Tag Archives: NVIDIA

NVIDIA 435.17 Linux Beta Driver Adds Vulkan + OpenGL PRIME Render Offload


NVIDIA this morning introduced their 435 Linux driver series currently in beta form with the release of the 435.17 Linux build. With this new driver comes finally the best PRIME/multi-GPU support they have presented to date.

The NVIDIA 435.17 driver has a new PRIME render offload implementation supported for Vulkan and OpenGL (with GLX). This PRIME offloading is about using one GPU for display but having the actual rendering be done on a secondary GPU, as is common with many of today’s high-end notebooks that have Intel integrated graphics paired with a discrete NVIDIA GPU.

For the NVIDIA PRIME render offload support, they require some recent commits to the X.Org Server that sadly isn’t in any released version but will be there for the eventual xorg-server 1.21 release. In the meantime, NVIDIA is providing an Ubuntu PPA with a patched X.Org Server build.

This offload support also requires some fiddling to the xorg.conf configuration and environment variables for activation, but after that should be much better PRIME support than the previous options.

The NVIDIA 435.17 Linux driver also has experimental support for run-time D3 power management for Turing notebook GPUs, a variety of bug fixes, support for changing the Digital Vibrance on Turing hardware, and drops non-GLVND OpenGL support.

More details on the NVIDIA 435.17 Linux beta driver via the NVIDIA DevTalk.

Linux 5.2 + Mesa 19.2 Performance With Polaris/Vega/Vega20 vs. NVIDIA On Ubuntu 19.04

With last week having delivered fresh benchmarks of the mid-range NVIDIA/AMD graphics cards using the very latest drivers, particularly the in-development Linux 5.2 and Mesa 19.2 components with the Radeon graphics cards tested, here is a similar comparison when moving up the spectrum and focusing on the higher-end graphics cards. Here’s a look at how the RX 590, RX Vega 56, RX Vega 64, and Radeon VII are performing with the newest open-source AMD driver code compared to the NVIDIA Turing line-up backed by their latest binary driver.

While next month will be Radeon RX 5700 series Linux benchmarking using the newest code (DRM-Next / Linux 5.3), this article is offering a fresh look at how the Linux 5.2 kernel performance is shaping up on the higher-end graphics cards as complementary to last week’s numbers. The four Radeon cards tested were using the Linux 5.2 Git kernel and Mesa 19.2-devel using the Oibaf PPA. The NVIDIA Pascal and Turing cards benchmarked were using their latest driver available, version 430.26.

All tests were done on the Intel Core i9 9900K test system running Ubuntu 19.04. Via the Phoronix Test Suite a wide variety of OpenGL and Vulkan Linux gaming benchmarks were carried out.

Running NVIDIA On GNOME’s X.Org Session May Get A Lot Smoother


Canonical’s Daniel van Vugt continues doing a lot of interesting performance investigations and optimizations around improving the experience of GNOME not only for Ubuntu but the upstream components. His latest focus has been on NVIDIA enhancements and now for the X.Org session there is a merge request pending to provide for a smoother experience.

This week Van Vugt opened up a pull request that provides a “significant improvement” to the frame-rate smoothness for NVIDIA’s proprietary Linux graphics driver running on GNOME under the X.Org session (this MR doesn’t affect the Wayland session).

The change is dropping the threaded swap waiting used with the NVIDIA driver. “So “threaded swap wait” provided better sub-frame phase accuracy, but at the expense of frame rates. And as soon as it starts causing frame drops, that one and only benefit is lost. There is no reason to keep it.

Daniel also added, “Noticed way better responsiveness when videos are running in Chrome or CPU is running at 100% (e.g. Handbrake encoding videos). The choppiness is gone. Using a NVIDIA 1080 Ti here using 430.14 driver.

This code does depend upon Daniel’s earlier patches from months ago about consolidating all the frame throttling code into clutter-stage-cogl. That prerequisite itself is a big win with addressing NVIDIA CPU usage problems as well as mouse cursor issues at 60Hz when the display’s refresh rate is higher, among other benefits for that reworked code.

So let’s hope that this merge request will land for the current GNOME 3.33 development cycle so that September’s GNOME 3.34 will be looking good on the performance front. There’s already been several optimizations merged this cycle while a lot more changes are still pending / stuck in the review queue.

Ubuntu to Package Proprietary Nvidia Driver » Linux Magazine

According to reports, Ubuntu developers are planning to add the proprietary NVIDIA drivers to the ISO of the next release of Ubuntu (19.10).

However, these drivers will not be activated/enabled by default.

The reason for backing these drivers is simple. As mentioned in the Launchpad bug report, “On Ubuntu desktop, without a network connection, the user can elect to install 3rd party drivers (which states that it’ll install graphics driver) but even if the user selects this option, Nvidia proprietary drivers won’t be installed because they are not on the pool of the ISO.”

With drivers backed into the ISO, users can install these drivers without Internet. To ensure that there won’t be any licensing issues, Will Cooke of Canonical said that they have worked with Nvidia to ensure that they are allowed to distribute the drivers on the ISO. Depending on user feedback, Canonical might also back-port this to earlier releases of Ubuntu.

Canonical will continue to offer open-source Nouveau drivers as the default driver for NVIDIA cards.

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Nouveau Gets Initial Support For NVIDIA TU117 (GeForce GTX 1650)


While it missed the main DRM pull request for Linux 5.2, the Nouveau DRM driver now has initial support for NVIDIA’s Turing TU117, the GPU powering the new GeForce GTX 1650 series.

Nouveau DRM maintainer Ben Skeggs of Red Hat committed the support to their staging tree on Thursday for this TU117 enablement. The TU117 support is largely based on their existing Turing TU106 GPU support and amounts to just 36 lines of code.

Like the existing Turing support by this open-source NVIDIA Linux driver, currently it’s limited to just kernel mode-setting (display) support. Nouveau doesn’t yet offer any hardware acceleration for Turing GPUs as they are blocked by NVIDIA, waiting on them to release the necessary signed firmware images needed for initialization.

But even when those Turing firmware blobs end up being released, there will still be the issue like with Maxwell / Pascal / Volta of only running at the boot clock frequencies without any re-clocking support for being able to drive the hardware at its optimal clock frequencies. For overcoming that challenge, additional firmware support or workarounds need to be devised around the PMU handling. Until that happens, the Nouveau performance past the GeForce GTX 700 series remains very slow.

At least the GeForce GTX 1650 does run well on the proprietary NVIDIA driver as outlined in our GeForce GTX 1650 Linux review. If you care about open-source driver support, however, the Radeon RX 570 is a much better bet.