Phoronix: Open-Source NVIDIA Driver Approaches Stable State
Nouveau, the reverse-engineered open-source graphics driver for NVIDIA's entire range of graphics processors, is reaching a stable state where it's exiting the "staging" area of the Linux 3.4 kernel and being considered part of the standard, stable kernel configuration. How though is the Nouveau driver working out compared to NVIDIA's official, closed-source Linux graphics driver? Here are some new benchmarks from ten different graphics cards and other information on the state of Nouveau.
What is much more important to me, is that I always had trouble with the Nvidia binary driver using external monitors. There is Twinview or Xinerama and if you run a game in fullscreen it often stretches over both screens (like OilRush).
Yesterday I played maniadrive (excessively, it's so addictive ) in fullscreen on the laptop and had the browser open on the external monitor with my AMD 6970M and radeon driver. It managed ~140fps on low GPU profile and 'experimental' shaders enabled, this is good enough for me.
What Nouveau does on my laptop when trying to run a 1024x768 game is turning off the VGA monitor - and after closing the game it comes back on. The nvidia blob doesn't do that so the game complains about the 1024x768 resolution not being possible, and won't start anymore unless I logout (Wine seems to remember screen resolutions otherwise).
I have an 8400GS (NV98) in use in a dedicated mythfrontend appliance. The tv-out drives an old-fashioned CRT. I guess this card is too old for Phoronix to have tested in this news item. According to the nouveau wiki, tv-out on the NV50-series chips is a to-do, not yet wip or done, but I know that sometimes the wiki status can be a bit stale. It's an old card, but seems to have been the sweet spot for driving a CRT.
Does anyone here know the status of tv-out on NV50-family / NV98-chipset / 8400GS?
Does nouveau have any way for adjusting overscan on tv-out?
I know, I know, go out and buy a flat-panel, already. One of these days...
this is why I try to avoid nvidia chips like the plague. nouveau project has done a great job, but you can't write a driver while being blindfolded. video drivers are very massive stacks and need lot of dev resources. i wish intel made discrete cards and then we are cooking.
Intel's GPUs have sucked for a very long time so it wasn't worth it. Today, intel is starting to do a very good job, so maybe they could get into descrete GPUs. The funny thing is intel needs AMD for GPU device, but AMD needs intel for CPU advice.
What I've noticed about these benchmarks is all the low-end cards perform fine. I'm getting the impression that high-end cards have entire sections of their hardware that are not in-use, which is why the nvidia drivers are exponentially higher.
I suppose that if anyone has a x600 series GPU or lower, nouveau is a good choice (so like a 9500 or a gtx240).
it is unclear to me even after reading the nouveau wiki what support is provided for twinview, quadview, and xinerama?
e.g. i have a quadro nvs 440 (NV43). the proprietary driver (under fedora core) drives four physical displays. each pair of screens is combined into one via twinview and the pair of twinview displays are combined into one logical (four physical) displays via xinerama.
while this isn't optimal (e.g. no xrandr support because of the xinerama), it is workable.