Gallium3D Continues Improving OpenGL For Older Radeon GPUs

Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 16 May 2013 at 08:24 PM EDT. Page 1 of 4. 4 Comments.

Curious to see how the performance of the open-source ATI/AMD Linux graphics driver is evolving for aging hardware, a new round of OpenGL benchmarks were carried out on the once-popular ATI Radeon HD 4870 "RV770" graphics card. The performance was compared between the Mesa 7.11, 8.0, 9.0, 9.1, and 9.2-devel Git releases from an Ubuntu Linux system to see how the performance has changed for this driver in the past two years.

Mesa 7.11 was released in July of 2011 and every major release since then was benchmarked as of this week on the AMD Vishera system with the older Radeon HD 4870 graphics card installed. The releases in particular were Mesa 7.11.2 git-1bdf31e, Mesa 8.0.5 git-a8ff9a4, Mesa 9.0.3 git-3d80d54, Mesa 9.1.2 git-c3eb301, and Mesa 9.2 git-6390f7. The Linux kernel used throughout all of the testing was the Linux 3.10 Git kernel as of this week. While Radeon DRM kernel driver improvements have yielded performance gains for this driver, to simplify the testing with only changing out one variable, the kernel version was maintained the same. For a historical perspective on the evolution of the Radeon DRM driver, a separate kernel driver comparison may be warranted later.

Swap buffers wait was disabled throughout all of the testing for the xf86-video-ati DDX driver. Unfortunately with the Radeon HD 4000 series now being maintained by the AMD Catalyst "Legacy" driver, there isn't an AMD binary driver supported by Ubuntu 13.04 where this comparison could be used to see how far behind the open-source driver remains against the official AMD Linux driver.

All benchmarking in this article was handled via the Phoronix Test Suite benchmarking software.

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