The Top NVIDIA vs. AMD/Radeon Linux News Of 2016
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 29 December 2016 at 05:19 PM EST. 4 Comments
Continuing with our various year-end recaps, here's a comparison of the top NVIDIA and AMD/Radeon Linux enthusiast/oriented gamer news for 2016 on Phoronix.

NVIDIA had a good year with their Pascal line-up, finally supporting Wayland/Mir via their proprietary driver albeit via the controversial EGLStreams approach, is working toward a new memory allocation API alternative to GBM and EGLStreams, and continued delivering rather solid and performant binary drivers for Linux gamers. AMD/Radeon meanwhile had their successful Polaris launch for delivering something new, continued on their open-source driver advancements, AMDGPU-PRO continued maturing, they published their (closed-source) Vulkan driver, etc.

Anyhow, by impressions, here is the most popular NVIDIA news (not reviews / featured articles) on Phoronix for 2016:

NVIDIA 364.12 Arrives With Wayland & Mir Support
NVIDIA's 364 Linux driver series is now available and it's pretty darn exciting!

NVIDIA Continues Discussing Their Controversial Wayland Plans With Developers
Two weeks ago NVIDIA released their 364 Linux driver with initial support for Wayland and Mir. Some have asked why there aren't benchmarks yet or if GNOME 3.20 on Wayland supports the NVIDIA driver, but the short answer is the NVIDIA developers are still debating their implementation preferences with upstream Wayland developers.

NVIDIA 361.16 Beta Driver Now Includes Long-Awaited GLVND
NVIDIA's Unix graphics driver team is starting off the new year by releasing their first public beta in the 361 Linux driver series.

NVIDIA Linux Developers Don't Sound Too Happy About The ChromeOS Driver Approach
The discussion over NVIDIA's patches to Wayland has fired back up this week with NVIDIA and upstream Wayland developers seeing different views on the matter. In the latest email exchanges, a comparison to ChromeOS was brought up.

NVIDIA 364.19 Linux Driver Stabilizes The Wayland & Mir Support
The NVIDIA 364.19 Linux graphics driver was released today as the first stable release in the NVIDIA 364 driver series.

NVIDIA Is Making A Big Announcement Tomorrow
NVIDIA wants you to spend your Friday night with them, at least virtually. There's an exciting unveil tomorrow.

Running The NVIDIA 367.27 Linux Driver With The GeForce GTX 1070
Yesterday NVIDIA released the 367.27 long-lived driver release to succeed the earlier 367 betas. That driver arrived too late for my initial round of GeForce GTX 1070 / 1080 Linux testing with that GTX 1070 review published this morning. However, since then I decided to fire up this stable driver release on Pascal.

NVIDIA Linux Performance-Per-Dollar: What The RX 480 Will Have To Compete Against
There's a lot of benchmarking going on this weekend at Phoronix in preparation for next week's Radeon RX 480 Linux review. Here are some fresh results on the NVIDIA side showing the current performance-per-dollar data for the NVIDIA Maxwell and Pascal graphics cards for seeing what the RX 480 "Polaris 10" card will be competing against under Linux.

NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 1080 Sounds Great, Can't Wait To Try It On Linux
Tonight was NVIDIA's big announcement that indeed was about the Pascal-based GeForce GTX 1000 series.

CUDA vs. OpenCL GPGPU Performance On NVIDIA's Pascal
Following yesterday's Deep Learning and CUDA Benchmarks On The GeForce GTX 1080 Under Linux one of the Phoronix reader inquiries was about the OpenCL vs. CUDA performance on the GTX 1080... Is one GPGPU compute API faster than the other with NVIDIA's proprietary driver? Here are some side-by-side benchmarks.

NVIDIA To Meet With Wayland, Linux Kernel Developers To Discuss GBM vs. Streams
It doesn't look like the NVIDIA Wayland support will be worked out in the immediate future for having an upstream approach that's agreed upon by all developers. However, in September the various stakeholders will meet in person.

