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ATI R300 Mesa, Gallium3D Compared To Catalyst

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  • ATI R300 Mesa, Gallium3D Compared To Catalyst

    Phoronix: ATI R300 Mesa, Gallium3D Compared To Catalyst

    Last quarter we compared the Catalyst and Mesa driver performance using an ATI Radeon HD 4830 graphics card, compared the Gallium3D and classic Mesa drivers for ATI Radeon X1000 series hardware, and ultimately found that even with the ATI R500 class graphics cards the open-source driver is still playing catch-up to AMD's proprietary Catalyst Linux driver. In this article we have similar tests to show the performance disparity with ATI's much older R300 class hardware. Even with Radeon hardware that has had open-source support much longer, their drivers are not nearly as mature as an outdated Catalyst driver in the same configuration.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=15116

  • #2
    Beside not doing better than the tradional mesa stack, as I have told earlier the Gallium 3D is still really unstable, causing lots of freezes (almost daily) with my Mobility Radeon x700 (RV410). Since I rolled back to mesa 7.7, no freezes at all for the last 15 days (uptime). To me, it seems quite obvious which one to use right now...

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    • #3
      Weird how only OA regressed from playable to not. Is this the 50% drop that we also see in glxgears, from the extra copy of DRI2?

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      • #4
        My recollection was that one of the attractions of the 300g driver was that it could support a number of apps which did not run on the 300 classic mesa driver. I understand that's hard to show on benchmarks (unless 300c gets a flatline) but worth mentioning.

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        • #5
          Its been said before, but man, we have really got to get some non-FPS, and some non-video game 3d benchmarks.

          Not that the results of a few different game engines aren't interesting, but the story that we get from these data is pretty narrow.

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          • #6
            So to make it short if you want 3D, you must want FGLRX. If you want FGLRX, it means that you want NVIDIA.


            On the contrary, if you don't want 3D, you want Mesa(and eventually one day Gallium). If you want Mesa, you surely don't want NVIDIA's blob.


            Or did I say something wrong?

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            • #7
              Hmm, so old drivers are better for old hardware. Makes sense, since I doubt that newer drivers would be optimised with older hardware in mind.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by bulletxt View Post
                So to make it short if you want 3D, you must want FGLRX. If you want FGLRX, it means that you want NVIDIA.


                On the contrary, if you don't want 3D, you want Mesa(and eventually one day Gallium). If you want Mesa, you surely don't want NVIDIA's blob.


                Or did I say something wrong?
                I was thinking exactly the same thing.
                It's sad though that 3D performance on the opensource side is so abysmal... I understand with nVidia, a company who dislikes opensource... but AMD has been thoroughly involved in opensource drivers for years, yet results are far to come (in 3d field, I mean).

                I know that FGLRX has tons of IP they cannot expose, I know it shares lots of code with the windows drivers... but come on, a question rises to me: "is oss ati-driver wrong from the basement?"
                I'm not being polemic. Just asking an opinion...

                I know that it's code under development, I know that efforts are put in giving it features and stable 2D first. But I'm asking to coders involved: is there room for performance improvement once 2D stability is reached and gallium3D has matured? I mean: now blobs are 3 to 5 times faster! Can we expect oss drivers to be let's say 60% as fast as fglrx in teh next 18 months? or is it wishful thinking?
                Netrunner Linux - Rolling Release ; Nexus 5 ROM Chroma 5.1 ; NAS 6TB on FreeNAS

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                • #9
                  It's really sad that new Mesa has worse 3D performance than old one and Gallium3D is even slower for R300 hardware even if it get more 3D features.
                  Are there any options to drivers to bring back better performance even in the cost of tearing etc in new Mesa/Gallium3D?

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                  • #10
                    .... MESA!??

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                    • #11
                      Michael should test with DRI2/KMS disabled, since it crops the performance of 3d. Just add "nomodeset" to boot options.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by dm0rais View Post
                        MichaelJust add "nomodeset" to boot options.
                        I really doubt that he does NOT know that. ((((((((:


                        The OSS drivers are doomed to be at least 40-50 % slower.

                        And I understand very well why nVIDIA does not want to invest (money, documentation, time, etc.) in OSS drivers.
                        nVIDIA does not want its name to be connected with such a disastrous 3D performance in one way or another.

