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I learned that Ubuntu 11.10 would come with Open-source Nvidia drivers by default. I have an Nvidia 9600M GT graphics card and have always had to install the proprietary Nvidia drivers after installing Ubuntu. I would love to have it pre-installed in form of this open-source driver. However, i wonder if it is on par, in terms of performance with 3d intensive applications such as games with its Proprietary counterpart

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performance quality aside, you should know that there is no powersaving on the open-source drivers; your card will run hotter and your power will drain faster. – user6658 Sep 10 '11 at 17:55
But is (or will be) true in Ubuntu 11.10 - that work isn't in our kernel. – RAOF Sep 10 '11 at 18:39
Please could you accept one of the answers if you find them useful. – papukaija Jul 13 '13 at 9:53

No, it's not on par with the binary drivers from Nvidia, which shouldn't be surprising as it initially was a replacement for the old -nv driver.

See this Phoronix article for some numbers.

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okay. thanks. I hope it gets improvements soon though – muyiscoi Sep 10 '11 at 18:01

Having used those drivers with that very card in my laptop, I'm sorry to inform you that you won't be playing Xotonic and Urban terror with it. It might be possible to (experimentally) enable 3D support, but you would be disappointed for now. However, 2D performance is great, and you can get some slick output on your ttys thanks to Kernel mode setting (which also made it boot faster woo hoo)...

But stick with the proprietary drivers for now.

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that's too bad. i was really hoping to check that off my list of pet peeves on Ubuntu. the proprietary drivers screw up the bootup and i only get a blinking cursor until i get to the login window. – muyiscoi Sep 10 '11 at 18:01
did you make a AU q for that problem? Might be fixable :=) – Rinzwind Sep 10 '11 at 18:03
just did a search on AU for the bootup issue and it seems to affect quite a number of people and nobody has fully solved it from what i could see. also, the problem seems to stem from using proprietary drivers of either Nvidia or ATI. – muyiscoi Sep 10 '11 at 18:17… I find this works on 10.04, 10.10, and 11.04. Haven't tested 11.10 yet, but I think it should still be fine. – zookalicious Sep 14 '11 at 13:28

The most important 2D features are working for all cards and the performance is better than with the old nv driver. 3D is under heavy development but its support has been removed from the packages used by Ubuntu. Otherwise, the working features depend on the used graphic card but KMS, suspend and dual head (randr1.2) work mostly for all cards.

The feature/status table is available at

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Nouveau does do some 3D in Ubuntu 11.10. Full Unity works pretty well on my wife's computer for instance. – Jeremy Bicha Sep 11 '11 at 6:33
unity works with the nouveau drivers for me too OOTB on 11.10 – muyiscoi Sep 11 '11 at 12:16
I guess that the 3D has been enabled in Oneiric then. Good news! – papukaija Sep 12 '11 at 9:55

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