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Recent NVIDIA drivers are causing issues for Proton

By - | Views: 31,091

Have you been seeing some problems with the NVIDIA 535 driver series when trying to run Steam games on Linux with Proton? Well, you're not alone but investigations are under way. Here's what's happening.

Back in June there was a report on the Proton GitHub where a user noticed how Proton 8 and Proton Experimental were unable to create a new prefix. A prefix being the special directory set up by Proton, where it stores all the expected Windows files each game needs to run. Quite a few comments have confirmed it, including developers working on Proton. 

The issue is an odd one, because even if you're on an AMD GPU and happen to have some NVIDIA driver bits installed (say from moving from an NVIDIA GPU to an AMD GPU), the issue can still happen. The set up gets stalled on DXSETUP and just won't go any further.

On the GitHub issue report a Proton developer just recently mentioned this:

Good news - there's some progress. The issue seems to be due to address space exhaustion. DXSETUP is a 32 bit process and it can address 4G of memory. Nvidia's driver starting with 535 seem to be a bit more heavy than the previous series. While the bump is not colossal it's enough to make things crash. Nvidia is aware of this.

One thing that should help with the issue is uninstalling all the other Vulkan drivers that are not in use. So if you are on Nvidia uninstall all things Mesa, including extra Vulkan layers, and vice versa. Otherwise they are all loaded using the precious address space.

That said I'm looking into where the memory goes in places we have control over it and why DXSETUP is this pathological.

It seems like if you have the issue you may be able to use Proton 7 initially to try to run a game (even if it won't work in Proton 7) and then swap over to Proton 8 or Proton Experimental.

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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly. Find me on Mastodon.
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Reki Aug 18, 2023
oh so that's why DXSETUP was getting stuck... i just worked around this by killing the DXSETUP process, everything seems to work fine regardless lmao
Minux Aug 18, 2023
NVIDIA giving problems on Linux about something... How is this even possible? Never happened before!

Last edited by Minux on 18 August 2023 at 11:12 am UTC
ssj17vegeta Aug 18, 2023
Ooooh, "happy" to see there is an explanation for this.
Guppy Aug 18, 2023
yeah ran into this exact issue with Baldur's gate 3 - ended up solving it the same way after hours of frustrating trial and error
PanosK Aug 18, 2023
Where was this article when I needed it?!?I uninstalled Ubuntu and went with pop os because of this bug .Strange but in pop os with the same Nvidia drivers I ha ve no issues and pop os is way better than Ubuntu so far
Avikarr Aug 18, 2023
525 driver works sooo much better even just on desktop, that's why I don't upgrade to 535. Tried all the updates there was for 535, but it still has the same issues.

Last edited by Avikarr on 18 August 2023 at 1:32 pm UTC
Ehvis Aug 18, 2023
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My decision to stay with 525 seems to have been a good one. Not the only 32 bit address space problem. Seems that Windows leaves more of the 32 bit address space free than Proton does (regardless of drivers) which causes some very memory hungry games on Proton. Still hoping that 32on64 might be capable of freeing some of it up.
aufkrawall Aug 18, 2023
I had issues with Proton screwing up installation of d3d9x DLLs also on systems where never anything Nvidia-related was installed. Something in Proton's prefix setup procedure is very weak in this regard, it's basically just copying/linking files + DLL load order override.
Purple Library Guy Aug 18, 2023
Quoting: PanosKWhere was this article when I needed it?!?I uninstalled Ubuntu and went with pop os because of this bug .Strange but in pop os with the same Nvidia drivers I ha ve no issues and pop os is way better than Ubuntu so far
From the sound of it, any fresh install of any distro might have cleaned things up enough to duck the bug. For the moment at least, until stuff starts accumulating.

Last edited by Purple Library Guy on 18 August 2023 at 5:47 pm UTC
Xpander Aug 19, 2023
Interesting. Haven't encountered this issue myself yet. Been happy with the latest 2 of the 535 drivers. Currently 535.98.
the older 535.54 had shader cache issues and some corruption in some vulkan and vkd3d-proton using games, but this has been fixed with the latest drivers.
Been super solid experience for me..but im on Ampere and i hear people have some issues on turing and below with cyberpunk hangs etc. I personally played cyberpunk 2077 (~65 hours) with zero issues.
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