Written by Michael Larabel in Graphics Cards on 27 March 2015. Page 2 of 8. 47 Comments

To no surprise given NVIDIA's past history of providing same-day Linux support by their binary drivers, the latest stable driver (346.47) worked out-of-the-box with the GTX TITAN X. All key functionality was there and working with the only caveat being the product string. With the 346.47 driver, the TITAN X was simply shown as being a "Graphics Device" rather than the correct product string. This difference was simply due to the 346.47 driver shipping before the TITAN X launch. This week NVIDIA did release the 349.12 Linux driver beta and it does correctly identify the graphics card.

So overall, if you're using the latest NVIDIA Linux binary driver, you don't really have anything to worry about. However, if you plan to use the open-source Nouveau driver... Well, you shouldn't buy a $999 graphics card. The Nouveau support for Maxwell leaves a lot to be desired because the developers are currently blocked by NVIDIA on waiting for them to release the firmware blobs to initialize the hardware for acceleration. Like the Fermi and Kepler generations, Nouveau's re-clocking support is out of shape so even if the firmware blobs were out there, the TITAN X wouldn't be able to operate at its true speeds. Additionally, with Nouveau lacking satisfactory OpenCL support and still bound to OpenGL 3.3, this expensive graphics card would be a horrible waste if not using the proprietary Linux driver.

All of the initial GeForce GTX TITAN X Linux benchmarking was done from an Ubuntu 15.04 x86_64 development system with the 346.47 driver. The system was powered by the Core i7 5960X Haswell-E and connected to a Seiki 4K display. When it came to benchmarking the Radeon hardware, the Catalyst 15.3 Linux beta that's exclusively found in the Ubuntu Vivid archive was utilized. In the next few days will be more TITAN X Linux benchmarks and it does include using the new NVIDIA 349.12 beta driver.

Run today for this article were a variety of OpenCL and OpenGL benchmarks ranging from the latest benchmark-friendly Steam on Linux games to some of our favorite open-source game tests like Xonotic and Tesseract. All of the benchmarks were run in a fully-automated and completely repeatable manner using the open-source Phoronix Test Suite benchmarking software. With driving the tests through PTS, the MONITOR=gpu.temp,sys.power PERFORMANCE_PER_WATT=1 environment variables were set so for each test result we also have the logged core GPU temperatures and the overall AC system power consumption (read automatically via a WattsUp Pro USB power meter) as well as the power efficiency of each tested graphics card.

The NVIDIA hardware tested for this latest Linux graphics card comparison were the high-end GeForce GTX 680, GTX 780 Ti, GTX TITAN, GTX 960, GTX 970, GTX 980, and of course the GTX TITAN X. Tested on the AMD side were the latest hardware we have available of the Radeon R9 270X, Radeon R9 285, and Radeon R9 290. Sadly the AMD Linux side isn't too large for comparison given that AMD PR remains seemingly uninterested in providing new review samples for Linux benchmarking. While they're happy to supply APUs, they haven't sent over a desktop graphics card in years and in fact all of these Rx 200 series cards being benchmarked were purchased retail myself. AMD and their partners don't seem to want Radeon Linux tests much these days, at least compared to past years when the situation was quite the opposite, but hopefully that will change once their overhauled Catalyst driver is out and their GPUs running better under Linux with the newest ported Steam games.

Let's get to these latest high-end AMD vs. NVIDIA Linux OpenGL/OpenCL results!

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