Open-Source ATI R600/700 Mesa 3D Performance
Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 9 February 2010. Page 1 of 3. 108 Comments

As we alluded to last week, we have been in the process of benchmarking many Radeon HD 2000/3000/4000 series graphics cards using the open-source ATI Linux graphics stack with the Mesa R600/700 DRI driver. We have now carried out our first batch of R600/700 3D tests using this constantly evolving open-source driver to provide OpenGL acceleration and here are the results.

The R600 series graphics cards we ran for this article included the Radeon HD 2600PRO (RV630), HD 2900XT (R600), HD 3650 (RV620), and HD 3850 (RV670). The R700 series graphics cards included the Radeon HD 4830 (RV770LE), Radeon HD 4850 (RV770), and Radeon HD 4870 (RV770). For comparison we also retested a few R500 (Radeon X1000) series graphics cards since the R500 Mesa driver is more mature and those cards included the X1800XL (R520), X1800XT (R520), and X1950PRO (RV570). Originally we had tested more cards, but some of those results were lost in the previously mentioned incident and with some of the Radeon HD 4000 series graphics cards their KMS support has regressed where no signal is supplied to the monitor when using kernel mode-setting with them and a dual-link DVI monitor, like the Samsung SyncMaster 305T we used for today's tests. We will, however, be back with more open-source 3D graphics benchmarks in the near future, including a look at the R300 Gallium3D performance.

Our test system was made up of an Intel Core i3 530 clocked at 3.31GHz, an ECS H55H-M motherboard, 2GB of OCZ DDR3-1333MHz memory, and a 64GB OCZ Vertex SSD. On the software side we were running a snapshot of Ubuntu 10.04 "Lucid Lynx" that included the Linux 2.6.32-12 (x86_64) kernel, GNOME 2.29.6, X Server 1.7.4 RC2, xf86-video-radeon 6.12.99, Mesa 7.7, and an EXT4 file-system. Many other distributions this quarter and next are shipping with Mesa 7.7 and the Linux 2.6.32 kernel so this should provide an overall look at what to expect in terms of the open-source R500/600/700 3D performance. Besides the already mentioned plans for future articles, we will also be delivering fresh ATI Radeon benchmarks from Fedora 13 to see how the latest bleeding edge code is performing.

The Phoronix Test Suite powered our tests with the test profiles used being World of Padman, Tremulous, Urban Terror, and 1080p H.264 video playback with MPlayer. Unfortunately, OpenArena, VDrift, Nexuiz, and some of the other OpenGL tests within the Phoronix Test Suite had not run too well on most of the graphics cards so those results were left out. With each of the games we ran each graphics card at 800 x 600, 1024 x 768, 1280 x 1024, 1400 x 1050, 1680 x 1050, 1600 x 1200, 1920 x 1080, and 2560 x 1600. Compiz was enabled during the testing process.



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