The Major Open-Source ATI Improvements Over Two Years
The OpenArena results show the performance regressing between Ubuntu 9.04 to 9.10, which is the time from which the default code paths were changed from user-space mode-setting (UMS) to kernel mode-setting (KMS) and at the same time, the GEM/TTM work, and DRI2. Ubuntu 10.04.2 LTS is a low-point for open-source ATI graphics while in Ubuntu 10.10 there is a big improvement over this last Long-Term Support. Again, Ubuntu 10.10 is when the switch to Gallium3D happened for ATI R300 through R500 GPUs. The support by then was also mature for KMS, DRI2, etc. With Ubuntu 11.04, it is finally at a high point for the open-source support and is faster than what it was in Ubuntu 9.04 on UMS. Pulling the latest Git code though was not any better or worse for OpenArena on Ubuntu 11.04. The Catalyst driver is still approximately 40% faster than the latest open-source Linux code for this OpenArena test on the Mobility Radeon X1400.
The World of Padman performance had not regressed on this laptop between Ubuntu 9.04 and Ubuntu 9.10. With Ubuntu 10.04.2 LTS the performance actually goes up a great deal, maintains the same performance in Ubuntu 10.10, and then goes up by a great deal in Ubuntu 11.04. From Ubuntu 10.10 to Ubuntu 11.04 (with KMS page-flipping and other features landing) the performance is up by 59% for this low-end R500 class ATI mobile GPU. Pulling the latest Git code -- namely the Linux 2.6.39 kernel and Mesa 7.11-devel -- resulted in the performance in World of Padman at 800 x 600 going up by an additional 7%. This is a great example for showing the positive history of open-source ATI driver support.
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