Perhaps there really is no better time than the present when it comes to Linux gaming and graphics development. There are hundreds of game titles available for the Linux platform and hundreds (if not thousands) more are accessible using products like TransGaming Technologies Cedega portability platform. Best of all, these games can be played with all the trappings of modern high-end gaming, including Serial ATA, PCI Express, and even ATI's Radeon X1900 series or Nvidia's 7 series flagship GPUs.
Both ATI and Nvidia have succeeded in establishing workable driver solutions for a broad range of their latest product lines, from the minimally-equipped budget-oriented to extravagantly-detailed enthusiast products. In this article, we examine the basic performance differentials for a Radeon X1900 XTX and GeForce 7800 GTX. Our aim is to help readers establish a basis from which to compare Linux and Windows driver performance. Examination of both cards uses vendor-issued driver sets under a common distribution, with Unreal Tournament 2004 benchmarks to facilitate the comparison.
ATI and NVIDIA Linux Graphics Drivers
The evolution of Linux as a gaming platform has not been without its trials and tribulations. In general, Linux driver support remains a hit-or-miss proposition; some of these devices have been around for months, if not years, without proper vendor support for the Linux community. Graphics cards are an entirely separate ball of wax, especially for gaming, where some features may be present in hardware but unsupported in software. There are features that purport to enjoy software support but work only occasionally, intermittently, or not at all.