Last week benchmarks were delivered on Phoronix that showed the Intel DRM GPU driver performance between the Linux 3.2 and 3.8 kernels. In this article are similar benchmarks of the Radeon DRM driver in recent kernel releases using AMD graphics hardware but going back only to the Linux 3.4 kernel due to show-stopping issues.
After last week's Intel DRM comparison was the more interesting Intel Mesa 3D performance comparison. There will be a similar Radeon Mesa comparison too in the coming days while these benchmarks just compare the kernel driver performance between Linux 3.4 and Linux 3.8 kernels. Prior to Linux 3.4 on the tested software stack there were visual corruption issues and other problems that prevented the tests from going back any further. Additionally, the Linux 3.5 kernel was also problematic on this particular test system, so that testing couldn't be carried out.
All benchmarking happened from a system with an AMD Radeon HD 4650 graphics card installed. The operating system was an Ubuntu 13.04 snapshot that was upgraded to using a Mesa 9.1-devel Git snapshot throughout the testing process. Swap buffers wait was also disabled for the xf86-video-ati X.Org driver.
The benchmark results of comparing the vanilla Linux 3.4, 3.6, 3.7, and 3.8 Git kernels (as obtained from the Ubuntu mainline kernel PPA) are on the following pages.