GTX 750 Maxwell Acceleration Starts Working On Nouveau With Linux 4.1
Written by Michael Larabel in Nouveau on 28 April 2015 at 02:13 PM EDT. 7 Comments
NOUVEAU --
While the Nouveau developers remain blocked by NVIDIA on bringing up accelerated support for the GeForce GTX 900 series, with the forthcoming Linux 4.1 kernel there is initial GeForce GTX 750 "Maxwell" accelerated support out-of-the-box.

Nouveau has offered GTX 750 accelerated support in prior kernels, but only with Linux 4.1 is the support now able to ship out-of-the-box with Ben Skeggs having implemented support for the Nouveau DRM driver to self-generate the necessary firmware/microcode, similar to what he's done for previous generations of GPUs. With the earlier kernels, you had to first initialize your GTX 750 series GPU with the proprietary NVIDIA driver, run MMIOtrace, and dump the (non-redistributable) firmware blobs that could then be loaded by the Nouveau kernel driver. These details were outlined in my earlier article about The NVIDIA GTX 750 Will Finally Run Easy With Acceleration On Linux 4.1.

With Linux 4.1-rc1 being out there, I started my Nouveau vs. NVIDIA testing with a GeForce GTX 750 and GeForce GTX 750 Ti graphics card. That testing is still ongoing and those results will be shared in the next day or two, but just wanted to share today it was quite easy to get going.

On an Ubuntu 15.04 installation with the stock user-space drivers (Mesa 10.5), I installed the Linux 4.1-rc1 kernel and rebooted with the GTX 750... Next thing I knew, I was no longer on LLVMpipe but finally on the Nouveau NVC0 Gallium3D driver!

Though the initial way I realized I was off LLVMpipe software acceleration and onto a working Nouveau Gallium3D driver was text rendering problems... I don't recall this problem recently with Nouveau on non-GTX750 setups, but various characters were turning white / becoming distorted. When upgrading to Mesa 10.6-devel, the problem still persisted with the text.

OpenGL 3.0 is currently what's exposed for this GTX 750 / Maxwell / GM117 graphics processor with the current Mesa Git code. Initial testing shows the OpenGL acceleration working decent, albeit the graphics cards lack re-clocking support on Nouveau in Linux 4.1.

So long story short, there's now working hardware acceleration, but the experience is probably less than ideal depending upon your OS/desktop if encountering corruption, only OpenGL 3.0 is currently exposed, and the performance might be limited by the lack of re-clocking, but all of the initial GTX 750 series Nouveau tests will be out on Phoronix in the next day or two.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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