S3 Graphics Linux Driver Faster Than Windows?
Written by Michael Larabel in VIA on 6 March 2009 at 08:00 AM EST. 6 Comments
Back in November we saw the launch of the S3 Graphics Chrome 530 GT and with that they talked up a new magical Linux driver that would provide HD video acceleration support along with OpenGL 3.0 capabilities. But no driver was released, however, a day later it was confirmed by S3 Graphics that they were working on a new Linux driver. Their PR representative said the driver was to be released in December, but that didn't happen. In February they continued to talk up their Linux support but months later there still was no driver. However, that changed in late February when S3 Graphics did in fact roll out a new Linux display driver.

The S3 Graphics driver for Linux is still proprietary (though its kernel module claims to be GPL) but it did introduce OpenGL 3.0 support along with VA-API acceleration for GPU-assisted video playback. We have not been able to test this new Chrome 500 series Linux driver, but a site called "Chrome Center" has tested out the Linux and Windows drivers.

Chrome Center's Stefan had ran Nexuiz on both Linux and Windows to compare the performance of a S3 Graphics Chrome 430 GT. His processor was an AMD Phenom II. His results show that the S3 Graphics Linux driver is actually faster than their Windows driver.

Stefan concludes, "I don't actually know if the Linux driver is that good or if the Windows driver is that bad... I will do a few more benchmarks to investigate this further." In an email to us, Stefan has mentioned that he is looking to use the Phoronix Test Suite for additional S3 Graphics tests.
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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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