On Friday the NVIDIA engineers working on their proprietary Linux driver put out a new driver update. This new driver update is marked NVIDIA 260.19.36 Certified, but it brings just three official changes.
NVIDIA has announced from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that it's working to deliver ARM CPUs for a range of devices from PCs to super-computers. NVIDIA plans to build high-performance ARM CPUs for a range of devices, including servers and workstations. Internally this is being worked on at NVIDIA under the Project Denver codename.
Two weeks after NVIDIA had put out their unannounced 260.19.21 Linux driver, they have returned to the web and have officially released the NVIDIA 260.19.26 graphics driver for Linux x86/x86_64 along with Solaris and FreeBSD operating systems.
Over the week I mentioned that NVIDIA may be working on a new driver architecture for its unified, proprietary GPU driver on Windows/Linux/Solaris/BSD platforms. This information was learned when one of NVIDIA's Linux engineers was engaging in a technical debate over their fence synchronization patches for the X.Org Server. Andy Ritger who heads the NVIDIA Unix Graphics Driver team, has provided us some brief comments with regards to their ongoing architectural work.
When going over the mailing list messages from the past few days regarding concerns over NVIDIA's fence sync patches for X.Org Server 1.10, one of the statements by NVIDIA's James Jones indicates that they are working on a new driver architecture. What though could this new driver architecture hold in store?
As reported this morning, RandR 1.4 is now ready for X.Org Server 1.10 after this next xorg-server release's merge window was kept open to allow this work to be finished and land in the Git tree. RandR 1.4 brings per-CRTC pixmaps, sprite transforms, and a new RandR request that will hopefully allow NVIDIA's binary driver to finally support RandR 1.2+ features. While the merge window is kept open for a short period of time, NVIDIA has been trying to put in their Fence Sync support for the X Server. While it looks like these patches will still be accepted, some objections and questions have arose over this open-source contribution by NVIDIA.
X.Org Server 1.10 was just looking to be a big bug-fix release to the X.Org Server with no major features being introduced, up until the merge window was about to be closed. Then last night it was proposed by Keith Packard, the xorg-server 1.10 release manager, to keep it open a few extra days so that he could finally merge the per-CRTC pixmap support. This work alone is nice and is long awaited, but now NVIDIA's James Jones is calling for pulling another feature that's had code available for months: X Synchronization Fences.
To those that missed it in our Phoronix Forums where it was discovered, NVIDIA two days ago uploaded a new binary Linux (x86/x86_64) driver to their FTP server. This NVIDIA graphics driver is marked as the 260.19.26 beta, but they have yet to officially announce this new release or even provide a change-log.
While NVIDIA should soon be releasing a new Linux graphics driver beta, for those of you interested in NVIDIA's Compute Unified Device Architecture (CUDA) rather than -- or as a complement to -- OpenCL, there is a new tool-kit release. CUDA 3.2 is now available this week. CUDA 3.2 brings a number of new features to the NVIDIA GPGPU table.
Earlier this month NVIDIA rolled out the GeForce GTX 580 graphics card as their fastest GPU to date with 512 CUDA cores, a 772MHz core clock, 1544MHz processor clock, 1536MB of 2GHz GDDR5 memory, and support for three-way SLI. The GeForce GTX 580 with its GF110 core is based upon a refined version of the Fermi architecture and is certainly a step-up from the GeForce GTX 480 that launched just earlier this year. For those curious how this NVIDIA graphics card performs under Linux, here's the first benchmark and it's compared to the Windows driver performance too.
It was just one week ago that NVIDIA released a stable Linux driver update, but today for those wishing to live on the bleeding edge of NVIDIA's proprietary Linux driver development, the first beta release in the 260.xx series is now available for testing. The NVIDIA 260.19.04 Linux driver brings a lot to the table.
Over the weekend there was a new Linux binary driver release from NVIDIA that was the 256.52 driver in a pre-release state. It didn't deliver on OpenCL 1.1, Fermi Linux overclocking support, or any other radical features, but it did bring a handful of bug-fixes. Today this driver has been released as stable after being branded the NVIDIA 256.53 driver.
Just shy of a month ago was when NVIDIA last released a proprietary Linux driver, at which point they also released a second driver that was their OpenGL 4.1 preview driver. This Saturday though NVIDIA has provided a new driver release, which is tagged as the 256.52 pre-release. This new Linux driver release isn't overly exciting, but it does carry some prominent fixes that will please some NVIDIA customers.
Next week we will finally be able to deliver performance numbers for the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 400 "Fermi" graphics cards as we take a look at the GeForce GTX 460 that was kindly sent over by NVIDIA. Overall it's a very interesting card and great performer on Linux, but if you're already a Fermi owner (ideally after buying the hardware with our shopping links) and have been searching the Internet like we had done wondering why CoolBits isn't working on Fermi hardware, well, we now have the answer.
Back in 2006 a start-up company known as AGEIA launched the PhysX PPU, the first Physics Processing Unit (PPU) for offloading physics calculations in games and applications that utilize the PhysX API onto this discrete processor for boosting overall system performance.
