Radeon Gallium3D Can Beat AMD's Catalyst In Select Workloads
When running Nexuiz at 1920 x 1080, the frame-rates for the open-source driver are made multiple times worse than the comparison at 1024 x 768. For Mesa 9.1 on Ubuntu 13.04 when it was using MSAA (as well as Catalyst back on Ubuntu 8.04.4 LTS), the Catalyst driver from five years ago was 6.3x faster.
With the old ioquake3-based OpenArena 0.8.5 release, which doesn't use GLSL or any other advanced OpenGL features, the open-source Radeon Gallium3D driver is now as fast as Catalyst on Ubuntu 8.04.4 LTS. This is a new change with Ubuntu 13.04 thanks to kernel DRM improvements and the Mesa 9.1 update. There are big performance improvements between Ubuntu 12.10 and Ubuntu 13.04 and then Ubuntu 10.04.4 LTS and Ubuntu 11.04.
When pushing through World of Padman, another ioquake3-based game that isn't really demanding at all compared to commercial AAA games from the past decade, the Radeon Gallium3D driver performance now exceeds the Catalyst binary blob.