Using OpenGL Without An X Server With NVIDIA
Recent releases of NVIDIA's proprietary Linux driver support creating OpenGL contexts outside of the X Server.

And the most popular AMD/Radeon news on Phoronix for 2016:

An AMD ARM 64-bit Dev Board Is Launching For $299 USD
Since last year we have been waiting for AMD to launch their "HuskyBoard" ARM development board built around their Opteron A1100 ARM 64-bit SoC. That board was originally supposed to ship in Q4'15 while now available for pre-order is a new A1100 development board that looks like it may be taking its place.

The AMDGPU Additions For Linux 4.7 Are Enormous
More AMDGPU DRM driver changes have been queued up for the Linux 4.7 kernel merge window that's expected to open next week.

Radeon RX 480 Linux Testing Is Happening Right Now
Not that I can share any early benchmark figures or anything of the Radeon RX 480 "Polaris" graphics card, but the testing commenced today... But I can at least share a couple images.

Radeon RX 480: RadeonSI Gallium3D vs. AMDGPU-PRO - Interesting CPU/Power Difference
With the 12-page AMD Radeon RX 480 review under Ubuntu Linux, tests were carried out both with the AMDGPU-PRO hybrid driver and the pure open-source driver via the Linux 4.7 kernel and RadeonSI Gallium3D Mesa 12.1-dev. In this article are more tests of just the RX 480 when comparing the two Linux driver options for this first AMD Polaris card to make it to market. The CPU usage and power consumption difference are particularly interesting if you have been debating between these two drivers.

AMD Unleashes Initial AMDGPU Driver Support For GCN 1.0 / Southern Islands GPUs
Tonight AMD will be releasing their (experimental) patches for supporting GCN 1.0 "Southern Islands" graphics processors under their newer AMDGPU kernel DRM driver as an alternative to the mature GCN 1.0 support found within the longstanding Radeon DRM driver.

Early Radeon Vulkan Windows vs. AMDGPU PRO Linux Benchmarks
On Friday I posted Some Early Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu Linux Vulkan Tests With NVIDIA Graphics while today the tables have turned to show The Talos Principle on Windows 10 and Ubuntu 16.04 Linux under AMD Radeon graphics.

AMD's Vulkan Driver Will Only Work With The AMDGPU Kernel Driver
I've just received confirmation from AMD that their forthcoming Vulkan driver will only work with the AMDGPU DRM kernel driver. This means that unless this AMDGPU kernel driver is extended to support pre-VI hardware, only the very latest AMD GPUs on Linux will work with Khronos' next-generation API.

Direct3D 11 vs. OpenGL vs. Vulkan Radeon Benchmarks On Windows & Linux
After making the Direct3D 11 vs. Vulkan vs. OpenGL benchmarks available to Phoronix Premium subscribers this weekend, these results are now available to everyone. Enjoy.

You Can Help Bring Vulkan Support To Older AMD GCN GPUs
Earlier today I wrote about how AMD will only be supporting Vulkan with the AMDGPU DRM kernel driver and not the more common Radeon DRM kernel driver. Here's a few more points to clarify the situation.

AMD Publishes Initial Open-Source Driver Code For Next-Gen Polaris
One week after the surprise of delivering a beta of their new hybrid "PRO" driver stack, here's another big surprise: AMD has just published the initial open-source code for driver support with their upcoming "Polaris" graphics processors!

It's Really Worthwhile For AMDGPU Users On Ubuntu 16.04 To Upgrade Their Kernel, Mesa
For those of you using Ubuntu 16.04 LTS in conjunction with the stock AMDGPU driver for open-source driver support on newer graphics cards like the Radeon R9 Fury and R9 285/380, here are some benchmarks showing out the performance you are missing out on by not upgrading your kernel or Mesa after just a few months of development.

AMD Opens Up A New Mailing List For Open-Source AMDGPU Development
There is a new dedicated mailing list for AMDGPU DRM driver patches.

What do you hope to see out of NVIDIA and AMD in 2017? Share your thoughts with us in the forums.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of 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 automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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