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R500 Mesa Is Still No Match To An Old Catalyst Driver

Apr 10, 2010, 11:02 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Michael Larabel)

[ Thanks to Michael Larabel for this link. ]

"We are in the process of conducting a set of tests looking at how the performance of Ubuntu Linux has evolved through their Long-Term Support (LTS) releases beginning with their first 6.06 "Dapper Drake" version followed by Ubuntu 8.04 "Hardy Heron", and then the Ubuntu 10.04 "Lucid Lynx" release that will be released by month's end. These benchmarks will look at how the performance of Ubuntu Linux has changed over the past four years, but first we deviated from our original plans to get a look at how the current open-source ATI R500 graphics driver in Ubuntu 10.04 provided by the Mesa stack performs against older proprietary ATI Catalyst drivers.

"Just last month we delivered benchmarks comparing the Catalyst vs. Mesa performance with Ubuntu 10.04 using the latest open-source and closed-source drivers available for the ATI Radeon HD 4850 graphics hardware. This is similar to tests we have carried out in the past comparing two different drivers from the same point of time. What we really have not done up to this point is to see how the current open-source ATI graphics driver compares to a proprietary Catalyst driver for the past. This has not been done before, as there really is not a straightforward and reliable way to carry out such a comparison.

"Older ATI Catalyst drivers will not work on newer Linux distributions due to the proprietary driver not supporting a more recent Linux kernel or X Server version. Changing around the open-source graphics driver version often means swapping out Mesa, the X.Org DDX driver, the Linux kernel for the respective DRM driver code, a compatible libdrm, and the open-source 2D EXA performance can also be affected by the X Server version. Further complicating matters is the fact that AMD routinely drops support for older GPU generations from the ATI Catalyst like they had done with the R200 support some time ago and then last year wiped out the R300/400/500 support from their driver, which limits the number of drivers and hardware selection that can be tested."

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