Multi monitors, multi gpu, gaming on linux. Work needed on SLI.

Now that we are really starting to get games for Linux, when can we expect work on SLI/Surround setups? Wanting to game at 5760x1080 on linux is rough right now. I have 2 gtx580s and 3 1080p monitors. I can get the games to run spanned on all three monitors but without a working SLI solution I am still forced to windows to play games more than I would like because windows utilizes my 2nd GPU properly. With features removed from the Linux drivers in the name of parity with windows when can I/we expect the Linux drivers to get to feature parity with windows?? Parity works both ways guys.

SLI needs work in Linux, it usually hurts more than it helps, and on top of all that even if it did work it is my understanding that base mosaic doesn’t utilize it anyways and the usage I see on my 2nd card is simply mirroring the work done on my 1st and not actually “helping” the 1st GPU. This seems about right considering I tend to get close to half the frame rate in Linux as I do with the same game in windows.

I would just like to know if this is something actually being looked at and worked on. I very much want to rid myself of windows, but I’m not giving up my surround setup and this is probably the last “bit” missing that is keeping me from deleting my windows partition entirely. I do intend to update to a couple of 8gb gtx980’s as soon as they are available, so even a single 980 actually working will be much better than my single 580 working right now, but that is not the point.

I think the biggest problem for SLI to make sense on Linux is to have SLI profiles for Linux games to begin with. At least that’s what I have read. Right now there are only very few games profiles (Doom 3 etc.).

If I could make a wish I would love to have DSR on Linux. It’s an absolutely fantastic feature on Window. Like Downsampling but without having to mess with your monitor timings. It just works. I played some older games in 5K on my 1440p monitor with 2.0x DSR factor and it looks great and I still get acceptable framerates. The problem is that it probably has to work directly with the display server and next year we will probably have 3 of them on Linux, because reasons.


Tbh? I would love it too… but I think the main reason we don’t see SLI on Linux? OpenGL. It sucks for Multi-GPU support. Look at ID Tech 5 Engine on PC… it uses OpenGL… 0 Multi-GPU support. Rage, Wolfenstein: New Order both don’t work with AFR, AFR2 or SFR for boosting. Supposedly though? The Evil Within does work for some reason… which gives me hope, but only a little.

Even AMD’s CrossFire currently sucks ass on Linux, my guess is the same OpenGL limitations… Khronos group! Fix OpenGL pls! :(

As for Multi-Monitor? SLI Mosaic kind-of works on Linux… in the sense that whatever GPU you have your monitors plugged into? That GPU will render the screen attached… so 3 monitors and 2 GPU’s mean You’d have 1 GPU running 1 screen, and the other running the other 2 screens… not exactly ideal.

DSR can take a back-seat tbh, SLI is plenty more useful… but as I said, OpenGL seems to be the main limitation for Multi-GPU in general in Linux…

If Multi-GPU AFR and SFR were native rendering modes in DirectX and OpenGL instead of tacked-on? I bet Multi-GPU would run much better… just like AMD Mantle. AMD Mantle is AMD’s response to terrible current OpenGL implementations and DirectX 11 not being efficient as it could be. Hopefully DirectX 12 fixes that issue as Microsoft promised… but Khronos hasn’t promised anything with OpenGL for issues that we are experiencing.

Which… is why OpenGL hasn’t been the leading 3D rendering technology since DirectX 9 came out… so what year was that? 2003? These days, it seems like Khronos is more interested in OpenGL ES for smartphones… PC’s take the backseat… nay, PC’s take the bus while smartphones take the company’s limo.

Also… a Linux SLI thread from 2013 that I posted in early 2014 and asked about it… still nothing.

I’m not really sure the reason Tech5 fails at SLI is because of OGL. I remember reading something somewhere that it had more to do with their one big texture thing they are using in it. There also isn’t an SLI profile for the evil within either, it seems some have had some luck using AFR(they have with the other tech5 games as well), but it is still not optimal and many get flickering. That game is using DX11 too, which also points to the problem not being OGL, but specifically the Tech5 engine, which iD has even said wont really work with SLI. Also there are SLI profiles for some opengl games in windows. See Serious Sam 3.

