Open-Source AMD Fusion Graphics Still Mixed
Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 29 April 2011. Page 5 of 5. 16 Comments

Lightsmark is dreadfully slow with current Mesa / Gallium3D drivers compared to the proprietary AMD and NVIDIA drivers. The Catalyst driver was 4.75x faster than the Gallium3D driver and its 4.5 frames per second performance.

With VDrift, the Gallium3D driver was actually faster than Catalyst, but we have seen this out of the Radeon Gallium3D drivers (R300g and R600g) with other graphics processors and also with the Nouveau Gallium3D driver for NVIDIA GPUs. However, as noted earlier in this article, the Fusion support in VDrift is particularly flakey with many missing textures.

The performance relative to the Catalyst driver for the AMD Fusion E-350 under Linux is not too surprising. The proprietary drivers under Linux whether it is for AMD or NVIDIA hardware are the only serious choice at this point if needing maximum performance, features, and stability. Besides many of the Linux-native OpenGL games being able to run well on the Fusion hardware, the other poor point for the E-350 is the problems noted at the beginning of this article with several games not working and other issues. This is with the current Linux 2.6.39 and Mesa 7.11-devel code. Hopefully by the time of Ubuntu 11.10, Fedora 16, etc, these issues will be all cleaned up and we'll see better-optimized open-source drivers, but that already will be nearly a year after the E-350 first began shipping and there will almost certainly be new Fusion hardware to support at that point.

Today's benchmarking results can also be found on for reference and running your own comparisons.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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