6-Way Ubuntu 14.10 Radeon Gallium3D vs. Catalyst Driver Comparison
Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 29 October 2014. Page 4 of 4. 17 Comments

Xonotic with high quality settings shows that the open-source AMD Linux code can compete with the heavily-tuned Catalyst driver. The higher visual settings of Xonotic sadly were left out of this testing since in our tests going back to Ubuntu 14.04, back then the packaged Mesa+LLVM combination resulted in show-stopping issues for RadeonSI hardware. At least that's been since revolved with the latest LLVM compiler code for the AMD GPU back-end.

The synthetic Plot3D test within GpuTest shows the open-source AMD Radeon driver is constantly improving but that there's still another 25% or so to go before the performance would be matched to the current Catalyst Linux driver.

The very simple triangle benchmark inside GpuTest doesn't show so well for open-source fans in this driver comparison with there still being more optimizations left to be tackled for the Radeon Gallium3D drivers.

While some results were better than others, overall the open-source AMD Linux driver is becoming much more competitive with the Catalyst driver. In many of these OpenGL test-cases the latest open-source Radeon driver code was performing ~75%+ the speed of Catalyst in Ubuntu 14.10. Beyond the performance, the OpenGL support still needs to advance with the open-source code at OpenGL 3.3 compliance while Catalyst is at OpenGL 4.4, besides other features still left unaddressed (CrossFire, advanced AA/AF settings, OverDrive, etc). However, the open-source driver stack is making progress and AMD's new unified Linux driver strategy should help further improve the situation.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.


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