ATI R500 Gallium3D Performance In June 2010

Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 7 June 2010. Page 3 of 3. 60 Comments

With Tremulous is an area where the Gallium3D R300g driver is struggling as you can see from the chart above. The R300g driver is unable to break 30 FPS while the classic Mesa driver starts out at more than 130 FPS and then slowly creeps down to around 94 FPS at 1920 x 1080. This is a regression compared to our March testing where the Gallium3D and classic drivers were running neck-and-neck.

Urban Terror also shows the latest R300g Gallium3D code struggling against the classic Mesa driver. The frame-rate with the Gallium3D driver on the Radeon X1950PRO is flat-lined between 800 x 600 and 1920 x 1080 while the soon-to-be-deprecated classic driver does better up until the highest resolution tested. However, this is certainly faster than our March R300g testing where its frame-rate was capped around 23 FPS.

With Smokin' Guns we have another example where Gallium3D is struggling in comparison to the classic Mesa driver stack. Again, it is hung up around 30 FPS.

Since running our earlier Gallium3D vs. Classic Mesa driver tests with R500 (Radeon X1000 series) hardware it appears there is at least one regression causing the performance to slowdown severely in comparison to where it was in the past and in relation to the classic driver. Using the same hardware and nearly the same software configuration there was a major slowdown with Tremulous, for example. Smokin' Guns is also another ioquake3 game example where R300g is problematic with the latest Gallium3D code. However, in other games like Urban Terror the performance is significantly better than where it was at back in March. In regards to the classic Mesa Radeon driver, with World of Padman and Warsow for example we see its performance much better in Mesa 7.9 than where it was at in Ubuntu 10.04 LTS with the older Mesa 7.7.1 code-base.

The ATI R300g driver is not yet perfect, but it is shaping up rather well and is receiving much of the open-source developer's attention when it comes to 3D work rather than their classic DRI driver. We may see the R300g driver become the default driver for the older ATI Radeon hardware with the Mesa 7.9 driver, which would certainly be nice even with the recent regressions and surely will get resolved especially once there is wider usage and testing of this Gallium3D driver. Meanwhile, the R600g driver has now been merged into Mesa for providing the Radeon HD 2000/3000/4000 series (R600/700 ASICs) Gallium3D support, but it will likely be a few Mesa releases before that support is ironed out and is on par with its classic Mesa implementation. The Evergreen (Radeon HD 5000 series) initial 3D support is also coming soon.

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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