24-Way NVIDIA/AMD GPU Benchmarks With X-Plane 11
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Gaming on 17 January 2018. Page 1 of 3. 17 Comments

With the next update to X-Plane 11 introducing VR support, I have renewed interest in this realistic, cross-platform flight simulator. It's been a few years since we last delivered any benchmarks with X-Plane, but for your viewing please today is an assortment of 24 graphics cards both old and new, low-end to high-end from NVIDIA and AMD in looking at how this flight simulator is running on Ubuntu Linux.

Laminar Research continues to support X-Plane on Linux. With X-Plane 11 they list the Linux graphics card requirements as "video card from NVIDIA or AMD w/512 MB VRAM with proprietary driver" as the minimum requirements while they recommend at least "video card from NVIDIA or AMD w/4 GB VRAM with proprietary driver." For what it's worth, they also recommend at least an Intel Core i5 6600K CPU or faster, 16GB of RAM, and at least 65GB of disk space if downloading a lot of the real-world scenery for this flight simulator. Under Windows their GPU recommendation just comes down to a DX11 GPU with at least 512MB vRAM or they recommend a DX12 GPU with at least 4GB vRAM.

X-Plane continues to use OpenGL for rendering. While the company officially just supports the "proprietary drivers" on Linux, I was pleased to see RadeonSI Gallium3D playing nicely with the latest X-Plane 11 release: past releases of X-Plane had needed some workarounds, but now it's working out of the box. Additionally, only OpenGL 3 is needed so even the Radeon HD 6870 on the open-source driver stack with OpenGL 3.3 was working out fine too, albeit not necessarily nice performance.

The AMD Radeon testing was done with the Linux 4.15 Git kernel paired with Mesa 17.4-dev built against LLVM 7.0 SVN via the Padoka PPA. The NVIDIA driver in use was the 390.12 beta driver built atop the same Linux 4.15 kernel. Ubuntu 17.10 x86_64 was the base operating system used while testing this wide assortment of GPUs. The hardware tested with X-Plane 11 came down to:

- Radeon HD 5830
- Radeon HD 6870
- Radeon HD 6950
- Radeon HD 7950
- Radeon R9 270X
- Radeon R9 285
- Radeon R9 290
- Radeon RX 550
- Radeon RX 560
- Radeon RX 580
- Radeon R9 Fury
- Radeon RX Vega 56
- Radeon RX Vega 64
- GeForce GTX 680
- GeForce GTX 780 Ti
- GeForce GTX 960
- GeForce GTX 970
- GeForce GTX 980 Ti
- GeForce GTX 1050
- GeForce GTX 1060
- GeForce GTX 1070
- GeForce GTX 1070 Ti
- GeForce GTX 1080
- GeForce GTX 1080 Ti

Benchmarks via the Phoronix Test Suite with the new xplane11 test profile.

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