NVIDIA 2010 Driver Year In Review
Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 17 December 2010. Page 4 of 4. 10 Comments

The Unigine Sanctuary performance was flat-lined the entire time. At 2560 x 1600, this game engine is too demanding for the GeForce 9800GTX to produce a playable frame-rate.

With Unigine Tropics, which is based upon a more recent revision of the Unigine Engine but still older than the most-demanding Unigine Heaven benchmark, there was a small improvement in performance between the 195.36.21 and 256.25 driver releases, but it wasn't enough to make a difference in making the game engine playable at 2560 x 1600 on the tested NVIDIA graphics card.

This was a nonchalant year for NVIDIA's proprietary Linux driver. NVIDIA's Linux driver team continues providing prompt support for their consumer and workstation-grade GPUs in their binary driver and providing the same level of support for -- most -- features as their Windows driver, so there's really not a whole lot of untapped areas within their driver.

Their raw performance is also at effectively the same level as their Windows driver, so there isn't a whole lot to be done there either unless they end up finding new areas of optimization within their OS-independent core driver code. The 2010 NVIDIA Linux driver benchmarks show no major changes for better or worse, except for a regression between their 195.30 and 195.36.15 drivers in less-demanding games where the frame-rates were already well above 100 FPS.

Going forward into 2011 it would be nice for NVIDIA to support Wayland, kernel mode-setting, notebook GPU switching, and GeForce 400 / 500 overclocking support. There are also some other areas where Linux customers would like to see NVIDIA driver improvements, but overall NVIDIA's Linux driver is quite fit. Of course, it would also be nice for NVIDIA Corp to support the open-source Noueveau driver development in some capacity too, but we will see...

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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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