ATI X.Org, Mesa Performance In Ubuntu
Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 10 November 2008. Page 4 of 4. 5 Comments

The open-source ATI R300/400 3D support was extended from the R200 3D code, which was written using some documents provided by ATI several years back under NDAs. Much of the R300/400 work was reverse-engineered along the way, but earlier this year AMD had for the first time publicly released the R300 3D register guide. What is clear from these results though that there haven't been any significant performance gains made in the past year and a half at least when it comes to the Radeon X800XL (R430) we tested with our select tests. If any gains were made, they were trounced out by other performance regressions.

To isolate any regressions caused by other system package updates, we could have built each Mesa release from source on one Ubuntu release, but with this article we were tasked to look at what the end-user would experience across the recent Ubuntu releases. From Ubuntu 7.04 to Ubuntu 7.10 (with the change from Mesa 6.5 to 7.0) there was the biggest performance improvement, but with Ubuntu 8.04 there was a performance drop and another drop occurred with Ubuntu 8.10 except for the x11perf test.

We didn't expect to see any major performance gains take place, but still we had anticipated a bit more than where we had ended -- considering the continued work that goes on within Mesa, open-source ATI work taking place at a constant rate, etc. Next up on our agenda will be looking at the open-source Intel 2D/3D performance over time.

If you would like to compare your system's performance to our results, once you have the Phoronix Test Suite installed, just run phoronix-test-suite benchmark michael-2793-15686-11068.

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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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