OpenGL Performance & Perf-Per-Watt From The Radeon HD 3850 Through R9 Fury

Written by Michael Larabel in Graphics Cards on 3 June 2016. Page 1 of 6. 27 Comments

In part due to the Phoronix 12th birthday this week with running various historical performance comparisons and other interesting benchamrks and in part due to prepping for some long-term comparison data to the Radeon RX 480 launch later this month, for your viewing pleasure this morning are benchmarks testing a variety of graphis cards going back to the Radeon HD 3000 (RV600) series up through the Radeon R9 Fury (Fiji) graphics cards. Enjoy this fun article focusing primarily on the OpenGL performance under Linux over the several generations of ATI/AMD GPUs along with calculating the performance-per-Watt.

For this article all of the graphics cards were tested from Ubuntu 16.04 LTS x86_64 on the same, modern Intel Xeon E3 v5 Skylake system. On the software side was Ubuntu 16.04 with upgrades to the Linux 4.6.0 kernel and via the Padoka PPA from this week was Mesa 12.1-dev for providing the latest R600g and RadeonSI driver states. While Catalyst / Radeon Software has long since dropped support for many of these older GPUs, support for them continues to be maintained in the open-source Linux driver stack.

The graphics cards tested for this rare comparison included the Radeon HD 3650, HD 3850, HD 4650, HD 4770, HD 4850, HD 4870, HD 5830, HD 6570, HD 6870, and HD 6950. From the GCN era are the Radeon HD 7950, R7 260X, R9 270X, R9 285, R9 290, R7 370, and R9 Fury. This selection of AMD graphics cards was basically limited by the cards I had in my collection going back to the R600 days and that weren't busy in my many other daily benchmarking systems for,, and other Phoronix test systems. A few cards (namely the HD 2900XT and a few other R600 cards) were attempted to be tested, but after they loaded the Unity desktop within a few seconds they dropped to a VT and were reporting GPU stalls. But overall, the cards tested were in good shape with Linux 4.6 and Mesa 12.1-dev.

Various Linux games/demos supporting OpenGL 2.x/3.x code-paths were used for benchmarking in being able to conduct this comparison in a reasonable manner. While the tests were running, the Phoronix Test Suite was monitoring the AC system power consumption via a WattsUp Pro USB power meter. While logging the power usage for each individual test, the Phoronix Test Suite was also calculating the performance-per-Watt. All of this is available via our open-source Linux benchmarking software with its many modules.

That about covers things. I hope you enjoy this unique comparison. Once I have my hands on the Radeon RX 480 / Polaris and am able to publish benchmarks, I'll add in some comparison numbers from this same configuration. This article was also done in celebration of turning 12 years old this weekend and the Phoronix Test Suite turning eight years old this week. If you enjoy all of these unique Linux benchmarks I work on 365 days per year, please consider joining Phoronix Premium to support the work while being able to access the site ad-free and see large articles (this article is a good example!) all on a single page. In fact, this week during the Phoronix birthday celebrations is a significantly discounted Premium offer. Consider taking advantage of this offering if you'd like to see the flow of Linux hardware benchmarks for another 12 years, but with that said let's move straight to the results.

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