AMD R600/700 2D Performance: Open vs. Closed Drivers
Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 30 September 2009. Page 5 of 5. 56 Comments

With QGears2 and using the X Render back-end, the open-source code led to a slightly higher frame-rate over using the official Catalyst driver in Ubuntu 9.10.

Compared to the X Render Gears test in QGears2, the text operations were substantially faster and about two and a half times faster than the Catalyst 9.10 driver with its X Render acceleration.

The performance with the image scaling test was close between the four test configurations.

From the three different test profiles we used and the two graphics cards that were tested, nearly every time the open-source driver stack wound up being faster than the Catalyst 9.10 driver. Past tests of other graphics cards and drivers have shown the 2D performance to be better on the open-source side, albeit these 2D tests are not very real-world representative (nor do they reflect the CPU usage) and on the 3D side the proprietary Catalyst driver is significantly faster and more feature-rich than the current open-source code. Anyhow, to see how these two drivers compare with your hardware, try out the Phoronix Test Suite.

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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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