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Valve finds extra performance in OpenGL and Linux

Left 4 Dead 2 on OpenGL smokes its Direct X counterpart

The Valve Linux team has found improved performance in OpenGL and Linux as it works to bring Left 4 Dead 2 to the platform. The team detailed their work in a post on the official Valve Linux team blog. Beginning with a Windows 7 system running on Intel's Core i7, Nvidia's GeForce GTX 680, and 32 GB of RAM, Valve reached a baseline of 270 FPS. The first Linux build ran at a mere 6 FPS.

After modifying Left 4 Dead 2 to work better with the Linux kernel and OpenGL, Valve found the Linux version ran at 315 FPS. Their work with OpenGL led to improvements in a Windows 7 OpenGL environment as well, with the current version running at 303.4 FPS.

"Why does an OpenGL version of our game run faster than Direct3D on Windows 7? It appears that it's not related to multitasking overhead," Valve's Linux team wrote. "We have been doing some fairly close analysis and it comes down to a few additional microseconds overhead per batch in Direct3D which does not affect OpenGL on Windows. Now that we know the hardware is capable of more performance, we will go back and figure out how to mitigate this effect under Direct3D."

The team continues to work with NVidia, AMD, and Intel to improve Linux performance. This follows comments by Valve president Gabe Newell that panned Microsoft's Windows 8 and stated that the company was working hard on increasing Linux support.

Mike Williams avatar

Mike Williams

Reviews Editor, USgamer

M.H. Williams is new to the journalism game, but he's been a gamer since the NES first graced American shores. Third-person action-adventure games are his personal poison: Uncharted, Infamous, and Assassin's Creed just to name a few. If you see him around a convention, he's not hard to spot: Black guy, glasses, and a tie.