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Open-Source RadeonSI Gallium3D vs. AMD Catalyst On Linux

Michael Larabel

Published on 5 July 2013
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 1 of 3 - 12 Comments

Towards the end of June I published AMD RadeonSI Gallium3D benchmarks, the open-source Linux graphics driver supporting the Radeon HD 7000/8000 series hardware on Linux. While the alternative to the Catalyst driver can accelerate OpenGL, it's very slow. Open-source driver benchmarks were shown in that article compared to older generations of AMD Radeon hardware backed by the mature R600 Gallium3D driver. In this article are benchmarks comparing the open-source "RadeonSI" driver to the proprietary AMD Catalyst GPU driver on the Radeon HD 7850/7950 graphics cards. As an additional driver reference point were also Radeon HD 7950 Cayman results; all testing happened from Fedora 19 Linux.

Results from a large open vs. closed-source GPU driver comparison are coming while in this article we are looking at the Radeon HD 7000 "Southern Islands" performance. The Radeon HD 7850 and Radeon HD 7950 graphics cards were being benchmarked today; unfortunately there's no lower-end HD 7000 series GPUs to benchmark in this article due to lack of availability. For reference to the mature Radeon HD 6000 series support, a Radeon HD 6950 graphics card was also benchmarked in this comparison.

The open-source driver stack consisted of the Linux 3.9 kernel, xf86-video-ati 7.1.99, and Mesa 9.2-devel. Swap buffers wait was disabled during testing for the Radeon driver but aside from that all of the hardware/software was left in its stock configuration. The proprietary Catalyst driver used was Catalyst 13.6 Beta, which advertises the fglrx 13.10.10 DDX version and OpenGL 4.2.12337.

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