bit-gamer.net

Nvidia driver update doubles Linux gaming framerates

Nvidia driver update doubles Linux gaming framerates

The Steam for Linux beta has opened to the first round of testers, and Nvidia has celebrated with a performance-boosting driver release.

The Steam for Linux closed beta has officially launched, and brings with it a surprise from Nvidia: new drivers that promise to significantly boost performance under the open-source operating system.

Nvidia and Linux haven't always got along well. The company's binary-blob drivers, provided as proprietary closed-source packages rather than the open source drivers available for much of Intel's graphics hardware, have sometimes lagged behind their Windows equivalent in features and performance. The company was also famously described by Linux Torvalds, creator of the Linux kernel, as 'the single worst company we have ever dealt with' in a speech ending with one of Torvalds' trademark expletives.

Not letting a little public bad-mouthing put the company off getting a leg up on its rival AMD in what is looking increasingly like the next major gaming market, Nvidia has today taken the wraps off a new binary blob driver which is claimed to significantly boost performance under Linux. The GeForce R310 driver package, provided as is usual as a binary blob, is designed to optimise framerates under the company's GeForce GTX 600 GPU family. The result, it's claimed, is a doubling in performance under some games combined with a dramatic drop in loading times.

Performance improvements are also promised for older-generation cards from the GeForce GT 8800 and above, although these are believed to be less impressive than those enjoyed by gamers using the latest and greatest Nvida hardware.

'With this release, Nvidia has managed to increase the overall gaming performance under Linux,' claimed Doug Lombardi, vice president of marketing at Valve, of the driver launch. 'Nvidia took an unquestioned leadership position developing R310 drivers with us and other studios to provide an absolutely unequalled solution for Linux gamers.'

The driver release comes as Valve opens up its Steam for Linux beta to the first thousand applicants. Providing a native Linux client for the digital distribution platform for the first time, the beta comes bundled with 26 native Linux titles with the promise of more to come. It's also likely to be followed, in the tit-for-tat tradition of such things, by a similar announcement from Nvidia's bitter rival AMD.

The Nvidia GeForce R310 driver package is available to download now from the official site.

29 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
damien c 7th November 2012, 12:36 Quote
As soon as the likes of Call Of Duty and Battlefield games are playable on Linux I will switch to it, but until then I am tied to Windows.
Pookie 7th November 2012, 16:26 Quote
It will be some time, but yes once mainstream titles have linux support it will be goodbye to windows for me.
rocknroll237 7th November 2012, 16:36 Quote
Yep, me too. :-)
jinq-sea 7th November 2012, 16:37 Quote
It's a long way off, but it'll be a good day...!
Snips 7th November 2012, 17:07 Quote
What was it that Linux tosspot was saying?

"Linus Torvalds, the man behind the Linux kernel, has called Nvidia 'the single worst company we have ever dealt with,' raising eyebrows - and his middle finger - during a presentation at the Aalto Centre for Entrepreneurship in Finland."

A large serving of humble pie is on the cards me thinks o.0
Aterius Gmork 7th November 2012, 17:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snips
What was it that Linux tosspot was saying?

"Linus Torvalds, the man behind the Linux kernel, has called Nvidia 'the single worst company we have ever dealt with,' raising eyebrows - and his middle finger - during a presentation at the Aalto Centre for Entrepreneurship in Finland."

A large serving of humble pie is on the cards me thinks o.0

Oh no, Nvidia is not doing this out of respect for the Linux community or good will. The Steam client beta is starting and they want good benchmarks all over the news sites, that's all. They simply see a return of investment now. I wouldn't be surprised if the other features of Nvidia cards such as the energy saving measures in laptops still won't be implemented properly.
Snips 7th November 2012, 17:28 Quote
You don't know that, any more than I do. That tosser needs to apologize as this single act by Nvidia will make the Steam client a success.
jinq-sea 7th November 2012, 17:31 Quote
I'd agree with Aterius - there's simply not the proper investment there. I recall trying to install proper nVidia drivers for a card in a Debian machine not three years ago and it was like trying to push water uphill... I've not really bothered since, but if the drivers are getting decent, I'll give it a try. But - the support base for gaming is so well-established for Windows, it'll be a long time until it's a viable option, IMHO.

