Phoronix: Nouveau With Mesa 7.9 Is Better, But Still Slow
Not only have we been busy testing Mesa 7.9 with the Intel and ATI/AMD drivers along with the Gallium3D drivers (including LLVMpipe), but the Nouveau driver that continues to be developed by the open-source community for NVIDIA GPUs received a fresh round of tests too. Our first published benchmarks of the Nouveau Gallium3D driver were back in February when it was nearing a decent state in terms of supported features and stability. Its DRM also finally entered the mainline Linux kernel earlier this year thereby allowing many Linux distributions to now use the Nouveau KMS driver even though not many have yet adopted the Gallium3D driver for OpenGL acceleration. We delivered updated Gallium3D benchmarks in June with the latest Mesa code at that point, but since then there was the integration of a new GLSL compiler into Mesa and many Nouveau changes, so here are our most recent OpenGL benchmarks from this open-source NVIDIA driver.
I run Fedora 13 with latest updates and have been using nouveau. 2D is great. 3D sucks. I have to disable shadows and reflections to play neverball and neverput - both of which will hang the system on occasion. When the system hangs, it won't boot properly unless I unplug the power cord and wait for a while - seems vaguely like a thermal problem. I'm running an NV44A fanless card. When enabling desktop effects, the dialog boxes drag OK vertically or horizontally, but diagonal dragging results in painfully slow repainting. BZflag renders fullscreen garbage.
So for me it's been a fine 2D driver for some time, but 3D is just not reliable.
And BTW phoronix. When you say the latest is faster than the older version, please include the old version in the benchmarks for comparison. Also, if you're going to compare multiple cards, please pick one from an older generation, not two NV50 generation cards.
Nouveau drivers don't use any kind of buffer management that comes with Gallium, which helped us to get a lot of speed. For example pb_bufmgr_* managers are used only in r300g, r600g, and svga. u_upload_mgr is only used in those three plus i965. Maybe they have something in the kernel?
This is just a general G3D question: How much of the performance optimization are shared between drivers? Are half the FPS from how well G3D is optimized and the other half for the specific card driver?
Sorry, I am seriously confused. Wasn't Gallium a modern replacement for Mesa? This article seems to be about current Gallium, not current Mesa, right? (I know I may be totally off, I am not a graphics guru though I love to keep track of where things are heading)
In other words, after like 3 years (after ATI started the open-source initiative) neither ATI nor Nouveau (not to mention Intel) have fast and complete open-source OpenGL 2.1 support, not to mention 3.x.
I say it's gonna take another 3 years until we got reliable and fast OpenGL 2.1 support but even today there's many folks already learning the new 3.x so in like 3 years the "fast and reliable" 2.1 version is gonna be too little too late. Not grumpy, it's true.