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2014 Catalyst Linux Graphics Benchmarks Year-In-Review
With the year quickly coming to an end, it's time to do our year-end driver recap benchmarks from the year for the proprietary AMD and NVIDIA graphics drivers as well as the open-source drivers. To get things started, here's benchmarks done of the official AMD Catalyst Linux releases of 2014 and testing these drivers on three different graphics cards.
When it came to official (non-beta) Catalyst Linux releases in 2014, there were just three: Catalyst 14.4, 14.9, and 14.12. Catalyst 14.4 brought full OpenGL 4.4 support, support for the Radeon R9 295X, and various bug-fixes. Catalyst 14.9 brought support for newer distributions, support for the Radeon R9 285 Tonga GPU, and other fixes. The last Linux blob update of the year was Catalyst 14.12 from earlier this month. The Catalyst 14.12 Omega driver brought a huge number of changes and improvements along with better performance for select GPUs.
For this year-in-review driver testing, I tested the three 2014 Catalyst Linux official releases on three different graphics cards that were compatible with all driver versions going back to the end of last year. The tested graphics cards were the Radeon R9 290 Hawaii GPU that will be most interesting for these tests, the Radeon R9 270X graphics card as another interesting modern GCN GPU, and the Radeon HD 6870 as a pre-GCN GPU that's still supported by Catalyst and will be interesting to see if there's been any performance changes out of this older GPU.
Ubuntu 13.10 64-bit was the Linux distribution used for testing given its compatibility with all of the driver versions tested. Ubuntu 13.10 ships with the Linux 3.11 kernel and X.Org Server 1.14.3. An Intel Core i7 4790K Haswell system was used for testing all these drivers and GPUs.
All of the OpenGL Linux benchmarks in this article were automated via the open-source Phoronix Test Suite benchmarking software. If you appreciate all of the Linux testing done at Phoronix, please consider subscribing to Phoronix Premium or making a PayPal tip this Christmas season. Thank you for your support so that this work can continue.