It's the same for Macs - I'd love to be able to use my music production rig for games (saves having umpteen machines), but the support isn't there. Or, I'd use my Windows machine for music production. Same problem....

Anyway - apologies if that's a bit off-topic. It's good that there's development in decent Linux drivers!
billysielu 7th November 2012, 18:00 Quote
gamily? GAMILY?
Aterius Gmork 7th November 2012, 18:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snips
You don't know that, any more than I do. That tosser needs to apologize as this single act by Nvidia will make the Steam client a success.

I disagree - or rather I wholeheartedly agree, but for different reasons.

Torwalds indeed has to apologize, because he has acted premature and unprofessional in a business environment to perform a media stunt. Torvalds should not be allowed to act like a rock star just because some Linux groupies think so or act like he is their messiah. (This is not intended as an insult or pointed at anyone in particular of the bit-tech community or a poster in this thread, but all my RL friends think that Torvalds is in the right no matter what because he is Torvalds.)

Unfortunately he said a right thing the wrong way though. Nvidia's driver support has been terrible in the past, Optimus support for laptops still is not possible without 3rd party tools. Just because Valve (!!) releases Steam which will allow gamers to use Linux - which means more sales - something is done to increase the max framerate in games. Nothing else, and probably only to make sure they are not outperformed by AMD.

In all other areas the drivers probably still will be bad.

And yes, this is only a guess. But so is your idea.
Phil Rhodes 7th November 2012, 19:22 Quote
Quote:
They simply see a return of investment now

And this is wrong somehow?
Aterius Gmork 7th November 2012, 19:28 Quote
Nothing wrong with this at all. Capitalism ho!

Don't get me wrong, it's a good thing that Nvidia are finally improving their drivers. I'm simply saying that they worked their numbers and deemed the improvement profitable - due to steam and also due to the media attention and free marketing they can get right now.

It just irks me that people think Nvidia as a corporation care about Linux at all. That's like saying that they care about good games. They don't - they only care about profits.
Aracos 7th November 2012, 20:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snips
What was it that Linux tosspot was saying?

"Linus Torvalds, the man behind the Linux kernel, has called Nvidia 'the single worst company we have ever dealt with,' raising eyebrows - and his middle finger - during a presentation at the Aalto Centre for Entrepreneurship in Finland."

A large serving of humble pie is on the cards me thinks o.0

Gaming performance was absolutely nothing to do with what he was talking about. He was asked about what his thoughts were on Nvidia flat out saying they will not support optimus on Linux and so people have to resort to an open source alternative. He talked about how they have so much trouble with Nvidia not supporting features that are on their own hardware on Linux or just being plain difficult to work with despite using Linux and trying to make a real effort in the Android market. Things like Optimus switchable graphics aren't supported and they've shown no signs of caring.

Gaming performance hasn't really been an issue on Linux with Nvidia hardware.

On topic though I would say I don't care about gaming performance improvements I just want AMD to pull their finger out and make better Linux drivers. Using an AMD graphics card is just a pain in the arse on Linux in almost every respect. I spent two hours trying find out why the unity interface wasn't loading with the any AMD proprietary drivers the other week. Nobody should have to do that.
wafflesomd 7th November 2012, 23:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pookie
It will be some time, but yes once mainstream titles have linux support it will be goodbye to windows for me.

When's the last time you used linux? I'm not saying it's bad, but it's no windows in terms of stability.

I just can't see gaming being the only reason people stick to windows. Linux has problems too, and boy does it have them.
Saivert 8th November 2012, 08:04 Quote
Stop treating companies like they are people. They are money machines. Nothing else.
The sooner you realize this the sooner you can get over yourself too and just accept things the way they are.
The day gaming on Linux is profitable is the day Linux will get a bigger foothold and attention with game developers, graphics chip vendors, etc.
sub routine 8th November 2012, 08:15 Quote
lol, well i can hardly see them doing it if it was unprofitable. What you want to be sure is they make good on their actions and keep up the support, i`m all for making games betterer.
fluxtatic 8th November 2012, 08:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aracos
<snip> they've shown no signs of caring.</snip>

The case could be made that if AMD or Nvidia released honest-to-god OSS drivers, the Linux community would heartily fellate them and it might even spark the other to do the same, bringing much happiness to the land of Linux.

