Yesterday I ran the latest RadeonSI Gallium3D vs. Catalyst AMD Linux driver comparison, effectively another round of open-source vs. closed-source GPU driver testing. In yesterday's article it was found the RadeonSI performance is improving a lot but the AMD Catalyst Linux driver remains much faster. In this article are benchmarks of the older "R600" Radeon Gallium3D driver compared to the Catalyst driver with graphics cards from the Radeon HD 6000 series and older where the open-source R600g driver provides support and in a more mature state.
This testing is similar to yesterday's AMD Linux comparison but rather than testing the RadeonSI driver that is for the Radeon HD 7000 series and newer, the R600 Gallium3D driver was the subject of today's tests, which support from the original Radeon HD 2000 series through the Radeon HD 6000 series. The graphics cards that were used for testing included the Radeon HD 4870, Radeon HD 5830, Radeon HD 6870, and Radeon HD 6950. The comparison was mostly focused on the Radeon HD 5000/6000 series as that's the furthest the support extends with the current mainline Catalyst driver. The Radeon HD 4000 series hardware and older is only supported by the legacy Catalyst driver that is seldom maintained and doesn't work with modern Linux distributions.
For each of the four graphics cards the following Linux software configurations were tested:
- Ubuntu 13.10 x86_64 "out of the box" with its stock Linux 3.11 kernel and Mesa 9.2.1.
- The same Ubuntu 13.10 installation but adding the Oibaf PPA for Mesa 10.1-devel, xf86-video-ati 7.2.99, and other updated open-source driver packages.
- The Oibaf-updated Ubuntu 13.10 driver stack and then installing the Linux 3.13 kernel for the very latest kernel-side Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) driver code.
- After those three open-source AMD driver configurations were tested, Ubuntu 13.10 was then tested with the Catalyst Linux driver (fglrx 13.10.10 / OpenGL 4.2.12337). This testing was limited to the HD 5000/6000 series graphics cards but the Radeon HD 4870 couldn't be tested since its support was dropped from the mainline Catalyst driver.
All testing was done from the same Intel Core i7 4770K "Haswell" system and its stock configuration was maintained the same throughout all testing (on the system table ignore the different CPU frequency reporting, again, due to the base clock vs. turbo frequency being reported differently by the CPUfreq driver).
This entire Radeon Gallium3D vs. Catalyst Linux graphics benchmarking from Ubuntu was handled in a fully automated manner using the open-source Phoronix Test Suite platform with OpenBenchmarking.org. For those curious how other older Radeon GPUs perform, tomorrow will be a big Nouveau + Radeon + Intel comparison -- perhaps our biggest open-source GPU comparison ever.