The newer versions of Mesa did do better at OpenArena when running at 800 x 600, but at the higher resolutions there was no definitive gains over Mesa 7.6.
Lastly, with Urban Terror, the results are similar to World of Padman where there is a noticeable speed-up in performance following the Mesa 7.6 release.
While there does not appear to be any significant performance improvements in Mesa as it concerns the Radeon R500 DRI support with the post-7.6 releases, at least there are no regressions to adversely affect users. Additionally, distributions released last fall like Ubuntu 9.10 are commonly running Mesa 7.6. Users upgrading their distributions this spring to releases like Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, which runs on Mesa 7.7, there should be these performance improvements at least for the R500 hardware. The ATI R600/700 support is also much better off than it was a few months back. Mesa 7.7 and 7.8 also boast other features like support for new OpenGL extensions and many improvements on the Gallium3D architecture side with its hardware drivers and state trackers.
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