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                        • #13
                          I have to disagree with all the doomsayers.
                          All the open source Hardware accelerated Mesa drivers are still young projects.
                          Given time, and the ability to work together between nouveau, radeon, and intel, these drivers will approach the performance of their closed counterparts until the difference is small enough that no one cares.
                          Nobody cries about gcc being less efficient than icc even though icc is better optimized for intel products. icc is a niche product which has real value, but only to a small number of users.

                          That is where gallium is headed. We're not there yet, no, but that is where the road leads.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by TeoLinuX View Post
                            I was thinking exactly the same thing.
                            It's sad though that 3D performance on the opensource side is so abysmal... I understand with nVidia, a company who dislikes opensource... but AMD has been thoroughly involved in opensource drivers for years, yet results are far to come (in 3d field, I mean).
                            Nearly all of the open source work so far (including both community and vendor developers) has been (a) adding driver support for previously unsupported GPU generations, (b) moving the driver stack onto a new low-level architecture where modesetting and memory management were done in the kernel driver, (c) moving the 3D driver from the classic mesa HW interface to Gallium3D. None of those tasks were expected to do anything for performance, but most of them had to be done before investing in performance work made much sense.

                            I don't think the developers are surprised that performance hasn't gone up, and it's probably fair to say they worked really hard to make sure that performance didn't go *down* any more than it did as a consequence of moving to a more flexible architecture that could support desired features like higher levels of GL support and higher system performance in the future.

                            Originally posted by TeoLinuX View Post
                            I know that FGLRX has tons of IP they cannot expose, I know it shares lots of code with the windows drivers... but come on, a question rises to me: "is oss ati-driver wrong from the basement?" I'm not being polemic. Just asking an opinion...
                            Yes and no - there are probably small pieces of the open source stack which will need to be tossed and re-implemented in order to get big performance gains. Even so, I don't think that would have much effect on the other >90% of the stack.

                            Before you ask, I don't know if anyone has had time to do any real performance analysis work yet to identify where the weak points are (although the need to retransmit lots of state information under DRI2 is an obvious suspect). The performance numbers suggest that there are a small number of resolution-independent bottlenecks dragging down 3D performance, and that most of the code does not "have a performance problem".

                            One of the solutions being discussed is to store relatively more state information in the kernel driver and let the kernel driver decide if the state info currently programmed into the GPU registers is still valid. That seems likely to make a big honkin' difference in performance, and would probably eliminate the performance delta between KMS and UMS. It's not a trivial change, however.

                            A nastier question is how big and complex the open source driver can become before it starts to have the same challenges as the proprietary driver. Our early estimate was that the open source stack could probably get to ~60-70% of the 3D performance of fglrx without having to get "scary complicated", and I haven't seen anything to change that view yet.

                            It seems like all the right things are being done and in the right sequence... the frustrating part for users is that the initial 2/3 of the work is mostly "migrate onto newer better architecture without making things too much worse" kind of stuff, and the "go faster" stuff only comes near the end.

                            Originally posted by TeoLinuX View Post
                            I know that it's code under development, I know that efforts are put in giving it features and stable 2D first. But I'm asking to coders involved: is there room for performance improvement once 2D stability is reached and gallium3D has matured? I mean: now blobs are 3 to 5 times faster! Can we expect oss drivers to be let's say 60% as fast as fglrx in teh next 18 months? or is it wishful thinking?
                            I'm not an active coder but I have a window into both proprietary and open source development, and it seems to me that there is definitely an opportunity for significant performance improvement. The question is whether performance work should be higher priority than stability and core features... current thinking is "no" and that seems like the right choice to me.

                            Originally posted by sundown View Post
                            .... MESA!??
                            Yeah, Gallium3D doesn't replace Mesa, it only replaces the classic Mesa HW driver interface. 90% or more of the Mesa code is still being used.

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                            • #15
                              Optimizations are still not in place. People have repeated like parrots already that priority for the OSS drivers right now is to get everything supported/working. I don't see why everyone is bitching about performance right now.
                              I tell you what though. My RS480 works beautifully with radeon and allows me to enjoy a level of computing comfort that fglrx never could. A fast driver is worth crap if it crashes your entire system every 30 minutes. Gallium has not given me any issues whatsoever either. I have a few games running on WINE and a couple of native games as well, things which I couldn't really do with the classic mesa drivers.

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