The Open-Source ATI Driver Is Becoming A Lot Faster
Next week we will have out the test results for several ATI Radeon X1000 (R500) graphics cards when using the latest open-source code compared to the high-performance Catalyst 9.3 driver, but in this article was our initial test results when using a Lenovo ThinkPad T60 on an ATI Mobility Radeon X1400 that was used at first to verify the Linux 2.6.38 kernel was sane enough as well as the other latest Git components for conducting an early GPU driver comparison on this fresh code. Results from other ATI/AMD GPU generations will follow.
The Lenovo ThinkPad T60 has a 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo T2400 CPU, 1GB of system memory, an 80GB Hitachi SATA HDD, and ATI Mobility Radeon X1400 128MB discrete graphics. In order to test the Catalyst 9.3 driver we used Ubuntu 8.04.4 LTS with the Linux 2.6.24 kernel, GNOME 2.22.3, X.Org Server 18.104.22.168, and Catalyst 9.3 (fglrx 8.59.2; OpenGL 2.1.8543).
In this article we compared the Catalyst 9.3 performance to that of the stock Ubuntu 10.10 installation with the Linux 2.6.35 kernel, xf86-video-ati 6.13.1, and Mesa 7.9-devel. We then loaded up the Linux 2.6.38 kernel from 2011-01-11 with the Mesa 7.11-devel Git code and the xf86-video-ati 6.13.99 Git code too. This first testing with the latest Git code was in the stock configuration with no xorg.conf, which for the R500 mobile ASIC includes KMS page-flipping, color tiling, and swap buffers wait being enabled. We then tested the latest code again, but with the swap buffers wait disabled via the SwapbuffersWait xorg.conf option (note: we *really* would like the ability to have the ability to change this dynamically similar to the vblank_mode environmental variable so we can automatically set this value / disable the support when running the Phoronix Test Suite).
The OpenGL tests from the Phoronix Test Suite 3.0-Iveland code included Nexuiz, Warsow, OpenArena, World of Padman, and Urban Terror at resolutions of 800 x 600 and 1400 x 1050. Again, this is just our first batch of benchmarks from this brand new and exciting open-source code that will be found in the next-generation of Linux distributions.
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