Linux 4.5 AMDGPU/Radeon vs. Catalyst OpenGL Performance
Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 27 January 2016. Page 5 of 5. 30 Comments

With ultra image quality settings for Xonotic, the four tested GPUs were still delivering playable frame-rates but now measurably behind the Catalyst driver.

Lastly with the ultimate image quality settings, the frame-rates were playable but with the R9 Fury the GPU wouldn't make it through the entire test successfully (similar to it with Unigine Valley).

Most exciting out of these results today were how well the Radeon R9 285 (Tonga) graphics card is performing on the AMDGPU DRM driver now that there is PowerPlay. The speed in several of these tests were close to that of Catalyst and in fact for BioShock Infinite was even faster. However, keep in mind you must compile your Linux 4.5 kernel with the PowerPlay Kconfig option enabled and also boot that kernel with amdgpu.powerplay=1 in order to get the increased performance. DRI3 was also manually enabled. The performance of the R7 370 and R9 290 is similar to that of my earlier tests on older Linux 4.x kernels with no major changes I had noticed. The only sad part about today's tests is that the R9 Fury still seems to have some re-clocking issue given the very poor performance even with PowerPlay enabled. The R9 Fury also ran into problems running Unigine Valley and Xonotic (ultimate image quality settings).

That's the initial Linux 4.5 results to deliver today. Stay tuned for more open-source Linux graphics benchmarks shortly. If you'd like to support all of this benchmarking work, please consider joining Phoronix Premium.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of 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 automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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