Thanks to clean-room reverse-engineering, it is already possible to run the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 "Kepler" graphics card on a fully open-source graphics driver complete with OpenGL acceleration. Here are the first benchmarks of this work-in-progress, community-created open-source GeForce 600 series graphics driver.
Committed to the Mesa and libdrm Git repositories last week for Nouveau, the open-source NVIDIA Linux driver, was the "major libdrm rewrite" designed to step-up this reverse-engineered driver. What impact did these invasive changes have on the Nouveau driver's performance? Here are benchmarks comparing before-and-after as well as how the Nouveau driver compares to the proprietary NVIDIA Linux graphics driver.
In what will certainly be controversial and disappointing to some Radeon Linux desktop users, AMD will soon announce that they will effectively be discontinuing support for several Radeon product families from their proprietary Catalyst driver. After that point, for future Linux distribution updates, the open-source Radeon Linux driver will be your only option for accelerated graphics. This is likely happening with the Windows Catalyst driver too, but at least there they have a better-maintained legacy driver process.
It's been a few months since last running any AMD Fusion tests under Linux, so here's a look at the AMD A8-3870K "Llano" APU performance under both the latest Catalyst driver and the open-source Radeon Gallium3D stack with Ubuntu 12.04. Besides the open-source driver being handily beaten by the Catalyst binary driver, the power efficiency is also a disappointment.
There is another new open-source Linux graphics driver entering development and it has already showed signs of success with basic 2D acceleration working. This new open-source driver is for Qualcomm's Snapdragon / Adreno and who is leading the development of this driver is also quite interesting.
Nouveau, the reverse-engineered open-source graphics driver for NVIDIA's entire range of graphics processors, is reaching a stable state where it's exiting the "staging" area of the Linux 3.4 kernel and being considered part of the standard, stable kernel configuration. How though is the Nouveau driver working out compared to NVIDIA's official, closed-source Linux graphics driver? Here are some new benchmarks from ten different graphics cards and other information on the state of Nouveau.
Following recent advancements in the open-source Radeon Linux driver like 2D color tiling support, I've carried out some new benchmarks of the open-source Radeon Gallium3D driver compared to AMD's official Catalyst driver. This time around, the open-source driver is seeing tests against AMD's binary blob when various performance-optimizing tweaks are enabled to see where the performance stands today.
In continuation of the Using The New Radeon Gallium3D 2D Color Tiling article from January, here's updated benchmarks of the latest Radeon Linux driver code with this performance-boosting feature enabled.
Recently I showed off some Intel DRM benchmarks from the Linux 3.3 kernel along with what will be in the Linux 3.4 kernel via drm-next. These results indicated some performance improvements on the side of Intel Sandy Bridge hardware, but how do the new kernel and Linux 3.4 impact the discrete Radeon graphics? Here's some benchmarks covering that side of the graphics table.
With the release of the Linux 3.3 kernel being imminent and the Linux 3.4 kernel drm-next already offering lots of changes, here are some Intel Sandy Bridge benchmarks comparing the Linux 3.2 kernel to a near-final Linux 3.3 kernel and then the drm-next kernel that's largely a 3.3 kernel but with the DRM driver code that will work its way into Linux 3.4.
After first being introduced on Windows years ago, and then FreeBSD and ReactOS support added last year, this week finally marked the release of TitaniumGL for Linux. TitaniumGL is self-described as a "freeware driver architecture" and carries a goal to support OpenGL on graphics cards with broken, bad, or missing OpenGL hardware drivers. Here are some benchmarks of TitaniumGL compared to NVIDIA's binary GPU driver and the Mesa/Gallium3D LLVMpipe software rasterizer.
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.
Recently there has been a lot of talk about Hierarchical-Z/HyperZ support for R600g since its set to provide a measurable performance benefit the open-source Radeon driver for modern GPUs. This support has still not been mainlined and there are still a few issues to work out, but at least the support is stable for the older "R300g" driver and has been around for quite a while at this point. For those wondering what to expect from HiZ/HyperZ performance boosts, here is a preview.
Besides video decoding, re-clocking / performance improvements, OpenCL, and other areas, the Nouveau driver still has room to advance when it comes to 2D performance.
One of the less talked about features of Mesa 8.0 is its ability to handle MLAA, which is short for Morphological Anti-Aliasing. But how does MLAA on the open-source graphics drivers affect the OpenGL performance and is it worth it for boosting the image quality through this anti-aliasing technique? In this article are some benchmarks of MLAA under Mesa 8.0.
For the past few years VMware has been improving the graphics acceleration support that is available via their virtualization platform. VMware -- through their 2008 acquisition of Tungsten Graphics -- has effectively re-written their graphics driver for their virtual "SVGA II" GPU to take advantage of the Gallium3D driver architecture, a new acceleration architecture, and many other improvements. This work has finally come together and is now working rather nicely.
With the Mesa 8.0 release right around the corner, in recent weeks there have been a number of benchmarks on Phoronix looking at this latest open-source OpenGL library and its drivers, including Gallium3D. In this article though are new benchmarks from one of the areas not explored yet: the Intel Gallium3D driver performance.
