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A Big Comparison Of The AMD Catalyst, Mesa & Gallium3D Drivers

Michael Larabel

Published on 5 January 2011
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 2 of 9 - 201 Comments

Starting with the Nexuiz testing, at even a resolution of 1024 x 768, all of the Radeon graphics cards from the R500 through Evergreen generations with the Mesa/Gallium3D drivers were handedly slaughtered by the proprietary Catalyst driver. This though does not exactly come as a huge surprise. What is interesting though from these results is the Gallium3D vs. Classic Mesa performance in particular.

Except for the Radeon HD 2900XT (the original "R600" graphics card), the R600 Gallium3D driver performed much better the classic DRI driver. The difference would be noticeable too for the end-user / game with the Radeon HD 4870 for instance going from 35 FPS to just over 50 frames per second. The R600 Gallium3D driver that supports the Radeon HD 5000 series graphics card would lock-up when running the Dark Places-powered Nexuiz game with the Radeon HD 5770 graphics card.

When upping the resolution to 1920 x 1080 in Nexuiz, the Gallium3D driver was now faster than the classic driver for the Radeon HD 2900XT, but the Radeon HD 3850 was now slightly faster than the R600g driver when using the legacy driver. At this HD resolution in Nexuiz, all seven ATI graphics cards produced unplayable frame-rates while the Catalyst driver still ensured a very lively experience and for most cards, it topped 100 FPS.

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