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AMD R600/700 2D Performance: Open vs. Closed Drivers

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  • AMD R600/700 2D Performance: Open vs. Closed Drivers

    Phoronix: AMD R600/700 2D Performance: Open vs. Closed Drivers

    While the ATI Radeon HD 5800 graphics cards were introduced last week, the open-source support for the Radeon HD 2000/3000/4000 series is finally maturing. The Linux 2.6.32 kernel will feature kernel mode-setting support for these ATI R600/700 graphics processors as well as the DRM support for allowing 3D acceleration. The classic Mesa support for the Radeon HD 2000 through Radeon HD 4000 series is maturing and is now able to run basic OpenGL games and applications, while the Gallium3D support is still a ways out. However, now that there is finally the Catalyst 9.10 driver within Ubuntu Karmic Koala that supports the latest kernel, we are finally able to directly compare the performance of AMD's Catalyst driver and that of the latest open-source code. In this article we have benchmarks showing the 2D performance between these two driver options with both an R600 and R700 graphics card.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=14223

  • #2
    AFAIK X Server from git/1.7 contains improvements for EXA. So performance should be even better.

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    • #3
      Interesting test. Btw. it would be nice to see some simple 3D benchmark (Open Arena, Urban Terror etc.) to see if Catalyst is much faster there.

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      • #4
        I can't say I'm surprised.

        I own a Radeon HD 4650, and have tested the Catalyst 9.9 driver against it at least. The performance is not good!. World of Warcraft's Launcher program has a very large picture on it, and fglrx takes ages to display it. You can practically see it being drawn, a line of pixels at a time.

        My Radeon 9550 dances rings around the HD 4650 at this task; and the 9550 is using the OSS driver. You can imagine that an ordinary desktop with the HD 4650 is somewhat less than "snappy".

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        • #5
          fglrx is the worst driver that you can use. the not tested things are much more important like proper xv support (opengl is too slow on lowend cards for hd content). i also wait for working vdpau / vaapi support. for hd content with really high bitrates (vc1/h264 over 30 mbit/s) i can watch em in most cases with radeon oss + xv, but some only work with vdpau without losing a/v sync. I don't know what's the exact reason when a E8400 + xv is not enough - maybe the software decoder has got some problems in rare cases.

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          • #6
            Wow, this sure is surprising!

            Given the fact that 2D is done on 3D acceleration on the latest ATI cards, does that mean that basic 3D 'stuff' is als faster than Catalyst with the FLOSS drivers?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by V!NCENT View Post
              Wow, this sure is surprising!

              Given the fact that 2D is done on 3D acceleration on the latest ATI cards, does that mean that basic 3D 'stuff' is als faster than Catalyst with the FLOSS drivers?
              No. 2D acceleration is done on the 3D engine on the card; making a fast 3D acceleration implementation is still as hard as ever.

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              • #8
                I can hardly disagree, but...

                Originally posted by Kano View Post
                fglrx is the worst driver that you can use. the not tested things are much more important like proper xv support (opengl is too slow on lowend cards for hd content).
                fglrx's OpenGL support on the HD 4650 is better than Mesa's ATM. The WoW Launcher might render one line at the time with fglrx, but WoW itself gives me about 20 fps in front of the bank in IronForge.

                Eh, hang on...!?

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                • #9
                  Are we going to see benchmarks like this for other cards? It'll be interesting to see if nVidia's blob 2D performance has become acceptable relative to the other drivers since KDE4.0 was released.

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                  • #10
                    NVidia's later binary drivers perform very well now, at least in my experience. A benchmark would be still be interesting, of course.

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