But, honestly, why would they? Remember, we're talking roughly 1% of the desktop market on the entire frickin planet. And the prospects of it growing don't look that good - Windows is pretty solidly entrenched, other than the sliver of market share they've lost to Mac over the last 15-ish years. It isn't like the desktop or even laptop markets are going to grow much. Honestly, we'll be lucky if, 20 years from now, we're still able to buy and assemble parts as we do - it's not out of the realm of possibility that even the DIY market will collapse in the not-unforeseeable future. Why piss money at a market that won't make you money?

That douche Mitt Romney made the phrase famous, although I've understood it to be true for a lot longer than I've been aware of him - "corporations are people" However, they're not people like you and me, with dreams and aspirations and a conscience - they're motivated only by profit. They have one of the basic urges of people - to be comfortable financially. They swing a lot closer to Carnegie than they do (post-MS, anyway) Bill Gates - they'd curbstomp Mother Theresa if it would make them a buck. Know mob mentality? The larger the mob the dumber it is? Corporations are like that, but the larger the corporation, the less heart they have - the board wants profit at all costs, and in a lot of cases doesn't stop at the line of criminality, much less ethics and morals (hard to instill those values in Frankenstein's monster).

So, if you're a Linux sort, be happy for what you've got. For both AMD and Nvidia, even the closed-source blob drivers are a favor you should thank them for, not piss on their shoes about how you want open source.

I've tried to like Linux, I really have. But the last couple times I tried Ubuntu, and when I tried Mint, it was unbelievably frustrating. Sad to say, they're nowhere near Windows in terms of being ready for prime time.

Nvidia's getting some free press riding on the back of Gabe Newell's (slightly histrionic) freakout about how he's porting Steam to Linux as Windows 8 is a sign of the apocalypse or whatever. Take the bone your being thrown.
Gareth Halfacree 8th November 2012, 09:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by fluxtatic
Remember, we're talking roughly 1% of the desktop market on the entire frickin planet.
1.58%, according to Wikimedia. Which, I'll grant you, is minuscule, but remember that the number of PCs in the world is estimated at between one billion and two billion - meaning 1.58% of that market represents between 15,800,000 and 31,600,000 PCs. That's a hell of a lot of potential customers: Nvidia reported revenue for the last financial year of $4 billion - helped, incidentally, by strong sales of its Linux-running Tegra chip family - and if it could sell a $50 dedicated GPU to half that potential audience next year it would make an additional $395,000,000 to $790,000,000. That's a 10 to 20 per cent revenue jump, just from selling to half the 1.58% of PC users running Linux.

TL;DR: Linux may be small on the desktop, but the massive numbers involved mean it's not insignificant.
blacko 8th November 2012, 10:12 Quote
haha....linux tosser. I like that.

Linus needs to apologize. We all knew the day linux would rise to become a viable contender to Windows and OSX was coming. Launching a preemptive strike on Nvidia was just stupid.

I hope he sends nvidia a fluffy green penguin to say sorry dudez.
Icy EyeG 8th November 2012, 13:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wafflesomd

When's the last time you used linux? I'm not saying it's bad, but it's no windows in terms of stability.

I just can't see gaming being the only reason people stick to windows. Linux has problems too, and boy does it have them.

Yes Linux has problems, and Windows has problems. Stability wise, both are good, Linux is a lot more efficient. I've been using Ubuntu (and Xubuntu) since mid-2010 and never had problems.

The only hiccups I've encountered is regarding certain new hardware support, but all of them were solved with the 12.04 LTS release. On the positive side, I've delayed hardware upgrades because Ubuntu runs much faster than Windows. Managing settings and software installation is much easier, ironically (and no, I don't use the terminal for that).
I've recently set up a dualboot Windows 7/Ubuntu 12.04 LTS for a cousin and took me a lot more time to uninstall all the factory crap and install proper programs/utilities/Antivirus on the Windows side. Ubuntu installation was faster and I just had to install chrome and a few other goodies on the Ubuntu Software Center (you can flag what you want to install and it'll install everything in a row).
My parents are also running Xubuntu on their 4-year old laptops and love it because they are much more responsive and stable, and it's not that different from XP.

