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AMD Radeon Gallium3D More Competitive With Catalyst On Linux

Michael Larabel

Published on 17 April 2013
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 1 of 7 - 48 Comments

With the ever-changing state of Linux graphics drivers -- both for the open and closed-source drivers -- new tests have been conducted to compare the OpenGL graphics performance on Linux with AMD Radeon graphics. In this article are benchmarks of nine different Radeon HD graphics cards when being tested on the very latest AMD Catalyst (13.3 Beta 3) graphics driver as well as the open-source AMD Radeon driver consisting of Mesa 9.2-devel and the yet-to-be-released Linux 3.9 kernel.

The AMD Radeon GPUs being benchmarked today are the Radeon HD 5750, HD 5830, HD 6450, HD 6570, HD 6770, HD 6870, and HD 6950 graphics cards. There were also the Radeon HD 4770 and Radeon HD 4830 graphics cards benchmarked too as some reference points for those with older R700-class hardware, but the AMD Catalyst Linux driver no longer has support for these old GPUs so the only benchmarking was done with the open-source driver.

The AMD Radeon HD 7000 series was avoided for testing since the open-source support for this latest-generation hardware is still being brought up on the newer "RadeonSI" driver stack as opposed to the "R600g" driver supporting from the Radeon HD 2000 through HD 6000 series hardware. The RadeonSI driver should work when using all of the latest open-source code, but it's still not in a comparable state to the much more mature R600g open-source platform and still a massive shot away from the Catalyst driver. New HD 7000 benchmarks will be saved for a separate article.

The seven graphics cards from the Radeon HD 5000/6000 series offers a nice mix of modern hardware from low to high-end and then the two extra graphics cards for old Radeon HD 4000 series reference points. The AMD Catalyst Linux driver used was the very latest Catalyst 13.3 beta as of last week. The fglrx version string is 12.10.5 and the OpenGL version string is 4.2.12173.

The open-source driver stack was xf86-video-ati 7.1.0, Mesa 9.2-devel git-cb12bf7, LLVM 3.2, and the Linux 3.9 Git kernel. Swap buffers wait was disabled during testing through the xorg.conf.

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