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Looking At The OpenCL Performance Of ATI & NVIDIA On Linux

Michael Larabel

Published on 6 September 2010
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 1 of 3 - 35 Comments

Recently we provided the first Linux-based review of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 graphics card. Overall, this Fermi-based graphics card was a great performer for selling around $200 USD and is complemented by great video playback capabilities with VDPAU acceleration and great proprietary driver support. In that review we primarily looked at the OpenGL performance under Linux, but with NVIDIA's Fermi architecture bringing great GPGPU advancements for CUDA and OpenCL users too, in this article we are looking more closely at the Open Computing Language performance of this GF104 graphics card as well as other NVIDIA and ATI graphics cards.

Found in Phoronix Test Suite 2.8 "Torsken" is an OpenCL test suite with a number of new OpenCL test profiles. These initial Open Computing Language benchmarks include Julia GPU, Mandel GPU, SmallPT GPU, Mandelbulb GPU, and Gluxmark, which follows a Python OpenCL benchmark previously integrated into our advanced software-testing platform. For those now running these benchmarks and looking for numbers to compare for reference to see how your system stacks up with regard to its OpenCL capabilities or you are interested in seeing how the ATI and NVIDIA OpenCL performance under Linux compares, these results are for you.

For this article we have OpenCL test numbers on the NVIDIA side were the GeForce 8800GT 256MB (600/700MHz), GeForce 9800GTX 512MB (675/1100MHz), GeForce GT 240 512MB (550/1700MHz), and GeForce GTX 460 768MB (675/1800MHz). The 8800GT has 112 CUDA cores, the 9800GTX has 128 CUDA cores, the GeForce GT 240 has 96 CUDA cores, and the GeForce GT 460 has 336 CUDA cores. On the ATI side we tested the Radeon HD 4890 1GB (900/975MHz) and Radeon HD 5770 1GB (850/1200MHz) with each having 800 Stream processors.

The test system was the same as used in our initial NVIDIA GeForce GTX 400 series Linux testing, which was an Intel Core i7 920 overclocked to 3.60GHz, an ASRock X58 SuperComputer (Intel X58 + ICH10R) motherboard, 3GB of DDR3 system memory, and a 320GB Seagate ST3320620AS SATA HDD. The software stack included Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (x86_64) with the Linux 2.6.32 kernel, GNOME 2.30.0, X.Org Server 1.7.6, GCC 4.4.3, and an EXT4 file-system. The NVIDIA graphics driver used was the NVIDIA 256.44 release while on the ATI side was the Catalyst 10.7 (fglrx 8.75.5 + OpenGL 3.3.10057 / 4.0.10057 driver) driver release with the ATI Stream SDK v2.2 installed additionally to provide the OpenCL Radeon support. On the following pages are these initial OpenCL Linux results for ATI and NVIDIA graphics cards.

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