For the powerful Unigine Sanctuary test, Catalyst 9.10/9.11 carried impressive performance boosts over the earlier driver releases. Catalyst 9.11 had averaged running at 24 FPS higher than Catalyst 9.1 with Unigine Sanctuary.
With the more demanding Unigine Tropics test, Catalyst 9.10/9.11 similarly did the best with a similar 23~24 FPS improvement! With Catalyst 9.6 there were major regressions that caused issues running this benchmark at some resolutions and with many visual artifacts on the screen.
In our final test, we charted out the frame-rate for VDrift as it was run at a 1920 x 1080 resolution. However, there is not anything too interesting to gather.
While 2009 was not as exciting for AMD Linux with their Catalyst driver as it was in 2007 and 2008 when there were frequent feature releases and performance improvements, it is good in the respect that parity is finally being reached with their Windows driver. However, at the same time there are still blemishes in their proprietary support when it comes to their X-Video Bitstream Acceleration (XvBA) mess and frequently late support for new Linux kernels and X Servers. Looking at the driver's performance from this year, there are improvements in the demanding Unigine tests, which is good to see. While AMD's open-source efforts are not the focus of our yearly review articles, in 2009 it was particularly exciting on the AMD side with their code, documentation, and microcode drops along with the mainlining of the ATI kernel mode-setting driver, work on their Gallium3D and Mesa components, and so many other milestones that can't be summarized into just a few sentences or even a couple paragraphs.
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