16-Way Graphics Card Comparison On Open-Source Linux
Written by Michael Larabel in Graphics Cards on 2 October 2013. Page 7 of 7. 16 Comments

Overall, if you read the earlier 11-Way Radeon Linux and 4-Way Nouveau comparison articles, these results shouldn't be too much of a surprise besides clearly showing side-by-side how much better the open-source Radeon driver stack is performing than the open-source NVIDIA (Nouveau) principally due to the lack of proper GPU/vRAM re-clocking support. With the current Nouveau stack on the Linux 3.12 kernel and Mesa 9.3-devel, Intel Haswell graphics are even competitive with high-end Fermi and Kepler NVIDIA GPUs.

For those making their buying decisions around using an open-source Linux graphics driver and avoiding the binary NVIDIA/AMD drivers, gamers and those concerned about performance are best off with a Radeon HD 6000 series graphics card. The HD 6000 series is the last generation supported by the AMD "R600" Gallium3D driver that is stable and supports the greatest number of features among the open-source drivers right now while delivering decent performance though not yet up to scratch with Catalyst. The newer Radeon HD 7000/8000 series hardware will be supported well in due time, but still its open-source "RadeonSI" driver isn't yet ideal.

If you aren't in need of maximum performance, Intel "Haswell" HD and Iris graphics continue to do quite well if using the latest Linux kernel and Mesa release. I'm very pleased with the Haswell Linux performance for desktop speed and other light to moderate OpenGL workloads.

Coming up next will be a performance comparison for those who don't care about open-source vs. closed-source drivers but are simply concerned about maximum GPU hardware performance on Linux.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.


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