May 2011: Gallium3D vs. Classic Mesa vs. Catalyst
Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 4 May 2011. Page 5 of 5. 28 Comments

Urban Terror also runs fine with the open-source drivers. The Gallium3D drivers here are dramatically faster -- almost twice as fast for R600g -- than classic Mesa. The Gallium3D drivers reach around 60% the speed of the Catalyst blob in this ioquake3-based environment.

The results are not very different at 1920 x 1080. Of course, if Swapbufferwait and other non-standard tweaks were made, additional performance could be tuned out of the open-source driver stack, but still it would be no match to Catalyst.

The ATI Gallium3D drivers are certainly making progress in improving the performance and are definitively better than the classic Mesa drivers, but they still have a ways to go to performing closer to the official Catalyst Linux driver not only in terms of performance but also features and OpenGL support level.

These test results are also available on for comparisons, etc.

About The Author
Author picture

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

Related Articles
Featured Articles
Trending Linux News