Nouveau vs. Radeon 2D Graphics Performance
Written by Michael Larabel in X.Org on 27 February 2013 at 08:22 PM EST. 3 Comments
Earlier today were the results from a 9-Way Low-End NVIDIA/AMD GPU Comparison On Open-Source Drivers using the open-source Radeon and Nouveau Gallium3D drivers. For those more concerned about the 2D Linux desktop performance, here are some results for reference.

These 2D benchmarks are coming from a sub-set of the AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards used in the comparison earlier. Curiosity led to running some 2D benchmarks on the Radeon and Nouveau open-source drivers since it's much less of a focus at Phoronix and among enthusiasts it's often taken for granted. The 2D motivation also came from delivering new Intel 2D benchmarks with SNA Ivy Bridge and SNA Ironlake results today that showed much promise for the UXA replacement. (Plus the other reason for the uptick in the increased number of articles the past few days is needing to make some advertiser performance goals by month's end.)

Both the Radeon and Nouveau drivers right now are using EXA still for 2D acceleration. The Radeon HD 7000 series support is reliant on the GLAMOR acceleration library for layering 2D over OpenGL while it's also an option for earlier generations of hardware. However, GLAMOR isn't being looked at today. The Nouveau and Radeon open-source drivers were tested in their stock configurations.

The tested graphics cards were the NVIDIA GeForce 8500GT, 9500GT, and GT 520. On the AMD side was the Radeon HD 4670, HD 6450, and HD 6570. For this quick comparison, the benchmark results in full along with all of the system hardware/software information (and logs) can be found hosted on at 1302276-FO-OPENSOURC49.

While there's different graphics cards, overall it appears the best 2D performance is out of the Radeon driver over Nouveau.

Continue on with the rest of the results at

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of 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 automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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