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AMD Radeon HD 6000 Series Gallium3D Attempts To Compete With Catalyst
For this testing a system with an Intel Core i5 2500K "Sandy Bridge" CPU clocked at 3.30GHz was used in conjunction with an ASRock H61M/U3S3 motherboard, 2GB of RAM, and a 60GB OCZ Vertex 2 SSD. The graphics cards that were benchmarked included an AMD Radeon HD 6570, AMD Radeon HD 6870, and AMD Radeon HD 6950 (all the HD 6000 series hardware I have available, courtesy of Sapphire Technology). For reference, the results from an AMD Radeon HD 5770 were also included on both the open and closed-source drivers, to show how the previous-generation hardware under both drivers compare, since both generations use the same R600 Gallium3D component.
The open-source driver testing was done using an Ubuntu 11.10 Alpha 2 x86_64 development snapshot with X.Org Server 1.10.2 was used while the core components were pulled from Git as of 12 July, including the Linux 3.0 kernel, xf86-video-ati 6.14.99, and Mesa 7.12-devel Git-5d0d836. Due to problems with running the Catalyst driver on Ubuntu 11.10, the Catalyst driver (fglrx 8.84.60) testing was done from a stock install of 64-bit Ubuntu 11.04 with the Linux 2.6.38 kernel.
When carrying out the open-source driver tests, SwapBuffersWait was disabled and ColorTiling was enabled from the xorg.conf. These are some non-default options for the open-source Radeon driver that is known - per other Phoronix articles - to provide better performance.
With Nexuiz, the open-source driver relative to Catalyst is running at the following: 46% the speed on the Radeon HD 6570, 69% the speed on the Radeon HD 6870, and 61% on the Radeon HD 6950. It is impressive to see the higher-end Radeon HD 6000 series models already running at ~60+ percent the speed of the Catalyst driver when the very latest DRM and Mesa/Gallium3D code is used. Of course, this is with the Nexuiz game and not like any of the Unigine technology demos.