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Old 09-01-10, 04:11 PM   #1
Søren Holm
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Default Nvidia vs. nouveau

Hi !

I have started to use the open source nouveau driver on linux. Not because it has nice 3D-support, but because the 2D-part simply is much better than the proprietary nvidia driver.

Nvidia : Please fix the performance-problems that you driver has. Nouveau will problably gain 3D-support at some point. And when that happenens no one will use you driver which isn't realy a good think either.
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Old 09-01-10, 10:06 PM   #2
primerib
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Default Re: Nvidia vs. nouveau

Nouveau has no plans to support vdpau, which automatically rules out a whole ton of users.
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Old 09-02-10, 03:04 AM   #3
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Default Re: Nvidia vs. nouveau

Quote:
Originally Posted by Søren Holm View Post
Hi !

I have started to use the open source nouveau driver on linux. Not because it has nice 3D-support, but because the 2D-part simply is much better than the proprietary nvidia driver.

Nvidia : Please fix the performance-problems that you driver has. Nouveau will problably gain 3D-support at some point. And when that happenens no one will use you driver which isn't realy a good think either.
Nouveau:
- no 3D support - no games no anything that requires opengl. And implementing good 3D support will last years, just look at the Ati opensource drivers (and there they had the specs from Ati). So, no good 3D will be around for some years.
- no VDPAU - and it wont be for looong time if ever.
- has KMS - instant VT switching and VTs at native resolution etc (honestly i dont know what exactly more functional features maybe someone who knows tell me).
- has better 2D - i dont use nouveau (i did try it but it lacks 90% of nvidias features) but i did not find the nvidia driver to have ANY problems here.
- has no multi monitor support
- has no power saving options - this is crucial for notebooks if you want any good battery life

Nvidia:
- best 3D support for Linux - all games/opengl apps work with 0 problems
- most stable Linux display driver - i use it for 3+ years on 5 computers and i can tell you it is as stable as in Windows if compiz isnt used.
- has VDPAU - the recent mainstream cards from the 8 series onwards support it - i have 3 cards of this category and they all support VDPAU - 1080p takes ~10% CPU (software decoding chokes even core2duo@2.33 MHz)
- has not-so-good-as-nouveau 2D - as above i did not see ANY problems here in Opera, Chrome, Firefox, OpenOffice etc.
- supports multiple monitors
- doesnt support KMS - you have to wait 2 seconds more if you switch VTs (and endure the text mode resolution if you can ) and not-so-smooth-boot-experience
- supports power saving features by letting the card slow down when not used.

Take your pick.
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Old 09-03-10, 01:20 AM   #4
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Default Re: Nvidia vs. nouveau

I will make two corrections.

1. 3D does work in nouveau, and is good enough for playing basic 3d games (neverball/neverputt, quake3 etc, doom3 doesn't run) and running kwin 3d compositing effects in kde 4.

2. The multi monitor support is very very good in nouveau, and it supports randr 1.2, which makes it better than nvidia driver. I still cannot believe that there is no randr 1.2 support in nvidia driver. The biggest problem for me with twinview is that when one creates two desktops using twinview, it behaves like a single big desktop with double horizontal resolution. As a result, all apps open at the center, split between the displays, which makes it annoying. And not to mention full screen apps, which are spread over two monitors too. In particular forget about full screen presentations etc. (One has to use "clone" mode then.) While it is possible to do things with xorg.conf, it is tedious to do it with notebooks, which potentially connect to different external displays all the time.

However, the biggest thing that is stopping me from using nouveau full time is power management. Especially, the 9800m gs on my notebook can get very hot. Another big thing for me is gpu programming using cuda and opencl (which may not be important to most users). And vdpau is added bonus, however xv works fine for even 1080p videos on nouveau on my gpu, so I presume it should work decently on other cards as well.
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Old 09-03-10, 02:26 AM   #5
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Default Re: Nvidia vs. nouveau

Quote:
Originally Posted by hdas View Post
The biggest problem for me with twinview is that when one creates two desktops using twinview, it behaves like a single big desktop with double horizontal resolution. As a result, all apps open at the center, split between the displays, which makes it annoying.
That sounds like a configuration problem. Have you disabled Xinerama info? It's enabled by default and behavior of multiple outputs should be similar to Xrandr.

I agree that the missing Xrandr (1.2/1.3) support is annoying, though. None of the standard configuration utilities work correctly. I can't really understand it either, TwinView is doing everything Xrandr does and in very similar ways. Maybe I'm overlooking something, but it shouldn't be that hard to support another API like Xrandr.

Another showstopper of the open source drivers is missing support for GPGPU things, mostly OpenCL. Currently there's no development effort going on to fix that.
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Old 09-03-10, 03:31 AM   #6
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Default Re: Nvidia vs. nouveau

Interesting, I didn't know of that option. I tried it,
Code:
Option "NoTwinViewXineramaInfo" "true"
but still the same issue - takes the two desktops as a single big monitor.
Regardless, Nvidia should do randr 1.2 and above.

Yes, lack of opencl is a showstopper for me as I use opencl/cuda for work. But I am optimistic it will be done in some time. (If not, hopefully I can contribute something to it after I am done with university.)
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Old 09-03-10, 08:43 AM   #7
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Default Re: Nvidia vs. nouveau

I agree, lack of xrandr 1.2 support is the major issue with nvidia drivers.
Otherwise, some people reports having issue with 2D performance, but I did never have any.
I'm using Render accel for compositing in kde, though.
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Old 09-03-10, 08:52 AM   #8
hl_
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Default Re: Nvidia vs. nouveau

Uhm, you need to make sure Xinerama info is enabled, not disabled. Also, your window manager needs to support Xinerama. It's no different to Xrandr, which works the same way. (i.e. uses a single merged framebuffer and exports Xinerama information to let the window manager know how to place windows)

It is also possible to use real Xinerama or separate X screens, but these configuration types don't allow dynamic reconfiguration (AFAIK) and have more restrictions than Xrandr/TwinView.
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Old 09-03-10, 09:56 AM   #9
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Default Re: Nvidia vs. nouveau

Quote:
Originally Posted by gradinaruvasile View Post
Nouveau:
- no 3D support - no games no anything that requires opengl. And implementing good 3D support will last years, just look at the Ati opensource drivers (and there they had the specs from Ati). So, no good 3D will be around for some years.
The Nouveau driver has experimental 3D support actually and comes packaged with Fedora 13(not installed or on by default). I played Openarea on full settings without a problem and Compiz worked.
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Old 09-03-10, 10:53 AM   #10
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Default Re: Nvidia vs. nouveau

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean_W View Post
The Nouveau driver has experimental 3D support actually and comes packaged with Fedora 13(not installed or on by default). I played Openarea on full settings without a problem and Compiz worked.
With Ubuntu/Debian too.
Performance is very good, sometimes I see some artefacts but this is very good alternative for nvidia driver.
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Old 09-03-10, 11:24 AM   #11
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Default Re: Nvidia vs. nouveau

Well not for me on Debian. And if it is even something like the Ati OSS driver (where it works that is) i will pass.
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Old 09-06-10, 02:14 AM   #12
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Default Re: Nvidia vs. nouveau

VS: http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...d_june10&num=1
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