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AMD Radeon OpenCL On Linux - Is It That Bad?

AMD

Published on 30 May 2012 06:22 AM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in AMD
17 Comments

A story run on Phoronix yesterday was AMD admitting it has Linux problems and are looking to improve the situation. In large part it comes down to improving OpenCL on Linux with the Catalyst driver, but how does the OpenCL Linux performance stand today? Here's some benchmarks to answer that question.

These are simply some benchmarks of different Radeon HD graphics cards when using the Catalyst Linux driver. The open-source Radeon driver isn't being tested with OpenCL since it's still maturing and the current Gallium3D-with-Clover implementation isn't good for more than just running a few simple OpenCL demos at this point. Hopefully later in the year the open-source OpenCL Gallium3D support will be in better standing, but for now the proprietary NVIDIA and AMD drivers are the only real option. Even when OpenCL kernels are executing properly on open-source, there will still probably be a large performance delta against the binary blobs, just as there is with OpenGL on open-source Linux drivers.

The AMD graphics cards being used for this quick OpenCL Linux benchmarking is the Radeon HD 5770, HD 5830, HD 6450, HD 6870, HD 6950, and HD 7950. Benchmarking was done from the Intel Core i7 3770K test system with the fglrx 8.96.4 binary driver. Full system details and other information is available via its OpenBenchmarking.org result page.

First of all, for those thinking there's a surplus of benchmark results and other news coming out on Phoronix in recent days, you're right. Due to some large last minute media buys for ending out the month, the burn rate for the publishing queue is noticeably higher than normal. Thanks Microsoft (I guess they still haven't got the memo that this is a Linux web-site and that I think Windows 8 is mostly a crap wreck), Cisco, and IBM. If you're using AdBlock, NoScript, or other methods, please white-list Phoronix or at least subscribe to Phoronix Premium (that way you also get single-page article viewing with no ads) or make a PayPal tip or buy me a beer (there is the Phoronix Munich meet-up tonight).

Thanks to the Phoronix Test Suite and OpenBenchmarking.org (plus preparing in advance), it's possible to still manage all of these extra articles while still out of the office in Europe; contrary to some Phoronix readers beliefs, I do much more in a day than just drink beer. But for leading to some more entertaining remarks in the forums (and seeing that these Phoronix media ad-buys are fulfilled with enough page views by EOM) here is the Munich beer photo for today:

AMD Radeon OpenCL On Linux - Is It That Bad?
Additionally, for listening to the Radeon performance explanation of these results by Qaridarium in the forums, many Phoronix readers would be better off first enjoying their favorite beverage before reading the words of our in-house conspiracy leader. ;)

Without further ado, below are these Linux OpenCL reference figures for the past few generations of AMD hardware using LuxMark.

To no real surprise, the latest Radeon HD 7950 does great while the Radeon HD 6950 still packs a punch. It's too bad though for the Radeon HD 7000 series that the HD 7000 series open-source support is still far from ready. To compare these OpenCL results to your GPU, it's simply a matter of running phoronix-test-suite benchmark 1205305-SU-AMDRADEON29. Via OpenBenchmarking.org you can also dice and analyze the results in an unlimited number of ways. There's also some recent OpenCL on the Ivy Bridge CPU numbers. New numbers for OpenCL on NVIDIA Linux are forthcoming.

Now that you see how the OpenCL performance differences are between these six Radeon graphics processors, below are a couple Linux OpenGL results for reference.


About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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