While the Avivo driver doesn't yet contain 3D functionality or support a number of features found in the official fglrx driver and the community Radeon driver, it is making steady progress despite its age. Most recently with the open-source R500 driver implementing shadow frame-buffer support, we have experienced a noticeable increase in performance. As we have begun to receive messages from those interested in this driver wondering about the performance capabilities, we have carried out a brief GtkPerf test comparing the Avivo git code to ATI's official binary "fglrx" display driver.
In this test we had used gtkperf 0.40 with 1,000 test rounds and had run all of the tests using the Avivo driver (built from git on 2007-07-16) when ShadowFB was enabled and then again when it was disabled. For comparison, we had carried out the same tests using the July fglrx display driver. The test system was a Lenovo ThinkPad T60 notebook with a Mobility Radeon X1400 128MB, 1GB of DDR2 system memory, and an Intel Core Duo T2400 (1.83GHz) dual-core processor. Fedora 7 "Moonshine" was used with the 2.6.21-1.3228.fc7 kernel, X server 1.3, and all other stock packages. Below are the results from the total time required to complete the GtkPerf tests with each of the drivers.
As you can see from the timed results, the GTK+ performance when using the Avivo driver with ShadowFB enabled had sharply outperformed the 8.39 fglrx driver (partly due to the CPU operations). It is important to keep in mind that the Avivo driver is still deemed experimental and lacks a number of critical elements; however, if you are looking to escape the binary blob, the Avivo driver is now fast enough for using basic desktop applications. As this driver matures, we will be back with additional benchmarks and comparisons.
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