Last week we exclusively shared the steps AMD was taking to make an evolutionary leap in Linux support with same-day support for their brand-new Radeon HD 4800 series, Linux drivers shipping on the product CD, some manufacturers showcasing Tux on the product packaging, and their proprietary Linux driver reaching a feature parity with their Windows driver. We had also shared that the Radeon HD 4850 works with open-source xf86-video-ati driver since day one. Now that we have had time to complete testing of the Radeon HD 4850, today we are sharing the first Linux results from this brand-new ATI graphics processor. Before you think the Windows and Linux performance is equal for the Radeon HD 4800 series, this isn't the case, at least not yet.
While you are likely already familiar with the ATI Radeon 4800 series, it's the industry's first TeraFLOPS GPU, the RV770 contains 800 stream processors, and the Radeon 4870 is the first graphics card deploying GDDR5. The Radeon HD 4850 has its RV770 core clocked at 625MHz with 110W power consumption while its big brother, the Radeon HD 4870, is clocked at 750MHz and has 1.2 TeraFLOPS of computing power, but its maximum power consumption is 160W. Both of these new graphics cards have 512MB of video memory, however, some AIB partners may opt for using 1GB. Other features include a PCI Express 2.0 x16 interface, Unified Superscalar Shader Architecture, Avivo HD, OpenGL 2.0 support, ATI PowerPlay, and CrossFireX Multi-GPU Technology. Making up the RV770 core are 956 million transistors on a 55nm fabrication process.
As we have been sharing since last week, AMD has made an evolutionary leap in Linux support with the Radeon HD 4800 series. Tux is part of AMD's licensed product package graphics, Linux drivers are shipping on the product CDs, and there is same-day support for the Radeon HD 4850/4870 on Linux with fglrx 8.50 / Catalyst 8.6. In fact, the support has been available before the graphics cards officially launched. Catalyst 8.6 is the driver that introduces proper support for the Radeon HD 4800 series, and it was released on June 18. Both the Radeon HD 4850 and Radeon HD 4870 were scheduled to be released on June 25, but the 4850 launch ended up occurring on June 19. The xf86-video-ati driver has even supported the Radeon HD 4800 series from the start due to its use of the AtomBIOS abstraction layer.