Radeon DRM Linux 4.4 + Mesa 11.1 + DRI3 vs. AMD's Proprietary Driver

Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 29 November 2015. Page 1 of 3. 42 Comments

On Friday I posted benchmarks showing Nouveau's re-clocked performance relative to NVIDIA's proprietary driver for showing the performance potential of NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 600/700 series with the performance state code there beginning to work. That article was followed by AMDGPU driver tests on Linux 4.4 against Catalyst for the newest AMD GPU tech that uses this newer Direct Rendering Manager driver. The third test now is comparing the Radeon DRM performance on Linux 4.4 against AMD's binary blob when using older AMD GCN GPUs as well as a Northern Islands GPU for reference.

The AMDGPU tests were done on Friday with the Tonga and Fiji hardware in my possession. For this Radeon DRM comparison I ran the tests using Radeon HD 6870, R9 290, and R7 370 graphics cards. The Catalyst 15.9 driver was used as the binary driver comparison due to Radeon Software Crimson working to remove the Radeon HD 5000/6000 series support.

The open-source driver tests were using my spin of the Linux 4.4 Git kernel, Mesa 11.1-devel with the Padoka PPA that also ships LLVM 3.8 SVN for the AMD back-end, xf86-video-ati 7.6.99, and DRI3 support was manually enabled on this Ubuntu 15.10 system.

The R9 290 and R7 370 currently support OpenGL 4.1 with Mesa Git while the HD 6870 is still at OpenGL 3.3. The Catalyst driver exposed OpenGL 4.4.13399 support for all of the hardware tested. That covers about all of the details, so let's go ahead and see the latest Phoronix Test Suite OpenGL results for this bleeding-edge AMD open vs. closed-source comparison.

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