AMD Radeon HD 4890 On Linux
If you intend to buy a Radeon HD 4890 within the next few months, chances are you will just be interested in the Catalyst driver right now considering you would be after this graphics card for a high-performance system. There is currently no support in the open-source Mesa stack for the R600/700 products, but it is coming soon and AMD has already released R700 ISA documentation, other 3D documentation, and even a bit of code. Considering the RV790 design is close to the RV770, the open-source 3D support should be brought up around the same time.
We had tried the latest Git master code for the xf86-video-ati and xf86-video-radeonhd drivers and then added manually added in the detection support for the RV790 (0x9460). Due to the similarities between the RV770 and RV790 ASICs, when adding in the 0x9460 and associating it with the RV770 family, the drivers had worked just fine.
With all of that said, it is now time to see how well the Radeon HD 4890 performs on Linux. For this comparison we ran the ASUS Radeon HD 4890 1GB graphics card up against the Radeon HD 4850 512MB and Radeon HD 4870 512MB graphics cards, which were both running at their respective reference frequencies. We had intended on throwing an AMD Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GB graphics card in the mix, but CrossFire was not working properly with the early Catalyst 9.5 Linux driver we used for these tests.
The rest of our test hardware consisted of an Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 clocked at 4.04GHz, an ASUS P5E64 WS Professional motherboard, 2GB of OCZ DDR3-1333MHz memory, a Western Digital 160GB WD1600JS-00MHB0 SATA HDD, OCZ Fatal1ty 700W power supply, and a 30" Samsung SyncMaster 305T LCD display.
With the early Catalyst 9.5 beta driver we used Ubuntu 8.10 (x86_64) with the Linux 2.6.27 kernel, GNOME 2.24.1, X Server 1.5.2, and an EXT3 file-system. With the unreleased driver we were using, the DDX version reported was fglrx 8.61.2 and the OpenGL string was 2.1.8651. For managing and running all of the tests was, of course, the Phoronix Test Suite.
For seeing how much of a boost the RV790 is over the RV770, we ran the following Linux-native tests using the Phoronix Test Suite: Warsow, World of Padman, Prey, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, Unigine Sanctuary, Unigine Tropics, SPECViewPerf, GtkPerf, and QGears2. Starting on the next page are these much-anticipated results.