AMD Radeon: Windows 8.1 Catalyst vs. Linux Gallium3D vs. Linux Catalyst
Our latest Windows vs. Linux benchmarks on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS are of three different AMD Radeon graphics cards from three different generations as we test the performance of Microsoft Windows 8.1 against Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, when using both the AMD Catalyst proprietary driver and the open-source R600/RadeonSI Gallium3D drivers.
Earlier this week I delivered updated Intel Haswell graphics benchmarks under Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro x64 and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS x86_64 and now the tables have turned to the AMD Radeon graphics cards. For this article the Radeon HD 5830, Radeon HD 6870, and Radeon R9 270X graphics cards were tested as a diverse spectrum of GPUs supported by both the closed-source Catalyst drivers and the open-source Gallium3D drivers from AMD.
The AMD Catalyst 14.3 Beta was used for the testing on Windows 8.1 and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. An additional run was done for the three graphics cards when using their respective open-source R600/RadeonSI Gallium3D driver from Mesa 10.1 and Linux 3.13. The graphics driver packages are from the stock install of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS in its near-final development state; the only change made was disabling swap buffers wait from the "out of the box" experience. (For those hoping to see the latest Linux 3.14 and Mesa 10.2-devel Git results, those will come soon but I had only limited time before leaving for the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit to take care of graphics card swapping.)
A variety of OpenGL games and other benchmarks were run on both platforms without making any hardware changes between the tests. All benchmarking on both Windows and Linux was handled in an open, fully transparent, and completely reproducible manner using the Phoronix Test Suite software and OpenBenchmarking.org.
With this testing being very straightforward and comparing the Microsoft Windows 8.1 to Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, with the Ubuntu distribution using both the latest Catalyst Linux Beta and then the open-source drivers as shipped in the upcoming release, let's jump straight to the OpenGL performance results. Similar NVIDIA GeForce Linux results between Windows and Ubuntu Linux will come in the days ahead.