Legacy Radeon Performance On Mesa 9.1 Gallium3D
Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 19 February 2013. Page 1 of 5. 11 Comments

While there have already been a number of Radeon Gallium3D benchmarks from Mesa 9.1 using the common R600 Gallium3D driver that supports the Radeon HD 2000 through Radeon HD 6000 series graphics cards, still in existence is the R300g driver. For those still left using a vintage Radeon 9500 (R300) through Radeon X1000 (R500) graphics cards -- basically any ATI GPU roughly between seven and eleven years old -- there's this legacy open-source graphics driver. R300g doesn't see nearly the amount of development activity that the more modern R600g driver sees, but there's still a fair amount of changes. In this article are benchmarks of Mesa 9.1-rc2 on an ATI Radeon X1800XT (R520) graphics card compared to the past four Mesa/Gallium3D stable releases.

Mesa 9.1 has already been extensively benchmarked at Phoronix with this six-month update to this open-source OpenGL implementation set to arrive before month's end. The only recent testing that's been done from the vintage R300g driver was about the MSAA performance. While the hardware is all over a half-decade old, in Mesa 9.1 the Radeon X1000 series finally has working multi-sample anti-aliasing support within this open-source driver. Most Radeon Linux users are using hardware that's supported by the R600g driver, but for anyone with a dusty old R300~R500 era GPU, here's some fresh benchmarks showing where Mesa 9.1 is at for this original ATI hardware.

An ATI Radeon X1800XT 256MB (R520) graphics card was used in conjunction with an AMD Phenom 9500 Quad-Core setup for looking at this vintage graphics performance from the five latest Mesa series. Being compared were Mesa 7.10.3, Mesa 7.11.2 (git-1bdf31e), Mesa 8.0.5 (git-a8ff9a4), Mesa 9.0.2 (git-15693b7), and Mesa 9.1-rc2 (git-456cdb6). Also coming up in the next few days on Phoronix are benchmarks when comparing various Ubuntu Linux releases over the past several years so we're just not looking at the Mesa changes but also the Radeon DRM within the Linux kernel, the Ubuntu desktop, and other parts of the Linux desktop stack. This testing also compares the open-source performance to the old legacy Catalyst driver that once supported this X1000 series hardware.

All benchmarking is handled in a fully automated and reproducible manner with the Phoronix Test Suite software.


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