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AMD Radeon R9 290 "Hawaii" Open-Source Driver Works, But Has A Ways To Go

Michael Larabel

Published on 25 August 2014
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 1 of 5 - 10 Comments

With the Linux 3.17 kernel, Mesa 10.3, and the newest Radeon microcode files, there's finally working Hawaii GPU support by AMD's open-source Linux graphics driver. The Radeon R9 290 series launched nearly one year ago and finally now the open-source driver is working right, so we've conducted some preliminary tests using the R9 290 compared to AMD's other Radeon GPUs on the open-source Linux driver.

Coming up tomorrow will be the Radeon R9 290 open-source vs. closed-source Hawaii driver performance benchmarks while in this article are just the open-source driver results for a range of AMD GPUs. No NVIDIA graphics cards were part of this open-source comparison since due to their re-clocking issues the performance still isn't close to matching on the same field. The tested graphics cards for the preliminary open-source R9 290 Hawaii comparison were:

- Radeon HD 5770
- Radeon HD 6870
- Radeon HD 7850
- Radeon HD 7950
- Radeon R9 270X
- Radeon R9 290

This assortment of GPUs represents old and new with several of the older GPUs working very well under the open-source Linux driver due to having the most mature support atop the R600 Gallium3D driver while the HD 7000 series and newer hardware uses RadeonSI Gallium3D. The AMD comparison was limited to graphics cards that I had bought and unfortunately have no access to the Radeon R9 290X. From the Core i7 4790K setup the system was running Ubuntu 14.04 LTS with upgrades to the Linux 3.17 Git kernel, Mesa 10.3-devel, LLVM 3.5, and xf86-video-ati 7.4.99 DDX. The updated user-space driver components were supplied by the Oibaf PPA.

For the OpenGL benchmarking in this article all tests were run by the open-source Phoronix Test Suite software.

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