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04 August 2008, 09:07

Kernel Log: New Nvidia drivers are still slow, Linux 2.6.26.1 soon

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Nvidia has released new proprietary GeForce drivers; Version 173.14.12 of the drivers for x86-32 and x96-64 now support the GeForce 8600 GS while fixing bugs in OpenGL, SDL support and the configuration tool.

2D performance problems with the newer GeForce graphics cards, discussed in many forums and blogs are not addressed with this update. Some applications which use Cairo or newer QT versions can feel like they are running on a several year old PC, even when it is actually on a quick system. This is especially apparent when rendering complex web pages with Firefox 3 or using Compiz and KDE 4.

KDE 4 is so slow with Nvidia drivers that the desktop is not really suitabled for production use. The KDE Project notes the performance problems with Nvida cards in the KDE 4.1 announcement. From reports of users and heise online readers, the weak desktop performance is noticable with the lower end of the GeForce series, the 8000 and 9000, bit is mitigated with higher end graphics cards in the GeForce range like the 8800 and 9800, due to their immense computing power.

A Nvidia employee acknowledged the problem back in April on the semi-official Nvidia Linux forum. Until Nvida fix the problem, there are some (1,2) tricks that can help performance. As an alternative, users could run the X.org VESA server or Nvidia's 177 beta drivers.

Greg Kroah-Hartman will soon release Linux version 2.6.26.1. A large number of the 62 patches fix bugs in the two and a half week old Linux 2.2.26 kernel. Some do add hardware support though – a patch adds support to the kernel for the webcam in the Medion Akoya mini E1210 netbook.

In Brief

Further background and information about developments in the Linux kernel and its environment can also be found in previous issues of the kernel log at heise open:

Older Kernel logs can be found in the archives or by using the search function at heise open. (thl/c't)

(djwm)

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