A 40-Way Gallium3D Graphics Card Comparison
Written by Michael Larabel in Mesa on 29 August 2011 at 01:24 PM EDT. 11 Comments
If you're not following me on Twitter, you're missing out on news and some very interesting photos that were posted this weekend. No, it's not of the latest beer, but of a feast of graphics cards. A 40-way comparison of NVIDIA/AMD graphics cards on Linux with the open-source Mesa/Gallium3D drivers versus their proprietary brethren is being carried out for publishing in September.

This is the largest GPU hardware comparison, with open and closed drivers, that I have ever carried out and likely by all means that anyone has ever carried out in a controlled environment under Linux. Every consumer-grade discrete graphics card that I had in my office is up for this benchmarking fest.

The primary focus will be on comparing the OpenGL performance of the latest open-source Mesa/Gallium3D driver against their respective NVIDIA/AMD binary driver. Due to testing multiple generations of hardware, even comparing the open-source numbers between product families should be interesting in its own right.


OpenGL isn't the only focus, but thanks to the Phoronix Test Suite, the power consumption, thermal performance, etc will also be logged for each PCI Express graphics card and each driver. Testing for each configuration will be done in stock configuration. For the Radeon side, there might also be a third run when using the open-source driver with swap buffers wait disabled and color tiling forced for all GPUs.


You may notice only 39 graphics cards in the photos, as the 40th graphics card just arrived this morning. For simplicity sake, this was also limited to consumer graphics cards and not any of the FirePro (FireGL) hardware.


It's expected to take a week or two to complete this testing process. The results will be delivered in two parts with the first lengthy article coming in mid-September after XDC2011 Chicago and while I am at Munich Oktoberfest 2011. This is one of the featured articles I have been working on for while in Bavaria for three weeks. While I am feasting on (and benchmarking) Augustiner, Hendl, Bretzn, Schweinshaxe, Bayerische Frauen, and the other wonders of the utopia known as Bavaria, you get to feast on these graphics card results plus several other interesting articles. And yes, because of the massive data collection is one of the reasons I finished up the new graphs/charts for Phoronix.

Stay tuned for all of the latest information via my Twitter and additionally the Phoronix Twitter where new articles/news are posted.
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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