NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 On Linux
Written by Michael Larabel in Graphics Cards on 23 October 2013. Page 3 of 11. 19 Comments

With this graphics card having launched in late 2012, the driver support by NVIDIA's official Linux (and Solaris / BSD) driver stack is already quite mature with sharing common code with the NVIDIA Windows driver. NVIDIA generally provides same-day hardware support in their Linux driver and all the issues appear worked out over the past year. Throughout my testing of this NVIDIA GTX 650, I have yet to encounter a single issue. The only complaint that I still have about the Fermi / Kepler hardware is that NVIDIA doesn't support overclocking for these more recent GPUs under Linux; there's CoolBits support for older GPUs, but NVIDIA at this time has no plans to provide Linux overclocking for the more recent generations.

In Nouveau, the GeForce GTX 650 works as well and is decent support similar to other Kepler (or even Fermi) GPUs. The number one limitation right now for Fermi/Kepler hardware with this open-source NVIDIA Linux driver is there's no re-clocking support: the GPU's core, shader, and video memory clocks are stuck to whatever the video BIOS programmed to at boot time. With modern GPUs, the boot speeds are generally very low, so if using the Nouveau driver right now the performance can be god-awful. This is a temporary limitation but it doesn't look like it will be at least until the Linux 3.13 or 3.14 kernel in 2014 before there are the needed kernel bits for Kepler re-clocking.

In terms of the overall OpenGL support for Kepler with Nouveau, it's a bit easier to find "out of the box" and get going than with the AMD RadeonSI driver. The Nouveau driver isn't dependent upon the GLAMOR 2D acceleration library or any LLVM back-end to get 2D/3D support going, which is why it's easier to get started with Nouveau Fermi/Kepler.

Benchmarks looking at the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 open-source driver performance will follow in a later Phoronix article in the coming days. In this article we're just looking at the GTX 650 performance with the binary driver.

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