Earlier this week I shared a pleasant surprise in Mesa 8.1 Radeon Gallium3D with some significant performance improvements to be found in the current Mesa Git code-base for the "R600g" driver in some OpenGL games. In this article is a more diverse look at the current state of Mesa 8.1 development for R600 Gallium3D and comparative benchmarks from every major release going back to Mesa 7.10.
This article provides R600 Gallium3D benchmarks from Mesa Git master and then the Git branches of 8.0, 7.11, and 7.10. From these branches, this means Mesa 8.1-devel, Mesa 8.0.1, 7.11.2, and 7.10.3. Mesa 7.9 was attempted with the R600g driver, but it failed badly as back then the R600 Gallium3D driver was quite immature:
The Mesa 7.10/7.11/8.0/8.1-devel benchmarking was being done from a Radeon HD 4870 system with a clean install of the latest Ubuntu 12.04 LTS development snapshot at the time of testing. Swap buffers wait was disabled from the xorg.conf, but no other options were set such as the recent 2D color tiling work. The 2D color tiling improvements for R600g will be part of Mesa 8.1, and further boost the performance when enabled, and released this summer along with many other features to this open-source graphics stack. Another item being worked on recently has been the updated HiZ/HyperZ support.
As Mesa 8.1 development moves further along, more benchmarks will come from Radeon Gallium3D and the other open-source graphics drivers. Besides the benchmark results, this article also has some comparative image quality screenshots.