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Nvidia Doubles Linux Driver Performance, Slips Steam Release Date 363

leppi writes "Nvidia has announced a huge increase in Linux gaming performance for their GeForce R310 drivers after almost a year of development alongside Valve and other game developer partners. Nvidia's announcement also indicated the Steam beta for Linux should be out today. Quoting: 'Available for download at, the new R310 drivers were also thoroughly tested with Steam for Linux, the extension of Valve's phenomenally popular Steam gaming platform that officially opened to gamers starting today. ... Comparing 304.51 driver performance of 142.7 fps versus 310.14 driver performance of 301.4 fps in beta build of Left for Dead 2. All tests run on the same system using Intel Core i7-3930K CPU @ 3.20GHz with 8 GB memory, GeForce GTX 680 and Ubuntu 12.04 32-bit.'" Update: 11/06 21:00 GMT by S : Valve has gone ahead and announced the Steam for Linux Beta. They've sent invites to a number of people who filled out the application, and they'll be inviting more as the test goes along. The beta test is available for installation on Ubuntu 12.04, with support for other distros to come: "We intend to support additional popular distros in the future; we’ll prioritize development for these based on user feedback."
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Nvidia Doubles Linux Driver Performance, Slips Steam Release Date

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  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <> on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @04:09PM (#41898339) Homepage Journal
    Hardcore video games have traditionally been one of the sticking points against getting PC users to adopt GNU/Linux. But with big companies (Valve and NVIDIA) committed to bringing hardcore video games to the GNU/Linux platform, what else is in the way of making 2013 the year of the Linux desktop?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      Nothing just like the last decade.

      For many people the YOTLD was a long time ago.

      I just hope I got selected for this beta.

      • by Karzz1 ( 306015 )
        I just hope I got selected for this beta.

        I could not agree more, however I answered (truthfully) that my distro of choice is Gentoo which I suspect will put me at the very bottom of the list :(
        • by deek ( 22697 ) on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @08:25PM (#41901797) Homepage Journal

          I hear ya. I responded with Debian to the distro question, which I was hopeful was close enough to Ubuntu that they'd sneak me in.

          The funny thing is, according to the beta announcement, "An overwhelming majority of beta applicants have reported they’re running the Ubuntu distro of Linux". I have to wonder how many of those people are actually running other distributions and said Ubuntu, and how many didn't even bother signing up, because it was widely known that Valve were targeting Ubuntu for the beta.

    • by YodasEvilTwin ( 2014446 ) on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @04:14PM (#41898403) Homepage
      Ease of use.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dimko ( 1166489 )
        You mean it's too easy to use Linux? I mean... With ubuntu you just pop into it's centralised software database, and graphically install most needed programs from there, while in windows you have to find application in search engine, and actually navigate and download it, and it's not always as easy as it seems.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by dpidcoe ( 2606549 )

          The centralized software database is great... until you need a program that's not in it.

          Also, finding and downloading something with a search engine is done every day by pretty much anyone who uses a PC (regardless of OS), so it's not really accurate to include that when measuring complexity of installing software. Having to type a bunch of things into a command line (and then finding out TFM was out of date and everything you types was wrong) is definitely not something that non-linux PC users are familia

          • by Bert64 ( 520050 ) <bert&slashdot,firenzee,com> on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @05:45PM (#41899821) Homepage

            Trying to find software in a search engine is also extremely risky if you are not technically competent, and results in large numbers of such users being tricked into installing malware. Installing software by hand should be strongly discouraged, and left to people who know what they're doing.

            And you don't type anything into a command line from a website, you cut+paste it which is far less error prone than following gui based instructions...

            • Trying to find software in a search engine is also extremely risky if you are not technically competent, and results in large numbers of such users being tricked into installing malware. Installing software by hand should be strongly discouraged, and left to people who know what they're doing

              Excellent advice. And there are also plenty of binaries out there that do come from trusted sources, Opera for example, which does an excellent job of installing smoothly and painlessly on pretty much every known x86 Linux distro.

          • Really? How many people have an iPhone where they can only install software from the app store? How is it any different (besides the fact that you actually can install what you want besides, it's just not simple). People get package managers now, because most people use them all the time. Either they'll be happy with what's on offer, or they'll be a power user who can at least google how to deal with it.
      • I've got about a dozen friends and cow-orkers using Linux now, and all have stated that they find it more usable than Windows). They've chosen a variety of desktops, mainly Gnome2 plus Docky, Gnome shell, or Xfce. Updates are automatic and centrailized, software repositories are built in, and you can generally tweak it to act as you wish, although less so in the last few releases of Ubuntu using Gnome-shell or Unity. A little love from the hardware manufacturers would be nice though. You still run into the

    • Apple. Or even modern versions of Windows, I guess.

      For me at least, the clear advantages of a Linux desktop withered away about 4-5 years ago. Even the price of commercial OS's are almost inconsequential these days.

