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Benchmarked: Nouveau vs Nvidia Arch Linux Driver on 980ti

There has been lots of discussion on the internet comparing the Nouveau open-source drivers to the Nvidia closed-source drivers on liuux.  We put it to the test.  Many of these games did not have a benchmark feature, so a simple circuit was tested on each driver for each game listed.  All games were tested full-screen at 1440p.

Test System Specs:

16GB DDR4 3200mhz
980ti @ 1440p144hz
Arch Linux
Nvidia Drivers 378.13
Nouveau Drivers 1.0.13-2


Game #1:  Amnesia Dark Descent

Image result for amnesia dark descent linux

Ultra Settings
Nouveau: 13fps
Nvidia: 75fps

Low Settings
Nouveau: 46fps
Nvidia: 615fps

Clear winner is the Nvidia drivers.  The Nouveau drivers had some artifact and texture issues, although it was totally playable.  Nvidia drivers looked perfect.

Game #2: Kerbal Space Program

Image result for ksp laythe

Ultra Settings
Nouveau: 35fps
Nvidia: 144fps

Clear winner is the Nvidia drivers.  Some flickering on the Nouveau drivers.  Nvidia drivers looked perfect.

Game #3:  Tomb Raider 2013

Image result for tomb raider 2013 linux

Ultra Settings
Nouveau: Unplayable
Nvidia: 55fps

Clear winner is the Nvidia drivers.  Tomb Raider was unstable on the open source drivers.  It would run 25fps sometimes and eventually glitch/freeze down to 1-2 fps.  Nvidia drivers looked perfect.

Game #4:  Cities Skylines

Image result for cities skylines huge

Ultra Settings – Tested with a 800k population map zoomed out
Nouveau: 16fps
Nvidia: 70fps

Clear winner is the Nvidia drivers.  Nouveau had issues rendering the shadows as well.  Nvidia drivers looked perfect.

Game #5:  Half Life 2

Image result for half life 2 linux

Ultra Settings 8x MSAA
Nouveau: 11-37fps
Nvidia: 225-288fps

Clear winner is the Nvidia drivers.  It played without issue on the open source drivers, but HL2 was flawless on the Nvidia drivers.  Nvidia drivers looked perfect.



Conclusion:  Install the drivers by typing “sudo pacman -S nvidia nvidia-libgl” – no questions about it.

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