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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 4 of 9 - 201 Comments

The OpenArena game uses the ioquake3 engine and this is generally one of the least demanding tests we throw at graphics cards and drivers. With all of the Radeon GPUs, the Gallium3D driver was much faster than the classic Mesa driver was and for the newer GPUs the difference was quite significant. The Radeon HD 4870 performance for OpenArena at 1024 x 768 was 37% faster than classic Mesa. However, the Catalyst driver ran more than four times faster than the R600g driver.

When increasing the resolution in OpenArena to 1920 x 1080, the Radeon HD 2900XT and Radeon HD 3650 on the open-source drivers were no longer playable with the open-source game that has been around for a while. The frame-rates when using both open-source ATI drivers resulted in frame-rates of 30 FPS or lower while the Radeon HD 2900XT with Catalyst 10.12 churned out more than 300 FPS. Yes, here, the Catalyst driver is ten times faster than the latest open-source code. For the rest of the ATI hardware that was tested, the Gallium3D driver continued to outperform the classic Mesa driver but still it was no comparison to the highly optimized but proprietary Catalyst driver.

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