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Get ready to do some more testing NVIDIA users, as a fresh Beta just went up for their mainline Linux drivers with 465.19.01 now available. This is a Beta for a future stable release, so unlike the separate Vulkan Beta branch, this is actually targeting normal desktop users.

What does this bring? A slightly refreshed nvidia-settings application, one that is "more consistent about displaying layout controls which are only applicable for some displays or GPUs connected to the system". Additionally it has improved "X11 DrawText() performance when rendering stippled text" and it adds support for the extensions:

This driver release also added support for linear images for use with host-visible video memory in Vulkan, allows the NVIDIA X driver to allow OpenGL applications running on an X server that has left the active virtual terminal (VT) to continue running on the GPU but with a limited frame rate, Runtime D3 Power Management is now enabled by default on supported notebook systems with Ampere or newer GPUs and there's a bunch of bug fixes too including:

  • Fixed a bug that could prevent some hardware configurations with large numbers of displays connected to the same GPU from working correctly.
  • Fixed a bug that could cause multi-threaded GLX applications to hang while attempting to handle an XError.
  • Fixed a potential crash in the Vulkan driver when clearing images with multiple layers.
  • Fixed a bug with the host-visible device-local memory heap, where if an allocation failed due to space constraints, it could cause the application to crash on future Vulkan function calls.
  • Fixed corruption in the Vulkan driver that sometimes occurred with shadow rendering with image arrays.
  • Fixed an issue with OpenGL where imported Vulkan buffers would fail with GL_OUT_OF_MEMORY when marked as resident.
  • Fixed a bug that caused the NVIDIA driver to retain an incorrect memory mapping of the UEFI system console when booting with the kernel parameter pci=realloc. This could cause the console to corrupt memory in use by the NVIDIA driver, and vice versa.
  • Fix a Vulkan clamping bug where fragment depth values would not be clamped to the range [0,1] if VK_EXT_depth_range_unrestricted was not enabled.
  • Fix a bug related to SPIR-V 1.4 non-Input/Output entry point variables.
  • Fixed a bug in compilation of SPIR-V intersection shaders when modules with multiple entry points are used.

Full release notes and announcement here. In related news, their FreeBSD driver also got Vulkan 1.2 support.

In other NVIDIA news for Linux, their developer James Jones sent in a work-in-progress merge request to the Mesa git to enable the loading of alternative GBM backends. Looks like this is even more work coming in towards their improved Wayland and XWayland support for a future driver.

Additionally, something noteworthy for users of virtual machines being hosted on Linux: NVIDIA released a new Windows driver and mentioned this for Linux fans:

If you’re primarily a Linux user, you can now enable GeForce GPU passthrough on a Windows Virtual Machine (VM). Play Windows-only games in your VM, or if you’re a developer, more easily test both Windows and Linux code from a single machine, accelerating development.

The beta feature is enabled on all GeForce/TITAN GPUs supported by this driver (Kepler and later for desktop; Maxwell and later for laptop) on Windows 10.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Beta, Drivers, Meta, NVIDIA
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24 comments
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omer666 30 Mar
Quoting: Grazen
Quoting: KohlyKohl
Quoting: omer666Well, maybe they realised AMD's hardware was competitive again, and they need to better their software to stay on top. In any case, I'm still waiting for Nvidia's promises to materialise, but that's very good news at last.

From what I've seen, AMD is still a bit behind NVidia in terms of hardware. NVidia is also way ahead in software so I don't think they are that worried.

This is so true. I aspire to one day moving to AMD but I'm not going to do it strictly because they offer "open source" drivers... frankly that's the least valuable item on my list of wants (considering that I'm using proprietary software in Steam and the games themselves!). AMD needs to catch up on the hardware front, particularly on RT and supersampling technologies like DLSS (which apparently will never work via proton, but alas). The AMD drivers also generally lag behind the Nvidia proprietary drivers in my experience. I'm hoping that the 7000 series cards solve the hardware issues when i'm looking to upgrade from my 2000 series Nvidia cards.

@KohlyKohl
I said competitive, which doesn't imply that AMD is ahead, but from what I can observe, many more people (even on Windows) are willing to buy AMD whenever it is available, because there is a whole bunch of users who don't care about Ray Tracing at all. Also AMD does lead in power efficiency.

@Grazen
Well that's debatable. On the one hand, there's great compatibility and some quality of life features in Nvidia's drivers, but on the other, if you consider AMD's integration at the heart of the Mesa stack, its compatibility with Wayland, and the fact that GPU passthrough has been supported like forever, I would certainly not say Nvidia's software is ahead of AMD's.

Add in the fact that Nvidia drivers can have some very tiresome bugs that take very long to get fixed, and that AMD's open source drivers have almost all of AMD's official features available + some extra features from Valve, and I could almost say AMD's got the lead.


Last edited by omer666 on 30 March 2021 at 5:19 pm UTC
Xpander 30 Mar
These days competitive even doesn't matter. You buy what you can get your hands on with the price you are willing to pay. That being said there are pros and cons on both nvidia and amd side. Generally nvidia just works day one without any major issues.. has all the cuda and nvenc goodnes... on the other hand some bugs take longer to get fixed.
AMD is hit and miss imo. if everything clicks together and you dont need some special features like cuda or nvenc, then AMD is really good and performing well. Day one support is still a bit of problem and there are way more corner cases than with nvidia imo.
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Quoting: Grazen
Quoting: KohlyKohl
Quoting: omer666Well, maybe they realised AMD's hardware was competitive again, and they need to better their software to stay on top. In any case, I'm still waiting for Nvidia's promises to materialise, but that's very good news at last.

