The last time we had compared the ATI display drivers was last October with X.Org 7.1 and a Mobility Radeon X300. In those tests the open-source drivers had taken a beating over the binary blob in Enemy Territory and Unreal Tournament 2003. In today's tests, we had used a Radeon X800XL with X.Org 7.2 and the latest fglrx display drivers (8.33.6). With respect for the differences between the X300 and X800, the results had not changed much. The ATI/AMD fglrx driver continues to lead in the frame-rate performance over the open-source Radeon driver. In Enemy Territory the fglrx driver was over twice as fast, while in Unreal Tournament 2004 the performance difference for the fglrx driver spiked at 460% faster.
While these fglrx drivers are faster for gamers, the open-source drivers continue to boast the advantages of desktop effects support (AIGLX), inclusion with a majority of recent distributions, and simply the fact that the drivers are open-source. Feel free to discuss this article in the Phoronix Forums.
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