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The GOL Nouveau Experiment

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It is a widely known and accepted fact that the proprietary Nvidia drivers offer the best gaming performance in the Linux world. But can you live without them on Nvidia hardware?

I've messed with the open source Nouveau driver once in a while but recently I decided I'd like to properly test how well Nouveau would be able to handle my day-to-day computer activities.

For the next two weeks I will be using Nouveau exclusively on my desktop to do any and all gaming. I have upgraded my kernel to 3.16 and gotten Nouveau and Mesa from the Oibaf PPA so I have access to some levels of GPU reclocking. It's a bit experimental (and manual) but it should allow me to push games a bit harder than before.

I'll try to play all kinds of games and test most of my Steam library during this 2 week period and record some gameplay material to show you how well various games run on Nouveau. I will also use Nouveau during both of my Friday livestreams.

Just to give you an idea what kind of a computer I'm going to be using, here are the specs of my rig:
- Intel i5-2500k at 3.3GHZ
- GTX 760 with 2GB of VRAM
- 8GB of RAM

My expectations are not extremely high but my initial testing has shown that it won't be completely horrible.

What kind of stuff would you like to see me test during these two weeks? Make sure to let me know in the comments! Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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About the author -
I'm a Linux gamer from Finland. I like reading, long walks on the beach, dying repeatedly in roguelikes and ripping and tearing in FPS games. I also sometimes write code and sometimes that includes hobbyist game development.
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Liam Dawe 15 March 2015 at 7:03 pm UTC
Dying Light ;)
raonlinux 15 March 2015 at 7:22 pm UTC
there are bunch of game, but dota 2, will be the first one, as what about the fan speed is good on the opensource way. Another games will be cities skylines, torchlight 2 and any fps.
Ivancillo 15 March 2015 at 7:31 pm UTC
Is there any way to monitorize the temps and / or performance level with Noveau?

I don't care so much about framerate, but I'm a bit concerned about get my card at maximun performance level all the time (and eventually get burn).

I've got a GTS 250 and a GTX 260.
Xpander 15 March 2015 at 7:31 pm UTC
upgraded to 3.16? you on debian stable or something? 3.19 is current stable and 4.0 just around the corner.
my last experiments with nouveau were quite disastrous ... nothing really worked.. didn't had time to investigate much either..

but try Borderlands 2 or similar Triple A games as well if you testing it.. would be nice to see.

Metro Redux and Dying Light is probably out of question due to no gl4 support.
Samsai 6 years 15 March 2015 at 7:34 pm UTC
Xpanderupgraded to 3.16? you on debian stable or something? 3.19 is current stable and 4.0 just around the corner.
my last experiments with nouveau were quite disastrous ... nothing really worked.. didn't had time to investigate much either..

but try Borderlands 2 or similar Triple A games as well if you testing it.. would be nice to see.

Metro Redux and Dying Light is probably out of question due to no gl4 support.
Not everyone uses Arch, my friend. Ubuntu 14.04 uses 3.13 by default and now I'm using a kernel backported from 14.10.
mirv 15 March 2015 at 7:41 pm UTC
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Unity3D games would be important to test - a variety, to see which versions of Unity3D are ok, and which are...not.
If you can try UE4 (the Unreal Tournament alpha, for example), that'd be interesting as well.
xcom, borderlands 2, baldur's gate, Unigine things (heaven, valley, oil rush), the list goes on.
Relative performance, stability, desktop experience, etc, all good to read about.

....and cheers, it's an interesting experiement to run, I'll be looking forward to reading about how you fare!
Maelrane 15 March 2015 at 7:44 pm UTC
Ya, try Borderlands please! The Borderlands games and XCOM run perfectly under the AMD open source drivers, so gogogogo, test them!
Sabun 15 March 2015 at 7:55 pm UTC
More importantly than seeing games run, I'd like to know how often you had to open a Terminal, and enter commands or change admin-level files to get things working. Or fix issues that arise.

I'm interested in the difficulty or ease of using it. (Maybe record on paper the number of times issues arose per-day)

I'm already on 3.19 in Ubuntu 15.04 and the experience is stable if you're interested in upgrading to this for the duration of the test
minj 15 March 2015 at 8:03 pm UTC
In my experience 3.16 might be better with proprietary drivers than 3.18 (just a feeling, nothing to substantiate it with) so I think it's a good choice.

Games: Torchlight 2, Trine 2, Witcher 2, XCOM, EU IV, Portal 2, Metro: LL, indies...
Segata Sanshiro 15 March 2015 at 8:05 pm UTC
This is a very good idea! Looking forward to see what happens.
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