Earlier this week we delivered results from a comparison between the Catalyst and X.Org Radeon drivers looking at the R500 2D performance. With a lot of interest having been generated from that, we have now carried out the same set of tests again but this time using an ATI Radeon HD 4850 (RV770) graphics card and the experimental EXA support.
With the Radeon HD 4850 we were using the same hardware and software from our previous article. This included an Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 at 4.00GHz, ASUS P5E64 WS Professional motherboard, 2GB of OCZ DDR3 memory, 160GB WDC WD1600JS-00MHB0 SATA HDD, and a Samsung SyncMaster 305T 30-inch LCD. Ubuntu 8.10 was used with the Linux 2.6.27 kernel, X Server 1.5.2, GNOME 2.24.1, and GCC 4.3.2. On the proprietary side we were using the Catalyst 8.12 driver while on the open-source side we were using the r6xx-r7xx-support code from the Mesa/DRM and xf86-video-radeonhd driver Git branches as of January 18. The basic EXA acceleration that was introduced with last month's code drop was used on the open-source side. The Phoronix Test Suite was used to facilitate this 2D Linux testing.
Out of the first three GtkPerf tests, the Catalyst driver won in two of them. With the GtkComboBox test, the Catalyst driver was over four times faster than the initial EXA support found in the RadeonHD driver.