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NVIDIA has confirmed a driver bug resulting in a loss of performance on Linux

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It seems there's a performance bug in recent NVIDIA drivers that has been causing a loss of performance across likely all GPUs. Not only that, but it seems to end up using more VRAM than previous drivers too.

User HeavyHDx started a thread on the official NVIDIA forum, to describe quite a big drop in performance since the 375 driver series. So all driver updates since then would have been affected by this.

NVIDIA themselves have now commented to confirm the issue. Here's what the NVIDIA rep said about it:

This likely matches a similar performance drop observed on another Feral game, Total War: WARHAMMER.
We've been tracking it internally as bug 1963500. There was a change, introduced in our r378 branch, to the logic of allocation of certain textures, but it apparently exposed a bug in our memory manager.
Our next release branch, r390, will carry a workaround, and we're still working on finding and fixing the root cause.

So it seems to affect at least Deus Ex Mankind Divided, Total War: WARHAMMER, Company of Hereos 2 and most likely a number of other titles too.

The same NVIDIA rep also said they aim to have the 390 driver series out before the end of the year, let's hope that doesn't come with its own problems! Great to know they are aware of it and that the next driver series will have a workaround to improve it, getting Linux game performance back on track is pretty important.

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Feda 30 November 2017 at 2:14 pm UTC
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I've noticed worse performance in XCOM-2 WOTC recently, when loading missions, but didn't have the presence of mind to link it to drivers. Looks like I'll need to switch to alder drivers and see if that helps.
Ehvis 30 November 2017 at 2:16 pm UTC
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Interesting is that Feral requires 384 drivers because 387 has performance issues for F1 2017. Is that the same problem, or is that a different one specifically for Vulkan?
Xpander 30 November 2017 at 2:26 pm UTC
i still havent noticed any difference in performance with drivers 375.x to 387.34. Havent tested Deus Ex though, but Total War Warhammer wasnt affected for me. I specially installed the old drivers to test out if drivers are issue why Rust is performing poorly compared to the performance in late Summer. Its pretty painfull to go back to those old drivers on Arch Linux though, have to downgrade kernel and whatnot
Somehow i have a feeling that Pascal GPUs are not affected by this.. or maybe because i have 8GB of Vram so i wont notice the drop.
emptythevoid 30 November 2017 at 2:32 pm UTC
This is interesting because I've suspected a <recent> loss of FPS in Borderlands 2, a game I play regularly. I'll have to check what nvidia driver I'm using at the moment on my 970.


Last edited by emptythevoid at 30 November 2017 at 2:33 pm UTC
Ehvis 30 November 2017 at 2:36 pm UTC
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Xpanderi still havent noticed any difference in performance with drivers 375.x to 387.34.

It is apparently a bug that causes higher VRAM usage. You probably have plenty of that for most games so that it won't affect performance much.
rkfg 30 November 2017 at 2:46 pm UTC
emptythevoidThis is interesting because I've suspected a <recent> loss of FPS in Borderlands 2, a game I play regularly. I'll have to check what nvidia driver I'm using at the moment on my 970.
I wish we had a field and an API here on GoL to autofill the current videodriver version or a commit/version of Mesa build (or even most of the fields). These days it's as crucial as the hardware configuration. It could be as simple as a cronjob/systemd timer that runs a script once a day. The script collects that info and updates it on the site using a private API token for the user. Also would be great to have a BB-code (and a corresponding button to insert it) like [mygpu] or [myhw] that inserts all the relevant data into your comment as it is at the moment of posting, so it doesn't autoupdate later.

The use case is simple, a new game/port comes out and many people post things like "it runs great for me!" or "stutters like a dying horse" and so on. Would be handy to put that tag so that others know on what exact configuration it happens without the need to click "View PC info" each time which can also be updated later so it becomes irrelevant.

What do you think, Liam?
chui2ch 30 November 2017 at 2:56 pm UTC
emptythevoidThis is interesting because I've suspected a <recent> loss of FPS in Borderlands 2, a game I play regularly. I'll have to check what nvidia driver I'm using at the moment on my 970.
I contacted Aspyr about my Borderlands 2, and TPS performance drop. I have experienced it on the stable 384.98, and the 387.34 drivers. They could not reproduce my problem. hopefully this gets fixed with the newer Nvidia drivers.
adomas 30 November 2017 at 3:45 pm UTC
Great! Also NVIDIA could fix Xid 31 which happens way too often...

Xid 31 is GPU memory page fault (driver, app issue)

To me happens every single day more than few times!

And they could improve nvidia-smi, as of now I see only one GPU details and my system has two GPUs...
elmapul 30 November 2017 at 5:59 pm UTC
should we benchmar stuff again?
lucifertdark 30 November 2017 at 6:04 pm UTC
I would much prefer to have them say "we found a bug & fixed it" rather than "we found a bug & we'll fix it some time in the next month or so", fix it then tell us it about it.
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