If you are dependent on Microsoft Office or Adobe programs, then it's harder to make the switch. I've been using Gimp and Openoffice (now LibreOffice, which is much better) for years.

Therefore, for me, it's not that difficult to imagine the switch. I personally prefer Indie games, because nowadays I'm a causal gamer, but I completely understand the cravings for AAA games on Linux.
steveo_mcg 8th November 2012, 14:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wafflesomd
When's the last time you used linux? I'm not saying it's bad, but it's no windows in terms of stability.

I just can't see gaming being the only reason people stick to windows. Linux has problems too, and boy does it have them.

I've got 99 problems but stability isn't one of them...
PCBuilderSven 8th November 2012, 16:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveo_mcg
Quote:
Originally Posted by wafflesomd
When's the last time you used linux? I'm not saying it's bad, but it's no windows in terms of stability.

I just can't see gaming being the only reason people stick to windows. Linux has problems too, and boy does it have them.

I've got 99 problems but stability isn't one of them...

I agree - since when was Linux's problem stability. One of it's main positives is stability - hence why it is very popular in the server and supercomputing world (virtually all the computers on the top500 list run Linux, for example). It's biggest problem is really driver support which, clearly, is being improved. Non of my Linux machines have ever crashed, some (such as my NAS box) having up-times of several months, only rebooting after power failures.
Aracos 8th November 2012, 16:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by fluxtatic
So, if you're a Linux sort, be happy for what you've got. For both AMD and Nvidia, even the closed-source blob drivers are a favor you should thank them for, not piss on their shoes about how you want open source.

Nvidia's getting some free press riding on the back of Gabe Newell's (slightly histrionic) freakout about how he's porting Steam to Linux as Windows 8 is a sign of the apocalypse or whatever. Take the bone your being thrown.
Not once did I say I wanted open source drivers from AMD or Nvidia, in fact all I asked for was more stable drivers from AMD. I'd appreciate it if you didn't try and put words in my mouth and read what I actually said. On the topic of open source drivers I don't care if they are or not, it is always helpful but closed source drivers are fine with me if they work well. Open source third party drivers are certainly more stable and less buggy than AMD's own drivers but they lack the 3D performance so I have to use them.

As for your point about the size of the market I think Gareth made it clear, 15.8 million to 31.6 million computers is not small no matter what you say and Android is growing at an alarming rate.
wafflesomd 8th November 2012, 19:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Icy EyeG
Quote:
Originally Posted by wafflesomd

When's the last time you used linux? I'm not saying it's bad, but it's no windows in terms of stability.

I just can't see gaming being the only reason people stick to windows. Linux has problems too, and boy does it have them.

Yes Linux has problems, and Windows has problems. Stability wise, both are good, Linux is a lot more efficient. I've been using Ubuntu (and Xubuntu) since mid-2010 and never had problems.

The only hiccups I've encountered is regarding certain new hardware support, but all of them were solved with the 12.04 LTS release. On the positive side, I've delayed hardware upgrades because Ubuntu runs much faster than Windows. Managing settings and software installation is much easier, ironically (and no, I don't use the terminal for that).
I've recently set up a dualboot Windows 7/Ubuntu 12.04 LTS for a cousin and took me a lot more time to uninstall all the factory crap and install proper programs/utilities/Antivirus on the Windows side. Ubuntu installation was faster and I just had to install chrome and a few other goodies on the Ubuntu Software Center (you can flag what you want to install and it'll install everything in a row).
My parents are also running Xubuntu on their 4-year old laptops and love it because they are much more responsive and stable, and it's not that different from XP.

If you are dependent on Microsoft Office or Adobe programs, then it's harder to make the switch. I've been using Gimp and Openoffice (now LibreOffice, which is much better) for years.

Therefore, for me, it's not that difficult to imagine the switch. I personally prefer Indie games, because nowadays I'm a causal gamer, but I completely understand the cravings for AAA games on Linux.

