NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 On Linux: OpenGL, OpenCL, Vulkan Performance
Written by Michael Larabel in Graphics Cards on 4 June 2016. Page 2 of 11. 57 Comments

Linux Driver Support

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 is supported under Linux via the NV proprietary driver as of 367.18 Beta, which was released in the middle of May. This puts the support basically on par with Kepler and Maxwell cards under Linux. In my few days of testing there's been one exception seen so far, which is detailed below.


It appears there isn't any Pascal overclocking support yet with NVIDIA's 367 driver. After adding the necessary CoolBits option for NVIDIA overclocking on Linux (or CoolBits "1" now with the latest driver), I wasn't able to get to the area in the NVIDIA-Settings panel for adjusting the clock frequencies under Linux. We'll see if Pascal overclocking comes to the Linux driver in a future update; particularly for Fermi, it took quite a while before seeing any overclocking support on Linux. Thus for now all of our GeForce GTX 1080 benchmarks were at stock speeds.

Open-Source Support

At the moment there is no open-source driver support for the GeForce GTX 1070/1080. I heard NVIDIA did send out a GeForce GTX 1080 to Ben Skeggs, the Nouveau DRM maintainer at Red Hat, in order to jump-start the Pascal efforts for Nouveau. However, it will likely be some time before seeing any fruits of that work. But about as much as Ben can do right now would be the kernel mode-setting support as the hardware acceleration will again be blocked by NVIDIA until releasing the signed firmware images. As NVIDIA started doing with Maxwell, they are signing all of their firmware blobs and this has continued with Pascal. While for older generations the Nouveau driver has been able to self-generate the needed firmware, due to these design changes at NVIDIA it's no longer possible. That's why Nouveau developers called the hardware now very open-source un-friendly.

It was just a few months ago that NVIDIA released the Maxwell firmware and while they will hopefully have a better turn-around time with Pascal, from everything I can tell it may still be months before seeing the Pascal blobs. Even with Maxwell now having the firmware files, the Nouveau driver doesn't yet support re-clocking and there are complications there with the PMU firmware. Until the GPU clocks can be ramped up to their rated frequency, the acceleration support offered by this reverse-engineered driver is not useful for gamers or anyone wanting to fully utilize their GPU. So long story short, don't count on seeing any usable open-source Nouveau driver support for Pascal for quite some time. If you are spending anything close to $699 on the GPU, you will want to be using the NVIDIA proprietary driver for the foreseeable future.


Many Phoronix readers have been wondering about the Video Decode and Presentation API for Unix (VDPAU) support with this graphics card. For those wondering about the full decode capabilities, here is vdpauinfo on the GTX 1080.


There are several OpenCL benchmarks in this article. Everything was working out great on the OpenCL front. If you want to see the exact details there, here is the clinfo on the GTX 1080.


Everything has been working great with Vulkan, at least for the two available Linux games right now of The Talos Principle and Dota 2.


The OpenGL 4.5 support is great on the GeForce GTX 1080 under Linux. No Pascal bugs I've run into yet and obviously this is the primary focus of today's test results. For those interested, here is the glxinfo on the card.

That's the quick overview of the Linux support, so let's get onto the exciting performance numbers.

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