The latest Linux graphics testing under the microscope at Phoronix is comparing the Ubuntu 14.04 LTS vs. Windows 8.1 performance with all available updates. Results from Intel, NVIDIA, and AMD hardware is coming up next week while today is a bit of a preview of the AMD numbers when using a Radeon R9 290 "Hawaii" graphics card. While the open-source AMD Hawaii support remains broken, with the Catalyst 14.4 driver on each operating system, the Linux Catalyst driver with the R9 290 graphics card can outperform Windows 8.1 Pro with some OpenGL games and benchmarks.
Data from many AMD Radeon graphics cards between Ubuntu 14.04 and Windows 8.1 will be posted in the next article, with this article just looking at the high-end Radeon R9 290 GPU given that it's been problematic under Linux in the past but with Catalyst 14.4 things seem to be a bit better. With the latest drivers a fresh round of direct testing against NVIDIA's proprietary Linux driver with their high-end GPUs will be needed to see if NVIDIA is still whipping AMD on Linux gaming performance in the high-end space, but at least between Windows 8.1 and Ubuntu 14.04 with Catalyst 14.4 on each, Linux has some advantages with OpenGL.
Besides some of the test results I'm about to share showing the R9 290 on Ubuntu Linux outperforming Windows 8.1, several of the OpenGL tests wouldn't even run with the Catalyst 14.4 Windows driver but would with the Catalyst 14.4 Linux driver. For testing the same Intel Core i7 4770K Haswell system with all of the hardware components listed under the Ubuntu column was used on both Windows and Linux.
Both operating systems were left in their stock states with all available updates at the time of testing. All of our OpenGL benchmarking under Windows and Linux was automated in the same repeatable manner using the open-source Phoronix Test Suite software.