    • by wzinc ( 612701 ) on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @04:42PM (#41898875)
      It's funny. MS is always touting you need Windows for "real" work, but the only reason I even keep a Windows box is games. I believe there are a lot of /. people out there who are the same way.
      • In fact I most recently bought & installed windows 8 just to eke out a bit more gaming performance.

        Its honestly a fantastic OS(for windows) once you get rid of the thing where they try to force you to use a tablet interface with a mouse & keyboard.

        I also keep most of the PC's in my house on Windows because nothing except my router plays nice with linux for some reason.

    • Reality.

      • You appear to claim that "reality" will continue to keep the GNU/Linux environment from becoming a compelling choice for home use after the games obstacle is removed, especially now that Windows 8 is starting to look more like a tablet environment than like the desktop environment that people are used to. Exactly what aspect of reality are you talking about?
    • by kimvette ( 919543 ) on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @04:53PM (#41899045) Homepage Journal

      what else is in the way of making 2013 the year of the Linux desktop?

      • The ongoing trend of saying "RTFM" to every question when TFM is either nonexistent, is written in geek terms a non-sysadmin will never comprehend, or the documentation simply sucks balls.
      • Regligious fanboyism of distro-vs-distro
      • RPM Hell (. . . and RPM is one of the better package managers!!)
      • Lack of a cohesive marketing effort; different projects and distros spend too much time competing and distinguishing themselves from one another rather than cooperating and distinguishing ALL of Linux from Windows as a legitimate alternative
      • F/OSS vs. binary blob holy war: why does it have to be so difficult (from a user's perspective) to get an NVIDIA card working properly? (or to get an ATI/AMD card to work at all ;))
      • lack of working management tools for SAMBA (editing config files and managing samba users via CLI is still the best way) not to mention crappy SAMBA documentation and howtos that are just plain wrong


      Lack of support from third-party vendors and hardware makers (or inferior support where support does exist). I am back tor running Windows almost exclusively on my primary PC (my laptop) for:

          - RAW support for my DSLR (DCRAW is horrible compared to Lightroom or even Canon's DPP raw processing)
          - Adobe CS and photoshop plugins
          - my embroidery machine and embroidery software
          - My iPhone (like it or not, it's a great product but it's tied to iTunes)
          - Games (less work to configure than futzing around with WINE or Crossover or Cedega**)
          - CD/DVD publisher (Bravo SE) at the office
          - Brother label printer
          - SilverLight (Ick. see: Netflix)

        ** now discontinued(?) - which brings up another point: products/projects being abandoned/discontinued seemingly at random

      • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @04:59PM (#41899153)

        RPM is not one of the better package managers. Yum uses RPM, but even that sucks.

        Drivers are easy, its a checkbox in Ubuntu.

        You are blaming an OS for a company shutting down? Is it Microsofts fault when a windows software company dies?

      • * RTFM: still happens, but not as much as it used to.
        * Distro-vs-Distro: yes, this is still annoying as hell
        * RPM Hell: yea, what? Seriously, when was the last time you got this when you wern't doing stupid things like trying to use SuSE RPMs in Fedora? Likewise with the debian family.
        * I can say nothing about marketing, beyond the claim that all involved in it should die in fires (along with lawyers)
        * Binary Blob holy war: Blame US copyright law. Not an issue for end users, usually.
        * SAMBA doesn't matter i

    • by IrquiM ( 471313 )

      [...]what else is in the way of making 2013 the year of the Linux desktop?


  • Today (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Is it measured in Valve Time?

    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      As long as it is not the third anything we will be ok. Since we all know valve can't count to three.

      • At this point, there's a part of me that's expecting to see the third installment of everything from Valve all come out on the same day. Would explain why HalfLife 2 Ep 3 took so long if they had to wait to also have Team Fortress 3, Portal 3, Left4Dead 3 and DOTA 3 in the pipe and ready to go.

        That said, it's not a big piece of me that's actually expecting that though. About 1/3.

      • Well this is the third platform Steam has come out for. First Windows, then Mac OS, now Linux.

  • by rs1n ( 1867908 ) on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @04:12PM (#41898371)
    I'm sure everyone is also interested in seeing how the performance compares to drivers on other operating systems (Windows, Mac OS X). Is there a link to such a comparison? It helps to put things into perspective. (I'm too lazy to google it =)
  • by Jonah Hex ( 651948 ) <> on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @04:13PM (#41898385) Homepage Journal
    Since Steam now provides programs, including one that updates your drivers, why not release the major drivers on the platform directly? Take advantage of the Steam (torrent hybrid) distribution method and get auto updates. - HEX
    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      How exactly does that work assuming you aren't silly enough to run Steam as root?

