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Valve cranks up Linux gaming, makes it faster than Windows

valve linux opengl directx performance windows

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#211 ichi

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Posted 04 August 2012 - 16:00

I do agree though, they obviously fixed something that was horribly busted. If they can improve Linux video drivers more (performance and stability) I'm all for that. On my particular hardware anyway, caught between a rock and a hard place.. slower open drivers, or buggy but faster closed drivers. He also says he's going to see if he can apply that same adjustment to DirectX as well.. so right now its apparently a bit one sided.


That's the point, and that's why going all defensive about the FPS numbers posted on the Valve blog article is an exercise of butthurtness.

This is what they said, exactly:

After this work, Left 4 Dead 2 is running at 315 FPS on Linux. That the Linux version runs faster than the Windows version (270.6) seems a little counter-intuitive, given the greater amount of time we have spent on the Windows version. However, it does speak to the underlying efficiency of the kernel and OpenGL. Interestingly, in the process of working with hardware vendors we also sped up the OpenGL implementation on Windows. Left 4 Dead 2 is now running at 303.4 FPS with that configuration.


So what does this mean?

1.- Working with GPU vendors was great, since they achieved going from 6 to 315 FPS.
2.- The Linux kernel and OpenGL work great, since they managed to get great performance with less effort than they spent on the Windows version.
3.- While working on the Linux port they learned some tricks that also helped to improve Windows performance with OpenGL.
4.- They also found out that there was something going wrong with DirectX, so they can now try to fix that and improve the performance there as well.

If anyone feels like drawing other conclusions from that article and starting a platform war that's his problem. I'm not seeing anything other than an update of the work-in-progress of their port of L4D2 to Linux.


#212 Max Norris

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Posted 04 August 2012 - 16:17

That's the point, and that's why going all defensive about the FPS numbers posted on the Valve blog article is an exercise of butthurtness.

Not sure where you're getting "defensive" and "butthurt" from. Aside from the fact I don't care regardless how fast they make it on Linux as I wouldn't use it anyway, I'm just pointing out the blatantly obvious that this is one benchmark in one scenario, and that other benchmarks show differerent numbers in different situations.. IE pointing out to those that are saying "Linux is universally better at gaming" just because of one benchmark and completely ignoring other factors is just nonsense.

1.- Working with GPU vendors was great, since they achieved going from 6 to 315 FPS.

Again, no arguments, always good when somethings fixed (especially something that was obviously broken badly), I don't give a rats ass which OS it's on. I'm not a fanboy, if they can improve something that's used by other people then by all means that's a good thing.

3.- While working on the Linux port they learned some tricks that also helped to improve Windows performance with OpenGL.
4.- They also found out that there was something going wrong with DirectX, so they can now try to fix that and improve the performance there as well.

And once they actually get the various video drivers adjusted on the Windows side with these improvements lets try that benchmark again. Right now it's a skewed benchmark... we fixed a driver issue on one side, didn't touch the other side, so obviously the other side is inferior. Brilliant.

#213 Athernar

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Posted 04 August 2012 - 16:20

Do you have a source for the exact OpenGL version they are using or are you just making it up?


To expand on this, we don't even know what version of Direct3D they were running in such a comparison.

Publically released versions of Source only support 9, but there are a number of references to 10 in both dxsupport.cfg, and the existance of shaderapidx10.dll.

So until they release what versions of the APIs they were using, crying that Valve wasn't fair to your beloved Microsoft is futile.

Not only that, but being intellectually dishonest in such a fashion doesn't help Valve make a better product either.

And once they actually get the various video drivers adjusted on the Windows side with these improvements lets try that benchmark again. Right now it's a skewed benchmark... we fixed a driver issue on one side, didn't touch the other side, so obviously the other side is inferior. Brilliant.


That's part of the point though isn't it? If they can directly contribute fixes to the graphic drivers rather than having to go through the vendor and ask them to fix it for them, then that proves that the openness of the Linux ecosystem makes development easier for Valve.

#214 ichi

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Posted 04 August 2012 - 16:37

Not sure where you're getting "defensive" and "butthurt" from. Aside from the fact I don't care regardless how fast they make it on Linux as I wouldn't use it anyway, I'm just pointing out the blatantly obvious that this is one benchmark in one scenario, and that other benchmarks show differerent numbers in different situations.. IE pointing out to those that are saying "Linux is universally better at gaming" just because of one benchmark and completely ignoring other factors is just nonsense.


Sorry if it seems that I was pointing at you when talking about "butthurtness", I just meant the overall trend about how a benchmark where Linux beats Windows must be obviously unfair and skewed, more so when this isn't even an actual benchmark but an update about the current state of the port.

And I said "butthurtness" because the whole reason this thread has 15 pages so far is that Linux scored higher. If it hadn't you wouldn't have had so many people trying to make up OpenGL versions and other excuses to try to disprove that, at this point in time, Valve managed to get better performance with L4D2 on Linux than they do on Windows.

Again, no arguments, always good when somethings fixed (especially something that was obviously broken badly), I don't give a rats ass which OS it's on. I'm not a fanboy, if they can improve something that's used by other people then by all means that's a good thing.


That's the spirit (Y)

And once they actually get the various video drivers adjusted on the Windows side with these improvements lets try that benchmark again. Right now it's a skewed benchmark... we fixed a driver issue on one side, didn't touch the other side, so obviously the other side is inferior. Brilliant.


