AMD's Open-Source Radeon Linux Driver: 2014 Was Incredible

Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 27 December 2014 at 12:00 PM EST. Page 5 of 5. 78 Comments.

These last tests are where they failed to run properly at the end of last year on AMD GCN GPUs due to LLVM back-end problems at the time with the shader compiler code being in a less than desirable state then.

Ubuntu Radeon Gallium3D 2014 Performance

Unigine Tropics wouldn't run on Ubuntu 13.10 with the RadeonSI GPUs due to AMD GPU LLVM back-end issues. However, even in comparing the performance of Ubuntu 14.10 to the Git code, the modern AMD GPUs are moving in the right direction.

Ubuntu Radeon Gallium3D 2014 Performance

Unigine Sanctuary was in a similar situation to Tropics.

Ubuntu Radeon Gallium3D 2014 Performance

Lastly with Tesseract there were gains noted for the HD 6870 and also for the HD 7850 / R9 270X when upgrading to Linux 3.18 + Mesa 10.5-devel.

Across the board there's huge performance improvements to find out of the open-source AMD Linux graphics driver when comparing the state at the end of 2013 to the current code at the end of this year. The performance improvements and new features presented (among them are OpenMAX / AMD video encode, UVD for older AMD GPUs, various new OpenGL extensions, continued work on OpenCL, power management improvements, and the start of open-source HSA) has been nothing short of incredible. Most of the new work benefits the Radeon HD 7000 series and newer (GCN) GPUs the most but these tests showed the Radeon HD 6000 series still improving too.

Coming up before the end of the year will be a fresh comparison of these open-source Radeon driver results compared to the newest proprietary AMD Catalyst Linux graphics driver. A new Linux vs. Windows OpenGL performance comparison for all major vendor drivers is coming too. If you appreciate all of these Linux hardware tests done at Phoronix and wish for them to continue, please consider making a PayPal tip or subscribing to Phoronix Premium. Such support beyond viewing this site with advertisements also encourages larger hardware comparisons in the immediate future and any requests/feedback from you are marked of higher priority for future articles. Also follow our latest content via Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.

Going into next year we'll be able to monitor more of the changes to the kernel and Mesa in real-time via the 32-system daily test farm powered via Phoromatic and the Phoronix Test Suite.

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Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of 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 automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via