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It seems NVIDIA have been working on some improvements to their Linux driver, as the 396.54.05 beta driver seems to have improved performance in various games.

Tweeting about it, Valve's Pierre-Loup Griffais said "Proton NVIDIA users: the latest 396.54.05 Vulkan Beta driver contains significant performance improvements in GPU-bound scenarios.". He also noted that those on Ubuntu can grab it from a different PPA provided by Canonical for easy installation.

Looking around, it seems he's right on the money. Talking about it in our forum (also reddit), users noted improvements to games run on Linux. The improvements look pretty impressive too. The focus of everyone's testing seems to be DXVK which benefits from the new driver, so I went to test.

I was going to try out DOOM this morning, to see if there were any improvements there myself, but sadly the latest Proton update has actually made it unplayable for me when using two monitors (issue report). A shame, because it was basically perfection on the initial release of Proton from Valve's Steam Play. A good case for not simply moving everyone onto the latest version, keeping older versions around for when they do work fine. Edit: As mentioned in our comments, DOOM is not a good test case anyway, I simply don't own enough Windows games currently to test such stuff, but I'm working on acquiring more for such testing.

Instead, I took a look at Rise of the Tomb Raider and F1 2017 two native Linux games with Vulkan but it gave practically no difference. Edit: As mentioned by the DXVK developer in our first comments, the driver update will mainly benefit DXVK (for now) anyway.

So for those of you who are playing games (when they work) with Steam Play, this driver should hopefully improve things for you.

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32 comments
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YoRHa-2B 16 September 2018 at 11:16 am UTC
What they improved in the driver is apparently reporting whether a resource should be created with a dedicated allocation or not, which is necessary on Nvidia hardware to enable things like compression on render targets. DXVK heavily relies on the driver giving correct hints, whereas other native games might not, and DOOM probably doesn't even use the extension because the game is so old.
danniello 16 September 2018 at 11:21 am UTC
DOOM is not using DXVK because it is Vulkan native game (as option, by default it is using OpenGL), so probably in this case there is no improvement at all.
liamdawe 16 September 2018 at 11:22 am UTC
YoRHa-2BWhat they improved in the driver is apparently reporting whether a resource should be created with a dedicated allocation or not, which is necessary on Nvidia hardware to enable things like compression on render targets. DXVK heavily relies on the driver giving correct hints, whereas other native games might not, and DOOM probably doesn't even use the extension because the game is so old.
Thanks for the insight, interesting to know

I guess in future I will need to pick up a few extra games for DXVK/Steam Play testing, when we figure out the issue with DOOM anyway.

dannielloDOOM is not using DXVK because it is Vulkan native game (as option, by default it is using OpenGL), so probably in this case there is no improvement at all.
It's still a Vulkan game and simply one I was going to test, NVIDIA didn't mention in the notes it would mainly help DXVK as the author has pointed out in the comments.


Last edited by liamdawe at 16 September 2018 at 11:23 am UTC
goldenk 16 September 2018 at 11:22 am UTC
I have no comparison as I'm a new proton user but my 8700k and 1080ti with the latest driver run Doom, dark souls 3 and wolfenstein: the new order at or just about at windows performance. I had one issue but got it cleared up.
Xpander 16 September 2018 at 11:48 am UTC
liamdawe
YoRHa-2BWhat they improved in the driver is apparently reporting whether a resource should be created with a dedicated allocation or not, which is necessary on Nvidia hardware to enable things like compression on render targets. DXVK heavily relies on the driver giving correct hints, whereas other native games might not, and DOOM probably doesn't even use the extension because the game is so old.
Thanks for the insight, interesting to know

I guess in future I will need to pick up a few extra games for DXVK/Steam Play testing, when we figure out the issue with DOOM anyway.

dannielloDOOM is not using DXVK because it is Vulkan native game (as option, by default it is using OpenGL), so probably in this case there is no improvement at all.
It's still a Vulkan game and simply one I was going to test, NVIDIA didn't mention in the notes it would mainly help DXVK as the author has pointed out in the comments.

DOOM has zero perf improvements with 396.54.05 over the regular 396.54. As already said its using much older vulkan version.

GTA V on the other hand went from 70-90fps to 90-110FPS in the GPU bound situations (which are the most situations for me with 2560x1440) and the GPU utilization is now a bit lower also, around 90% while it was constantly 100% before
liamdawe 16 September 2018 at 11:56 am UTC
XpanderDOOM has zero perf improvements with 396.54.05 over the regular 396.54. As already said its using much older vulkan version.
Alright I get it, DOOM is not a good test case
scaine 16 September 2018 at 12:08 pm UTC
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The Doom bug affected me as well - an 800x600 full screen "window" on the wrong monitor. However, if you can navigate into Campaign, then Settings, Video, you can change the monitor and then hit escape to apply the change. Game works fine for me now, and it remembers the change thereafter too.

I hope this doesn't happen every time a new version of Proton comes out though!
liamdawe 16 September 2018 at 12:13 pm UTC
scaineThe Doom bug affected me as well - an 800x600 full screen "window" on the wrong monitor. However, if you can navigate into Campaign, then Settings, Video, you can change the monitor and then hit escape to apply the change. Game works fine for me now, and it remembers the change thereafter too.

I hope this doesn't happen every time a new version of Proton comes out though!
I couldn't even do that. I tried the brute force reinstall method which works, so Valve now have a log where it had the issue and a log where it works fine. Hopefully that might help them track the issue down.

As you said, I sincerely hope this is something that gets ironed out because it's going to be a repeating issue I fear and something that will put people off if they have more than one monitor.
Xpander 16 September 2018 at 12:22 pm UTC
No issue for me with DOOM on a multi-monitor setup. Have 2x 2560x1440 monitors, MATE Desktop. All is like it was with previous proton builds


Last edited by Xpander at 16 September 2018 at 12:23 pm UTC
Faattori 16 September 2018 at 12:38 pm UTC
If someone has it Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus might be a good game to test if the new drivers would offer an increase without DXVK. It's much newer than DOOM (2016).


Last edited by Faattori at 16 September 2018 at 12:39 pm UTC. Edited 2 times.
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