Ubuntu runs slower on every system I've put it on compared to windows 7. Other distros are more efficient, but definitely not Ubuntu.

Windows having a bunch of bloatware isn't windows fault, that's the particular manufacturer. A fresh install from a retail disc has no bloatware.

I've had plenty of problems with linux distros over the years. No matter how far it advances I always feel like I have to baby sit the OS. When driver installs don't break the OS I might consider switching. Apparently this a problem only I have....

I can't switch because the DAW's available in Linux are terrible.
Icy EyeG 8th November 2012, 20:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wafflesomd

Windows having a bunch of bloatware isn't windows fault, that's the particular manufacturer. A fresh install from a retail disc has no bloatware.
Indeed, but to the end user, that's the out-of-box Windows experience. I know very few people that buy a system without OS and put a vanilla Windows install there.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wafflesomd

I've had plenty of problems with linux distros over the years. No matter how far it advances I always feel like I have to baby sit the OS. When driver installs don't break the OS I might consider switching. Apparently this a problem only I have....
I never had that kind of problem with Ubuntu, unless I start installing obscure PPAs. On Fedora or Arch? Most definitely.

I must admit the only thing I'm careful about with hardware, is to make sure I buy HP scanners and/or printers, because HP supports Linux, so printers and scanners work out-of-box.
However, I know that's not Linux fault, that's the hardware manufacturers and vendors, as they don't care about properly supporting Linux. Intel and HP are probably the only ones that are fully committed to Linux.
The solution? The community has to do all the work themselves (let's not forget Linux is free, Windows is not).
mdshann 8th November 2012, 22:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wafflesomd
Ubuntu runs slower on every system I've put it on compared to windows 7. Other distros are more efficient, but definitely not Ubuntu.

Windows having a bunch of bloatware isn't windows fault, that's the particular manufacturer. A fresh install from a retail disc has no bloatware.

I've had plenty of problems with linux distros over the years. No matter how far it advances I always feel like I have to baby sit the OS. When driver installs don't break the OS I might consider switching. Apparently this a problem only I have....

I can't switch because the DAW's available in Linux are terrible.

I hate to break it to you, but driver installs do have a nasty habit of breaking your OS of choice from time to time...

As far as baby sitting the OS goes, when I constantly have to run malware scans, defragment, clean out the registry, yadda yadda yadda every week just to make sure my computer is running smoothly... well I think that counts as baby sitting, don't you? Don't get me wrong, I love Windows. It makes me dick tons of money from all my customers bringing in virus-hosed systems left and right each and every day. I try to tell em, but what can I say? When you either run as an admin to not be annoyed, or get conditioned to clicking continue, allow, allow on every box that comes up there's going to be issues.

I'm not saying Linux is better, but it is much more secure and stable. For example my backup "server" has been running the same Ubuntu 10.10 install (upgraded from the original 10.04) since the day it was released. It has survived power outages, terabytes of virus-laced data backups, CPU overheats from neglecting to clean it out, motherboard replacements (2) to entirely different chipset/cpu combos, 3 video cards have died in this machine, as well as 2 power supplies (on it's 3rd). It stays on 24/7/365. Right now I'm running a backup from a customers SATA drive to my 1 TB drive, I have 3 computers pulling data back onto their freshly-loaded Windows installs, I have PXE booted 2 others into a diagnostics environment, and another computer is pulling a Windows 7 installation through PXE boot. Right now I have 14 tabs open in firefox, Im listening to music and have my email client open as well. This is all happening on a Pentium D from 2005 with 2 GB RAM. Every once in a while it will bog down, but when it does I just close out the memory hog that is firefox, reopen it and keep going. I've tried doing all this on windows with a newer CPU and twice as much RAM, you can't. It can't keep up. It especially sucked having to reload my backup machine every few weeks because it contracted a virus from the backups that were being fed to it. For my work purposes, Linux is absolutely better. For games, I have Windows.
cebla 8th November 2012, 22:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Icy EyeG
Quote:
Originally Posted by wafflesomd

Windows having a bunch of bloatware isn't windows fault, that's the particular manufacturer. A fresh install from a retail disc has no bloatware.
Indeed, but to the end user, that's the out-of-box Windows experience. I know very few people that buy a system without OS and put a vanilla Windows install there.

