NVIDIA Drivers First Look

April 25th, 2000 by Alkini

Matt Matthews has put together a first look at the recently released NVIDIA 3D Card Linux Drivers. The article covers a brief history of the drivers and then takes a look at the difficulties involved in using the new ones. He presents results from the TNT2 32Mb AGP and the GeForce 32Mb AGP and compares them to results from the Voodoo3-3000 and finishes by making some conclusions about what we’ve been given.

19 Responses to “NVIDIA Drivers First Look”

  1. _foreskin Says:

    Finally! These results look very promising, and they are, by far, more than I expected. I can’t wait to give these drivers a try.

    As for the lack of source, oh well. Its proprietary, but its fast. I can play Q3A in true 32-bit color at the fastest possible framerate; that’s reason enough to not care.

    I’ve had 3Dfx biggots flame me via email for things I’ve posted to endorsing nVidia, and especially the GeForce, but I’ll say here what I said to them: If you want to use inferior hardware just because you have the source for the drivers, go for it. I’ll be happy with my GeForce.

    Thanks for the first look, its helping me get through the rest of the work day ’til I can get home and patch everything up. :-)


  2. Hohlraum Says:

    If you guys do another round up, will you post results for higher resolutions? I can’t imagine running less than 10×7 when gaming :)

  3. jvmatthe Says:

    The reason that I’ve been testing this way is that it is extremely easy for other users to compare their results. The fewer tweaks necessary, the better.

    That said, you have a point. Most people don’t play at 800×600. Thanks for making the suggestion and I’ll try to work out a better system for the upcoming article.


  4. journey Says:

    how long till were going to see the g400max
    reviews? I’d really like to see how they compare.
    My G400 beets the TNT2 on HQ 800×600, but
    i’m on a K7-550 rather than a PIII-600E. I’m
    wondering how it compares at other rates(although
    i’m sure it wont compare to the GeForce:)


  5. Brother Grifter Says:

    I really nevered cared too much about open/closed source when it comes to driver developement, but you have to think about projects working on the creative Dxr2 driver, the emu10k1 driver, and then the matrox drivers. This is why people want nVidia to open there driver source. All these drivers work great and its because of open source. I remember when creative finally released the source the emu10k1 hardware, capable drivers were out in 2-3 days. It was great. However when it came to gaming, 3dfx really showed they supported linux by opening their source. The GeForce is better hardware then the V3 anyday, but the V3 is a pretty old card compared the GeForce. I’d like to see what flame war arrives when the V5 comes out with open source drivers and the GeForce2 arrives with its source closed.

    However, I’ll leave all the flames for the crazed linux-advocates. =)

  6. [TWD]insomnia Says:

    I can’t seem to make anything work reliably. The XMMS OpenGL spectrum plugin crashes X, q3 exits as soon as I see the first frame of a level (and exits with a “BadRequest” something with GLX), q2 made horrible glitches, worked the first time, now I can’t make it work (!), when used along with the au8830.o driver (patched by bofh (look at, my machine will completely lock. Worse, I had to modify by hand /usr/src/include/linux/types.h to remove the _KERNEL_STRICT stuff so it could compile (cpp would report that some typedef’s weren’t compiled..)

    Still it’s beta, and I SAW it work with q2. It was a bit slower than q2 in windows, I think, but I can’t confirm (in Windows I run the AMD patch). MANY TIMES faster than the old GLX drivers. Can’t wait until the final drivers hit the street.

    My 2 cents

  7. shad Says:

    Just wondering about the timedemos with the GeForce compared to what I’ve got. I’ve just installed X4 with the Nvidia drivers and only get 34fps at 800×600, r_picmip 5, and everything turned off — seems kinda strange that it’s slower than the V3 2k I had. Any suggestions on where to look for possible Mesa conflicts? I’ve tried /usr/lib and /usr/X11R6/lib, as well as renaming the suggested files in the extensions directory.

    The machine I’m running on is a Celeron 450, 128M RAM, Visiontek GeForce SDR, and RH 6.2. Looks kind of close to one of the benchmark computers linuxgames used.

