If you are hoping to snag some deals on computer hardware this holiday shopping season, for helping guide you in any graphics card purchases are a fresh round of benchmarks of 21 different graphics processors from the Intel HD Graphics, AMD Radeon, and NVIDIA GeForce families tested on their respective open-source Linux graphics drivers.
Yesterday I shared my 2013 Holiday Shopping Guide For Linux Hardware and I'm currently in the process of running a large open-source vs. closed-source graphics card comparison using the latest Linux software/drivers. Currently I have the open-source driver GPU benchmarks done so I am sharing those results today in case you need help deciding between any GPU purchases to make during Thanksgiving, Black Friday, or Cyber Monday deals here in America. The rest of the results should be completed by next week. There's also some other interesting Linux hardware articles I should have completed in the next few days.
The open-source Linux GPU driver benchmarks done in this article are from using the Linux 3.13 Git kernel (26 November), Mesa 10.1-devel, and the updated X.Org DDX drivers for the different graphics adapters. The base operating system in play was Ubuntu 13.10 and all of these graphics cards were tested from the same Intel Core i7 4770K system. However, before getting to the results, there are a few caveats to note that can’t be illustrated in the graphs:
Generally, the AMD Radeon graphics hardware supported by their open-source stack doesn't suffer from too many regressions, but in my testing today the Radeon HD 5000 series have taken a nosedive on Linux 3.13 Git. An outstanding regression right now is that all of the HD 5000 series derived hardware I've tested, after running 3D tests there ends up being a kernel panic due to a fatal machine check. This happened for the Radeon HD 5750, HD 5770, HD 5830, and Juniper-XT-based HD 6770 graphics cards in my possession. The issue didn't occur on the same system with Linux 3.12 and prior. This issue didn't happen in the same software configuration when using Radeon HD 6000 series graphics cards and newer nor any NVIDIA GeForce GPUs or Intel Haswell graphics. The issue traces back to the drm_kms_helper.
When it comes to even older hardware, the Radeon HD 4000 series was working without any messes on the Linux 3.13 kernel. However, when testing a Radeon HD 3870 (RV670) graphics card it failed to mode-set. The Radeon HD 3000 series support has been somewhat iffy on recent kernel releases. When trying a Radeon HD 2900XT (R600) graphics card, the GPU hung a few seconds after getting into the Compiz-based Unity desktop.