To some extent, ATI's R300 and R400 series is more popular than the R500 (and now R600) series for Linux users. The R300/400 series has a reliable open-source driver and while the performance of the X.Org Radeon driver lags behind ATI's binary driver, it's currently the fastest for offering open-source 3D performance on dedicated graphics cards. With the cards being around much longer, they are also much cheaper and have become somewhat popular for Linux desktops that can power Compiz and Beryl "eye candy" effects. However, it's just not the R500 and R600 series that receive a nice performance boost from the new ATI/AMD Linux driver, but so does the R300/400 series. Using the fglrx 8.41 driver on this older graphics hardware will allow for a sizable performance improvement compared to the older binary drivers. Much of AMD's focus is on the R500 and R600 series, as is our focus, but we've completed some benchmarks comparing the new and old fglrx drivers using an ATI Mobility Radeon X300 64MB and ATI Radeon X800XL 256MB graphics card.
For our tests with the Radeon X800XL 256MB PCI Express graphics card, the system had included an Intel Pentium D 820 at 2.80GHz, 2GB of DDR2-667 memory, an Abit AW8-MAX i955X motherboard, SilverStone 750W PSU, and a 200GB Serial ATA 2.0 hard drive. On the software side was Fedora 7 with the Linux 188.8.131.52 kernel and X server 1.3. As with all of our benchmarks we will be sharing today where we are comparing the new and old fglrx drivers, the old driver used was the 8.40.4 Linux display driver while the new version used is the 8.41 fglrx driver that will be publicly available in the coming days. Benchmarks had consisted of Doom 3 and Quake 4. To see how the Radeon X800XL now stands up against the NVIDIA competition, we had compared our results to a NVIDIA GeForce 6600GT 128MB graphics card with the 100.14.11 binary driver.