New NVIDIA Detonator 3 Drivers For Linux


Has Detonator 3 for Linux changed much? Well, first of all I'd like to mention that NVIDIA is not officially calling its Linux driver rev. 0.95 a 'Detonator 3' driver. I have no idea why you cannot find this driver on the Detonator 3 driver page, because NVIDIA told me that the rev. 0.95 is indeed based on Det3-code.

The new driver, which can easily be installed over the previous revision 0.94, is able to show major improvements in the OpenGL-based 3D-games for Linux, as long as you are playing at higher resolutions and as long as you've got a GeForce/GeForce2 chip of any kind. Owners of TNT2 Ultra cards, however, won't see much of a performance gain whatsoever. The same is valid for professional OpenGL-software. Regardless which NVIDIA-card you are actually using, you will hardly see the slightest benefit of 0.95 over 0.94 at all.

Comparing NVIDIA's latest Linux driver with their latest Windows 2000 driver shows that almost everything has stayed the same. Windows 2000 can score better at high resolutions in Quake 3 due to the BitBlt vs. Page Filp issue. Future Linux drivers are supposed to get page-flipping support, which will probably bring their performance up to the Windoze drivers.

It was interesting to see that even in Windows 2000 Detonator 3 didn't show much of an improvement over Detonator 2 in SPECviewperf. NVIDIA made a lot of noise claiming how much better Detonator 3 was in OpenGL. The SPECviewperf scores show that this claim cannot be backed up.

Finally, I'd like to say that with NVIDIA's 0.95 Xfree 4 driver the 3D gaming under Linux has made another slight step forward. If you consider the functionality of GNU/Linux, remember the cost of it and compare it with Microsoft's expensive and, in comparison to GNU/Linux, rather incomplete Windows 2000, then we should see the newly added rather high 3D-performance as quite a blessing. At the same time Linux has still got a very far way to go until it's even going to get close to the user-friendliness of Microsoft products.

All in all, NVIDIA's latest efforts to enable proper 3D-performance for Linux won't exactly start a revolution. Experienced Linux users will continue using their favorite OS and maybe give 3D gaming a try, while the majority of PC-owners will still be scared off by the complexity of Linux. However, the fact that you can nowadays play a lot of 3D-games under Linux without a significant performance penalty should teach a lesson to all the bad guys in the Linux community, who are making semi-fascistic comments like "kids that play 3D-games don't even deserve this great operating system". Either GNU/Linux is for all people, or it is determined to disappear. Those 'kids that play 3D-games' might be just the ones who want to give Linux a chance now. The Linux-community and even its extremists will not only survive it, but finally even appreciate it. Whatever makes GNU/Linux more popular is a good thing. Time goes on and the world is constantly changing. Occasionally even for the better ...


This one is for the complainers. Yes, now Tom has published another Linux-article and once again it's this pathetic 3D-stuff!

Well, guys, please help me out here. What does the Linux-community suggest? What kind of reviews do you want to see on this website? Send me input! I have read EACH of the 900 emails I got in response to the last article and I will read each new suggestion just as well. Send me your suggestions !