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Display Drivers

May 2011: Gallium3D vs. Classic Mesa vs. Catalyst

The open-source graphics driver landscape is ever changing with new work going into Mesa / Gallium3D near daily. While many improvements have been made in recent time, the open-source drivers have a ways to go in competing with the proprietary competition. Even the open-source AMD driver, which is developed using documentation from AMD as well as code and engineering resources within the company, it has a tough time competing with the well-optimized Catalyst driver. Fortunately, the AMD driver is now largely centered on the two Gallium3D drivers: R300g and R600g, and have pushed away their classic Mesa DRI drivers into maintenance mode. The R300g supports the R300 through R500 ASICs (up through the Radeon X1000 series) while the R600g driver supports all ATI/AMD hardware past that point up through the latest Radeon HD 6000 series and Fusion. In this article, we are seeing where the performance is currently at for the classic Mesa, Gallium3D, and Catalyst drivers under Linux.
4 May 2011 - 31 Comments

Open-Source AMD Fusion Graphics Still Mixed

While AMD was very fast to provide open-source Fusion graphics driver support under Linux (along with official support in their proprietary Catalyst driver), the support has not ended up working out too well for us. It has regressed since the November push. As mentioned in March, the E-350 Fusion Linux support took a dive in terms of its graphics support with some outstanding bugs. Since then, the support has improved and is now largely usable, but there are still some big issues.
29 April 2011 - 16 Comments

Test Driving The QEMU-KVM KMS Driver

Just hours ago a new Linux KMS driver entered the world for the Cirrus GPU. Yes, as in that from Cirrus Logic for an ancient CL-GD5446 ASIC, this was a 2D-only 64-bit VisualMedia accelerator. But, fortunately, it is not for the actual hardware itself but rather the virtual incarnation that is emulated by QEMU and QEMU-KVM. Those running a Linux KVM virtualization stack with QEMU and the Cirrus adapter can now benefit from a kernel mode-setting driver.
19 April 2011 - 3 Comments

Where The Open-Source AMD Driver Is At For Modern GPUs

Earlier this week Sapphire launched the Radeon HD 5830 Extreme using the well-supported "Cypress LE" graphics processor at a very competitive price relative to the NVIDIA competition and the Radeon HD 5830 graphics cards from other AMD partners. With it being part of the HD 5000 series and not one of the newer HD 6000 series graphics processors, the Linux support is already spot-on for both the official Catalyst Linux driver and within the open-source stack. In this article are the open-source Gallium3D benchmarks for the Radeon HD 5830 along with other recent ATI/AMD GPUs to show where the latest Mesa/Gallium3D code is at today.
15 April 2011 - 60 Comments

The Major Open-Source ATI Improvements Over Two Years

The open-source ATI/AMD Radeon Linux driver stack has made a lot of improvements in recent times with their Gallium3D drivers becoming mature across all generations and support for new features (such as DRI2 page-flipping) landing in the mainline code and beginning to make its way to users. The time required to bring up support for new generations has also been reduced greatly and with the Radeon HD 8000 series there should be a turning point for their open-source strategy. In this article, we are providing an updated look at the course of the open-source driver's performance for the past two years.
11 April 2011 - 53 Comments

Another Look At The Open-Source Nouveau With Fermi

Earlier this week was benchmarks of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 "Fermi" with the open-source Nouveau driver. The reverse-engineered Nouveau support for the GeForce 400/500 series is incomplete and requires users to generate their own custom firmware before there is even 2D/3D/video acceleration support. The initial tests on the GeForce GTX 460 also yielded a disturbingly large performance difference between the open-source and closed-source NVIDIA drivers, where as with previous generations of NVIDIA GPUs the performance difference is more manageable. Here is another look at Nouveau for Fermi, but this time from a GeForce GTX 485M.
2 April 2011 - 12 Comments

Intel Sandy Bridge Performance Goes Up Again

At the beginning of the month I reported on a small patch to Mesa that resulted in a huge performance improvement for Intel Sandy Bridge graphics, but Intel's OSTC developers have bumped up the performance of the latest-generation graphics processors even more. With the LLC caching patch-set, which should be committed to the Linux 2.6.40 kernel (not the current 2.6.39 cycle), there are measurable OpenGL performance improvements.
31 March 2011 - 31 Comments

Benchmarking The New Radeon R300 Register Allocator

This morning I mentioned that work from last year's Google Summer of Code project on improving the ATI Radeon R300 compiler for the Mesa Gallium3D driver had never stopped. Tom Stellard's latest R300 GLSL compiler work has been focused on improving the register allocator. Tom's initial figures showed roughly a 10% boost for software with intensive OpenGL shaders, but here is what my test results show for this yet-to-be-merged code.
29 March 2011 - 5 Comments

NVIDIA GeForce 400 "Fermi" Series On Nouveau

With NVIDIA still not providing any open-source support or technical documentation for their graphics processors, for those in the open-source community who seek to use their GeForce 400/500 "Fermi" GPUs without NVIDIA's binary driver, they are left to use the reverse-engineered, community-created Nouveau driver. Fortunately, the support for the NVIDIA Fermi GPUs is coming along at a respectable pace -- with even working OpenGL acceleration -- considering that NVIDIA is providing no support at all. In this article are the first benchmarks of this experimental GeForce 400/500 "Nouveau NVC0" driver versus NVIDIA's official proprietary driver.
29 March 2011 - 14 Comments

Nouveau's OpenGL Performance Approaches The NVIDIA Driver

As I began to share over the weekend, the community-created Nouveau driver that's open-source and is written by clean-room reverse-engineering the NVIDIA binary display driver, has reached a serious milestone. For low-end NVIDIA GPUs, the Nouveau driver based upon the Mesa Gallium3D architecture is now as fast, or even faster, than NVIDIA's official proprietary driver.
21 March 2011 - 94 Comments

613 display drivers articles published on Phoronix.
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