It's been a few months since last running any AMD Fusion tests under Linux, so here's a look at the AMD A8-3870K "Llano" APU performance under both the latest Catalyst driver and the open-source Radeon Gallium3D stack with Ubuntu 12.04. Besides the open-source driver being handily beaten by the Catalyst binary driver, the power efficiency is also a disappointment.
Coming up in the near future will be some much more interesting results once Intel ships Ivy Bridge, which really ups the ante when it comes to integrated graphics performance, but for now here's a look at the A8-3870K when using the Catalyst 12.3 Linux fglrx driver and then when using the Linux 3.4 development kernel and Mesa 8.1-devel code. The AMD Fusion A8-3870K with Radeon HD 6550D graphics has a 600MHz clock speed and 400 Radeon cores for this quad-core APU that is clocked at 3.0GHz.
Besides throwing a plethora of Mesa-compatible Linux-native OpenGL games at the hardware under both drivers and a variety of resolutions, the power consumption was also monitored. Phoronix Test Suite 4.0-Suldal also automatically provided performance-per-Watt graphs during the system power consumption monitoring, which was monitored via an USB-based WattsUp meter. Swap buffers wait was disabled for the Radeon driver during testing.
Before running the OpenGL benchmarks, cairo-perf-trace was run for some 2D tests using the Cairo library. For the three traces that were run on Cairo, the Catalyst driver was multiple times faster than the open-source Radeon stack and its EXA acceleration architecture. The Mesa, Linux kernel, libdrm, and xf86-video-ati were all built from Git this past week.