The past several months have been very exciting in the world of Gallium3D, the new graphics driver architecture for Linux and other operating systems that has been in development for years. This year we have witnessed the emergence of LLVMpipe to accelerate OpenGL commands on the CPU, Nouveau's Gallium3D driver starting to work well, and many other advancements. Over the past few months we have also been pleased with how the "R300g" driver has taken shape with this Gallium3D driver for ATI Radeon R300/400/500 series hardware (up through the Radeon X1000 series) stabilizing, performing well, and advancing beyond the classic Mesa 3D R300 driver. Today we have a fresh set of benchmarks looking at this ATI Gallium3D driver that soon will become the default.
In March we compared the ATI Radeon Linux 3D performance between the Gallium3D and classic Mesa drivers as well as comparing the proprietary ATI Catalyst driver to the open-source Mesa stack. While the R300g driver is running faster than the R300 classic driver is in many tests, we later showed new numbers that the Gallium3D driver is still playing catch-up to AMD's official binary Linux driver. With the rate though that the R300/400/500 Gallium3D driver has been advancing, we have a new set of test results comparing the R300 classic Mesa and Gallium3D implementations.
For our testing, we used the Linux 2.6.35-rc1 kernel to take advantage of the latest Radeon DRM code and then checked out the Mesa Git code on 2010-06-03, which is Mesa 7.9-devel with Gallium v0.4. The rest of the software stack was an Ubuntu 10.04 installation with X.Org Server 1.7.6, GNOME 2.30.0 with Compiz, and xf86-video-ati 6.13.0. To show a look at where things are in comparison to what is shipping with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, we also re-tested the stock Ubuntu installation with its Mesa 7.7.1 stack and the Linux 2.6.32 Ubuntu kernel with its back-ported 2.6.33 DRM.
Our test system was an Intel Core i3 530 CPU clocked at 3.32GHz, an ECS H55H-M motherboard, 2GB of DDR3 memory, a 64GB OCZ Vertex SSD, and an ATI Radeon X1950PRO (RV570) graphics card. The games we ran for testing were Warsow, World of Padman, OpenArena, Tremulous, Urban Terror, and Smokin Guns. The Phoronix Test Suite, of course, carried out the testing.