From what I've seen, AMD is still a bit behind NVidia in terms of hardware. NVidia is also way ahead in software so I don't think they are that worried.

This is so true. I aspire to one day moving to AMD but I'm not going to do it strictly because they offer "open source" drivers... frankly that's the least valuable item on my list of wants (considering that I'm using proprietary software in Steam and the games themselves!). AMD needs to catch up on the hardware front, particularly on RT and supersampling technologies like DLSS (which apparently will never work via proton, but alas). The AMD drivers also generally lag behind the Nvidia proprietary drivers in my experience. I'm hoping that the 7000 series cards solve the hardware issues when i'm looking to upgrade from my 2000 series Nvidia cards.

I've tried both the top tier cards currently (scarcely) available in the market. I would say that although AMD cards have a better efficiency, they still don't support as many games as Nvidia does. There is still no straight answer to the question which one is better for Linux gamers.
orlfman 30 Mar
nvidia had the ability to participate in development discussions but they chose not to. lets take a momemt to thank the wayland dev's for not caving into nvidia's pressures to abandon GBM and have wayland under nvidia's boot.

wayland dev's stood their ground and i thank them for that. if nvidia cares about linux like they said they do, they can start being more friendly to open source. and i hope the community continues to ignore nvidia's pressures and not hold back progress for wanting to be under nvidia's boot.

i'm happy to see nvidia after almost a decade of shoving their heads under the sand cave in and accept GBM. now lets hope they can adopt a driver model similar to amd for their drivers can be more linux friendly. adopt mesa and start contributing to it. and maybe start open sourcing some of their other stuff like gsync. start competing on hardware performance, not software lockins to keep people under their boot.


Last edited by orlfman on 30 March 2021 at 8:44 pm UTC
mrdeathjr 31 Mar
This driver come with vulkan version 1.2.168

link

and on native side xemu still runs

link




Last edited by mrdeathjr on 31 March 2021 at 3:06 am UTC
What does the note about passthrough mean? Does it work with a single GPU now?
scratchi 31 Mar
Quoting: RickAndTiredWhat does the note about passthrough mean? Does it work with a single GPU now?

Nope, still requires a dedicated GPU to passthrough. It just means they allow you to install the driver in the guest OS now. Apparently this didn't work before.

The requirements and steps for setting up pcie passthrough in qemu-kvm remain the same...at least thats how I understand this
omer666 31 Mar
Quoting: LordDaveTheKind
Quoting: Grazen
Quoting: KohlyKohl
Quoting: omer666Well, maybe they realised AMD's hardware was competitive again, and they need to better their software to stay on top. In any case, I'm still waiting for Nvidia's promises to materialise, but that's very good news at last.

From what I've seen, AMD is still a bit behind NVidia in terms of hardware. NVidia is also way ahead in software so I don't think they are that worried.

This is so true. I aspire to one day moving to AMD but I'm not going to do it strictly because they offer "open source" drivers... frankly that's the least valuable item on my list of wants (considering that I'm using proprietary software in Steam and the games themselves!). AMD needs to catch up on the hardware front, particularly on RT and supersampling technologies like DLSS (which apparently will never work via proton, but alas). The AMD drivers also generally lag behind the Nvidia proprietary drivers in my experience. I'm hoping that the 7000 series cards solve the hardware issues when i'm looking to upgrade from my 2000 series Nvidia cards.

I've tried both the top tier cards currently (scarcely) available in the market. I would say that although AMD cards have a better efficiency, they still don't support as many games as Nvidia does. There is still no straight answer to the question which one is better for Linux gamers.

Would you share with us which games were troublesome to you?
I would really like to use an AMD GPU sometime in the future, and although I know the support is always getting better, I'm a bit concerned about problems I'm not aware of...
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Quoting: omer666Would you share with us which games were troublesome to you?
I would really like to use an AMD GPU sometime in the future, and although I know the support is always getting better, I'm a bit concerned about problems I'm not aware of...

Yes, apologies if I answer just now.

There are a few exceptional cases:
  • Games currently based on the Ray-Tracing extensions, or any other missing Vulkan extension on AMD;

  • Some DirectX12 games such as AC Valhalla. There are some recent discussions though on how to make it work with specific versions of RADV/Mesa (Link on the GitHub discussion here ). If you try to use AMDVLK, the whole X session crashes instead.

Of course they are very small exceptions, and I know very few people might get interested in them. But we have to consider them if we want to do an unbiased evaluation. And, to be fair, it isn't bad: it's healthy to have the possibility of making a choice between two options.


Last edited by LordDaveTheKind on 2 April 2021 at 3:25 pm UTC
omer666 2 Apr
Quoting: LordDaveTheKind
Quoting: omer666Would you share with us which games were troublesome to you?
I would really like to use an AMD GPU sometime in the future, and although I know the support is always getting better, I'm a bit concerned about problems I'm not aware of...

Yes, apologies if I answer just now.

There are a few exceptional cases:
  • Games currently based on the Ray-Tracing extensions, or any other missing Vulkan extension on AMD;

  • Some DirectX12 games such as AC Valhalla. There are some recent discussions though on how to make it work with specific versions of RADV/Mesa (Link on the GitHub discussion here ). If you try to use AMDVLK, the whole X session crashes instead.

Of course they are very small exceptions, and I know very few people might get interested to it. But we have to consider them if we want to do an unbiased evaluation. And, to be fair, it isn't bad: it's healthy to have the possibility of making a choice between two options.
It's fine
Thank you for your answer. Yes those are very small issues, but issues they are indeed.
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