Open-Source NVIDIA Driver Approaches Stable State
Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 13 April 2012. Page 5 of 12. 9 Comments

The first graphics test profile up was Doom 3. Unfortunately, there were libGL issues with the NVIDIA binary Linux driver so these are just the results from the Nouveau Gallium3D. Due to the re-clocking issues, some graphics cards performed quite poorly. For example, the GeForce GTX 460 Fermi was slower than the very old GeForce 8500GT! The GeForce 8 series is better optimized overall than Fermi in Nouveau due to its mature state, but the GTX 460 was crippled because while it could clock to the 675MHz core level, the video memory was causing a huge bottleneck when operating at just 135MHz instead of 1800MHz, but again, it is the Nouveau driver at fault. The GeForce GTX 550 Ti also had this same problem as the GTX 460 with its GDDR5 video memory being bound to 324MHz while the binary blob had it operating at 2178MHz. The fastest graphics card running Doom 3 was the GeForce 9800GTX at 54 FPS, which at 1920 x 1080 is decent for being an open-source driver. The GeForce 8600GTS and GeForce 9800GT were the only other NVIDIA graphics cards with Gallium3D that could push this id Tech 4 game with low-quality settings above 30 FPS. The new Nouveau libdrm code should hopefully help improve these numbers quite noticeably.

When dropping the Doom 3 resolution to a mere 1024 x 768, the numbers are obviously elevated but still some of the graphics cards are disappointingly slow due to the Nouveau driver in the Linux 3.4 kernel failing to properly re-clock.


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