Graphics card maker Nvidia confirmed what gamers have suspected for some time: the company’s products experience a significant loss in performance on Linux operating systems, and Nvidia drivers appear to be the culprit.

A representative for Nvidia confirmed Wednesday that the drivers for the Linux operating system have exposed a bug in the memory manager software that helps allocate resources for the graphics card. The issue has resulted in uneven performance from the graphics processing unit.

“We've been tracking it internally as bug 1963500. There was a change, introduced in our r378 branch, to the logic of allocation of certain textures, but it apparently exposed a bug in our memory manager,” Nvidia software engineer Arthur Huillet said in a forum post. “Our next release branch, r390, will carry a workaround, and we're still working on finding and fixing the root cause.”

The issue was raised by a Nvidia customer posting under the username HeavyHDx. The user highlighted the performance loss experienced when using GNOME, an open source desktop environment for Linux operating systems.

Benchmarking and performance tests run by the user showed a significant drop off in framerate when using GNOME compared to Openbox, an alternative, and highlight customizable Linux desktop environment.

According to HeavyHDx's tests, the Nvidia graphics card achieved 47 fps with driver version 375.82, released earlier this year. The most recent driver, version 387.34 achieved just 34 fps with the same card and same system set up.  Additional benchmarking tests produced similar results, with the new driver consistently achieving a worse framerate compared to when operated with a previous driver.

For gamers and media buffs alike, framerate per second is an important measurement. A frame is a single, still image. Put them together and there begins to be movement. A standard movie is usually filmed at 24 fps and television is typically broadcast at 30 or 60 fps.

Most video game makers try to produce games at no less than 30 fps. Running a game at a lower framerate runs the risk of creating a title that looks choppy and is difficult to follow on screen. Most gamers, especially those in competitions, prefer a higher framerate as it provides a faster and more complete view of the game world.

Linux-based gamers who use the GNOME desktop environment, like HeavyHDx, have been getting less-than-ideal framerates from Nvidia graphics cards—an issue that not only affects gameplay but also means they aren't getting what they paid for out of the graphics card.

Luckily, Nvidia has promised a new series of drivers will include a fix that will help provide the expected performance the cards would typically achieve. Those drivers, identified as the 390 series, will first be made available as a beta before the end of the year, according to a representative from Nvidia.