NVIDIA 310.14: OpenGL 4.3, Threaded Optimizations
Written by Michael Larabel in NVIDIA on 15 October 2012 at 01:42 PM EDT. 66 Comments
NVIDIA pushed out their first Linux graphics driver beta in the 310.xx series on Monday. The NVIDIA 310.14 driver supports OpenGL 4.3, brings threaded OpenGL performance optimizations, and many other new features. The NVIDIA 310.14 Beta for Linux is an exciting release!

The most exciting features for the NVIDIA 310.14 Linux Beta is support for OpenGL 4.3 with GL4-capable graphics cards, support for the RandR backlight output property, performance and responsiveness improvements for windowed OpenGL applications running within an Ubuntu Unity session, and experimental support for OpenGL threaded optimizations.

Other new features to the NVIDIA Linux 310.14 release include the shipped VDPAU library working around Adobe Flash pugs, VDPAU performance improvements, unofficial GLX protocol support for GL_ARB_pixel_buffer_object, HDMI 3D Stereo support for NVIDIA "Kepler" and later GPUs. This new beta Linux x86/x86_64 graphics driver also has a Unity launch bug-fix and some other random bug-fixes.

OpenGL 4.3 support is great to see along with the performance improvements, particularly for OpenGL threaded optimizations. This has been one of the features requested by Valve to Linux graphics driver vendors. The threaded OpenGL work is currently disabled by default and hid behind the __GL_THREADED_OPTIMIZATIONS environment variable. For more information, the HTML documentation within the driver package explains it as "The NVIDIA OpenGL driver supports offloading its CPU computation to a worker thread. These optimizations typically benefit CPU-intensive applications, but might cause a decrease of performance in applications that heavily rely on synchronous OpenGL calls such as glGet*. Because of this, they are currently disabled by default."

The NVIDIA 310.14 Linux graphics driver beta can be found at NVIDIA.com. Benchmarks of the NVIDIA 310 Linux driver performance improvements are forthcoming.
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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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