The Interesting Tale Of AMD's FirePro Drivers
Jan 03, 2011, 03:02 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Michael Larabel)
"Earlier this week we published our annual look at AMD's
Catalyst driver releases from the past year. Not only did the
Catalyst Linux driver this year picked up a couple new features,
its driver performance had improved slightly over the past twelve
months. In building up some initial test data for
OpenBenchmarking.org we decided not only to do these tests on the
latest consumer-grade graphics card this year, but expand it to
cover the workstation performance too and to go back nearly two
years in time. These results for an AMD FirePro V8700 graphics card
with the monthly driver updates going back to Catalyst 9.2 are
quite interesting. AMD announced twice this year optimizations to
their FirePro driver software, but in reality these "optimizations"
were largely unsustainable and not optimizations as much as they
were attempting to address driver regressions from the past.
"Using the FirePro V8700 1GB graphics card every Catalyst driver
release was tested. From Catalyst 9.2, which arrived a month before
the V8700's launch in March of 2009, to Catalyst 10.12 we
benchmarked every month's driver update. With our annual
year-in-review articles for NVIDIA and ATI/AMD Linux drivers we
have only focused up to this point on the consumer GeForce / Radeon
hardware so we figured it would be interesting to see how things
change when it comes to the workstation hardware (i.e.
FirePro/FireGL). To go back with nearly two years worth of driver
releases, we used the FirePro V8700 that is derived from the ATI
RV770 core. Using the newer Evergreen-based FirePro V8800 or its
siblings (the V7800, V5800, V4800, V3800) would have only allowed
us to use drivers dating back to earlier this year. There is also
the AMD FirePro V9800 too, but that is only a few months old."