      • Re:Steam Programs (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Jonah Hex ( 651948 ) <> on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @04:21PM (#41898529) Homepage Journal
        Same way it does on Windows, asks to install the updated driver and get elevated for that task. Personally I wasn't thinking of Linux, as I game (and mostly work) on Windows. - HEX
        • Not a bad idea, actually, so long as it's only an option for those who want it (and not a requirement for either the drivers or steam).

          I think I'd rather have driver updates integrated with my software repositories than with any particular application, however gaming specific it is (which I'd also like to have integrated with my software repositories). Steam coming to Linux, and any effort around it, is a big deal, absolutely. Big because Steam has a serious user base (many of whom think of it as synonymous

      • At least in its Windows incarnation, Steam doesn't run with admin privileges. It simply, when necessary, starts whatever the installer is with a request for elevation. You get the pop-up and/or username and password prompt(depending on your system settings) and the privileged process does whatever install needs doing while steam continues to chug along at its usual level. Presumably a linux implementation of the idea would work in roughly the same way: Steam downloads the installer package and, depending on

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Ubuntu already updates the nvidia driver through default repositories.

  • What a Slip! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Baloroth ( 2370816 ) on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @04:15PM (#41898409)

    Nvidia's announcement also indicated the Steam beta for Linux should be out today

    I think Valve's [] announcement kinda indicated that too.

  • by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @04:23PM (#41898575) Homepage

    the year of Linux on desktop?

    Will the evil Microsoftians interfere?
    Will the diablolical Appleites unleash the dooms day Software and Plastic part patents?
    Stay tuned!

  • by Type44Q ( 1233630 ) on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @04:26PM (#41898637)
    That's the sound a one big motherfucking railroad spike being driven into your soft, worm-eaten coffin.

    Music to my ears, baby! :)

  • How nice except that 304.10 won't compile against the 3.7 kernel source and nVidia says it will try to get that working by the next release...
    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      Nvidia needs to get their shit together and at least put some of the driver in the mainline kernel.

      At least all the Source games should run fine on the intel driver.

  • I wish nVidia would stop being so protective about it's API's and just work with nouveau. If there's a few bits here or there that must remain proprietary, they could release those with a nonfree license and make the rest open...I refuse to use something with no support for a framebuffer console.
    • by armanox ( 826486 )

      And dare I ask what is so important about the framebuffer console? I hate the high res text console (vga=791 was plenty fine), and not having KMS or whatever setting the console is fine with me.

  • Why was this test done on a 32 bit OS with 8 GB of RAM?

    This means that it was running that crappy PAE kernel.

    Far better to test on a 64 bit OS instead.

  • by G3ckoG33k ( 647276 ) on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @04:56PM (#41899091)

    10 % better than Windows if the numbers at []

    can be used straight away (which they possibly can to some extent as Left for Dead 2 probably isn't CPU bound) for GTX 680

    Windows - 276 fps

    Linux - 301.4 fps

    Quite an improvement anyhow!

    Congratulations to all involved!!!

  • Ubuntu 32-bit? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Milharis ( 2523940 )

    "All tests run on the same system using Intel Core i7-3930K CPU @ 3.20GHz with 8 GB memory, GeForce GTX 680 and Ubuntu 12.04 32-bit."
    8 GB of RAM, and they're using the 32 bit version of Ubuntu ?
    I know it's what Ubuntu is recommending by default, but come on, with the rig they have, why go for 32 bit?

  • Does this mean the mobile chips will see an improvement as well? It sure would be nice to watch HD video without huge amounts of page tearing.

    It's gotten better of the years, but it's still a rather large and annoying issue with these chips. Though it could be worse, I could be stuck with an AMD (ati) chipset.

  • How? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Chemisor ( 97276 ) on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @05:11PM (#41899327)

    Can any driver developers comment on how this was achieved? I know I haven't been programming OpenGL for very long, but all I see it doing is writing the data to the card and running the shaders on that data. Data transfers should already be going at full speed, so I don't see much possible improvement there. I also can't see how shader compiler improvements could result in doubled performance. Typically, compiler changes speed things up by a few percent and I don't believe that nVidia's compiler was that bad before. So what was sped up exactly? And frankly, aside from compiling the shaders and memcpying data to the card, I'm puzzled what the driver is doing anyway?

  • Optimus? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Yvanhoe ( 564877 ) on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @07:21PM (#41901133) Journal
    Have they changed their stance on their Optimus feature that they infamously said "would never be supported under linux"? For those unaware of it, laptops now ship with 2 GPUs : a small one, low performance and low conso, usually an Intel one, and a high-end one, that is started when GPU intensive tasks are started. Optimus is the undocumented feature that allows to switch between these two.

    It is not supported in the linux nVidia driver, it was said by nvidia official they would never support it and they didn't even give the OSS developers the little hints they need to make a workaround.

    Unless this silliness (that made Linus call them many names) is solved, I am unlikely to buy any laptop with a nVidia board.

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