AMD Radeon HD 7950 Running On Linux
Written by Michael Larabel in AMD on 8 March 2012 at 08:12 AM EST. 6 Comments
Here's the first bits of information following Phoronix tests of the "Southern Islands" AMD Radeon HD 7950 graphics card running under Ubuntu 12.04 LTS with the Linux 3.2 kernel and the AMD Catalyst driver.

As mentioned earlier in the week, the Radeon HD 7000 series open-source support remains missing while the Catalyst driver support for this "GCN" hardware remains an open question. There's been special driver releases to support the latest hardware, etc. AMD hasn't sent over any hardware samples to clear up the Linux situation, so I ended up having to purchase a Radeon HD 7950 to carry out some Linux-specific tests.

The full review of the AMD Radeon HD 7950 under Linux will be published next week on Phoronix. Right now there's just a few early numbers to share, some image quality screenshots, and a few extra words.

This first round of Radeon HD 7950 testing was done from an fglrx 8.95.3 press driver. This supported OpenGL acceleration (OpenGL 4.2.11566) on the Radeon HD 7950, however, there was still the watermark in the lower right hand corner stating that this was unsupported hardware. This was on a clean Ubuntu 12.04 installation when this AMD binary driver was freshly installed. According to Phoronix user reports, the "unsupported hardware" watermark was happening with the Radeon HD 7970 as well up until yesterday's Catalyst 12.2 driver release, which is based upon an earlier fglrx 8.95 release.

As shared when mentioning Unigine released Heaven 3.0 yesterday, I've put out a few Heaven 3.0 benchmarks on the Radeon HD 7950. More Unigine Heaven benchmarks will come in the proper HD 7950 Linux article, along with comparing the results to a range of AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce graphics processors. Additionally, there's some Radeon HD 7950 benchmarks in that OpenBenchmarking.org article, but the most interesting OpenGL tests will come next week.


For those interested in how the Radeon HD 7950 image quality looks, below are a few samples from the common Nexuiz IQC test. From the same system and when all the GPUs were using their latest respective binary blobs, here's a look at the Radeon HD 4890, Radeon HD 5830, Radeon HD 6950, and Radeon HD 7950.

For a look at how NVIDIA compares with their blob, below are the Radeon HD 6950 and Radeon HD 7950 results with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 added in.


From the same image-set, you can also look at image quality comparisons of Radeon Gallium3D vs. Catalyst and Nouveau Gallium3D vs. NVIDIA.

Stay tuned for the full AMD Radeon HD 7950 Linux report next week.
About The Author
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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