I personally don’t care about DSR either, it may be a nice feature when you have an uber GPU or 2 and are still only playing @ 1080p…

As it is now though, it is practically impossible for to have a good experience with many of the newer games and multi monitor gaming in Linux and it make me a very sad penguin. I hate being forced to boot windows to play games that have native linux versions because my 2nd GPU isn’t utilized the same way it gets used when enabling surround in windows.

You mention SLI mosaic, but in Linux that is only enabled for quadro cards, not geforce cards. In windows when you enable surround it still shows SLI enabled. Base mosaic does not use SLI and doesn’t even require the SLI bridge.

It’s just a sad state of affairs is all… nvidia cripples linux drivers in the name of parity with windows and yet doesn’t enable things we are lacking to bring us to parity with windows.

EDIT* thinking on this a bit more… with the way base mosaic does work and since nvidia doesn’t seem too keen on making SLI work properly in linux. I’m beginning to wonder if simply having 3 GPUs with a single monitor attached to each may be the best route for multi monitor linux gaming right now. My intentions were to get 2 gtx980s when the 8gb models become available… making me wonder if I shouldn’t just “get crazy” and get 3. Or possibly just get 3 970’s.

I wish someone from nvidia would chime in here…

I have been researching this issue with SLI support for a while, but more actively in the recent release of CSGO for Linux. I have come accross almost every post by The_Mard and appreciate all the research you have put in. I’m afraid nvidia might not be taking the issue serious, possibly due to the lower demand on linux, but they need to know this is effecting the people out there who would like to make the full switch. I would at lease like to hear something from nvidia so hopefully if enough of us start making threads or commenting they will realize that this is something that should be addressed. Hope to hear something soon nvidia.

Yes it is very frustrating. The on board sound on my Asus Sabertooth 990fx motherboard went out on me for the 2nd time in 4 years and I had been wanting to rebuild this thing with Intel for a while but was planning to wait until the coming summer. Well I bit the bullet and spent a crapload of $$ on an X99/i7 5930k/DDR4 setup AND picked up 3 GTX 970’s. The thing is an absolute gaming monster in windows. Has played everything I have thrown at it at max settings (minus motion blur because I hate it) @ 5760x1080. FarCry4? no problems and it’s beautiful on 3 monitors.

Now we come back to Linux… and I still can’t even play Borderlands 2 or the new one @ 5760x1080 @ 60 fps because it wont utilize the other 2 cards… as a matter of fact I can’t even enable SLI even with all 3 monitors plugged into the same card because apparently SLI only supports a single monitor in Linux?! So when I turn it on only my middle monitor functions. This is getting really frustrating and I wish Nvidia would do something about it or at the very least give us an official statement as to why they can’t/won’t/haven’t yet.

Where is the feature parity NVidia?

totally agree. despite nvidia releasing drivers frequently and them being pretty solid there’s still a giant disparity between the windows version and the linux version. i have a EVGA SC GTX 760 2GB with an i5-4670K @ 4.3Ghz and 16GB 1866Mhz and I get 60 fps in linux running 346.16.


I found out why SLI works on The Evil Within by enabling AFR1… DirectX 11. The Evil Within marks the first game on an ID Tech Engine game that is DirectX only. There’s no OpenGL options…
Note, you can’t even run the game if you have DirectX 10 only… so that means you need hacks and work arounds to try to get The Evil Within to work on DirectX 10…

Rage’s system requirements:
OS: Win XP SP3, Vista, Win 7
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo or Equivalent AMD
Memory: 2GB
Hard Disk Space: 25GB
Video Card: GeForce 8800, Radeon HD 4200

Wolfenstein: New Order’s system requirements:
OS: 64-bit Windows 7/Windows 8
Processor: Intel Core i7 or equivalent AMD
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: GeForce 460, ATI Radeon HD 6850
Hard Drive: 50 GB available space

The Evil Within’s system requirements:
OS: 64-bit Windows 7 SP1/Windows 8.1
Processor: i7 or an equivalent with four plus core processor
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: GTX 460 or equivalent 1 GB VRAM card
DirectX: Version 11
Hard Drive: 50 GB available space
Additional Notes: It’s worth noting that the 50 GB of space required is for the PC install. When the installation is complete, the game will take up ~41 GB of HDD space

