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AMD Athlon's R3 Graphics: RadeonSI Gallium3D vs. Catalyst

Michael Larabel

Published on 15 April 2014
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 1 of 5 - 12 Comments

For the past week now we have been extensively benchmarking AMD's new AM1 APUs with all the current models available to the public: the Sempron 2650 / 3850 and Athlon 5150 / 5350. All of our testing up to this point has been using an updated Linux kernel and Mesa for the open-source Linux graphics driver experience with these APU Radeon R3 Graphics. Today, we're looking at the performance of the open-source RadeonSI Gallium3D driver in multiple configurations compared to the proprietary Catalyst Linux driver.

Building on the results from last week that compared the out-of-the-box Ubuntu 14.04 performance to that of manually upgrading the key graphics driver components, the tests for this article included:

- Ubuntu 14.04 in its out-of-the-box configuration with the Linux 3.13 kernel and Mesa 10.1.

- The same Ubuntu 14.04 installation but then upgrading to the Linux 3.14 kernel where there's proper dynamic power management (DPM) support enabled for the Radeon R3 Graphics so they can re-clock to their highest performance state.

- The above installation but besides upgrading to the Linux 3.14 kernel also using Mesa 10.2-devel and xf86-video-ati 7.3.99 using the Oibaf PPA. Besides the new Mesa and Git, one item to point out is that ColorTiling and ColorTiling2D are both enabled by default at this stage. However, HyperZ isn't yet enabled by default for the RadeonSI hardware, but with many of these tests being done at lower resolutions, it really wouldn't benefit these particular test-cases too much.

- The Ubuntu 14.04 LTS configuration on the same hardware but switching from the open-source driver to closed-source. The fglrx package was installed from the Ubuntu Trusty archive to provide the fglrx 13.35.5 / OpenGL 4.3.12798 driver.

The hardware used for all of this testing was the AMD Athlon 5350 APU with ASUS AM1I-A motherboard. To see how the performance of the three other AM1 APUs launched last week compare, see our four-way APU comparison done a few days ago on the latest Gallium3D code. Other new Radeon R3 and AM1 APU benchmarks of the Jaguar CPU cores are forthcoming.

All benchmarking was handled in a fully-automated and reproducible way using the open-source Phoronix Test Suite benchmarking software.

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