Earlier this week I delivered a wide range of NVIDIA GeForce and AMD Radeon graphics card tests from Ubuntu Linux and the focal point was the tests being done from the new AMD A10-7850K "Kaveri" APU. That testing found NVIDIA is leading over AMD with their binary graphics driver (of course, the same can't be said with AMD's superior open-source driver as yesterday's data showed), but how is the Linux OpenCL performance comparing between drivers and hardware? Here's the same set of NVIDIA and AMD graphics cards being benchmarked under Ubuntu with now looking at the OpenCL performance.
This article is testing the latest AMD Catalyst and NVIDIA Linux graphics drivers when focusing upon the GPU-based OpenCL performance. The open-source drivers weren't tested since, well, their OpenCL support isn't up to scratch. AMD has been making progress in the area of open-source OpenCL but it's still not deployed by default in any tier-one Linux distribution and can only work with a small number of GPGPU applications. The Nouveau driver is further behind with its OpenCL enablement and there's more pressing issues that first need to be solved by the open-source NVIDIA driver such as proper re-clocking support.
On the Catalyst side was the fglrx 13.30.1 / OpenGL 4.3.12682 driver release while on the NVIDIA side was the 331.38 driver release. All benchmarks occurred on the AMD A10-7850K system while running Ubuntu 13.10 with the Linux 3.11 kernel. Besides the integrated Radeon R7 Graphics being tested, the AMD Radeon discrete graphics cards tested included the HD 6450, HD 6770, HD 6870, HD 7850, and R9 290. On the NVIDIA side was the GeForce GT 240, GT 520, GTX 550 Ti, GTX 650, GTX 680, GTX 760, and GTX 770.
All of the OpenCL benchmarking was handled via the open-source Phoronix Test Suite automated benchmarking framework. Haven uploaded the results to OpenBenchmarking.org you can easily compare your own system's performance to these numbers by simply running phoronix-test-suite benchmark 1401193-PL-AMDKAVERI45. This round of OpenCL Linux testing is very straightforward and each driver was tested with its stock settings, so let's jump straight to the performance data.