There are some significant performance improvements to find with this week's Linux version of the AMD Catalyst 14.12 "Omega" driver, but there's also some Linux OpenGL performance regressions to note too. Feedback from the Linux community as well to this new driver has been mixed.
The Catalyst 14.12 driver was released on Tuesday for Windows and Linux users. The Catalyst Linux driver update was a very significant update with OpenCL 2.0, VA-API video decoding, OpenGL ES 3.0, and numerous other features as previously outlined. For those that haven't yet run comparison tests on your own hardware for the proprietary Linux graphics driver, I ran some tests today to see how Catalyst 14.12 does on Ubuntu 14.10.
In this article is a comparison of the fglrx 14.20 release stream as packaged on Ubuntu 14.10 with its X.Org Server 1.17 support, etc. This driver is from September and the last official update that AMD released for Linux users prior to Catalyst 14.12 -- aside from the R9 285 specific launch day driver. The fglrx 14.20.7 / OpenGL 4.4.12968 was compared to Catalyst 14.12: fglrx 14.50.2 with OpenGL 4.4.13283.
The graphics cards tested with both Linux driver releases were new and older and consisted of the Radeon R9 290, R9 270X, HD 7850, and HD 6870. Unfortunately the R9 285 Tonga testing had to be left out due to the R9 285 launch day driver not being compatible with Ubuntu 14.10 for a working configuration. In the days ahead will also be updated NVIDIA vs. AMD Linux driver numbers along with fresh open vs. closed-source Radeon driver numbers. A separate article will also contain the OpenCL compute results. All the benchmarks in this article were facilitated using the open-source Phoronix Test Suite benchmarking software.