After delivering benchmark results on Monday that looked at the AMD Catalyst vs. Radeon Gallium3D driver comparison using the very latest development code for the open-source Linux graphics driver and comparing the performance on several different Radeon HD graphics cards, here's some more performance data. In this article are some benchmarks of twelve AMD graphics cards when using the in-development Linux 3.7 kernel and Mesa 9.1-devel.
The results in this article aren't another Catalyst vs. Gallium3D driver comparison but rather a 12-way graphics card comparison when using the very latest open-source AMD Linux code. The purpose is to namely help those that may be wanting to upgrade their graphics card this holiday shopping season and are curious to see how well the recent Radeon GPUs are performing with the open-source driver. The graphics cards ranged from old Radeon X1000 (R500) GPUs up through modern Radeon HD 6000 series graphics cards; the latest Radeon HD 7000 series hardware couldn't be used due to its shoddy open-source support.
The tested graphics cards included the Radeon X1800XL, X1800XT, HD 4550, HD 4670, HD 4830, HD 4870, HD 5450, HD 5770, HD 5830, HD 6450, HD 6570, and HD 6950 graphics cards. There were no Radeon HD 3000 series graphics cards tested since with the software configuration used, since the driver proved to be unstable with lock-ups and stability problems when running OpenArena and other tests. Also worth noting is that with the Linux 3.7 kernel I have been seeing mode-setting issues with several Radeon HD 4000 series graphics cards where the display will not light-up when hitting the Radeon KMS driver on certain DVI connectors while switching connectors will work just fine.
Ubuntu 12.10 64-bit was the base operating system while the new graphics stack was powered by the Linux 3.7 Git kernel, Mesa 9.1-devel git-cff4c94, libdrm Git, and the xf86-video-ati 7.0.99 Git. Again, if you want to know how this open-source driver stacks up against the high-performance proprietary Catalyst driver, check out yesterday's results. The results show the open-source driver gaining some ground recently, but generally the open-source Gallium3D driver is running at around 50% or less the speed of Catalyst.