Radeon Gallium3D Is Running Increasingly Well Against AMD's Catalyst Driver
The first test up is with the OpenArena game, which is the simplest OpenGL test in this article. For these tests, the open-source Linux 3.16 + Mesa 10.3-devel graphics stack was running on all of the tested AMD graphics hardware except for the Radeon R9 290. After being mature in the market place, only with the Linux 3.17 kernel will the R9 290 Hawaii GPUs finally work properly on the open-source driver. Once the Linux 3.17 merge window is over, I'll be out with some open vs. closed Hawaii benchmarks using the newer code that's yet to hit mainline as of writing this article.
With OpenArena the Radeon HD 6770 and HD 6870 did the best on the open-source driver with each of these graphics cards performing at about 86% the speed of the Catalyst driver. With the HD 6950 Cayman graphics card, however, the open-source performance falls off to being just 42% the performance -- the HD 6900 series performance has always been generally poor and less optimized with the open-source driver. The newer GCN graphics cards were running about 60~70% the performance of the proprietary Catalyst driver.
Of the tested graphics cards, running the best on the open-source driver was the Radeon HD 7950 while the performance winner with Catalyst was obviously the R9 290 Hawaii.
The HD 6770/6870 on the R600 Gallium3D driver continued running the best compared to the Catalyst driver while the GCN graphics cards on RadeonSI Gallium3D are starting to get into shape too. With Unigine Tropics, the Radeon R7 260X was at over 70% the performance of Catalyst when using Linux 3.16 + Mesa 10.3-devel.