Another annual tradition of ours besides running a Linux Graphics Survey is to provide a "year in review" analysis of the ATI and NVIDIA Linux drivers with their respective graphics driver releases from the past year in terms of both feature improvements and how their quantitative performance has changed. We have been doing these annual ATI and NVIDIA yearly reviews going back to 2005, but now it's time to share our thoughts and numbers for 2009. We are beginning with our NVIDIA Linux 2009 Year In Review.
With the exception of vdrift (using the pts default settings) it seems even a >2 y old midrange card is enough to play the most games with Linux (the Unigine demos do not really count as you can not play a game with that engine). Of course the fast cpu does not hurt too Let's see when there will be more demanding games out there...
Thanks for an otherwise great review. However, in almost all the reviews, I am disappointed right in the first page or the title itself that somewhat low-end Nvidia cards used for testing. While it is okay to use ~8600GT which is recent in terms of architecture, but it goes back to nearly 2006 - to use this for a review of 2009 is a bit of a mismatch. (Thankfully, something in 7xxx series was not used .) You really should have used the 9800GT as mentioned. You could have possibly run the cpu at its stock speed and stock bios settings if that caused any issue. I have a near identical setup: e8400 cpu running at 3.6ghz on a ga-ep45-ds3l motherboard and evga 9800gt is working flawless day and night (getting abused by cuda experiments ).
The problem with these low-end cards reviewed is that they have lesser shaders (mostly around 32 or 48) and crappy DDR2. In the reviews, example the GT220, comparing with somewhat high-end cards like Radeon 4670 or Geforce 9600GT makes it look pedestrian, and makes newbies (and fanboys) say that the Nvidia offerings are not so great and have possibly regressed.
In general, I would suggest to potential buyers to try avoid these low-end cards with DDR2 memory, however large they may be. 1GB of DDR2 is a poor design decision on part of the manufacturer. And if possible, try to get a card with more than 32 shaders, possibly 48 or 96 (that would be Geforce 9500GT or better). This is unless there is a severe price constraint.
Also, I think at the beginning of the article, the specs and prices of the gpu's and/or cpu's being compared should be tabulated. Writing incomplete stuff in a paragraph or too is a bit confusing.
And of course the article forgot to mention that nVidia finally got overscan correction working again for 8xxx+ cards. But I guess that is only of import for those of us Luddites who actually want to hook a VDPAU-capable card to an ancient NTSC TV set. (The old CRT TV set goes with the first kid out of college and on their own - then hopefully we can afford a new TV.)