Ubuntu 14.10 Offers AMD Radeon Driver Performance Improvements
Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 26 October 2014. Page 1 of 5. 12 Comments

In comparing the open-source graphics driver performance of Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS and Ubuntu 14.10, the newer Ubuntu Linux release does offer up some performance improvements to the R600 and RadeonSI graphics drivers, but already in the latest kernel and Mesa Git code is faster performance. Here are benchmarks of Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS vs. Ubuntu 14.10 for several OpenGL benchmarks with different AMD Radeon graphics cards while also adding in the results of the Oibaf PPA and vanilla Linux 3.17 kernel.

Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS ships with the Linux 3.13 kernel, xf86-video-ati 7.3.0, and Mesa 10.1.3 as the important Radeon GPU driver packages provided out-of-the-box. With Ubuntu 14.10 is the Linux 3.16 kernel, xf86-video-ati 7.4.0, and Mesa 10.3.0. The kernel and Mesa upgrades over the past six months have been significant, especially for the newer AMD graphics processors, which is why we're running these comparison tests. With Ubuntu 14.10 not being a rolling-release distribution, the Oibaf PPA was then enabled for fetching the latest user-space driver code: xf86-video-ati 7.5.99 Git and Mesa 10.4.0-devel along with fetching the stable Linux 3.17 kernel, to look for open-source AMD GPU driver improvements already made beyond what's found in Ubuntu 14.10.

The graphics cards on the AMD side used for this testing included the Radeon HD 4870, HD 5770, HD 6870, HD 7850, HD 7950, and R9 270X to represent a range of old and new graphics cards from multiple generations on both the R600g and RadeonSI Gallium3D drivers. Coming up in a later Phoronix article in the days ahead will also be these results compared to the closed-source AMD Catalyst Linux graphics driver in Ubuntu 14.10. Additionally, there will be similar Ubuntu 14.04 vs. 14.10 Nouveau and NVIDIA graphics tests to come.

All of these OpenGL benchmarks on the six different Radeon graphics cards in the three different software configurations were done from the Core i7 5960X Haswell-E system with stock settings while running the open-source Phoronix Test Suite benchmarking software. If you enjoy these open-source Linux graphics benchmarks please consider subscribing to Phoronix Premium.

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