AMD Catalyst Linux OpenGL Driver Now Faster Than Catalyst Windows Driver In Some Tests
Earlier this week I showed benchmarks of AMD's incredible year for their open-source Linux driver and how the open-source Radeon Gallium3D driver moved closer to performance parity with Catalyst. One of the lingering questions though is how does the Catalyst 14.12 Omega Linux driver from December compare to the latest Catalyst Windows driver? Here's some benchmarks looking at the latest open and closed-source drivers on Linux compared to the latest Catalyst Windows release.
It's been a while since last delivering a Windows vs. Linux Catalyst comparison at Phoronix, but found the time to be right for going along with our year-end recaps and performance reviews. Earlier this week I also posted the Intel Windows vs. Linux OpenGL performance comparison. The same Core i7 4790K Haswell system was used with this AMD Linux vs. Windows benchmarking. As shared in that Intel article, Windows 8 was being very unstable on this particular system so for all of the testing I had to revert to running Windows 7 rather than Windows 8.1.
Microsoft Windows 7 x64 Pro was running on the system with all available OS updates. The AMD Catalyst 14.12 Omega driver was the AMD graphics software used on both Windows 7 and Ubuntu 14.10. There's also our open-source year-end Radeon results with the Linux 3.18 kernel, LLVM 3.6 SVN, and Mesa 10.5 atop Ubuntu 14.10. For all of this testing the same Core i7 4790K system was used with ASRock Z97 Extreme6 motherboard, 16GB of DDR4 memory, and 64GB OCZ Agility SSD.
As it's building upon the earlier open vs. closed driver comparison results, the same graphics cards were used: the AMD Radeon HD 6450, HD 6870, HD 6950, HD 7850, R9 270X, and R9 290. This comparison was limited to recent AMD graphics cards on hand and that weren't running in other systems at the time of testing, etc.
All of the benchmarks on Linux and Windows were carried out using the open-source Phoronix Test Suite software. The OpenGL workloads used were those that could run on Windows and Linux with a similar known level of quality, could be fully automated and reproducible, and met our other test requirements.