Recently I showed benchmarks of the Radeon Gallium3D driver for a mature Radeon HD 4870 graphics card over the past two years to look at the performance improvements made to this open-source Linux graphics driver. Up today are benchmarks of an old Radeon X1950PRO (R500 class) ATI graphics card when using the original "R300g" Gallium3D driver and testing every major Mesa release going back to Mesa 7.8 with the classic R300 driver.
The R300 classic DRI driver, which has since been abandoned in upstream Mesa, was tested on Mesa 7.8.3 since at that point in the R300g driver development it wasn't yet usable for end-users. Beginning with Mesa 7.9 is when R300g became rather usable and reliable and has been the default choice since that point for the R300/R400/R500 ATI graphics processors. The Mesa 7.8, 7.9, 7.10, 7.11, 8.0, and master Git branches were benchmarked earlier this month for Radeon driver performance results from 7.8.3, 7.9.2, 7.10.3, 7.11.2, 8.0.4, and 8.1-devel.
Swap buffers wait was disabled during testing while the rest of the software stack was made up of an Ubuntu 12.10 development snapshot with a vanilla Linux 3.5 kernel and LLVM 3.0. Unity 2D was also used as the default desktop environment choice. All benchmarking was handled via the Phoronix Test Suite for this classic Radeon X1950PRO graphics card.