The Extreme Cases Where A NVIDIA GTX 950 Can Outperform An AMD R9 Fury On Linux OpenGL
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Gaming on 20 August 2015. Page 2 of 2. 55 Comments

BioShock Infinite was rolled out for Linux earlier in March and makes use of OpenGL 4 in its Linux port. Ever since the game launched for Linux, the NVIDIA performance has been much better than AMD. While almost a half-year has passed, AMD hasn't rolled out any Catalyst Linux driver that seems to put its hardware in proper standing for this popular game.

DiRT Showdown was just released for Linux earlier this week. This game using eON in my initial benchmarks was favoring the NVIDIA graphics but it seems more optimization work is still needed for this game. When running at 1080p with ultra image quality settings and 2x MSAA, the GTX 950 was a tiny bit faster than the Sapphire R9 Fury... But at least when increasing that to 8x MSAA, the more powerful Fiji GPU was beginning to run in front. Note though that the minimum frame-rate is much higher with the GTX 950: 54 FPS vs. 41 FPS.

The SuperTuxKart open-source racing game powered by the Antarctica OpenGL 3 engine runs much faster with NVIDIA graphics than Linux to the point that the GTX 950 performance is nearly doubled that of the R9 Fury.

Xonotic with more demanding visual settings will favor AMD Catalyst with the R9 Fury, but with low image quality settings, the lower-overhead NVIDIA Linux graphics driver allows the GeForce GTX 950 to run in front. Also note that the GTX 950 had a minimum frame-rate of 217 FPS while the R9 Fury bottomed out at 175 FPS.

Those were the tests run today where the GeForce GTX 950 came out ahead of the Radeon R9 Fury, though there's others on Steam for Linux (such as Shadow of Mordor) where the GTX 950 would have still come out ahead, but weren't tested for the games lacking automated testing support so that they could be driven in a reliable and reproducible way via the Phoronix Test Suite. There's also other cases like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive for Linux still lacking much-needed a Catalyst profile by AMD, even though that game has been out since last year. Don't forget that all the initial Steam Machines are using NVIDIA graphics for a reason. If you want to see the rest of the tests run where at least this $550+ graphics card performs stronger as it should, you can see this OpenBenchmarking.org result file.

I hope soon AMD will be able to roll out a much-improved Catalyst Linux driver that's able to make it much more competitive for Linux OpenGL workloads -- part of the reason for blatant articles like these is to increase the public pressure for change. If there were any cases under Microsoft Windows where the GTX 950 could beat out the Radeon R9 Fury, heads would probably already have been rolling at AMD. It will be also interesting to see their Vulkan Linux performance, but that still won't do any good for the hundreds of Steam Linux games that will never see a port to this next-generation graphics API.

If you didn't already, be sure to read this morning's GeForce GTX 950 Linux review for many more graphics card benchmarks. Coming up next will be some performance-per-dollar Linux benchmarks of different graphics cards for finding the GPU with the best value for Linux/SteamOS gamers.

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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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