Back in August, Valve made a blog post showing off Left 4 Dead performance between Windows and Linux, and surprisingly, Linux came out ahead. Following-up with more elaborate testing is Phoronix, which has found that across the board, Linux’s NVIDIA driver delivers better performance than Windows’, using the same benchmarks. But there’s something else that was discovered: Unity is slower than KDE, and as such, KDE will offer the best NVIDIA experience.
This problem with Unity isn’t exactly a new discovery, and Canonical has even admitted to it. The company has stated that it’s working to remedy the problem, but with 12.10 right around the corner (October 18), it doesn’t seem certain that the problem will be fixed in time. It’s a rather significant problem, because if you are gaming under Linux (stop that snickering), your desktop environment of choice could hold back your performance.
In a way, this does look good on KDE. While it’s had more time to mature than Unity, it’s hardly a lightweight environment – yet it manages to deliver some of the best GPU performance. Not bad!