Morphological Anti-Aliasing With Mesa 8.0
Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 14 February 2012. Page 3 of 3. 15 Comments

With the Mesa/Gallium3D drivers already being fairly slow compared to their binary counterparts (Radeon Gallium3D: A Half-Decade Behind Catalyst? and Nouveau For Open-Source NVIDIA In Mesa 8.0 Is Mixed), using Morphological Anti-Aliasing only worsens the situation.

With a Radeon HD 5770 and Radeon HD 6950 on Mesa 8.0-rc2 with Linux 3.2 from Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, several of the common OpenGL benchmarks were run without MLAA and then using 2/4/8/16 levels with pp_jimenezmlaa and pp_jimenezmlaa_color.

Looking at the Doom 3 performance, the R600g performance falls off right away with the lowest level of 2 for either pp_jimenezmlaa_color or pp_jimenezmlaa. Moving from a level of 2 to 16 caused little difference in the already shattered performance. Using MLAA for Doom 3 even on the Radeon HD 6950 was not a playable experience.

OpenArena was at least still playable for the Radeon HD 6950 when using MLAA while the Radeon HD 5770 was dropping harder. When running some of the different OpenGL benchmarks, there were also Radeon DRM problems only encountered when Mesa MLAA was enabled.

Morphological Anti-Aliasing does offer potential for enhancing the image quality of OpenGL, but with the Nouveau/Radeon drivers already not competing with the proprietary drivers, the situation is already worsened and likely will render many games inoperable.

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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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