Back in June there were patches published by NVIDIA for X Synchronization Fences after it was in planning since before last year's X Developers' Summit. These synchronization fences were designed to "synchronize X rendering with direct rendering X clients such as OpenGL and vice versa. They are especially useful in synchronizing GL-based composite managers screen updates with Xs rendering." Today there are more patches out from NVIDIA this time touching xextproto to add support for the binary sync objects.
While there's very few people that NVIDIA's dead open-source driver update helps out, NVIDIA has released two new binary Linux driver updates. The NVIDIA 256.44 pre-release driver adds in support for some new GeForce and Quadro GPUs along with introduces some "Fermi" (GeForce GTX 400 series) stability fixes while the NVIDIA 256.38.02 Linux driver introduces initial OpenGL 4.1 support.
Back in March an announcement came out of NVIDIA as they were getting ready to launch the GeForce GTX 400 "Fermi" graphics cards that they would be dropping support for the xf86-video-nv driver. The xf86-video-nv driver really didn't provide much of a feature set and was far behind the Nouveau KMS and Gallium3D drivers even though these were reverse-engineered by the open-source, so NVIDIA announced they would be discontinuing this open-source DDX driver and advised its customers to just use the VESA driver until they are able to download and install NVIDIA's proprietary Linux graphics driver. However, today they have decided to release an updated driver.
A few days back there was the release of two updated NVIDIA legacy drivers for Linux, but only their newest legacy driver (they have three different legacy drivers at present) gained support for X.Org Server 1.8. This support though is needed for the older NVIDIA drivers to operate on newer Linux distributions like Fedora 13 and openSUSE 11.3. On this Sunday evening we have now confirmation from NVIDIA that they have no plans on providing xorg-server 1.8 support for their oldest legacy driver.
NVIDIA has finally got around to issuing an update to two of their legacy drivers that allows those with old GeForce hardware to run it with newer Linux distributions using X.Org Server 1.8. Beyond the new X Server compatibility, the NVIDIA 173.14.75 pre-release driver update also fixes two bugs. The NVIDIA 96.43.18 legacy update doesn't bring X.Org Server 1.8 support, but it carries two bug-fixes.
While NVIDIA may not release specifications for the GPU hardware or support any open-source drivers for their graphics processors after dropping their open-source X.Org driver, they do contribute a bit to the development of the X.Org Server. NVIDIA engineers like Aaron Plattner have contributed various patches and fixes against the server in the past and for features like VDPAU for DRI2. This afternoon there's a big patch-set coming out of NVIDIA that touches several X components. This set of patches adds support for X Synchronization Fences.
A few days back NVIDIA released the 256.35 Linux display driver as a release candidate for their 256.xx driver series that brings OpenGL changes, VDPAU improvements, and other enhancements. Today, NVIDIA has promoted the 256.35 driver as being an official, stable release.
A month ago NVIDIA had released the first 256.xx Linux series beta that implemented new GLX protocol support, offered up VDPAU improvements, carried a few NVIDIA installer enhancements, and provided improved thermal performance reporting, among other changes. That beta driver was succeeded a week later by a second NVIDIA 256 beta due to some performance issues we spotted on the mobile side. NVIDIA has now released another 256 series driver and this pushes them into the release candidate phase.
Last week NVIDIA had released their first 256.xx series Linux driver in the form of the 256.25 Beta release, but as we discovered, it boasted some major performance regressions for a NVIDIA GeForce GTS 250M and other mobile ASICs. This issue has now been resolved thanks to a new beta release.
One of the articles published on Phoronix this week was NVIDIA's 256.25 Beta Linux Driver Slows Things Down? With NVIDIA's first 256.xx Linux beta driver we encountered significant performance drops from a ZaReason notebook with a NVIDIA GeForce GTS 250M graphics processor. Some thought that PowerMizer was to blame, but this does not appear to be the case.
NVIDIA has rolled out its first beta in the expected 256.xx driver series for Linux, Windows, and other supported platforms. Last month we asked what you wanted from the NVIDIA 256.xx driver and while many of the respondents didn't get their greatest wishes answered, the 256.25 beta driver does offer quite a bit of changes over the previous-generation proprietary NVIDIA driver.
With NVIDIA having released a stable 195.xx Linux driver and are working on a second stable update that's due out in the coming days, the bulk of the driver development work is now focused on their next major driver series. This next major driver release from NVIDIA is the 256.xx series, but what are you hoping it will bring forth?
While NVIDIA's official 195.36.18 driver has been around for about one month, the Santa Clara engineers are getting ready to pump out a new official update. In fact, before the week ended, NVIDIA put out the 195.36.24 pre-release, which may be marked as their official stable release this week.
Prior to launching their next-generation graphics processors, NVIDIA dropped their obfuscated open-source driver and have said they will not provide any open-source support at all for their GeForce GTX 400 "Fermi" series as they just recommended their customers use the X.Org VESA driver until they can install the official binary Linux driver. However, the community developers working on the Nouveau driver project still plan to support the GeForce GTX 470/480 graphics cards via clean-room reverse engineering. Today their efforts might be helped thanks to a hardware sponsorship.
With NVIDIA having announced the GeForce GTX 470 and 480 graphics cards (formerly known as "Fermi") at the end of March and these graphics cards starting to appear at Internet retailers (see links below), NVIDIA has now put out its OpenGL 4.0 Linux driver.
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