It's not skewed (let alone not being a benchmark): L4D2 on Windows is a final released version while L4D2 on Linux is a yet uncomplete port.
Of course you would always be comparing a port against your released version: the later shows the performance levels you expect to be able to reach with your port.

Also they fixed the OpenGL implementation on both platforms and gave the final numbers they got (303.4 on Windows vs 315 on Linux). The DirectX overhead issue is something they have just spotted, and giving the DirectX results just points that there's something wrong there that they'll have to look into but haven't yet figured out how to mitigate.

#215 MillionVoltss

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Posted 04 August 2012 - 16:48

Im sure a few people here remember installing Half Life from CD and Having the option of Open GL ( 3DFX Mini or Default ), D3D or Software Rendering.

Magical Days.

#216 Jase

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Posted 04 August 2012 - 16:54

Now this is awesome!

#217 The_Decryptor

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 02:57

...
Some of it is down to GNU/Linux and some of it OpenGL (it runs faster than Direct3D on Windows too). And the extra time wasn't spent in the source engine, but the Direct3D batch processing in Microsoft's code.
...


I assumed the overhead was in Source, since I thought Microsoft would have noticed the performance hit compared to OpenGL, if the issue has been around for a decade. But of course it's always possible for such a small difference to vanish into the "noise"

#218 ichi

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 10:55

Valve provided answers to some of the questions posted in this thread in the comments section of their blog (as people were asking those same questions there as well):

The Linux version of Left 4 Dead 2 has all graphical features enabled. Obviously, there are still some bugs we are working on but overall, the stability and quality of the rendering is on par with the Windows version.


Image quality for L4D2 on Linux with OpenGL is on par with L4D2 on Windows with Direct3D.


This test used OpenGL version 3.x.



#219 +Chicane-UK

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 11:04

This is great news.. great work Valve.

The problem with Linux was never the OS - it's light, it's fast. It's all about the apps. Bring the apps and more people will use it!

#220 devBrian

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 11:08

the only issue i have with linux and have ever had is the updates / distros so damn many of them every like 6 months you get a major version of your fav. Also its not 100% noob friendly.

Its also very easy to brake linux and it can be a pain in the ass to get working again most the time i just reinstall with windows i never have this issue. If linux had 1 major dev with 1 major build every day 1.5years and updates every now and then and the driver support was good then the OS would be grate. This will never happen though being open source.

You also have things like warentee, tech support issues and stuff.


If everyone that's somewhat computer savvy (gamers that use Steam I would consider in this category) just sat down, read some tutorials and got acclimated to the Linux environment, they would find themselves more knowledgeable about the inner workings of a computer and less likely to need to use tech support or warranties (at least for non-hardware issues).

But no, we can't expect people to know how to use a computer.

#221 Solid Knight

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 11:17

If everyone that's somewhat computer savvy (gamers that use Steam I would consider in this category) just sat down, read some tutorials and got acclimated to the Linux environment, they would find themselves more knowledgeable about the inner workings of a computer and less likely to need to use tech support or warranties (at least for non-hardware issues).

But no, we can't expect people to know how to use a computer.


Because it's not that simple with Linux.

Also, you don't learn "the inner workings of a computer" with Linux. You just learn about the modules in your distro.

Furthermore, you give up a lot of hardware choices by moving to Linux. Sure, they work on Linux but it's not uncommon for certain features to be non-functioning or non-configurable.

#222 simplezz

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 12:02

Furthermore, you give up a lot of hardware choices by moving to Linux. Sure, they work on Linux but it's not uncommon for certain features to be non-functioning or non-configurable.


Not if you buy from a GNU/Linux OEM. They ensure the hardware is compatible with the OS. It works the opposite way around as well. If hardware is designed to work in Linux, and you try and use Windows on it, there's no guarantee it will function properly.

#223 Cøi

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 16:56

I feel sorry for those people genuinely thinking about switching to Linux over some flawed comparison next to hundreds of other benchmarks which say the opposite.
Do you really feel that cool doing 10x more complex stuff to achieve the same?

#224 ichi

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 18:36

hundreds of other benchmarks which say the opposite.


Some do, some don't.

It'd be certainly weird to switch just because of L4D2 (unless that's all you played), but if you found that the games you play worked on Linux with about the same performance and you didn't need anything that you couldn't do with Linux already, why shouldn't you at the very least consider switching? Not that you have to, but it's a perfectly reasonable option.

Do you really feel that cool doing 10x more complex stuff to achieve the same?


YMMV, but some of the reasons why I use Linux are:

- It makes my work a whole lot easier.
-The extra options in window management (even simple stuff like alt+drag) that make the environment more comfortable.
- It looks better (not really an important feature, I know, but it's a nice plus).

So no 10x complexity over here (quite the opposite actually).
Again, YMMV.

#225 Solid Knight

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 02:22

Not if you buy from a GNU/Linux OEM. They ensure the hardware is compatible with the OS. It works the opposite way around as well. If hardware is designed to work in Linux, and you try and use Windows on it, there's no guarantee it will function properly.


Awesome. Throw away your gaming rig and buy a new one even though OEMs don't really sell gaming-rig Linux PCs.

Also the last bit about hardware designed for Linux not working well in Windows; that is so rare it's almost non-existent in the PC realm.