Ubuntu Linux Gaming Performance Rivals Windows 8.1

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News Posted: Tue, Oct 29 2013 9:56 AM
When Windows Vista first came out, it was plagued by problems, including performance issues and compatibility woes (most of which were resolved with the first Service Pack). At the time, there were some who predicted that Linux would supplant Windows as the mainstream OS. That didn't happen, of course, partly because SP1 solved most of Vista's issues, and also because user friendly versions of Linux weren't quite ready to hold Aunt Mabel by the hand. Plus, it wasn't the platform of choice for gamers.

Are we on the verge of a revolution now? Probably not, but Linux has definitely improved in every area since those days. What's more, gaming support and performance is fast becoming center stage, especially with Valve making such a hard push with its SteamOS platform and Steam Machines initiative.

Ubuntu 13.04

If you're rooting for Linux, there are encouraging signs. The folks at Phoronix compared gaming performance on Ubuntu 13.04 64-bit and compared it to Windows 8.1 64-bit. The test system consisted of an Intel Core i7 4770K Haswell processor, ECS Z87H3-A2X Extreme motherboard, 16GB of RAM, and a 240GB OCZ Vertex 3 SSD. They tested a variety of video cards ranging from an NVIDIA GeForce 9800GT all the way up to an AMD Radeon R9 270X.

What they found through a battery of tests is that gaming performance on Ubuntu is somewhat comparable with Windows 8.1, generally speaking. Windows 8.1 came out ahead more often than Ubuntu, and sometimes by a large margin, but Ubuntu managed to steal a few wins, too. Across the board, many of the graphs were neck-and-neck.

The takeaway here is that even though Windows 8.1 is still a superior gaming platform, Ubuntu shows it can hold its own. If developers start optimizing for Linux, it could be a whole new ball game out there.
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It sound like Linux and Windows 8.1 might be tie because they performance about same. I think it must be very close. Some is win and lose.

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Which games? I can only find mention of Team Fortress 2, and all the other benchmarks are synthetic.

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lipe123 replied on Tue, Oct 29 2013 4:26 PM

Yeah I'm a little confused here also, I may be outdated but last I looked into this linux only supports OpenGL and MS refuses to port/license/whatever DirectX for linux.

Soo until game developers stop relying on Directx (likely story since xbox uses it) Linux will never see any of the mainstream games.

The article( http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=gpus_windows81_ubuntu&num=1) like the other poster said is basically just a lot of OpenGL synthetic benchmarks ran on windows and linux.

Also since DirectX is so massively popular it stands to reason that video drivers and possibly even the hardware in 3D cards favour it over OpenGl.

A real breakthrough for Linux would be DirectFakeX that perfectly emulates Directx on linux but I don't see that any time soon.

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RiCoFrost replied on Tue, Oct 29 2013 6:25 PM

When they can compare it to the current top games come back to me, I don't recognize one game they tested.

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ajm531 replied on Wed, Oct 30 2013 1:16 AM

Ohhhh giving me more incentive to install linux on my laptop.

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Irick replied on Wed, Oct 30 2013 5:16 PM

There actually does exist code out there that gives native D3D11 support to Linux. Just no one uses it because there is really no reason to (unless you're WINE).

OpenGL is by far the more popular platform if you are looking for a multi-platform engine/title and most modern engines can swap out rendering APIs with a simple context switch. Unity3D, Unreal, FrostByte, IDTech: Just about every engine out there can switch graphics APIs at the drop of a hat without any difference in quality.

As for hardware venders, OpenGL actually has more supported features for hardware level optimization than D3D. There is no real difference to the graphics card what API you target, the instructions are all the same for the same sort of operation. However, OpenGL allows them to extend the API to target specific hardware features if they are not in the main spec which is not something D3D does. If you look back at some of the early DX10 level GPUs from AMD, you'll see they actually have hardware tessellation units despite DX10 not including support for that. With D3D you'll never see that hardware in use, but with OpenGL the full card can be utilized.

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