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 4 of 4. 15 Comments.
OpenCL AMD NVIDIA Linux Binary Tests

These LuxMark results are similar to that of other OpenCL benchmarks we've run on AMD/NVIDIA in the past, which can also be run via the Phoronix Test Suite and OpenBenchmarking.org.

As you can see from these OpenCL results that beyond supporting OpenCL 2.0, the Catalyst Linux driver is much more competitive with GPGPU compute than it is with OpenGL graphics against NVIDIA. With most of AMD's real Linux customers being focused on OpenCL for workstations and servers, this long-standing advantage shouldn't come as much of a surprise.

Aside from Catalyst, the open-source AMD Linux driver has furthered along its OpenCL/HSA support too, but for now any GPU compute users should abide to using the Catalyst driver for best support and performance. In the months ahead though we'll hopefully see the open-source AMD Linux driver supporting modern versions of OpenCL being more performant.

Moving forward, it will be interesting to see how the AMD Catalyst Linux performance stacks up with Vulkan and SPIR-V given that the new Khronos graphics API is derived in part from AMD's Mantle and with having a unified IR for graphics/compute we'll hopefully see a more competitive Catalyst Linux driver for graphics in the future. Of course, that won't do any good for all of the current OpenGL applications/games not being ported over to Vulkan, so hopefully AMD's new "Tiger Team" will be able to do some good in the near-term.

Stay tuned for the first AMD Radeon R9 Fury Linux tests next week on Phoronix. If you appreciate all of our Linux hardware testing and reviews, consider subscribing to Phoronix Premium or making a PayPal tip to help support the testing, buying more AMD GPUs, etc.

If you wish to see how your own Linux system's OpenCL performance compares to the fifteen GPUs tested in this article, you can install the Phoronix Test Suite and then run phoronix-test-suite benchmark 1507248-BE-OPENCLBIN62 to carry out your own fully-automated, side-by-side comparison from start to finish.

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Michael Larabel

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 20,000 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, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.