    Any suggestions would be welcome…

  8. shad Says:

    Just read a post on /. — rm -f /usr/X11R6/lib/libGL* solved the problem. I thought I needed to save, but I guess I didn’t. 84fps sounds much better than the previous 34. ;)

  9. mhawee Says:

    I can get my Viper TNT2 Ultra cart to work… i have installed from tar files ith a InstallScript and i CAN get X to work with the orginal “nv_drv.o” driver … BUT then i tried to change it to the new “nvidia_drv.o” the screen went black… and i have to press reset…. in the XFree86 Log file it says that he CAN start the drivers but in the end of the file he says he can’t get any VideoMemory for an example.. i’m so angry .. for this…. Nvidia says they support the most normal AGP sets… i use BX chipset, the MOST used chipsets i fink… and my card A Diamond Viper 770 TNT2 Ultra AGP2 hmmzzzz thats the heck is wrong … ?????
    Anyone ..???

  10. JEDiKNiTE Says:

    i had the same problem, but then i discovered that the install script didn’t create the device nodes.
    run this script:

    set — `cat /proc/devices | grep –word-regexp nvidia`

    for d in 0 1 2 3
    rm -f $devfile
    mknod $devfile c $nvnode $d
    chmod 0666 $devfile

    rm -f $devfile
    mknod $devfile c $nvnode 255
    chmod 0666 $devfile

    it should create the nodes.
    then you may have to add this:

    alias char-major-195 NVdriver

    to /etc/modules.conf or /etc/conf.modules and then modprobe NVdriver

  11. JEDiKNiTE Says:

    damn it….

    set — `cat /proc/devices | grep –word-regexp nvidia`
    for d in 0 1 2 3
    rm -f $devfile
    mknod $devfile c $nvnode $d
    chmod 0666 $devfile
    rm -f $devfile
    mknod $devfile c $nvnode 255
    chmod 0666 $devfile

  12. JEDiKNiTE Says:


  13. segfault_ Says:

    Wow this is great. But, what happens if you don’t use Linux? Don’t seem to work with OpenBSD. Is this just a ploy to suck people into buying the next generation like they did with TNT2? People went out and bought it because they promised drivers. Now that the GeForce is out those who bought the TNT2 back then for that price had a simple 2D graphics cards for months/a year til they they released their darn drivers. Now that they have (half-heartedly, closed source) many architectures/OS can’t use them and leaves us wondering if we’ll get drivers IF we decide to get a GeForce(1 or 2). I still have my nVidia picture on my dartboard…

  14. Kashue Says:

    okay, i’ve got the game working almost perfectly now and very fast under my geforce ddr. the only problem is that the mouse is all messed up. q3 says it loads DGA support, and the mouse is in the upper left corner when i get to the menu. then upon moving the mouse, it shoots to the lower left corner and become unusable. any ideas?

  15. mhawee Says:

    Yes now it working… i can play Quake 3 Arena fullscreen 1024*768 with 27.8 Fps…. i fink i have better perfomance in Windows BUT.. ;)

    Maybee i have trouble with my driver now also but it works both in Quake2 and 3 BUT not the Xmms Plugin.. OpenGl… will crash.. !

  16. shad Says:

    I had the same problem. The solution that I’ve found was to disable DGA: quake3 +set in_dgamouse 0. Everything works fine then, though the mouse moves slowly — my sensitivity is set to 25 in game. :P

    PS: I do think this is an Nvidian (heh) ploy. Release the closed-source drivers a day before the GeForce2 announcement? Sounds like marketing to me, “We support Linux! Buy the GeForce2 as soon as it’s released!”.

    I’ll hold on to my GeForce for a little longer, but HG2-Linux crashes at the end of every Instant Action match. I’ll prob’ly upgrade to a Matrox card by the end of the month, depending on what happens with bug-responsiveness and whether or not they continue to support Linux … or if we’ll need to wait another year for a “driver update”.

  17. jvmatthe Says:

    I believe the HG2 crash is a bug that will be fixed (and probably is fixed internally already) in an upcoming patch. Something to do with dlopen(), IIRC…


  18. logicnazi Says:

    I have the same problem X reports 0kb. It gets an error trying to access /dev/nvidia0. However unlike the other bugs I have the devices installed with correct char number the appropriate line in /etc/modules.conf and /proc/devices reads correctly.

  19. Shaidar Says:

    I got my GeForce running quite nicely. Roughly the same speeds as win2k, a bit slower at 1024×768. Only problem is my mouse starts jumping around after a while. It jumps and makes me aim down, or up, and even starts shooting sometimes :) I’ve tried the +set in_dgamouse 0 and also making sure dga isn’t loaded in the XF86Config file. But it still keeps on doing it :( Anyone have any other ideas why it could be doing this?

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