NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti: Simply The Best For Linux Gamers
Written by Michael Larabel in Graphics Cards on 12 August 2015. Page 5 of 5. 14 Comments

From all the tests ran, the GTX 980 Ti had an average temperature of 78C with a low of 53C and peak of 85.

The overall AC power consumption average for the system was 270 Watts with a 356 Watt peak. You can see all of these sensor results through this OpenBenchmarking.org result file.

I really wish the AMD Catalyst Linux driver was in better shape considering competition is healthy after all and could lead to more resources NVIDIA could devote to Linux to polish up their OpenCL support and anything else. However, it's not and there are no indications AMD will be providing a radically better driver in the immediate future. Thus for now, the choice is very simple for Linux gamers.

NVIDIA is dominating right now for Linux gaming and it's just not for raw performance but even to get many new Linux game ports working right. As demonstrated most recently with Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor coming to Linux, the R9 Fury failed to render the game properly besides the very low performance -- Feral Interactive who ported this game to Linux very clearly warned against using non-NVIDIA graphics initially. This is pretty much the same story as has happened in the past with Civilization V: Beyond Earth, BioShock Infinite, etc. It's generally taken AMD a measurable amount of time to get new Linux game issues corrected in Catalyst: they're still even lacking a profile for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive after almost one year. It's among these reasons that Linux game porters/developers continue recommending the NVIDIA proprietary driver.

Thus it's very easy for me to recommend the GeForce GTX 980 Ti for anyone wanting a high-end graphics card and willing to spend $600+ USD. The Radeon R9 Fury doesn't come close and given that it's being blocked by Catalyst Linux driver issues, Fury X is likely no different on Linux.

The only cases where I wouldn't recommend this graphics card is if you engage in a lot of OpenCL workloads (and aren't interested in CUDA) as Catalyst on Linux does better there at the moment. Additionally, if you're interested in open-source GPU driver support... With NVIDIA's open-source focus just sticking to the Tegra line-up and there been little advancement lately in the GeForce support on Nouveau, the open-source Radeon driver is stronger. I still haven't heard when NVIDIA will provide the needed GPU firmware/microcode images for the GeForce GTX 900 series support so that there can be open-source hardware acceleration. Beyond that, the re-clocking / power management support for Kepler and Fermi GPUs on Nouveau remains very rudimentary and thus really not suitable for anyone looking to get good open-source driver performance out of desktop NVIDIA GPUs. The open-source AMD side is better, but even there still not perfect with the new AMDGPU Linux driver lacking re-clocking/power management for discrete GPUs and the open-source support for released R9 Fury GPUs not coming until Linux 4.3.

At the end of the day, if you don't mind using the proprietary, well-supported driver, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 900 series is your best bet right now as a Linux gamer for a trouble-free, full-featured, performant experience. You can find a selection of GeForce GTX 980 Ti graphics cards over at Amazon.com. As always, if you appreciate all of the Linux hardware testing done at Phoronix, please consider making a tip or subscribing to Phoronix Premium.

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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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