Requires 64bit OS and DirectX 11… bam. I don’t know why I didn’t even see that… running The Evil Within with FRAPS on and dispalying on my G15 keyboard? It shows the renderer as DirectX 11… All the evidence is there. There’s also not a single trace of news of The Evil Within working on WINE or Crossover For Linux…

War Thunder just released for Linux using OpenGL which is good news though! More reasons why NVIDIA needs to get SLI somehow on latest OpenGL and Linux…


Your best bet? Plug one monitor into each GPU. It’ll force Windows and/or Linux to render each screen separately. It’s not SLI, but it still works pretty good. It’s the closest thing to SLI on Linux…

I had hoped that is how it would work, and it was one of the driving forces behind getting THREE 970’s but it doesn’t seem to be the case. When I first hooked up the new rig with 3 new cards I had each hooked up via the dvi->hdmi cables I already had with one monitor per card and using base mosaic. Performance in BL2? up about 15fps over my old couple of gtx 580s. So I was around 45fps instead of 30.

With the new combo of hardware (x99/maxwell) base mosaic was constantly locking up my system so now I have all three monitors attached to a single card so that base mosaic isn’t necessary and performance is exactly the same 45-ish fps @ 5760x1080 =( Now, don’t get me wrong… that feels far more playable than with my old rig, but given that it is missing the advanced physx features AND it still can’t do 60fps I’m just going to keep playing it in windows unfortunately.

As for The Evil Within, I can’t get 60fps out of it @ 5760x1080 even with my new rig… I didn’t really expect to be able to though. One Maxwell card is just not going to cut it. Maybe big maxwell with a wider bus will make it? I didn’t try with AFR because I read it flickers…

I just hope that one day games in Linux will be able to take full advantage of my ludicrous gaming rig.


At this rate? I think the only way we’ll see SLI or even AMD CrossFire in Linux is if OpenGL gives the same attention and love to multi-GPU setups as DirectX 10&11 have… OpenGL is still playing catch-up to Dx11 and Microsoft is probably releasing Dx12 with Windows 10…

So that’s part one… OpenGL being a major issue (swap vs flip buffers apparently being a big issue from what I’ve read… ID Tech 4 Engine uses swap) and second is of course driver support. NVIDIA said that SLI isn’t their main focus… unless SteamOS and Steam Machines start becoming popular with high-end hardware? Odds are we won’t see SLI support follow suit.

As for SLI in The Evil Within? When I attempted it with AFR1? It works great tbh. There isn’t any good SLI bits from my testing to make it work even better but oh well… non-bits SLI on the game worked good on my rig.

Tbh with the headache of non-SLI mixed with the ALSA Firmware Loader not working properly in 64bit on kernels 3.16+ with my CA0132 Creative Labs Sound Blaster Recon3D Fatal1ty Professional? I’ve defintiely given up on gaming with Linux for meow again… Only OS on my PC right meow is Windows 10 Technical Preview with Build 9879 and I freaking love this thing… that and SLI works great on it.

So yeah… right meow I’m gonna stick with Windows 10 and wait for DirectX 12 to release. I’d recommend trying out Windows 10 Technical Preview if you haven’t. Seems to be quite SLI friendly. :)

Ive tried out win10 in a VM just to poke around. MS has too much intentional spying going on in the preview builds for me to be comfortable running it day to day. I understand why the “spyware” and I don’t fault them for it, I’m just not going to run it in its current form.

I do have win 8.1 installed and honestly that is where I do a majority of my gaming because that is where my hardware “just works”. Not to mention the windows only games. I will continue to buy Linux titles that interest me just to support the movement, and have hope that one day I may not need windows installed, but I wont play at a sub par level just to play on my OS of choice.

I’m just happy that Linux gaming as begun to “take off”. If the trend continues they will have to fix up the hardware limitations at some point. I just hope it doesn’t take AMD really fixing up mulit monitor/XFire Linux gaming in their hardware/drivers before Nvidia finally does something about it, but I won’t be surprised if that is exactly how it goes.

Take note Nvidia… I AM a fanboy and I’ve never owned an ATI/AMD GPU… If Eyefinity gaming takes off on Linux before Surround gaming does I can see myself making the switch. AMD lost a LONG time customer in the CPU market over leaving their enthusiasts to rot in a corner as far a CPU tech goes. Don’t lose a customer over being lazy Nvidia… lead the charge…