While RC6 support remains off-by-default as Intel developers are faced by RC6-related bugs affecting a small minority of Sandy Bridge users, this power-savings feature is not limited to only Intel mobile graphics. As discovered at Phoronix, RC6 can manage to boost the graphics performance beyond just extending your battery life. The RC6 performance boost is also quite visible on Intel Sandy Bridge desktop hardware too.
Here's a new look at Intel's Sandy Bridge New Acceleration (SNA) architecture within their DDX graphics driver. Testing in this article was done across three systems (mobile and desktop class Sandy Bridge hardware as well as an Ironlake system) seeing how well the latest code is performing in an effort to provide a better Intel 2D experience.
Over the weekend I shared that the Nouveau driver project, which seeks to provide an open-source NVIDIA graphics driver for Linux and other platforms via reverse-engineering, hit a major milestone. The Nouveau driver now supports re-clocking for several generations of NVIDIA GeForce hardware, which allows the open-source driver to put the graphics cards at their properly designed operating frequencies for maximum performance. This can result in the Nouveau driver performing much better against the official closed-source NVIDIA graphics driver, but the support is still very experimental. Initial testing over the weekend found this support to perform well when it works, but that overall it is still very buggy.
Thanks to recent advancements by Intel's Open-Source Technology Center, the open-source Linux graphics driver not only supports more OpenGL 3.0 functionality than Apple's Intel graphics driver for Mac OS X, but the performance is more competitive. In some cases, the OpenGL performance is now superior under Linux with the open-source driver that is developed by Intel in conjunction with the free software community. This article is looking at the performance of Intel Sandy Bridge graphics under Mac OS X 10.7 "Lion" and Ubuntu Linux.
There is some exciting news to break today on Phoronix... Coming up at FOSDEM (the Free Open-Source Developers' European Meeting in Brussels) will be the formal announcement of an open-source, reverse-engineered graphics driver for the ARM Mali graphics processor. OpenGL ES triangles are in action on open-source code. Will this be the start of fully open-source ARM graphics drivers for Android and Linux?
While it will not take you up to the speeds of the Catalyst driver, besides the 2D color tiling patches, there are a few other outstanding features not yet enabled-by-default in the open-source Radeon graphics driver that can yield some performance boosts. One of these other features is enabling PCI Express 2.0 support within the Radeon DRM.
What happens when you pull out some vintage computer hardware and run the latest Linux software as well as go back and run some of the oldest software available? Well, in the case of systems with antiquated R300-era ATI Radeon graphics, you are left with a downward slope in performance. Not only is the latest open-source Radeon graphics driver not always performing as well as an ancient Catalyst driver, but also the power consumption of the latest Linux code remains on an incline.
Now that the Nouveau, Radeon, and LLVMpipe graphics drivers have been tested under Mesa 8.0, what is left? The Intel DRI driver, of course! The open-source Sandy Bridge Linux graphics support is shining with Mesa 8.0 thanks to OpenGL 3.0 support and measurable performance improvements. Intel Ivy Bridge is also ready to run under Linux.
Patches finally arrived last week for 2D color tiling in the Radeon R600 Gallium3D driver. The patches were then re-based this past weekend and benchmarked by Phoronix. Will the 2D color tiling patches, which affect the Linux kernel, Mesa, libdrm, and xf86-video-ati DDX make the more recent Radeon graphics cards more competitive under open-source to the Catalyst driver?
After looking last week at the ATI/AMD Radeon Gallium3D performance under Mesa 8.0 and comparing its performance to Mesa 7.11 and the closed-source AMD Catalyst driver, along with the LLVMpipe driver performance, we're now focusing upon the Nouveau Gallium3D implementation that seeks to provide open-source NVIDIA hardware support. This comparison is pitting Nouveau in Mesa 8.0 against Mesa 7.11 and the official NVIDIA Linux driver.
Now that I've shared eight good features and eight bad traits of Mesa 8.0, which is the open-source graphics hardware library that's now supportive of OpenGL 3.0, it's time to begin looking closer at the performance. In this article are benchmarks of ATI/AMD Radeon graphics cards spanning five generations to show how the Mesa 8.0 performance compares to the previous release (Mesa 7.11) and the proprietary Catalyst driver.
Intel's experimental "Sandy Bridge New Acceleration" (SNA) acceleration architecture is a constant work-in-progress that even in the past two weeks over the holidays has received more than 100 changes. How though is this new 2D acceleration architecture fairing these days rather than the stock UXA configuration? In this article are our first Intel SNA benchmarks of 2012 when enabling this architecture.
Back in December I posted historical Intel Sandy Bridge benchmarks looking at the graphics performance over the course of 2011 that this latest-generation of Intel hardware has been supported under Linux. In this article are some similar Intel OpenGL benchmarks of each quarter going back to the end of 2010, but this time it is for the previous-generation Intel Ironlake hardware.
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