The first thing I do when I buy a new PC or laptop (if not assembly my self) is wipe the hard drive and put a fresh install of windows on it. I wish manufacturers would stop loading the machines with shovelware as it would save me the time.
theshadow2001 9th November 2012, 00:02 Quote
Lets not forget that linux's reputation for stability is down to the kernel. The software that runs on top of the kernel is a different story. I've had to enact plenty of xkills on linux boxes, most recently was regular, random failings of software centre in Linux mint 13 and Dropbox refusing to install on LUbtuntu. I've definitely had way more program crashes and just plain weird and annoying stuff happen whilst using a linux distro.

Ubuntu/Mint is definitely slower than windows 7 and windows 8 is faster than that. I haven't seen a windows manager in linux that looks as well as windows vista/7/8 and can have the same performance. If you want performance you end up using something like lxde or xfce which looks like windows 95. Both of them have weird quirks that come up. Gnome2 in Ubuntu came the closest in terms of visual appeal and performance but that has disappeared.

I haven't defragged a computer since I've stopped using XP. Driver support will always be a disaster on linux. The article just shows how much performance would probably never be realised on Nvidia GPUs had Gabe not given linux a shot for Steam.

These days I prefer to virtualise linux and run it on windows, it generally gets rid of all the driver problems.
Icy EyeG 9th November 2012, 14:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by cebla

The first thing I do when I buy a new PC or laptop (if not assembly my self) is wipe the hard drive and put a fresh install of windows on it. I wish manufacturers would stop loading the machines with shovelware as it would save me the time.
Going a bit OT: I'm curious how you do that legally (unless you buy a new license). I say this because OEM windows disks are not compatible with the license shipped in laptops (even if both are, for example "Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit). In my experience, you can install with the laptop key, but Windows will refuse to activate.
Quote:
Originally Posted by theshadow2001
Lets not forget that linux's reputation for stability is down to the kernel. The software that runs on top of the kernel is a different story. I've had to enact plenty of xkills on linux boxes, most recently was regular, random failings of software centre in Linux mint 13 and Dropbox refusing to install on LUbtuntu. I've definitely had way more program crashes and just plain weird and annoying stuff happen whilst using a linux distro.

Those distros are probably missing some packages. Xubuntu and Ubuntu, AFAIK don't have problems with Dropbox (and the latter is officially supported). Mint Software Center doesn't have the same level of support or bugfixing as Ubuntu Software Center (I'm not saying this one is absolutely perfect)
Quote:
Originally Posted by theshadow2001
Ubuntu/Mint is definitely slower than windows 7 and windows 8 is faster than that. I haven't seen a windows manager in linux that looks as well as windows vista/7/8 and can have the same performance. If you want performance you end up using something like lxde or xfce which looks like windows 95. Both of them have weird quirks that come up. Gnome2 in Ubuntu came the closest in terms of visual appeal and performance but that has disappeared.
That's debatable and dependent on your hardware, because I only notice that difference on my eeePC. For a good Gnome2-like experience use Gnome-fallback on Ubuntu 12.04LTS: I don't notice that much of a difference (I upgraded from 10.04LTS to 12.04LTS).
Xubuntu, IMO, looks a lot better than XP, and you have a lot of themes to choose from. The problem with mint is that the community is too small to make exceptional cinnamon releases in terms of performance.
Taking into account that Ubuntu and Ubuntu-like distros are free of charge and highly customizable, I think they already do a hell of a job.
I hope that Steam can bring more people to Linux so that more bug reports are submitted and more consumer feedback is given, because one of the things that's most needed in this development paradigm.
Quote:
Originally Posted by theshadow2001

Driver support will always be a disaster on linux. The article just shows how much performance would probably never be realised on Nvidia GPUs had Gabe not given linux a shot for Steam.

Yeah, but as I said, I don't think it's Linux fault, manufacturers and vendors never considered this platform seriously, hopefully until now. The same can be said from tech sites/magazines. Most of them never mentioned Linux or Free Software.
Log in

You are not logged in, please login with your forum account below. If you don't already have an account please register to start contributing.



Discuss in the forums