the coming days, along with CPU usage results, but these figures are not anymore promising for Nouveau.

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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 10,000 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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