NVIDIA Linux Driver Performance
Unlike the NVIDIA Windows Forceware drivers, Linux NVIDIA display drivers don't stick to as stringent release deadlines. Since January of 2004 there have been over ten releases for Windows users while Linux fans have only experienced six release candidates. However, do these Linux drivers manage to pack a larger punch? We have re-investigated the latest of these Linux releases to see the performance benefits of these upgrades. The Linux releases we'll be testing today include the 1.0-7174, 1.0-7167, and 1.0-6629. Originally, we had also planned on also showing results for the 1.0-6111 drivers; however we were unable to build a NVIDIA kernel module for the display drivers using the 2.6 kernel. As GeForce 6600GT support was only granted to these Linux drivers in November of 2004, we were only able to compare the two latest NVIDIA releases. To get a better understanding for the level of performance, we tested these drivers on two independent testbeds. One testbed contained a Gigabyte 6600GT PCI Express while the other used a Prolink FX5900XT AGP. For the benchmarks, we used Unreal Tournament 2003 Demo (2206), Unreal Tournament 2004 Demo (3334), Doom 3 (1.1.1286), and SPECViewPerf (8.0). Below are both testbeds that were used in the testing process.