Where AMD's Catalyst Driver Does The Best On Linux

Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 24 July 2015 at 10:28 AM EDT. Page 1 of 4. 15 Comments.

Earlier this week I finished up a 15-way AMD/NVIDIA graphics card comparison on Linux with the very latest proprietary Linux drivers. That earlier article focused on the OpenGL performance and simply put the Catalyst performance on the tested Radeon hardware was abysmal compared to NVIDIA's Linux driver performance. However, there is one area where the Catalyst Linux driver really excels at performance and routinely beats out the green competition.

That area, of course, is for OpenCL compute.

Before even getting to the performance, the NVIDIA Linux driver continues to just advertise OpenCL 1.2 compliance while AMD now fully supports the OpenCL 2.0 specification and its new features.

NVIDIA seems to be doing well enough with CUDA and their customers are happy with targeting CUDA that OpenCL continues to take a back-seat with the green graphics cards. Hopefully though soon we'll see NVIDIA take on OpenCL 2, especially with OpenCL 2.1 and SPIR-V. It will be interesting to see who first supports the new specifications.

Besides AMD Catalyst supporting OpenCL 2.0, their driver also leads on the performance front for GPU Linux compute performance.

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